The Military in Nigeria's Postcolonial Literature: An Overview

Adeoti, Gbemisola (2003)

Article

The paper is a survey of Nigeria's postcolonial literature with a view to highlighting how writers through diverse ideological persuasions and aesthetic modes have captured people's experience under military rule (from January 15, 1966 to May 29, 1999). The paper observes that the military is not only a dominant political force in the country's postcolonial governance but also a recurrent subject in its narrative fiction, poetry and drama. In the works of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, John Pepper Clark, Ola Rcttimi, Femi Osofisan, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Odia Ofeimun, Niyi Osundare, Ben Okri etc, one is confronted with ropes of power abuse, economic mismanagement and poverty among other legacies of military regimes. Their art also capture the twist in public perception of soldiers. Whereas, the soldiers were celebrated initially as messiahs who rescued the polity from corrupt politicians, they became vampires in the 1980s and 1990s after plunging the nation into political turmoil and economic tribulation. In its conclusion, the paper contends that Nigerian literature in post-military dispensation will continue to be topical and relevant. Indeed, it has a crucial role to play in the task of nation-building and democratic development necessitated by years of military (mis) rule.

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