Multiple award-winning poet, scholar, playwright and public intellectual at the University of New Orleans, Niyi Osundare, has declared that there is no government in the country, saying that ‘Nigeria is a Banana Republic without enough bananas to eat’.
The accomplished academic stated this at a book reading, tagged: “An Evening with Professor Osundare”, which was held at Roving Heights in Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday, against the backdrop of the failure of governance and governmental recklessness in Nigeria.
Osundare also got the audience roaring with laughter when he said “Nigeria is a Banana republic, but we don’t even have enough bananas to eat”.
The event was organised by Committee for Relevant Art, (CORA), in conjunction with Roving Heights, to kick-start its planned ‘Book Trek’ lined up for the year.
The poet not only read from his latest collections of poems entitled: “Green: Sighs of our Ailing Planet and Snapsongs” but also interacted with the audience.
The author of award-winning poetry collections, such as Songs of the Marketplace, Eye of the Earth and Waiting Laughters, who thrilled the audience with his lyrical poetry that made him one of the foremost poets on the African continent, also bemoaned the seeming invisibility and absence of governments in Nigeria and Africa in general.
When Sam Omatseye, poet, writer, journalist and Chairman, Editorial Board of the Nation Newspaper asked the poet at the Q&A session “how do we distinguish between text and context and how are we sure that there is any such thing as art because anything that is spat out has a context,” Osundare responded by saying that the relationship between form and context is a symbiotic one.
According to him, “In our own generation, we started asking: A beer bottle, when you put it on the table has form has shape, very beautiful; … but you could trace that to its beauty. However, if you want a beer, something has to be inside that bottle for sure. So, is it possible to make the art beautiful and to make the context?”