A Configuration of Socio-Political Dialectics in Nigerian Pidgin English: Trends in Peter Onwudijo’s Poetry

Sunday Joseph Ayodabo


Peter Onwundijo’s poetry collection, De Wahala for Wazobia (2007), comments on contemporary Nigeria’s pitiable social problems. The poet employs Nigerian Pidgin English, not only as a dialectal tool to examine the issue of Nigeria’s amalgamation but also as a lingua franca, which aptly describes the polity of multilingual Nigeria. It addresses the myriad hydra-headed issues like corruption, educational decay, election malpractices, neocolonialism, and insecurity among other forms of vices plaguing the nation which continue to militate against her development. The poems were analysed using sociolinguistics and semiotic theories as frameworks. The result of the analyses showed that the poet’s ability to effectively use Nigerian Pidgin English to address such important issues does not make the language inferior when compared to the other established languages of the world. Rather, it should be seen as a language (second) that reflects creativity, productivity, simplicity, acceptability and understanding among Nigerians. Indeed, it makes for a wider understanding of the poet’s major concern, as the pidgin, in Nigeria, is often described as “the language of the people” The study appraised the collection as an attempt at demystifying the Nigerian Pidgin English as well as evaluating its relevance for modern Nigerian poetry in its quest to radicalize the political and economic situation in Nigeria. 


Pidgin, De Wahala for Wazobia, Sociopolitical challenges, lingua franca, acceptability.

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