Necrophilia and elite politics : the case of Nigeria

TitleNecrophilia and elite politics : the case of Nigeria
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsW. Adebanwi
Series titleASC working paper
Pagination - 27
Date Published2007///
PublisherAfrican Studies Centre
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng
Keywordscults, elite, Nigeria, politicians, Yoruba

This work examines the political intrumentalization of culture and history as embodied in a 'Big Man', an Ur-agent that over-represents the cultural whole. It examines how the elites within a specific ethnocultural group - the Yoruba of Nigeria - represent and re-present themselves as agents, using the specific instance of the 'Cult of Awo' (Obafemi Awolowo), the late politician regarded as the modern 'avatar' of the Yoruba. It focuses primarily on how the burial and the statue of the late leader were used to emphasize his centrality in Yoruba politics, by exploring 'the form and meaning of the aura around a dead' hero. The work examines the monumentalization of Awo, how his life and death are interpreted, and are used to articulate Yoruba collective political vision and future - both materially and symbolically. While the death of Awo in 1987 provided a platform for a struggle by the elite associated with him to project themselves in his image as worthy successors - thereby creating internal struggles for supremacy - the controversy surrounding the destruction of his statue in 2003, happening at a point when those opposed to Awo were canvassing the 'end of (the Awo) era', also provides a context for examining the agency of Awo, in material and symbolic terms, in Yoruba politics. [ASC Leiden abstract]


Bibliogr.: p. 26-27. - Met noten, samenvatting

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