OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society
[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.1-24
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2022
Received 12 Sep 2021 Revised 10 Jan 2022 Accepted 15 Jan 2022

Armed Conflict, Political Violence, and Poetic Language in Tanure Ojaide’s The Questioner and Other Poems

Oluwakemi Abiola Kalejaiye
Department of English, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria


Given the tapestry of the history and the polygonal dimension of armed conflict and political violence in Africa, the continent’s civilization becomes questionable when one considers the despoliation and decimation of lives through armed conflict and religious violence. Literary studies show that ethno-regional protests and agitation for change in the power structure were responsible for the spike in cases of political violence and insurgent groups. Drawing on enemy system theory, and a close reading of Tanure Ojaide’s The Questioner: New Poems, this paper describes the nature of this conflict in Nigeria. Specifically, this study attempts to explore the poetic representation of armed conflict and political violence, and how the phenomenon of perceived enemies may have contributed to the increase in such occurrences. A critical analysis of sections of the poem, shows that the metaphors deployed by this poet suggest that armed conflict and political violence in the country are born the psychological need to have enemies and allies. The paper argues that until and unless external power points and various internal dynamics are addressed, the growing tension within the states and regions may continue unabated.


Armed Violence, Insurgency, Political Violence, Poetic Language, Tanure Ojaide


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Biographical Note

Oluwakemi Abiola Kalejaiye is a Ph.D. student and an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of English, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye. She joined the service of the University in the month of July, 2019. She has since served in various capacities. Board Secretary, Department of English, a member of Faculty of Arts Quality Assurance Committee, a member, Faculty of Arts Orientation Committee, among many other responsibilities. She is a young, vibrant, disciplined, serene young woman , and filled with obvious leadership acumen. Her area of specialization is Comparative Literature, Trauma Studies and African Writings. Her current research focus includes issues with literature and mental health.