Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Imperatives of Political Leadership with Reference to George Orwell's Animal Farm

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Imperatives of Political Leadership with Reference to George Orwell's Animal Farm

Article excerpt


Several great minds cum social critics such as Orwell (1944, 1948), Achebe (1984, 2012), Odumegwu-Ojukwu (1989), Maxwell (2014), Ohiwerei (2008), Isola (2008), Onyemelukwe and Oriaku (2011) as well as Onyemelukwe (2006, 2011) have highlighted the crucial role of political leadership in nation-building, identifying leadership failure to be the bane of failed nations like Nigeria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. Against this backdrop, this study undertakes to deduce and expound some cardinal political leadership imperatives, the objective being to prompt failed nations to appropriate the imperatives and bounce back as viable polities with enormous potentials for becoming developed nations. The study anchors on the theoretical premise that political leadership must be altruistic and strategic to be effective. The imperatives of political leadership expounded in the study are deduced from the quasi-political activities of Animal Farm as an unnatural but naturalised polity under Napoleon's dictatorship. George Orwell's Animal Farm is purposively selected for the study on account of its unbeatable sweet satirical exposition on totalitarianism as an abominable political leadership style which concurrently, but implicitly provides indispensable ideals applicable to political leadership. Foremost among the cardinal imperatives evolved in the study is that democracy is the only acceptable political leadership ideology. This notion is established in the study relying on Orwell's implicit but exclusive advocacy for it in Animal Farm as in Nineteen Eighty-four which is strongly underpinned by Achebe (1958, 1966, 1987) and Onyemelukwe's (2006, 2011) same position. The trio of Orwell, Achebe and Onyemelukwe grant exclusive ratification to democracy which must be participatory and unbridled, because they see nothing good about totalitarianism and other right-wing political leadership ideologies such as fascism, maxism, Stalinism and constitutional monarchy. In pragmatic terms, this foremost imperative translates to exemplary leadership which courageously serves to constantly reassure the led that they are neither enslaved to the leaders nor misled by them. To sustain effective political leadership, the led in every nation are enjoined in the study to ensure appreciative enlightened followership. Enlightened followership is such that monitors leadership by regularly demanding account of stewardship from the leaders. To live up to this ideal the led, as much as the leaders in a polity, must prioritise high-quality formal education to avoid hero-worshipping their leaders, so that they do not become disguised despots.

Keywords: totalitarianism, political leadership, ideology, imperatives, animalism, stalinism

1. Introduction

Animal Farm, according to Brander (1960:89), is George Orwell's (Orwell, henceforth) best work, while Nineteen Eighty-four is his most popular one. Brander reasons that Animal Farm is Orwell's best work, because it projects his ability for imaginative creation rather than for description and recollection demonstrated in his other works. The secret behind Brander's superlative ranking of Animal Farm resides in the allegorical nature of the fairy-like narrative unfolded in the novelette.

The novelette's allegorical tenor anchors its superlative rating on account of the lofty ideational constructs symbolised by the flat characters which unfold its plot, especially the animal characters. The animal characters are of more interest in view of the fascinating philosophical manner by which their animalism connects very pertinent issues about life in general but political leadership in particular. The issues raised about political leadership in the novelette are such that are perpetually relevant, irrespective of their timing. In other words, not minding that the issues are getting close to being a century old, they are still very much germane, especially in developing countries across the globe. …

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