The Portrayal of Liberation and the Niger Delta Question in Arnold Udoka’s Akon, Long Walk to a Dream and Iyene: A Dance Drama

Jonas Egbudu Akung


Nigeria’s Niger Delta has become a thorny issue in the multidisciplinary intellectual discourse in the sense that local inequalities have assumed global dimensions. Human rights have been violated by the Nigerian government and global multi-national oil companies in such a way that make the Niger delta an environmental disaster zone. This problem has spawned local insurrections in the Niger Delta as multinational oil companies have had to either quit the zone or re-organize their modus operandi, with a general impact on Nigeria’s economy. From the time of the state-murdered Ogoni writer and environmentalist, Ken Saro Wiwa and Adaka Boro before him, these problems have been articulated through various forms of political and literary expressions. One of such literary expressions is Arnold Udoka’s plays which form the bases for analysis of the issues in this paper. Using the Marxist paradigm which enables inter-disciplinarily, this study takes a deeper look at the many variations of inequalities that have led to the Niger Delta problem. One of such is the gender question in the Niger Delta which Arnold Udoka articulates in Akon, which investigates the place of women in the political liberation of Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta region. There is also the Niger Delta question in Long Walk to a Dream which explores the struggle of the people of this region to live a meaningful life in the midst of their environmental challenges. Iyene on the other hand looks at the global dimension of multinational companies and the local elites in resolving the Niger Delta question, which has become a wasteland. This is particularly so because the Nigerian Land Use Act vests the ownership of land on the government which in turn has led to multiple violations of the peoples’ rights. It is therefore the position of this paper that the armed struggle, militancy, kidnapping in the Niger Delta are different manifestations of the aspiration of the violated locals for human freedom. Meaningful development and improved political ecology in the region is achievable if democracy and equity subsist both at the level of practice and legislation within and outside the Niger Delta region.



Niger Delta liberation, struggle, oil politics, gender, human rights and violation

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