Political Crisis

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A Literary Understanding of Nigeria's Political Crisis: A Construction of ils Past and Future

By Titilayo Fasilat Adejumobi In : Development Policy Management Network Bulletin Vol. VIII, N.3, September 2001 pp. 37-39


The Nigerian political climate from particularly the civil war period or immediately after 1966 was characterized by lack of commitment to the virtues of honesty, equality, social justice, accountability, trust, peaceful co-existence amongst co-ethnics and respect for human rights. This is the thrust of Wole Soyinka' s The Man Died. Wole Soyinka' s The Man Diedis an autobiography, wruch takes the form of a prison-note. At the beginning of the Nigerian civil war(1967-1970), Wole Soyinka was arrested by the Federal Authorities and imprisoned only to be released in 1969 and the same picture presented of Nigeria by Wole Soyinka in the novel still prevails in Njgerian Politics today. This article examines the political crisis as presented in Wole Soyinka's The Man Died, its bearing with present crisis and the prospects for the future. The Nigerian Civil War P.C. Lloyd observes that "Nigeria' s problems do derive in large measure from, the tensions which had arisen between the larger ethnic groups and that the hostility derives not from the ethnic differences, but from competition between peoples for wealth and power" (Lloyd, 1970: 1 13). This elite competition becomes a basis for ethnic mobilization, in which people are mobilized for political conflicts to serve personal ends. The Constituent Assembly of September 1977 worked out a presidential constitution for the country as a result of the failure of the 1963 Republican constitution whose un due emphasis was on regional autonomy with the predictable result that at different times the various regions threatened to secede from the Federation. The Nigerian elites who took over from the British (at independence in 1960) made no serious effort to evolve any nationally shared values essential...