Paradoxes of Nationhood: Despondency and Belief in Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues and "Home Songs"
AbstractIt is an incontrovertible fact that the Nigerian nation depends, in fact, survives on the wealth of the oil-rich Niger Delta. The intriguing paradox however, is that this most productive region is the least developed, as its wealth is used to develop the rest of the federation. This is the reason for the unrest in the region which has taken worrisome dimensions in recent times. The poetry of Tanure Ojaide, and indeed most poets from the region, is a reaction to this situation which they see as not only grossly unfair, but also patently aggressive. Delta Blues and Home Songs is Ojaide’s reaction to the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a poet and martyred campaigner for a more equitable allocation of national resources. This paper shows how Ojaide balances acerbic criticism of a cannibalistic and cabalistic national leadership, with a patriotic belief in the corporate existence of this same nation. The paper shows that the poet’s interrogation of the Nigerian situation is his way of expressing his desire for the continued existence of his fatherland which he sees as capable of greater accomplishments.
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