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THE VOTER - Class 2nd PUC English Textbook Solutions

 CHAPTER: - 12


Character List  
Major Characters

1. Rufus Okeke (a.k.a. Roof)
2. Marcus Ibe (a.k.a. Honorable Minister)  

Minor Characters
1. Roof's Mother
2. Maduka's main election campaigner
3. OgbuefiEzenwa
4. Maduka
5. Village people  

In  The  Voter  by  Chinua  Achebe  we  have  the  theme  of corruption, loyalty, guilt, power, greed and tradition. Taken from his Girls at War and Other Stories collection the story is  narrated  in  the  third  person  by  an  unnamed  narrator and after  reading  the  story  the  reader  realises  that  Achebe  may be  exploring  the  theme  of  corruption.  As  a  politician Marcus  has  made  sure  that  his  life  has  improved  in comparison  to  those  who  live  in  Umuofia.  He  has  built himself a new home with running water yet his constituents don’t  have  the  same  access  to  water  as  Marcus  does. Though  it  is  not  explicitly  stated  that  Marcus  has inappropriately  obtained  his  property  the  fact  that  he  has ready and  easy access to  large amounts  of  money suggests that he  may be  corrupt. Also Roof  on Marcus’ instructions bribe  some  of  the  local  elders  in  order  to  ensure  that  they will  vote  for  Marcus.  At  no  stage  in  the  story  does  Roof advise the  elders as to why they should  vote for Marcus or what benefit electing Marcus will be to the community. The reality  being  that  Roof  is  bribing  the  elders  in  order  to ensure that they vote for Marcus regardless of what Marcus might and might not do for those in the village. Roof’s main concern  is  not  the  elders  or  those  in  the  community  but Marcus himself. There also seems to be no thought given by the  elders  as  to  what  the  consequences  of  their  actions (voting for Marcus) might be. Just as Marcus and Roof are corrupt so too are the  local  elders who are  more concerned with  receiving  payment  for  their  vote  than  they  are  on improving life in the village.  
It may also be a case that Achebe is exploring the theme of loyalty.  Not  only  do  the  elders  accept  a  bribe  in  return  for their  loyalty  to  Marcus  but  Roof  too  accepts  a  bribe  to ensure that he will vote for Maduka. Even though he spends the  entirety  of  the  story  attempting  to  ensure  that  Marcus will get re-elected Roof at the end shows Marcus no loyalty. Having being swayed by the five pounds he has received in order to vote for Maduka. Which in many ways is ironic as there  is  a  sense  that  even  though  Roof  is  working  for Marcus  he cannot  be  trusted  by  Marcus.  It  is  also  possible that Achebe is placing a spotlight on the way that elections were held in Nigeria at the time the story was written. With the possibility that corruption was commonplace. 
By  bribing  the  elders  of  a  village  a  politician  was  able  to ensure that they got elected.  Where many would expect an individual  to  be  allowed  to  independently  decide  on  who they should  vote  for this is  not the case in the story.  With constituents being instructed by the elders on which way to vote.  
It is also difficult to say for certain as to why Roof begins to  feel  guilty  about  the  prospect  of  voting  for  Maduka. However, it is possible that Roof feels guilty because he is loyal to Marcus and he knows that should Maduka become elected  his  services  will  no  longer  be  needed  by  Marcus.
The position he holds in the village will be lost and as such he  will  no  longer  have  the  authority  that  he  feels  he  has over others. Any power that Roof does have will be gone. He  will  no  longer  be  able  to  benefit  personally  as  he  has been  able  to  do  while  Marcus  has  been  elected.  Just  as Marcus  may  lose  any  comforts  he  has  obtained  from  his corruption so too  will Roof. There  will be no need  for the elders to listen to Roof should Marcus lose the election as there  will  no  longer  be  any  available  funds  to  bribe  the elders  with.  The  introduction  of  the iyi may  also  be important  as  by  introducing  it  into  the  story  Achebe appears to be exploring the theme of tradition. Roof is very much afraid of the iyi and his actions at the polling station may  be  triggered  by  his  fear  of  the iyi and  what  may happen  him  should  he  not  fulfill  his  promise  to  vote  for Maduka.  The  end  of  the  story  is  also  interesting  if  not  ironic.  By ripping  his  ballot  paper  in  two  and  placing  half  of  the paper in each ballot box Roof feels that he has honored his commitment  to  vote  for  Maduka.  However,  
if  anything Roof  has  ended  up  spoiling  his  vote  with  neither  Marcus nor  Maduka  getting  his vote.  Despite  having  been  bribed by  one  of Maduka’s men and  having a sense of loyalty to Marcus  Roof  hasn’t  managed  to  vote  for  either  man. Something  that  appears  to  be  lost  on  Roof  with  Achebe describing  Roof  as  walking  out  of  the  polling  station ‘jauntily.’ It might also be a case that Achebe is suggesting that  an individual  should  be  allowed  to  freely  cast  their vote without the influence of others (Elders, Roof, Marcus and  Maduka).  Something  that  has  not  been  the  case throughout  the  story  with  Roof  acting  as  an  agent  for corruption  in  order  for  Marcus  to  continue  living  the lifestyle  he  has  become  accustomed  to.  Yet  at  the  same time he provides no benefit to his constituents. Democracy has not been allowed to play its role due to the corruption that exists in Umuofia. The reader is also aware that when the  next  election arrives that too  will be corrupt thanks to the  actions  of  both  Marcus  and  Maduka.  Maduka  might not  win  the  election  on  this  occasion  but  he  is  preparing himself for the next election. Paying for votes with money and having no concern, like Marcus, for the constituents in Umuofia.

