Chaos in the Ivory Tower: Postcolonial Representations of the Nigerian Academic Elite in Esiaba Irobi’s Cemetery Road and Ojo Rasaki Bakare’s Once Upon a Tower
Keywords:Chaos, Ivory Towers, Academic Elite, Political Elite, Postcolonial Africa /Nigeria
AbstractThis work explores Esiaba Irobi’s Cemetery Road (2009) and Ojo Rasaki Bakare’s Once Upon a Tower (2000) with a view to examining the manner in which Irobi and Bakare represent the Nigerian academic elite in the chaos that hobbles Nigerian public universities and the country in general. Through Louis Althusser’s idea of Ideological State Apparatuses, the work analyses how the two playwrights deploy character, setting and other dramatic elements to capture ways in which the Nigerian academic elite, especially those in Nigerian public universities, promote disorder in the polity. The two plays show that some members of the Nigerian academic elite are involved in using undemocratic methods for personal gains and to create anomie in universities and in Nigerian society at large. The work reveals that the academic elite, as represented in the two plays, are not different from the corrupt Nigerian political elite because both are preoccupied with violent and corrupt acts, thereby undermining peace, stability and development in the country. It contends that the two playwrights’ representations of the Nigerian academic elite are important not only because they challenge the assumed binary opposition between the Nigerian ruling elite and the Nigerian academic elite, but also because they illuminate the complexity of the recurring chaos in Nigerian universities and the country in general. Consequently, the playwrights invite the Nigerian academic elite to engage in critical self-interrogation, genuine scholarly and community-based activities that are geared towards real national development.
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