The Theme of Degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues and Home Song

The Theme of Degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues and Home Song 

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Title Page         –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       i

Declaration      –       –       –       –       –       –       —             ii

Certification-    –       –       –       –       –       –       –               iii

Dedication       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       iv

Acknowledgements  –       –       –       –       –       –               v

Abstract   –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       vi

Table of contents     –       –       –       –       –       –               vii


1.1   Background to the Study         –       –       –       –       –       1

1.2   Statement of the Problem     –  –       –       –               –       3

1.3   Purpose of the Study –     –       –       –       –       –               3

1.4   Significance of the Study         –       –       –       –       –       3

1.5   Objectives of the Study    –       –       –       –       –       4

1.6   Research Methodology     –       –       –       –       –       5

1.7   Scope and delimitation of the Study        –       –       –       –       5

1.8   Bio-Data of Ibiwari Ikiriko –     –       –       –       –       –       4

1.9   Bio-Data of Tanure Ojaide       –       –       –       –       –       4



3.1   An overview of Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta –       –       –       12

3.2   The theme of degradation in Oily Tears of the Delta –       –       16

3.3   Analysis of Oil Tears of the Delta –   –       –       –       –       21


4.1   An overview of Ojaide’s Delta Blues and Home Songs –     –       -30

4.2   Analysis of Delta Blues –  –       –       –       –       –       35

4.3   Analysis of Home Songs – –       –       –       –       –       40


5.1   Summary –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       41

5.2   Conclusion –    –       –       –       –       –       –       —     45

5.3   Recommendations – –       –       –       –       –       –       50

Works Cited



This research work is on The Theme of Degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues and Home Song. In examining the two poetry texts, the study reveals that Niger Delta region has not had its better days since 1958 when oil exploration started. The region has been no viable, visible and gleam of development.

The study further examines some elements of degradations that have characterized the region. Specifically, such as: suffering, poverty, exploitation, shooting, killing, weeping and wailing. Because of the Nigerian government cracking down on voices from the region who in one way or the other. Have protested against the injustices meted out to them.

The youths in the region have turns to weapons against the excessive arrogance of the heartless. Federal government of Nigeria and her collaborators – multinational oil companies carrying out oil prospection and exploitation in the region.


The study therefore recommends that Ikiriko’s and Ojaide’s poetic works should be given special attention. Because, the two poetic works aims at addressing the issue affecting people of Niger Delta. Thus, bringing peace and harmony in the country. Their works also encourages the readers to think positively about locality and geopolitics as possible as a panacea to the social problems confronting the region.




1.1   Background to the Study

The background to this study focuses on the theme of degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues and Home Songs.  Ikiriko and Tanure Ojaide see degradation as the act of lowering someone to a less respected state. They also belong to the renowned prolific African poets who use literature as a medium of exposing the evils committed by the upper class against the poor people in their society. Such evils according to them are environmental degradation, exploitation, deprivation.

Loss of self-respect, intimidation, suppression and corruption which the lower classes of people go through in the region. This prompts Watts to opine:


The prominent place the Niger Delta occupies in national and global consciousness is linked to its strategic importance. As the source of over 75 percent of Nigeria’s petroleum production and exports. The Niger Delta presently hosts Nigeria’s oil industry, including oil multinationals. State and local oil companies, oil service companies. Thousands of kilometers of oil pipelines, ten export terminals, four refineries. Also, a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector (639)


Indeed, the above shows that Niger Delta is (Nigeria’s main source of oil and gas) and the importance of and gas in Nigeria’s economic growth and political stability cannot be over emphasis.

Moreover, as Niger Delta writers, they expose the sad situation of the Niger Delta people as they go through miserable standard of living. However, this calls for immediately for immediately of action. To them, parasitic relationship between man the environment. Where humans prey on nature will not only be injurious to the environment. But, also man as well. They also write on the harsh realities that characterize in Niger Delta region where “the oil boom in Nigeria has meant a doom for the Niger Delta people. This concurs with the view held by Opko that:

Obviously, the Niger Delta region has over the years suffered from environmental crises based on oil spills from oil pipelines. The entire Niger Delta has had persistent cases of oil spills which till date. They do not have a lasting solution. Spilled oil from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SDPC), TOTALFINELF, Chevron, Mobil, and account for great ecological declines, it accounts for poor agricultural products (209).


Specifically, the above exploitation and experience of the people of the region have stimulated and authenticated plethora of different attempts by Niger Deltans.

However, looking on the above mentioned exploitation, brutality, torture and killing as grounded in the novels. Thus, their focus is on the historical past to an examination of the current socio-political problems of corruption and social inequality in contemporary Nigerian society. The poets also expose the fictional situations explored in the Nigerian society as well as the harsh socio-political realities of contemporary society.


In Ikiriko’s Oily tears of the Delta, he portrays the ecocides and exploitations of the poet is a protester against social injustices of his society and his clarion call on the people for unification in tacking the problems of the region.


