The Worm Squirming in the Root: An Image of Democracy in Okediran’s Tenants of the House
Democracy in Nigeria may be said to have made some headway since independence. Even though this democracy seems to have overcome the truncation of its first and second republics by military dictatorships, and has transited over the decades into what may appear from an uncritical observation to be an emergent stable democratic culture, the same worm squirming in its root that had sent it into a coma is burgeoning rather than whittling down. Nigerian fiction, acting as the weather-vane for this development has spotted these political shenanigans. The literary artists have lived up to their calling as defined by Howe: to be “seized by the passion to represent and to give order to experience.” This article identifies unrelenting compulsive and pervasive corruption as the image of democracy in contemporary Nigerian literature. The paper undertakes a study of Okediran’s Tenants of the House to explore political insensitivity that is propelled by avarice in leadership in Nigeria. The study attempts to examine the angst of the author’s creativity in his attempt to capture a moment of Nigeria’s leadership vacuum in the historical consciousness of the people, and concludes that contemporary Nigerian literature remains a committed art, decrying social ills that negate the well-being of the people.