Volume 21, December 2023

POETICS OF PROPHECY AND THE NIGERIAN STATE IN HOPE EGHAGHA’S PREMONITIONS AND OTHER POEMS

Rebecca Ufuoma Davies


Abstract

Modern African poetry has been a medium of engagement to condemn political, socio-economic and cultural imperialism, as well as the mismanagement of national resources. Hope Eghagha’s poetic endeavour follows in this advocacy trend, which can be termed poetics of prophecy. This is a significant idea in Nigerian literature. His representative collection of poems – Premonitions and Other Poems is a poetic response to issues bedeviling the Nigerian state.  The poet considers his poetics as a social responsibility to the people, to forewarn and raise awareness of a country in a state of dystopia.

Drawing on close thematic analysis and engagement with literary criticism, the study articulates the view that the poetics of prophecy encapsulates a foreboding nationhood that is characterized by state failure and an unending quest for identity, cultural heritage, good governance, and sociopolitical realities, through an exploration of form and content.  The author argues that since the nationalist ideology of the poet converges with the actualities of the nation state, it is therefore a veritable medium to establish the engagement of poetry to issues germane to Nigeria and African development.

THE POLITICS OF ‘ALLAH’ OR THE ‘ALLAH’ OF POLITICS?: BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA

John Uwa


Abstract

The activities of the Boko Haran terrorist sect and its ‘splinters’—herdsmen and bandits in Nigeria have reached an alarming height—evidentced by killings, kidnapping, terrorism, and a Machiavellian brute force perceived to be part of a bigger agenda of Islamising Nigeria. The Nigerian authorities appear helpless, and the Nigerian people, especially those in the North-East, now live in fear and look unto Allah for redemption. Ironically, this terrorist group claims to be carrying out the ‘will of Allah’. This claim creates an ambiguity in the ‘will of Allah’, and translates into ideological contradictions that put a question mark on the whole idea of the ‘will of Allah’.

This essay locates these contradictions as fictionalised in John Elnathan’s Born on a Tuesday, interprets and situates same within the reality of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and try to locate aspects of the genesis of Boko Haram terrorism which has fallen under the radar in the criticism of Boko Haram. An interesting discovery, while exploring the historicity of Boko Haram, is the failure to apply, in an equal blend, the spirit and letters of the laws of Allah; and also, a refusal to understand the ‘will of Allah’ as an antithesis to a just and equitable society—irrespective of religious leanings. These failures, as suggested in the concluding part of this essay, results in ideological contradictions, tensions and Machiavellian religious terrorism in Nigeria. The essay concludes by pointing to the complicit roles the Nigerian government plays in encouraging terrorism in Nigeria. 

AN ANALYSIS OF SPEECH ACTS IN POLICE REPORTS ON FRAUD IN NIGERIA

Nna Josephine Ogechi

Abstract

Police Fraud Reports (PFRs) are professionally documented cases of fraud crimes. This document type leans largely on the expressivity of speech actions transcribed in line with institutional structure. These actions, performed in recorded transcribed words, are however constrained by institutional peculiarities and context, and therefore motivates the interest for this study. Extant research efforts have been preoccupied with online fraud investigations, electoral fraud, security fraud and other fraud-related crimes which have been severally subjected to multi-disciplinary analysis. Of these, not many works have examined Police Fraud Reports (PRFs) especially through the prism of speech acts theory (SAT).

Using Searle’s components of SAT, the study subjected ten (10) purposively selected Private Reports by the Nigerian Police Force on various fraud cases to a qualitative analysis. Three broad acts – representative, directive and commissive –  were found recurrent in the PFRs. These acts were constrained by five contexts- criminal conspiracy/forgery, criminal breach of trust, misrepresentation, economic sabotage/product counterfeiting, and Internet Fraud. While the representative acts project meaning through the micro acts of defining, alleging, threatening, endorsing, warning, affirming, asserting; the directive act enforces the micro acts of requesting, inviting, summoning and directing. A negligible amount of the commissives such as promising was featured in the data. By implication, speech act study of PFRs makes enhances a clearer understanding of the processes that illuminate the pragmatics of crime reports.

