CHILDREN’S LITERATURE FOR CULTURAL INTEGRATION IN NIGERIA: AN APPRAISAL OF SOME SELECTED WORKS OF FATIMA AKILU

ABSTRACT

In the Nigerian state lies the problem of unity ever since its existence. Overtime, the literary artists alongside other sectors have joined their voices in the search for an answer. The NYSC Scheme, the Unity Schools, the Federal Character Principle and State Creations are examples of some policies intended to achieve national unity. In addition to these measures, the research proposed the option of Children‟s literature because of its inherent integrating potentials. To this extent, the research employed textual analysis to examine scholarly potentials on cultural integration and Children‟s literature. In the process it specifically focuses on four of Fatima Akilu’s Millennium Development Goals series: Timi’s Dream Comes True, Preye and the Sea of Plastics, The Red Transistor Radio and Aliyyah Learns a New Dance. The stories are fore grounded in Nigeria‟s vision 2020 project and help in advocating these governmental policies in a new aesthetic dimension through the child character. In addition, the books provide a lens through which ethnic and racial superiority can be interrogated thereby enhancing cultural integration in Nigeria which is the bedrock for unity. The research used the New Historicism theory in its analysis of the primary texts. New historicism investigates how social structures, in this case, political and cultural, are represented in literature. The theory also shows how the texts reflect the time and society within which they are produced by narrating the historical, socio-economic and other aspects of life within the society they emanate from and the multiple viewpoints embedded within the texts. However, some aspects of Reader Response criticism is deployed in the analysis to complement the short comings of the New Historicism theory. The research concludes that a major cure for ethnicity and tribalism in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria is a medication of cultural integration injected in Children‟s literature.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.1.1 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 5
1.1.2 Biosketch of Fatima Akilu 7
1.1.3 Children‟s Literature:From Infancy to Maturation 9
1.1.4 Children‟s Literature in Nigeria 14
1.2 Statement of the Problem 17
1.3 Aim and Objectives 18
1.4 Justification of the Study 19
1.5 Significance of the Study 20
1.6 Delimitation of the Study 20
1.7 Research Methodology 21
1.8 Theoretical Framework 21
1.8.1 The Key Proponents of the New Historicism Theory 24
1.8.2 Basic Tenets of New Historicism 26
1.8.3 Reader Response Theory 27
1.9 Conclusion 28
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction 29
2.2 Children‟s Literature 29
2.3 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 34
2.4 Cultural Integration 37

2.5 Conclusion 44

CHAPTER THREE: TEAM WORK AND CULTURAL INTEGRATION IN FATIMA

AKILU’S WORKS.
3.1 Introduction 45
3.2 The Concept of Teamwork 45
3.2.1 Timi’s Dream Comes True 46
3.2.2 Preye and the Sea of Plastics 51
3.3 Conclusion 54

CHAPTER FOUR: GENDER AND CULTURAL INTEGRATION IN FATIMA AKILU’S

WORKS

4.1 Introduction 55
4.2 The Concept of Gender 55
4.2.1 The Red Transistor Radio 57
4.2.2 Alliyah Learns a New Dance. 59
4.3 Conclusion 61
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 63
BIBLIOGRAPHY 66

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Some rulers in Africa have built their nations, managed their economies and expanded their territories independent of the western world. Despite the aforementioned, when the western world came in contact with what is called „Africa‟ in trying to define the colour of the black man‟s skin , Europeans assumed superiority and view Africans as „primitive‟, „savage‟ and a „backward‟ race. Taiwo (1976)had traced African contact with the West towards the end of the 15th century when the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama called into a few harbours along the West African coast. However, it was the subsequent slave trade which started on a large scale about a century later that was the first great phenomenon which shook Africa out of centuries of quietude and isolation and began a period of many wars and conflicts. According to Barkindo, Omolewa, &Maduakor(1992), from the second half of the first century, Africans had been sold as slaves to work on large plantations in America and the West Indies. The trade brought fortune and wealth to many European buyers. Their African sellers were also beneficiaries who had acquired money, intoxicant drinks, clothing materials, guns and other worthless glittering gifts from the proceeds of the trade.