Confronting the Enemy Within: Subverting Internal Complicity in the Debacle of Oil in Two Niger Delta Plays
Nigeria’s Niger Delta has a budding literary tradition that largely comprises of creative and critical writings on the history, trajectory and corollaries of mining natural resources in the region. A predominant and recurring motif in this literature is the deleterious effects of the exploitation of the human and non-human elements by multinationals and successive federal governments because of control over the revenue accrued from oil. However, this paper identifies Peter Omoko’s Crude Nightmen (2015) and Stephen Kekeghe’s Pond of Leeches (2015) as two Niger Delta plays that are clear departures from the foregoing zeitgeist. Both playwrights are unequivocal in holding indigenous leaders and citizens complicit for the systemic impoverishment of the region as a result of placing personal interests over communal progress. However, they also balance their narratives by creating parallel sets of local characters who deploy intellectual and radical forms of agency towards the liberation of their oppressed people and despoiled environment from the machinations of the enemy within.
Keywords: Niger Delta Plays, Internal Complicity, Debacle of oil, Enemy within.