A PRAGMATIC-STYLISTIC ANALYSIS OF FAROOQ KPEROGI’S FACEBOOK POSTS

Rita Bossan & Umar Ibrahim Jamo


Abstract

Communication has become an indispensable means of the facilitation of growth and development in human society. The use of linguistic and extra-linguistic elements in communication often depict varying levels of meaning. The specific linguistic features deployed in utterances and the contextual nuances that account for effective communication provide valuable insights into meaning. This  paper aims to investigate the interaction of language and pragmatic-stylistic features in Faroog Kperogi’s Facebook posts. The study engages the theoretical tools of Jacob Mey’s (2001) Pragmatic Acts Theory and stylistic devices. Twenty Facebook posts of Farooq Kperogi were selected, using the purposive random sampling technique.

This study reveals that pragmatic-stylistic devices such as metaphor, sarcasm, barbarism, implicature, and inference which are deployed in the articles contribute in great measure to the stylistic content of the writer’s social media  engagements.  Specifically, the use of these devices aids the pract of indicting and criticizing the ineptitude of political officers. The study also found that the use of metaphor and sarcasm are pervasive in Kperogi’s posts. These contribute to the covert pragmatic act of criticizing and defaming specific characters who are involved in malfeasance. Also, the study submits that the interpretation of texts, especially Facebook posts and column articles, cannot be successfully done without the consideration of their contextual underpinning.

SELF-OTHERING AND THE BURDEN OF IDENTITY IN KAREN KING-ARIBISALA’S SHORT STORIES ON THE NIGERIAN IMMIGRATION EXPERIENCE

Lexzy Ochibejivwie

Abstract

Karen King-Aribisala, a Guyanese married to a Nigerian, is a writer of great renown whose debut collection of short stories entitled Our Wife and Other Stories (1990), her innovative novella Kicking Tongues (1998), and quintessential novel The Hangman’s Game (2007) have etched her name on the annals of Nigerian (African) prose fiction. King-Aribisala’s second collection of short stories, Bitter Leafing Woman (2016), published twenty-six whole years after her first, clearly attests to her fidelity and devotion as a serious practitioner of the short story genre.  Although over three decades have passed since its publication, Our Wife and Other Stories remains a watershed for short stories on the Nigerian migration experience – being the first collection of short stories published by a credible publishing House based in and outside Nigeria and solely dedicated to representing migration experiences in Nigeria from an outsider’s perspective.

Her Caribbean and Nigerian filiations, particularly her marriage to a Nigerian, make King-Aribisala succeed in combining her identity as an outsider and the Nigerian consciousness she has acquired to approach the implication of negotiating identity outside one’s country of origin. Karen King-Aribisala depicts and interrogates how the identity one is born with often pose a challenge in reconciling oneself to the identity of people of other countries. In this paper, therefore, an idea from Spivakian thesis of Othering, is isolated, developed designated as Self-Othering. The ideas derived from Self-Othering are then used as an analytical guide by drawing upon relevant instances from four sample short stories written by King-Aribisala, in which the identity of emigrants from the Caribbean and Europe, and immigrants to Nigeria, is negotiated. The analysis undertaken here shows in the main how immigrants in Nigeria voluntarily contest, invert and suspend their presumably hallowed and intransigent identity to achieve social cohesion and peace.

BOOK REVIEW: LES QUATRE EVANGILES, VERITE

Folorunso ADEBAYO

Introduction

The history of human culture and civilization together with her overall socio-political worldview is encapsulated in literature which is boundless in nature. The Book under review exposes the socio-political life of French people and the miscarriage of justice administration with a particular reference to the Second Empire and the later part of the Nineteenth century. Though, post-humously published in 1957, its effect on the socio-political landscape of France had remained indelible with a particular reference to the December 9, 1905 separation of the State and the Churches.   

Zola’s literary works. Vérité in particular penetrated the entire Europe and the Francophone world because of the themes of sociopolitical injustice, falsehood, truth and the polemic nature of the Dreyfus Affair at the period.

The reviewer attempts to bring to the fore, while painting in the minds of Nigerian social crusaders, the dialectic approach to the fight against the socio-political injustice, impunity and corruption that was prevalent in the nineteenth century French society, which was  also observed in African countries in the twenty-first century, Nigeria inclusive. This is to draw the attention of literary cum social critics in Nigeria to possibly draw lessons from Emile Zola’s literary engagement in their fight against socio-political injustice presently endemic in the country.