Tanure Ojaide: The Poet-Priest of the Niger-Delta and the Land Saga
Oil detection in the Niger Delta has had multifarious effects on the Nigerian nation and its citizenry. Along with the enormous wealth accruing to Government coffers is the devaluation of the socio-economic life of the immediate community in the Niger-Delta. It has on record various devastating and unprintable indignities best expressed by its citizenry. The anomaly has distended into militant groups on local, regional and ethnic fronts to protest the activities of the foreign oil exploration companies. They have among others degraded the environment without putting anything in place to supplement the undervalued life of the people. Tanure Ojaide’s lament for the land and people is unmistakable. It is not only the physical world of this depleted environment that Ojaide’s poetry deals with, it goes further into the spiritual regeneration of his people’s collective consciousness. This justifies the reference to the world of the gods and goddesses, who suddenly found their spiritual world desecrated by modern technology of oil exploration. Thus, the emerging features in Ojaide;s poetry is the preoccupation with thematic issues of oppression, and struggles for liberation in techniques deeply buried in African folklore as well as the cultural beliefs and traditional religious practices of the of the Urhobo people.