Creative Artist: A Journal of Theatre and Media Studies

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Theatre and politics in Nigeria: a political reflection in Macaulay’s ‘Obanla’

Abiodun J. Macaulay


This paper critically reflects on the political scenario in Nigeria as depicted in the dramatic piece “Obanla” by Abiodun Macaulay. It is actually an excursion into the Nigerian political history, with a serious interrogation of the present while offering a forecast into the future against the backdrop of the plots, structure and the thematic output of the play “Obanla”. The socio-political context that birthed ‘’Obanla’’ equally serves as a fulcrum to x-ray the political atmosphere or milieu of Nigeria as a nation where the socio-economic and political well-being of the citizens are premised primarily on ethnic groupings and power tussling; a country where the citizens’ rights are encroached upon unrestrained; where governance is a game of wits between various ethnic groups; where one greedily secures political powers and attempts to later transfer same to his immediate family members, either through political elections or military coup d’etat only to prevent others from getting to the position. Such intention is usually cladded in heartwarming speeches with sinister motives to govern unjustly characteristically out of greed, selfishness, self- aggrandizement with unholy agreement to subject other ethnic groups to intentional and perpetual societal hardship and terror crowned with political assassination.‘’Obanla’ therefore presents a most potent tool in understanding the political rivalry, greed, assassination, and corruption in Nigeria. It provides a revelation into the evil being perpetrated by the so-called leaders. This article employs Machiavelli theory to illustrate the selfishness of human nature especially in the Africa continent vis-a-vis the corrupt and heinous nature of the African leaders. The play presents a tableau of assorted violence, unequal wealth distribution and power, greed, the destruction of peace and injustice, the growth of disorderly ambition, betrayal, disunity, lawlessness, and dishonesty.

Keywords: Theatre and politics, Coup, Godfatherism, Corruption, Political assassination, Abuse of Power

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