I.    Answer  the  following questions  in  a word, a  phrase or a sentence each: -

1.    How  many  years  did  Roof  spent  as  a  bicycle repairer's apprentice in Port Harcourt?
How  long  had  Roof  been  a  bicycling  repairer’s apprentice?                 
How  long  had  Roof  worked  as  a  bicycle  repairer’s apprentice in ‘The Voter’?     
Ans: Two years  

2.    Who did Roof campaign for in 'The Voter'?

Ans: Marcus Ibe  

3.    Who  was  the  minister  of  culture  in  the  outgoing government?

Ans: Marcus Ibe  

4.    What is the name of Marcus Ibe's new house?
Ans: Umuofia Mansions.  

5.    What was the warning given  by Roof to the Minister before two months of the election?
Ans:  Roof  had  warned  him  about  the  radical  change  that had come into the thinking of Umuofia.  

6.    How many shillings Ibe offered to his voters?
Ans: Two shillings.  

7.    Which are the two political parties mentioned in "The Voter"?
Ans:  PAP  (People's  Alliance  Party  and  POP  (Progressive Organization Party).  

8.    Who is the opponent of Marcus Ibe in the election?
Ans: Maduka.  

9.    How  much  money  POP  campaign  team  offered  to Roof?
Ans: Five pounds.  

10.    What  is  the  name  of  the  band  which  Ibe  had  hired from Umuru?

Ans: Highlife Band.  

11.    What is the symbol of PAP for the election?
Ans: Motor Car.  

12.    What had Roof become a real expert in?

Ans: Election campaigning.  

13.    What  was  Marcus  Ibe  in  the  outgoing  Government in ‘The Voter’?         
Ans: Minister of Culture.  

14.    What does PAP Stand for in ‘The Voter’?                     
Ans: People Alliance Party.  

15.    How  much  money  did  the  leader  of  the  POP campaign team offer Roof? 
Ans: Five Pounds.  

16.    Expand POP.               
Ans: Progressive Organization Party  

II.    Answer  the  following  questions  in  a  paragraph  of 80 – 100 words each:  
III.    Answer  the  following  questions  in  about  200 words:  

1.    What  was  the  justification  for  the  formation  of  the POP?

Ans: POP stands for Progressive Organization Party. This party  was  formed  by  the  tribes  down  the  cast  to  save themselves  as  the  founders  of  the  party  proclaimed,  from “total,  political,  cultural,  social  and  religious  annihilation. The  POP  was  a  complete  non  entity  in  the  first  election. When  tribal  people  understood  that  there  was  no opposition  to  the  ruling  party  they  decided  to  come  to power.  In the story, there was no hint about the objectives of  the  PAP,  but  the  organizers  of  POP  claimed  that  they wanted to save the people from all aspects.  

