1. bookVolume 21 (2021): Issue 2 (December 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2067-5712
First Published
30 Aug 2019
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Precarious Geography: Landscape, Memory, Identity and Ethno-regional Nationalism in Niger Delta Poetry

Published Online: 10 Apr 2022
Volume & Issue: Volume 21 (2021) - Issue 2 (December 2021)
Page range: 133 - 166
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2067-5712
First Published
30 Aug 2019
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Like most conflicts across the world, the Niger Delta crisis has generated a body of works now labelled Niger Delta literature. These cultural art forms, which are not only programmatic in thrust but also carry a dissenting temper that is laden with counter hegemonic rhetoric, are primarily geared towards underpinning a brutish kind of colonization and corporate greed which has become the stamp of toxic dreaming and dubious progress in Nigeria. This literature draws attention to the debility of the Niger Delta people and to the fact that they are trapped under double hegemons – the Nigerian government and transnational oil firms – that have strategically transformed or reduced this precarious geography and its inhabitants to mere commodities. A close reading of texts on the Niger Delta makes one aware of the politics and structure of the Nigerian economy and the corporate cost of petroculture; moreover, issues of ethno-regional identity, the inequity in the distribution of resources, the near absence of government presence in the Niger Delta and the continuous decay of state infrastructures provide a fertile ground for explaining the resentment expressed by these heavily marginalized people. By protesting their marginality, these poets frame a kind of identity that “others” the Niger Delta people, thereby holding the state accountable for its deplorable conditions and the abysmal underdevelopment of the region considering the quantity of wealth it generates for the Nigerian federation. Paying significant attention to the relationship between the representations of landscape and processes of political and economic transformation and how the landscape becomes the defining index for identity formation in the poetry of Tanure Ojaide and Ibiware Ikiriko, I argue that these poets point to the way in which colonialism and environmental devastation are interlocking systems of domination within the Nigerian nation.

Keywords

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