Integrity Research Journals

ISSN: 2811-2407
Model: Open Access/Peer Reviewed
DOI: 10.31248/IJAH
Start Year: 2020

The playwright and social justice in Nigeria: A study of Femi Osofisan’s ‘Once Upon Four Robbers’   |   Article Number: ACEC578E2   |   Vol.4 (5) - October 2023

Received Date: 10 August 2023   |   Accepted Date: 03 October 2023  |   Published Date: 30 October 2023

Author:  Kelvin Chibenumoso Opara

Keywords: society, Playwright, social problems, social justice.

Playwrights play a pivotal role in championing equal justice within society. Through the dynamic medium of drama, they address pressing social issues and work towards catalyzing positive societal change. This qualitative study examines the playwright's role in advocating for social justice in Nigeria using Femi Osofisan's Once Upon Four Robbers with a Marxist theoretical framework. The research unveils the moral ambiguity surrounding the government-sponsored military execution of the armed robbery gang leader. It contends that this action lacks justification, given that these individuals turned to crime due to the government's failure to provide opportunities for the youth, raising questions about the government's legitimacy in administering justice while perpetuating conditions of injustice. In response, the study recommends that in societies riddled with social injustice, playwrights must diligently fulfil their role as social commentators, fostering positive change for the greater good. It stresses that playwrights should not compromise their societal responsibilities but instead advocate for constructive reforms and offer solutions to prevailing societal challenges. This can only be achieved when writers fully recognize their roles as change agents in society. This research therefore underscores the vital role of playwrights in advocating for social justice, especially in contexts where systemic issues threaten equality and fairness.

Achebe, C. (1981). The African writers and Biafrian causes in morning yet on creation day. London: Heinemann Publisher.
Adeoti, G. (2015). African literature and the future. Senegal: CODESKIA.
Adeyemi, S. (2011). Once upon four robbers: The magic of subversion. Presentation, once upon four robbers by Femi Osofisan. Ibadan: Mosuro Publishers.
Bell-Gam, H. L. (2000). Ubeh republic. Port Harcourt: AGV. Multi-Projects Concept.
Butler, C. (1984). Interpretation, deconstruction and ideology: An introduction to some current issues in literary theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Dawood, E. (2015). Fifteen years of democracy, 1999‐2014: Reflections on Nigeria's quest for national integration. African Research Review, 9(2), 59-77.
Eagleton, T. (1976). Marxism and literary criticism. California: University of California Press.
Engels, F. (1919). Basic writings on politics and philosophy. New York: Doubleday (Anchor Books).
Henshaw, E. J. (1956). A man of character. Nigeria: Nigeria Publishers.
Irobi, E. (1989). Hangmen also die. Enugu: ABIC Publishers.
Jenkkins, R. (2002). Foundations of sociology. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
Krama, I. C. (2016). Sociology of drama. Port Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press.
Mark, G. T. (2020). Niger Delta conflict and the cry for restructuring and true federalism in Nigeria: A study of Akpos Adesi's Agadagba Warriors. Literature Compass, 8(1), 1-11.
Marx, K. (1848). Manifesto of the communist party. Foreign Language Press, Beijuig, China.
Odebode, O. (2004). Husbands and crowns: Livelihood pathways of low‐income urban Yoruba women in Ibadan, Nigeria. Maastricht University: Shaker Publishing.
Ogazie, C., & Odetade, I. (2017). Pornography and debasement of womanhood in African films: The examples of selected Nollywood and Ghallywood videos. Ekpoma Journal of Theatre and Media Arts, 6(1-2), 317-332.
Ogunleye, F. (2012). Thespians and cineastes as engineers of the Nigerian soul (inaugural lecture). Ile‐Ife, West Africa: Obafemi Awolowo University Press.
Omoyibo, K. U. (2012). Marxism and the Nigerian State. European Scientific Journal, 8(11), 20-33.
Onuigbo, R., & Innocent, E. (2015). State governors and revenue allocation formula in Nigeria: A case of the fourth republic. International Journal of Accounting Research, 2(7), 14-36.
Osofisan, F. (1980). Once upon four robbers. Ibadan: Bis-instructive administrations Ltd.
Osofisan, F. (1989). Not a gift for Christmas. Sunday Time, 5. 3 Dec.
Osofisan, F. (2007). Writing and the pressure of freedom. Lagos: Concept Publications.
Osofisan, F. O. (1997). Playing dangerously: Drama at the frontiers of terror in a "postcolonial state. Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press.
Rawls, A. (2003)). Conflict as a foundation for consensus: Contradiction of industrial capitalism in Book 111 of Durkheim's Division of Labour: In Critical Sociology. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, Vol.29, No.3, 294-335.
Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. London: Harvard University Press.
Soyinka, W, (1999). The beatification of area boys. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited.
Soyinka, W. (1973). The man died: Prison notes of Wole Soyinka. London: Penguin Books Limited.
Soyinka, W. (1985). Requiem for a futurologist. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited.
Soyinka, W. (1992). From Zia with love. London: Oxford University Press.
Wa'Thiong'o, N. (1983). Barrels of pen. London: New Beacon Books Limited.