Niger Delta Subaltern Agency and Resistance in Obari Gomba’s The Ascent Stone and Stephen Kekeghe’s Rumbling Sky
Keywords:Niger Delta , subaltern studies, poetry , agency , resistance, Obari Gomba, Stephen Kekeghe
This article applies the theoretical positions of some scholars from the Subaltern Studies Collective to the reading of poetry by Niger Delta writers. I argue that the Niger Delta people are subaltern in the Nigerian national space due to their disadvantaged sociopolitical position as well as the resource conflict that has left the region at the mercy of the state and its agents. With insights from the writings of Ranajit Guha, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Gyan Prakash, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Partha Chatterjee, I read the subaltern themes of agency and resistance in Obari Gomba’s The Ascent Stone and Stephen Kekeghe’s Rumbling Sky. In adopting this framework, I draw from Guha’s original theorisation of peasant insurgency and the structure of power as well as later theorisations of relational power discourse and subaltern agency. My close reading of selected poems reveals the figure of the Niger Delta subaltern as the architect of their own destiny and whose resistance haunts the dominant discourse of the nation. The notions of insurgency, the nation and its fragments, failed revolutions, and relational power discourse are deployed as hermeneutical strategies. My adoption of this theoretical approach recovers its insights for the reading of literary works by writers from minority groups.
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