When Ola Rotimi published his play, OUR HUSBAND HAS GONE MAD AGAIN in 1981. He was unaware of what would become of Nigeria in the later years.
In his play “OUR HUSBAND HAS GONE MAD AGAIN”, without a mincing word, Ola Rotimi lampooned the Nigerian Society. Rotimi, uncomfortable of the evils in our society, is out to denounce them through hilarity and mockery. Although it is a meek satire simply because the events chronicled the actions of some characters in the play.
However, nothing is left untouched—Nigerian individuals, institutions and the society at large are ridiculed by Ola Rotimi. Nevertheless, the main hero in the play is Lejoka-Brown. But, in order to make jest of his hero, Ola Rotimi is circuitously mocking the Nigerian society altogether.
To start with, Ola Rotimi makes fun of his hero’s conception about politics. In a chat between Lejoka-Brown (the hero) and Okonkwo, these are the submissions of the former on why he takes to politics:
“Are you there…? Politics is the thing, no in Nigeria mate, you want to be famous? Politics. You want to chop life? No, no… you want to chop a big slice of the national cake? Na politics” (see Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again, page 4).
To Lejoka-Brown, politics is a means to an end. He doesn’t see politics as a call to serve his nation. However, he is surely narrow-minded and too ridiculous to be a leader.
Therefore Ola Rotimi is not done yet. By exposing Lejoka-Brown’s intention, Ola Rotimi is adeptly accusing the pleasure-seeking Nigerian political activists.
On page 7, listen to what Lejoka-Brown said: “It is a war, politics is war… I am not taking no chance this time. I took things slow and easy. And what happened? I lost a by-election to a small crab,”. Sincerely, Lejoka-Brown’s speech evokes laughter in us.
If Lejoka-Brown is taken as a symbolic representation of Nigerian political activists, one can then say that the playwright is criticizing Nigerian political activists’ use of brute force to achieve political power. Lejoka-Brown’s surprise and attack campaign strategy elicit the playwright’s mockery. Although Lejoka-Brown (the hero) vigorously explained to his party members the nature of his military strategy, he only succeeded in dramatizing his hollow mentality. He says: Gentlemen, our election campaign plan must follow a platform of the military strategy known as surprise and attack… (Our Husband has gone mad again, page 50). From Lejoka’s campaign plan, he exposes the fact that he is incredibly ridiculous. Ola Rotimi portrays him (Lejoka-Brown) as a man who fails to understand the difference between a politician and a soldier.
However, a system of marriage in Nigeria – Polygamy did not escape Ola Rotimi’s ridicule. He dramatizes the persistent quarrels between Sikira and her co-wife Liza, who live a dog and cat’s life. Sikira and Liza’s relationship is that of fear and mutual suspicion. Sikira fears that Liza might outshine her. Aside from that, Sikira is of the notion that Liza being well-lettered than herself would make the latter more bossy and arrogant. Simply because of this, Sikira picks a quarrel with Liza at the slightest provocation.
To wrap it up, Lejoka-Brown’s household is in reality an imaginary representation of what actually happens in most polygamous families. Through this satire, Ola Rotimi is indirectly cautioning prospective polygamists of the consequences of such a marriage.
This genre reveals various aspects of Nigerian social milieu. It is all about politics, marriage, among other issues pertaining to social realities in Nigerian society. Not only that, Ola Rotimi captures the traumas of the people where politics and other decadence try to outsmart the people’s social standing.
Get a copy of this work: OUR HUSBAND HAS GONE MAD AGAIN
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By: Albert Gbemileke