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A Fete of Lamentations: Celebrating the Nigerian State through Ademola Dasylva’s Songs of Odamolugbe

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Abstract

The Nigerian political milieu has, for more than five decades since independence, been bedevilled by adventurist civilian and military leaders, coups d'état, and a seemingly 'docile' citizenry (who receive the 'fallout' of bad governance). This political landscape saw a handful of democratic governments (two overthrown by putsch). These leadership swaps have resulted in no major changes in the socio-political and economic lives of the led. In his poem collection Songs of Odamolugbe, Ademola Dasylva explores imagery, realistic symbolism, and revolutionary poetry to paint, recall, and re-live various past and present debilitating national issues engendered by groups and personalities. This essay draws on Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytical theory of the unconscious. Freud distinguishes between psychoanalysis as i) a method for investigating unconscious mental processes and ii) a method for treating neurotic disorders. There is the subtle examination of the mental workings of the leadership and the led in and towards governance. This essay seeks to explore how Dasylva exposes leaders' mental flaws, egoistic behaviour, and wrongly placed 'patriotism' and seeks redeeming positives in his poetry of social protest and resistance. The poetry rejects the cerebral, laissez-faire 'sit-down-look' attitude of the people, encouraging instead a different type of analytical and active 'patriotism' imbued with the fresh spirit of 'Naija'. The essay affirms that there should be full and positive participation in the polity and development of the country by both the leaders and the led.
      
   

A Fete of Lamentations
Celebrating the Nigerian State through Ademola Dasylva’s Songs
of Odamolugbe
  
     

Abstract
            
           
           
           
            
             
           
           
           
          
             
              
           
          
            
           
             
             
       
Keywords
            
      
    
   
A map, a wonderful geography / Of my Obai, my country”
   
     
      
   
  
    
    
    
    
    
   
   
   
   
   
  
   
           
           
           
            
           
              
           
         
          
            
    
              
             
 
   
          
  
         
           
                
            
             
             
  
          
          
     
          
               
          
             
            
           
             
            
         
           
    
              
              
           
             
         
           
            
           
           
             
    
              
   

    
   
           
              
        
              
         
            
            
            
           
         
             
          
         
         
           
           
             
       
Psychoanalysis, the Unconscious, and the Polity
           
           
          
          
    
          
          
          
              
             
              
             
          
      
    
 
   
           
            
         
       
          
           
         
         
           
           
            
          
           
          
           
             
         
       
          
           
             
          
           
              
         
             
         

              
         
           
            
        
         
    
 
   
   
“in the beginning” (Songs of Odamolugbe, 39)
           
           
           
        
           
          
           
             
   
             
         
              
           
            
           
      
            
         
           
              
           
           
  
      
                
            
            
    
            
     
            
   
 
   
      
   
     
    
   
   
          
    
     
  
     
   
     
     
     
      
   
            
             
            
           
        
    
     
       
      
   
             
          
              
            
             
            
          
    
   
          
             
           
         
        
              
    
    
 
  
   
 
   
    
          
            
         
          
            
           
             
           
             
               
            
           
              
            
  
          
            
            
             
  
 
   
          
             
 
           
           
           
         
               
          
          
           
             
           
              
           
         
       
           
           
          
           
          
             
                
          
“then the deluge”
             
           
          
             
     
           
           
 
    
   
        
Duration Head of state Government Ethnic origin How rule ended
    
    
    
     

    
    
    
     
    
     
     
    
     
    


   
              
              
   
     
            
           
          
      
        
          
        
         
            
   
 
   
          
         
           
           

               
          
    
             
            
             
         
             
            
              
           
               

          
          
            
        
            
              
          
           
           
         
            
            
           
            

           
 
    
   
             
          
             
        
         
           
             
           
           
            
            
             
     
 
     
   
    

  
 
   
           
    
    
   
  
   
           
         
            
        
            
  
 
   
    
      
      
       
       
       
  
   
          
               
             
           
     

   
     
    
   
           
            
        
            
         
           
            
            
           
            
           
           
             
          
            
            
   
    
   
           
         
          
          
      
         
          
          
           
             
            
          
           
            
        
            
   
          
        
      
           
            
            
         
           
            
    
         
              
      
          
         
 
 
   
            
          

            
            
    
     
    
     
    
    
   
          
             
            
             
              
             
              
       
          
             
            
           
        
             
           
           
       
            
           
 
    
   
           
         
             
              

             
           
          
         
          
            
           
              
             
             
            
             
          
          
            
             
          
        
         
             
              
          
    
             
          
  
 
           
          

               
           
  
 
   
           
           
             
            
         
         
         
           
            
         
         
           
             
               
             
           
           
          
           
            
           
        
       
       
      
   
              
         
           
         
              
           
             
          
             
           
             
      
    
   
             
          
           
          
“The emergence of hope” (Songs of Odamolugbe, 9)
            
          
          
         
           
           
             
           
              
         
  
    
      
    
      
    
   
               
          
         
         
       
      
      
        
   
           
           
 
   
         
              
                   
            
   
    
     
  
    
     
   
            
             
           
 
          
            
         
              
       
   
     
     
       
   
          
         
            
                
          
             

          
    
   
    
     
       
      
   
           
           
              
           
               
        
           
          
            
       
          
         
            
          
        
    
      
       
       
     
     
         
      
      
            
           
          
 
   
              
              
               
               
                
            
 
      
      
     
   
       
      
   
“That seasons of reason may return …” (Songs of Odamolugbe, 91)
            
            
       
          
          
            
         
               
         
          
            
        
            
            
            
              
     
    
   
           
            
            
          
            
          
               
    
Works Cited
          

   
             
      
             
           
 
        
         
          
      
          
             
         
  
 
              
          
     
          
  
          
    
           
   
 
   
          
          
             
         
  
           
     
             
         
        
          
 
           
    
          
           

             
             
             
         
      
         
        
  
      
    
          
        
    
           
    
          
         
           
          
      
          
  
 
    
   
           
  
             
         
     
          
 
           
            
    
         
            

   
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Solanke is a lecturer of Oral Literature and African Literature at the Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, Ajayi Crowther University. His works are basically concentrated on extricating and encouraging the hidden tendency of humankind to correct social ills through intrinsic embedded goodness in pursuit of an egalitarian society where all will be free and independent. His teaching fields encompass African Prose, Poetry and Drama, Creative Writing, General Oral Literature and African Oral Literature. Abstract For more than half a century, the Nigerian socio-political landscape had been occupied by military adventurists and aberrant politicians – both betrayers of the nation. The people and the country have, therefore, been on the receiving end of different uncaring governments. The onus to call these rulers and sometimes, even the ruled, to order has most times fallen on the Nigerian artistes, -a major part of who are poets. These set of writers have, for the period under review, been recorders, critics and way-showers to all involved in the development of Nigeria. This paper avers that the Nigerian poet has also gone a step further by not just writing and complaining but by also proffering ways out of the imbroglio the country has been enmeshed in by its near inept leadership. Through the various poems examined in this paper, Nigerian poets have proved to be visionaries and inspirers for the citizenry who dream of a better country.
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