Humanities and Good Governance: Reflections from Igbo Poetry.

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HUMANITIES AND GOOD GOVERNANCE: REFLECTIONS FROM IGBO POETRY.

A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 2012 FACULTY OF ARTS CONFERENCE ON THE THEME ‘HUMANITIES AND GOOD GOVERNANCE’.

BY

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR NKECHINYERE NWOKOYE (NEE OKEDIADI)
DEPARTMENT OF IGBO, AFRICAN & ASIAN STUDIES
NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA
nkyemeka@yahoo.com
08033833639

MAY 4TH- 6TH, 2012

HUMANITIES AND GOOD GOVERNANCE: REFLECTIONS FROM IGBO POETRY. Abstract
Literature is a mirror of a society. It reflects the virtues and vices of a society. Literature and society dialectically reflect and shape one another. Literature can also imply an artistic use of words for the sake of art alone. Traditionally, Africans do not radically separate art from teaching. Rather than write or sing for beauty in itself, African writers, taking their cue from oral literature, use beauty to help communicate important truths and information to society. Indeed, an object is considered beautiful because of the truths it reveals and the communities it helps to build. Literature could be oral or written which are realized in different forms as Poetry, Prose and Drama. Each of these genres are used by various artists to encapsulate the humanistic values of the society even while it mirrors the monstrous and decadent experiences that characterize certain stages of a national life. Several poems written in Igbo portray the issue of governance because of the incessant problems associated with the politics and leadership of the nation. This paper used various poems from Igbo Poetry Texts to bring to light the ills of governance in the society. It concluded by asserting that good governance is yet a mirage in Nigerian society. INTRODUCTION

Literature as noted in the abstract is a mirror of a society. It reflects the virtues and vices of a society. Literature and society dialectically reflect and shape one another. Literature makes the essence of the truths come alive. In the words of Chinua Achebe "an African creative writer who tries to avoid the big social and political issues of contemporary Africa will end up being completely irrelevant like the absurd man in the proverb who leaves his burning house to pursue a rat fleeing from the flames." Utomi (2009) as quoted by Adebisi (2010) says, "For the understanding of the character of leadership to take root in culture, the creative skill of the writer in shaving culture is invaluable”. Many literary artists have addressed burning issues of the day like HIV transmission and control, substance abuse, regional conflicts and the question of good governance, political flash points within and between nations, human rights, etc. Humanities being the academic disciplines that study the human condition use methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural science. The humanities include ancient and modern languages, literature, law, history, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatre. The humanities regarded also as social sciences include technology, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, and linguistics. This paper makes a critical appraisal of the interventionist role of literature in society and precisely Igbo society especially with poetry. All societies of the world, in a way, have their own forms of literature Literature as is used here implies an artistic use of words for the sake of art alone. It could be oral or written. African writers, taking their cue from oral literature, use beauty to help communicate important truths and information to society. They are realized in different forms as Poetry, Prose and Drama. Each of these genres are used by various artists to encapsulate the humanistic values of the society even while it mirrors the monstrous and decadent experiences that characterize certain stages of a national life. This is the...
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