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This tutorial is designed for one key purpose. It is meant to provide you with a full assessment of the character and role of Ochuole in Frank Ogodo Ogbeche’s play, Harvest of Corruption.
Let’s set the ball rolling with the main attributes of the character called Ochuole in Harvest of Corruption.
The character of Ochuole
Like her boss, Chief Haladu Ade-Amaka, Ochuole is a one-sided character in the play, Harvest of Corruption. Each time she appears in a scene, Ochuole is seen doing just one thing – engaged in one villainous activity or the other.
- Ochuole is the former schoolmate of both Aloho and Ogeyi. They all graduated from university the same year.
- Like Ogeyi, but unlike Aloho, she is gainfully employed. Ochuole works as Chief Administrative Officer attached to the Minister at the Ministry of External Relations.
- Ochuole is of average height.
- The playwright describes her as a gregarious and extroverted young woman.
- Ochuole loves to speak pidgin – a popular brand of spoken English in Nigeria.
At the beginning of the play, Ochuole, surprised to meet Aloho at the Ministry of External Relations, exclaims,
“Na your face be this?”
Ochuole is all that Aloho and Ogeyi are not.
While Aloho and Ogeyi are staunch born-again Christians, Ochuole declares openly that she does not feel comfortable with “born-again stuff”.
The character of Ochuole is very much like the typical wayward girl who has grown up into a morally corrupt young woman. Somehow, Ochuole has so far managed to have her way with her nefarious activities.
Back in university, Ochuole led a reckless life. While there, she was known for all the wrong reasons.
Despite not putting much effort into her academic work, she was able to influence her lecturers to award her a second upper class honours degree.
In spite of all the bad reputation she had built up over the years, she was still able to land a well-paying job in the civil service right after completing university.
Read also: The Character and Role of Aloho
Relationship between Ochuole and Chief Ade Haladu-Amaka
The relationship between Ochuole and Chief, the Honourable Minister, External Relations is quite a dubious one. Ochuole is in a sexual relationship with Chief . But at the same time, she willingly encourages other young women to do the same.
In fact, Ochuole sees nothing wrong with this behaviour. For her, just like her boss, one must be prepared to do anything under the sun to get as many material possessions as possible.
- Ochuole has a corrupting influence on anyone she encounters.
This is the reason why Ogeyi advises Aloho to avoid her like the plague. But Aloho will not listen. This is simply because she is desperate to get the job Ochuole has promised.
It is only when it is too late that Aloho realizes how dangerous Ochuole can be.
“I lost my senses the very day I met Ochuole. I shall die or remain to dread that fateful day.”
- Ochuole only associates with people of questionable character. Examples are Chief and Madam Hoha.
Madam Hoha calls Ochuole “Her Majesty” and “The Lioness”. These accolades Madam Hoha lavishes on Ochuole, should leave no doubt in our minds regarding Ochuole’s own questionable character.
Here is a young woman who is known for preying on unsuspecting young women for the benefit of her boss’s sexual pleasures and also for his drug-trafficking activities.
In fact, Ochuole is always assured of handsome amounts of commission for recruiting these so-called “errand girls.”
Just listen to her:
“As usual, the job stunt is just a cover up. The real thing is how useful she can be to us. The chief will be over himself when he sees her. The old crook, he will want her immediately even right there in the office. You know the Gagoon has no scruples especially with women.”
Rather than feel ashamed of her bad ways, Ochuole sees them as the best route to personal comfort and happiness. She, therefore, boasts openly about the things she is capable of doing to get whatever she wants.
The following are some instances of claims Ochuole makes about her ways. These claims help us to get to appreciate better the extent to which young women like Ochuole are willing to go to achieve the so-called good life.
- Ochuole boasts of her ability to find her way about in Jabu, the capital of Jacassa.
She is well-versed in the culture of corruption in Jacassan society. Ochuole feels so much at home with this culture of corruption that she has little patience for people like Aloho who seem not to get it.
- She unashamedly boasts of her ostentatious lifestyle.
- Ochuole also boasts of the ease with which she is able to make big men like Chief Haladu Ade-Amaka to do her bidding.
She tells Aloho she will make sure the Minister gives her a job at the ministry.
“… You may go home now and come back to my office over there: and before then, I shall put in a word for you to my Minister. I am very sure he will not say no.”
Clearly, Ochuole is well-connected – but for very wrong reasons.
So powerful is Ochuole’s influence over the Minister that, true to her word, Aloho easily gets the job with a rather dubious job description as “one of the Minister’s Protocol Officers to handle his protocol arrangements.”
- Interestingly, while she remains on the payroll of the civil service, Ochuole boasts that the civil service is not for her.
Ochuole confides in Aloho that she considers civil service job to be “nothing but time-wasting”.
This shows how unpatriotic Ochuole is. Her obsession with the desire to look after her own interests has rendered her incapable of honouring her civic responsibilities.
“Bo! Let’s leave civil service job for the real civil servants, not me. Let’s talk about something else. No reasonable person depends on monthly salary in Jabu except he or she comes to look at Zuma rock and drink water afterwards.”
Ochuole’s role in the development of the theme of corruption
Ochuole is used as a vehicle of satire. Frank Ogodo Ogbeche employs Ochuole’s character to convey his anti-corruption message in this satirical play, Harvest of Corruption.
The playwright employs the character of Ochuole to help him throw the searchlight on the unfortunate role young women continue to play in perpetuating a culture of corruption in the Nigerian society.
But are young women of Ochuole’s category just trying to be pragmatic?
It appears that the leaders of the country have failed to provide opportunities for young people to access without necessarily compromising their integrity.
Ochuole and others like her must work and live all the same. While Ministers of State are busy stealing state money and blocking all avenues to jobs to the youth, the youth must also find ways and means to survive.
The Ochuoles of Nigeria are therefore a direct product of the corrupt, inept system of governance.
Ogeyi’s type are few. But we do not know how she got her job. Is Ogeyi just lucky? We cannot really tell since the playwright has not said much about this.
As for Aloho, she had so far failed to get her own job while playing born-again. That is why she finds it hard to continue listening to Ogeyi who has her own job.
But at the end of it all there is a choice to be made between good and evil; no matter the circumstances. This is why Ochuole and her like cannot be tolerated in any progressive society.
How Ochuole contributes to the development of the plot of Harvest of Corruption
Ochuole plays a major role in the plot of Harvest of Corruption. Her fateful meeting with Aloho at the premises of the Ministry of External Relations sets the stage for the rest of the action in this drama.
As the rising action develops, Ochuole remains under the spotlight. The central role she plays in the appointment of Aloho as Chief’s protocol officer is what will eventually cost the heroine in the play,Aloho, her peace of mind and, eventually, her life.
As the play comes to a resolution, Ochuole remains at centre stage. Her immoral activities and her abetment of Chief’s crimes are punished with a 10-year prison sentence.
This is to serve as a deterrent to the many other Ochuoles out there.