Divided We Stand: Bewailing Alien-nation in Esiaba Irobi’s Why I Don’t Like Philip Larkin

Niyi Akingbe

Abstract

Genuine euphoria, which accompanied the birth of multi-ethnic Nigeria nation-state in 1960, has been regrettably deflated and more than offset by the onrush of political tension that has ravaged its polity in recent times. Hence, the deforming pressure of inequity in contemporary Nigeria logically stands out as a corollary of political tyranny. From the standpoint of inequity, political marginality ostensibly poses a contentious decoding as it often raises poignant questions in the philosophy of meanings embedded in Esiaba Irobi’s Why I Don’t Like Philip Larkin. In connection to this, the historical referencing of the amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria in the poetry collection provides a test-case for the thematic quest for Biafra republic’s self-determination. Agonized by a perceived marginality, retreat to nationalism offers Irobi a convenient platform to affirm the predatory and ruthless suppression of the Igbo ethnic group during and after the Nigerian civil war (between 1967 and 1970). This paper asserts that Irobi takes power imbalance for his subject matter in order to build on these contrariety and contradictions. This build-up facilitates the exploration of tension between public duty and personal affections. Remarkably, the paper concludes that Irobi’s poetic thrust of marginality in the collection espouses a fury which verges on resentment at the lopsided Nigeria nation-state.

Keywords

bewailing alien-nation; Biafra; divided we stand; Esiaba Irobi; marginality; Nigeria

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/3060