Oil politics and violence in postcolonial Niger Delta drama
AbstractOil is the dominant motif, defining metaphor, and most importantly, site of contestation and oppositionality in postcolonial Niger Delta literature, particularly in the 21st century. This paper examines how oil politics engenders and fosters neo-colonial exploitation, internal colonization and disruptive socio-political and economic relations within and among Niger Delta communities. The plays in this study reveal that the Niger Delta is under socio-economic, political and environmental “terrorism” of the Federal Government of Nigeria, multinational oil companies, and reprobate, self-seeking sons and daughters of the Niger Delta. However contributory issues of ethnicity and marginalization may be to the crises rocking the Niger Delta, the crux of the matter, this paper argues, is that by polluting Niger Delta communities (youth groups, chiefs, economic and political elite) with the viruses of greed, corruption and violence, the collective aspirations and goals, patriotic spirit, unity, collective struggle of the peoples of the region have been gravely undermined. The inevitable consequence is that the Niger Delta has become a hotbed of oppression, corruption and violence. This study is important for using the postcolonial theory to analyze the “internal colonization” of the oil-rich Niger Delta region by the corrupt and oppressive Nigerian state, rather than exploring the conventional binary opposition between an innocent/helpless African state and an oppressive colonial or neo-colonial European power. In essence, this paper argues that oil politics has turned the Nigerian state against its own citizens in the Niger Delta region. The region is now like a house divided, and as such contemporary postcolonial Niger Delta drama can be described as drama of individualism characterized by a dog eat dog culture.
Keywords: Niger Delta, Nigerian drama, postcolonialism, internal colonization
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