2.    Roof  is  an  intelligent  manipulator.  Justify  with reference to the story.
‘Roof  is  an  intelligent  Manipulator’.  Justify  with reference to the story ‘The Voter’
How  does  the  lesson  ‘The  Voter’  show  that  Roof  is  an intelligent manipulator?   
Ans:Roof was the most trusted servant of Marcus. He was also popular with the villages of Umuofia. He had become an expert in election campaigning. He could tell the mood of  the  electorate.  After  conducting  the  whispering campaign  successfully,  he  warned  the  minister  that  the villagers had become moreintelligent in the last five years, wondering  how  quickly  politics  had  brought  wealth,  titles and doctorate degrees to the elected leader. Meanwhile the  opposition party 'Progressive Organization Party  (POP)  with  considerable  money  power  plunges  into election  campaigning.  One  night,  the  local  camp  leader pays  a  visit  to  'Roof'  and  bribes  him  with  five  pounds’ money  and  asks  for  his  vote.  When  'Roof'  tells  them  he could not deceive Marcus, they assure him that they would not  reveal  his  treachery  to  any  one  and  after  'Roof'  takes the  bribe  of  five  pounds  he  is  asked  to  swear  on  the  'iyi' that he will vote for 'Maduka' the opposition leader. Even on the election day 'Roof' campaigns for Marcus and when he goes into the voting booth to cast his vote he was torn between  his  loyalty and the  wrath of 'iyi'. So he tears up  his  ballot  paper  into  two  pieces  and  casts  one  piece each to both 'Marcus' and 'Maduka'. Hence he resolves the issue diplomatically.

3.    Describe  the  significance  of  meeting  between  Roof and POP campaign team in The Voter.
Ans:The  meeting  between  Roof  and  POP  campaign  team highlights  how  voters  are  easily  bought  and  voters  are induced to vote for monetary considerations, one night, the local camp leaders pay a visit to Roof and bribes him with five pounds’ money and asks for his vote. When Roof tells them  that  he  can't  deceive  Marcus,  they  assure  him  that they would not reveal his treachery to anyone. After taking  the bribe of five pounds, Roof is made to swear on the 'iyi' that  he  will  vote  for  'Maduka',  the  position  leader.  This meeting leaves him in confusion. So when he goes into the  voting booth to cast his vote, he finds himself torn between his loyalty and wrath of 'iyi.

4.    Describe  Roof's  role  as  an  election  campaigner  in Chinua Achebe's story ‘The Voter’?
Give  an  account  of  Roof's  role  as  an  election campaigner.
To  what  extent  was  Roof  the  most  trusted  of  the whispering campaigners in 'The Voter’?    
'Roof  was  the  most  trusted  of  the  whispering campaigners.' To what extent is this true in 'The Voter? Or
Give  an  account  of  Roof's  role  as  an  election campaigner.    
Ans:Roof  was  a  popularman  in  his  village.  He  was  an energetic young man who wanted to guide the people of his village in difficult times. Marcus Ibe, the leader of People's Alliance Party was the minister of culture and he wanted to win the  election, the second time. He  knew that the people were  unhappy  with  him.  So  he  wanted  to  make  use  of Roof's  popularity  and  service.  Roof  was  intelligent  and  he understood that people would not vote for Marcus if he did not  give  them  enough  gifts.  He  assured  the  villagers  that Marcus  would  bring  water  and  electricity  to  the  village  if they  elect  him.  He  tempted  the  villagers  with  money  for their  votes.  On  the  day  of  election,  he  ran  around  goading the  villagers  to  vote  for  Marcus.  He  informs  the  minister about the radical change in voter's attitude. He also assured Marcus that he would get a landslide victory in the election. All  that  proved  that  he  was  a  loyal  and  trusted  whispering campaigner.
Ans:Roof,  as  expected,  was  in  service  of  honorable minister and had become an expert in election campaigning. He  knew  the  mood  of  the  electorate  and  had  warned  the minister  that  the  villagers  had  become  more  intelligent  in the  last  five  years,  wondering  how  quickly  politics  had brought  wealth,  titles  and  doctorate  degrees  to  the  elected leader. Meanwhile  the  opposition  party  'Progressive  Organization Party  (POP)  with  considerable  money  power  plungesinto election  campaigning.  One  night,  the  local  camp  leader pays  a  visit  to  'Roof'  and  bribes  him  with  fivepounds’ money  and  asks  for  his  vote.  When  'Roof'  tells  them  he could not deceive Marcus, they assure him that they would not reveal his treachery to any one and after Roof' takes the bribe of five pounds he is asked to swearon the 'iyi' that he will vote for 'Maduka' the opposition leader.  Even  on the  election  day 'Roof'  campaigns  for Marcus and when  he  goes into the voting booth to cast his vote  he was torn  between  his  loyalty  and  the  wrath  of  'iyi'.  So  he  tears up his ballot paper into two pieces and casts one piece each to both 'Marcus' and  'Maduka'. He comes  out  of the  voting booth relived.
Roof was the most trusted servant of Marcus. He was also popular  with  the  villages  of  Umuofia.  Being  a  popular person  'Roof'  could  judge  the  villagers,  mood  and  inform Marcus  accordingly.  Before  bribing  two  shillings  to  a group  of  elders,  he  asks  them  that  the  people  of  Umuofia should  be  honoured to  have a leader like Marcus in their midst and the leaders of PAP also favoured their village.  He,  then,  increases  it  to  three  shillings  and  proclaims  that if  it  is  not  enough for them, then they are free to vote for the opposition. The elders agree to cast their vote in favour of Marcus.  

