Development, Underdevelopment and Poverty: A Linguistic Study of Joseph Edoki's The African Dream
Historically, European countries: Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, among others, partitioned Africa at the Berlin Conference of 1884/1885. They colonized the continent for over a century before the countries gained independence, resulting from protest led by educated Africans who saw how their European colonialists exploited and bastardized the socio-cultural values of Africans. The exploitation of Africa was so obvious that a Guyanese activist, Rodney Walter, wrote a text entitled How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972) to historically situate its massiveness and set an agenda for Africa's future. However, after independence, the expectation of most African countries have been dashed because of corrupt leadership, selfishness and lack of a philosophical focus, unlike the Asian Tigers such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Indian and South Korea which had their independence almost at the same time with many African countries. It is not surprising, therefore, that several coup de' tats have occurred in many African countries after independence and unbridled corruption, ethnic jingoism and selfishness have mainly been responsible for the underdevelopment, poverty and misery on the African continent. This unfortunate state of affairs has provoked African writers, who have written novels, plays and poems, to expose the moral decadence and corruption in African countries, with a view to refocus the development agenda for the common good of Africans. Among such works is, Joseph Edoki's The African Dream, which is pre-occupied with corruption and abuse of office by political leaders in Nigeria in particular and Africa generally. Employing content analysis and historical approach, this article examines how Edoki's text utilizes linguistic features to describe and expose some of the social vices plaguing Africa.
Keywords: Africa, Development, Poverty, Socio-cultural structure, Politician, African society