Revisiting Environmental Challenges in Niger Delta: A Survey of Tanure Ojaide's Poetic Historicism

Mary Enwelim-Nkem Okoh, Solomon Onovwiona
2020 The International Journal of Humanities & Social Studies  
The core Niger Delta region is defined as comprising the area covered by the natural delta of the Niger River and the areas to the East and West which also produce oil. The Niger Delta region has been in the news for some decades owing to the increasing exploitative activities inherent in the region, which have left the area impoverished, degraded and devastated than it was in the early times. It is truism that man is inseparable from his immediate environment because his relationship with his
more » ... urrounding makes up his entire being. Unfortunately, the destruction of the natural habitat surrounding man is caused by man himself by the sole acts of creating and re-creating his environment. In essence, the process of exploiting developing worlds is responsible for the environmental and ecological damage done to the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, which has been made prostrate following the several incidences of oil spills, loss of mangrove forests, depletion of fish populations, water hyacinths invasion, natural gas flaring amongst others caused by the activities of oil multinational companies. The resultant effect of the aforementioned is the upsurge of ecological imperialism which has given rise to underdevelopment, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, environmental degradation and a lot more. Corroborating the above, Ekpu opines that: The story of the Niger Delta is the story of a paradox, grinding poverty in the midst of vulgar opulence. It is the case of a man who lives at a bank of a river and washes his hands with spittle. It is the case of a people who live on the farm and die of hunger (Ekpu 10). These challenges give nature poets like Ojaide the spur as a social critic to imaginatively set the stage on painting the picture of the Niger Delta region realistically through the diverse experiences of the people in his poetry collections. His poetry therefore has generated serious academic researchers from literary scholars interpretingthe ills of environmental degradation with a view to finding lasting solutions for the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole. The present study aims at over -viewing the collective body of Ojaide's poetry vis a vis some contributions of scholars in this perspective. The purpose is to interrogate Ojaide's level of consistency to the course of the exposition of environmental challenges within Niger Delta and Nigeria for over four decades of his literary career. The work also aims at establishing
doi:10.24940/theijhss/2020/v8/i1/hs1911-092 fatcat:5modd4rd4favbfavvxaidvqtke