Since Nigeria’s political independence in 1960, ensuring administrations have virtually towed the path of devastation. How have Tanure Ojaide and Helon Habila been able to portray the aesthetics of resistance in The Activist and Waiting for an Angel respectively using the New Historicism theory. The authors through various characters and events have been able to portray the aesthetics of resistance. It is therefore safe to say that there is aesthetics in resistance.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Table of Contents vi
1.0General Introduction 1
1.1Definition of Terms 4
1.2Purpose of Study 6
1.4Scope of the Study 6
2.0Literature Review 9
2.1The Historical Context 11
2.2The Author’s Background 12
2.3The Critic/Reader 13
3.1The Nigerian-Niger Delta Situation 17
3.2Aesthetics of Resistance 18
4.2Aesthetics of Resistance 32
5.0Summary, Findings and Conclusion 44
…art has a purpose. I believe in the social status of art…it must be used to advance the cause of humanity… I believe that if art has any sake at all, it is humanity…I am a humanist. The content is as important as the work. A work of art is not a technical jargon…A container without content is empty. As concerned committed artist, the basis of all art is justice (Osundare, 16).
The above extract forms the basis of this work. It emphasizes the relevance of art to humanity and also shows the duty of the artist to the society in which he lives.
Dating back from the colonial era, to the time after independence, the socio-economic situation of Nigeria has continued to waver. The British Empire expanded trade with Nigeria following the Napoleonic wars and in January 1901
Nigeria became a British protectorate. The British were first interested in trade but later delved into governance. By the middle of the 20th century, the great wave for independence was sweeping across the country. The British, were pressured by some Elites (such as Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Anthony Enahoro) to grant Nigeria independence. In March 1953, Enahoro moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence. The motion according to Enahoro was ‘fired by the dream to build a new and modern nation’ (The Guardian, 16).
Nigeria was granted independence in October 1960. It became a Federal Republic in October 1963 with Nnamdi Azikiwe as the country’s first president. In 1965 there was a National Election which produced a major realignment of politics and a distrusted result that set the country on the path to civil war. On the 15th of January 1966 the military took over power with General Aguiyi Ironsi as the Head of State. In May 1966 there was another coup which established General Yakubu Gowon as the Head of State. Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu the leader of the Igbo secessionist declared independence of the eastern region as the Republic of Biafra in 1967 which resulted into war. General Murtala Mohammed staged a bloodless coup accusing General Yakubu Gowon of delaying the promised return to civilian rule in 1975. General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated in February 1976 and Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obansanjo became Head of State. In 1979, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was elected president. Major General Muhammadu Buhari in 1983 overthrew the civilian government. Ibrahim Babangida in August 1985 took over power and promised to return power to civilian in 1990 which was later extended to 1993. In 1993 there was a presidential elections which Babangida Annuled. The elections was won by M.K.O Abiola in August 1993, the interim government of Ernest Shonekan came into power but was forced to resign in November 1993 by Gen. Sani Abacha. General Abdulsalami Abubakar assumed power after the death of Gen. Sani Abacha in 1998. Preparations were made for civilian rule and in 1999 Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became the president for the next eight years after which there was a transition to another civilian government with Musa Yar’dua as the President. Yar’dua did not complete his term in office, he died and the vice president Goodluck Jonathan became the president.
Looking back after many years of independence, Enahoro puts the blame of the present state of the country on the military’s interruption of governance in 1966. He states that:
When in 1966, elements in the Nigerian military struck, seized the government, and assassinated a number of political leaders; it was obvious that a dark day had dawned on our political life (Enahoro, 16).
The military had come in their Khaki using the power of the gun and decrees to disrupt the political process which had begun to gain ground in the country.
All the blame cannot be put on the military as civilian rule has also contributed to the devastation in the Nigeria system. The civilian rule will be a discussion for another day. Consequently, the dream of having a new Nigeria and modern nationhood can be actualized if all its people take up their civil responsibility to unite as a force and speak the same voice of resistance against bad leaders. In the words of Wole Soyinka ‘The man dies in him who stands silent in the face of tyranny (Soyinka,40) and according to Amilcar Cabral ‘Every Onlooker is either a coward or a traitor (Cabral, 40). It is a clarion call for all to adhere to as Nigeria need of voices to be raised. Tanure Ojaide in an interview with Ezenwa – Ohaeto says:
Nigeria is a mother and a lover. At the same time, it is a special person. Hence for the love of Nigeria, we must support the country (Ojaide, 48.)
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