5.    How  did  Roof  make  the  villagers  agree  to  vote  for PAP's Marcus Ibe?

Ans:Roof  was  a  very  popular  man  is  his  village.  The people of Umuofia village had a lot of trust in him. He was an  expert  in  election  campaigning.  Marcus  Ibe,  the Minister,  wanted  Roof  to  work  for  him  in  the  upcoming elections. Roof had understood that peoplewere not happy with Marcus and they might not vote for him this time. He met a few villagers and explained to them that Marcus Ibe would bring a lot of developments to their village. He  made  them  believe  that  every  honour  that  the  village received  was  due  to  the  hard  work  of  Marcus  and  they were  favoured  all  the  time  by  PAP,  the  People's  Alliance Party  to  which  Marcus  belonged.  Finally,  Roof  tempted the villagers with  money. He promised them two shillings each  if  they  along  with  their  family  members  would  vote for Marcus Ibe in the elections.  

6.    Why did the villagers change their attitude towards Marcus  Ibe  before  the  second  election  in  the  lesson 'The Voter’?             
Trace  the  changes  in  the  attitude  of  the  villagers, before the coming Election in the lesson ‘The Voter’          
Ans:Marcus  Ibe  was  the  Minister  of  Culture  in  the outgoing  government  and  he  belonged  to  PAP,  the People's  Alliance  Party.  Roof  was  the  election campaigner  for  Marcus  Ibe.  He  had  already  warned Marcus about the change in the people's attitude. Though the  villagers  were  innocent,  they  had  seen  that  Marcus had made a lot of money and acquired car and bungalow in  those  five  years.  He  also  had  a  private  power  plant  to supply  power  to  his  house,  then  the  village  had  no running  water  orelectricity.  The  villagers  realized  that Marcus had  made his  lifeluxurious  instead  of taking  care of the  welfare  of the people. So they  decided  not to  give free votes to him in the forthcoming elections.

7.    Rufus  Okeke  was  truly  skilled  in  politics.  Explain with reference to the voter.
Ans:  Rufus  Okeke  was  popular  in  his  village  as  a knowledgeable  person.  He  was  in  the  service  of  Marcus Ibe,  the  minister  for  culture.  He  was  a  real  expert  in election  campaigning  at  all  levels,  the  village,  local  and national.  He  could  even  tell  the  mood  and  temper  of  the electorate. The  way he  deals with the  elders of the  village and convinces them to  vote for Marcus is appreciable. He makes use of his powers and gets expensive gifts from  Marcus,  much  against  the  wishes  of  Marcus'  wife.  But later,  when  he  is  approached  by  the  leader  of  the  POP,  he makes use  of the  opportunity skillfully. He tries to be very normal  on  the  election-day,  even  influences  people  to  vote for Marcus but tears his ballot paper and votes for both  Marcus and Maduka. This shows that he was truly skilled in politics.

