Ansa’s Speech is another interesting short story by Onyinye Ough. This time, Onyinye focuses on everyday acts of corruption, which reveal the depth of the moral decay in the Nigerian society. From policemen on the road accepting bribes from drivers to office secretaries demanding tips before doing their work, corruption is everywhere you turn in Nigeria – ubiquitous like the air we breathe.
Onyinye in Ansa’s Speech just perfectly captures the gratification-loving attitude of the average Nigerian, which like the root of a tree at the base of a wall is eating away at the foundation of our society until it collapses. And as shown in the story, this attitude is generally more pronounced in people who have a measure of authority or power over others. They often tend to abuse their office or authority for pecuniary gains, and that is why corruption has become a synonym for Nigeria because at all levels of endeavor, you find people being corrupt. Someone once said that the average Nigerian never does anything for the sake of altruism; there has to always be something in it for him or her, which most of the time is pecuniary. And this unaltruistic disposition of many Nigerians makes it easy for them to engage in corrupt practices, whether they possess authority or not.
However, Ansa’s Speech offers a ray of hope that the coming generation might change the narrative, and help to repair the damage that has been done to societal values.
Ansa’s Speech shows that children are very observant and that they can tell when an action is either good or bad. Therefore, it is important that children should be given a voice and a platform to express their opinions on happenings in their environment without fear or intimidation.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A CHILD! This is one of the prime lessons taught in Ansa’s Speech.
Ansa had a platform to express her disgust at the level of corruption in her society, and this brought about some positive changes. There are many Ansas out there, who just need to be properly guided and given the opportunity to become agents of positive change in their own little way. A second important lesson taught in Ansa’s Speech is the need for parents to set the right example for their children. According to the story, Ansa attributed her courage and outspokenness to the example her parents had set for her. Research has shown that children learn more by observing their parents’ conduct than by obeying their oral instructions. Therefore, parents, if you want your child to grow up to become a responsible member of society, hating corruption, you must, yourself, never condone any act of corruption; not even the smallest one. But if you lack integrity, it will be hard for your child to think and act differently, because he or she will simply follow the example you have set.
Once again, I like to commend Onyinye Ough for her hard work at combating corruption in the Nigerian society, especially by grooming and guiding the coming generation to become anti-corruption champions, and I am quite optimistic that her efforts will pay off, and her vision will become a reality. If you did not know, Onyinye Ough is the brilliant mind behind Step Up Nigeria, an organization set up to fight corruption by teaching children to imbibe good values. You can learn more about their laudable cause from their website HERE.
You can start reading Ansa’s Speech HERE.