It is on the above mentioned issues the researcher is triggered to examined the theme of degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tenaure Ojaide’s Delta Blues of Home Songs. With a view of analyzing the effects of social injustice, economic in equality, environmental degradation, coupled with human violations in the life of poor masses of Niger Delta.


The Theme of Degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues and Home Song

1.2   Statement of the Problem   

Nigerian poetry spans about six decades, from its inception, and been a medium of engagement, decrying colonialism, cultural imperialism, socio-economic oppression and political tyranny.


Ibiwari Ikiriko and Tanure Ojaide’s poetic enterprise calls for the exploitation, dispossessing. Also, denying owners of this wealth their fundamental right through the enactment of such draconian and oppressive laws. Hence, these laws have only succeeded in oppressing, subjugating and relegating the occupants of such region.


1.3   Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research work is to investigate the theme of degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues of Home Songs.


1.4   Significance of the Study

Firstly, this study will be of immense significant the reader of this research work with a view of having more knowledge on the issue of degradation in Niger Delta.

The study will also be of important to students of literature and researcher. Because, they will love to investigate more on the writings of Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues of Home Songs as well as other of their literary writings.

The study will also be useful to government towards the issues affecting the poor masses of Niger Delta as well as putting an end to the above problem of oil exploitation.


1.5   Objectives of the Study

Specifically, the study aims at:

  • Portraying the theme of degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues of Home Songs
  • Investigating the effects of degradation in the lives of the fictional characters in poetic novels under study with reference to the poor people of Niger Delta and how they go through exploitation and suffering.
  • Examining the minds of the authors writing and provide solution to the above challenges in Niger Delta.


1.5   Research Methodology

The primary material used in writing of this research work is specifically on Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delta and Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues of Home Songs. Also, the secondary material is on the use of library, poetry works of other African Writers in relation to oil exploitation. Internet materials and academic journals will also be used for more information in the research work.


1.7   Scope and delimitation of the Study

The scope of this research work is delimited to the theme of degradation in Ibiwari Ikiriko’s Oily Tears of the Delia and Tanure Ojaide’s Delia Blues of Home Songs.


1.8   Bio-Data of Ibiwari Ikiriko

Ibiwari Ikiriko is a Nigerian poet who was born in 1954 in Kano, a city in Northern Nigeria. But he grew up in Okrika, an inner city suburb of Port Harcourt, the largest city in the Niger Delta and the commercial capital of the petroleum industry in Nigeria. However, he unfortunately died after his first and only published poetry collection, Oily Tears of the Delta in 2000. In spite of his very shot caner as a poet Ibiwari Ikiriko’s work is probably the most representative of contemporary in Niger Delta poetry.

However, in the sense that it primarily articulates a regional consciousness. His regional consciousness consists of cartographic and geopolitical tropes, ones with which Ikirko engages of production and its protocol of globalism.


His poetry encourages the reader to think of cartography, in the form of signposts and boundaries, as the visible markers of the ways. Thus, in which neoliberal globalization establishes and operates oil enclaves in the Niger Della. In considering the poetics of cartography that Ikiriko articulates in this collection, he expresses impulse of a social change in the Nigerian society.


1.9   Bio-Data of Tanure Ojaide

Tanure Ojaide is a Nigerian poet, academia and a writer. He was born 1948 to Urhobo parents from Okpara Inland in Agbon Kingdom of Delta State. He credits his grandmother with having inspired his writing. Tanure Ojaide attended secondary school at Obinomba and Federal Government College, Warri, before proceeding to the University of Ibadan for his degree program in English.

Tanure Ojaide attended Syracuse University, where he earned an M.A, in Creative Writing and a PhD in English. He later taught at the University of Maiduguri, before being appointed as Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

He has been a visiting scholar and has taught at several Universities across the world. Including at Delta State University, Abraka and Kwara State University, Malete. His poetry is widely read and he is known for the infusion of Urhobo folklore and Udje aesthetics in his poetry. He has won major national and international poetry awards, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for the Africa region (1987).


Thereafter, the BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Award (1988), the AII-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry (1988 and 1997). The Association of Nigerian Authors’ Poetry Prize (1988. 1994, 2003 and 201) and the Fonlon-Nichols Award. In 2016, he won the Nigerian National Order of Merit award, the apex and the most important award for scholastic excellence in Nigeria.

In 2017, his poetry collection, Songs of Myself: A Quartet was the second runner-up in the NLNG Prize for Literature. Three conferences have also been convened in his honour. His Poems are: The Questioner, 2018, Songs of Myself: A Quartet, 2015, Love Gifts, 2013.


The Beauty I Have Seen, 2010, Waiting for the Hatching of a Cockerel, 2008. The Tale of the Harmattan, 2007, In the House of Words, 2005. I Want to Dance and Other Poems, 2003, Invoking the Warrior Spirit, 1999. Delta Blues and Home Songs, 1998 and Daydream of Ants, 1997.

Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email:

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