8.    Describe the scene on the election- day in Umuofia.
Ans:  On  the  busy  day  of  election,  men  and  women  in Umuofia village came to the voting booth with enthusiasm. On the way, people found a lot of posters of both POP and PAP  parties.  PAP  leader  Marcus  Ibe  had  arranged  a  music hand  to  attract  the  attention  of  the  people.  Marcus  was sitting  in  his  big  green  car  watching  and  smiling  at  the villagers.  The  illiterate  villagers  shook  hands  with  Marcus and  congratulated  him  even  before  they  cast  their  votes. Roof  wasreminding  the  people  to  vote  for  Marcus  in  the Motor Car symbol. He assured them thatthey would get rich to ride a car if they voted for Marcus. It was his turn to go into  the  booth  to  vote.  When  he  went  inside,  he  was  in  a dilemma  whether  to  vote  for  Marcus  or  Maduka.  Both  the leaders  had  given  him  lots  ofmoney.  So  he  tore  his  ballot paper  into  two  and  put  one  in  each  box.  The  election officials put a purple ink mark on his finger  

9.    Describe,  how  Marcus  Ibe  in  'The  Voter'  had managed to become a 'Successful' Politician. 
Ans:  Earlier  Marcus  Ibe  was  a  not-too-successful  mission school  teacher.  When  he  was  almost  on  the  verge  of dismissalon  the  basis  of  a  female  teacher's  complaint,  he joined  politics,  got  elected  as  a  representative  of  Umuofia and  was made  minister of culture. In a period  of five  years Marcus became very wealthy,was given many chieftaincies titles and a  doctorate degree and several other honours. He had  amassed  a  lot  of  wealth  and  power.  To  win  the villagers, he threw a grand party to them as he knew that it was their votes that would bring good fortune.  

10.    Everyone  is  full  of  praise  for  Marcus  Ibe.  What qualities and achievements attracted the people to praise him in 'The Voter'?              
Ans:  Everyone  praised  Marcus  Ibe,  elderly  people considered  him  as  their  son,  he  earned  the  reputation  of  a good  man.  Earlier  he  was  a  missionary  school  teacher.  He had  wisely  joined  politics  and  acquired  two  cars,  a  big house in a very short time. But  he remained  devoted to  his people. He had installed a private electricity plant to power his  new  house  'Umuofia  mansions'  and  had  entertained  the people  of  Umuofia  by  feeding  them  five  bulls  and  many goats  on  its  opening  ceremony.  So,  the  people  of  Umuofia praised Marcus, for offering them such a feast.  


•  Roof was a political campaigner in his village Umuofia. Hewas  in  the  service  of  his  village.  He  inspired  the villagers to vote for Marcus Ibe
•  Marcus  Ibe  was  Minister  of  Culture  in  the  outgoing Marcusgovernment. He belonged to the PAP. He  would  surely  winin  the  next  election.  He  was  not  a successful  teacher.  He  joined  politics  from  a  female teacher's  complaint.  Later  hewould  marry  her.  He remained  devoted  to  his  people.  Once  he  accused  his wife for insulting Roof.
•  He named to his new house as Umuofia Mansions.
•  The  villagers  had  given  their  votes  free  of  charge fiveyears ago. Now they received four shillings to vote for Marcus.
•  The  POP  gave  Roof  five  pounds  to  vote  forMaduka. He also swore in on lyi. At the end, Roof cut hisballot into two. He put the first half into Maduka's box(head symbol)  and  another  half  into  Marcus  Ibe's  box (carsymbol).  He  consoled  himself  that  he  had  given justice to both.  

  • A short story   Evils of elections   
  • Weaknesses for power and money   
  • Rufus Okeke – a young man from Umuofia   
  • Expert in campaigning   
  • Marcu Ibe- The minister for Culture-PAP  party   
  • Former school teacher   
  • Amassed wealth in five years   
  • Maduka –POP party   
  • Roof takes five pounds   
  • Dilemma in Roof  


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