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The Poetic Jurisprudence of Zikism

Biko Agozino

Abstract


Cheikh Anta Diop (1991) presented evidence of the African origin of Greek philosophy by demonstrating that some of the key texts of Greek philosophers bore resemblances to a number of written texts by classical African thinkers thousands of years before Greek civilization came into existence. Plato proposed to ban poets from his Utopian republic because he dismissed their art as not only subjective and mimetic or unoriginal but also subversive of the unelected tyrants who emerged as privileged students from Plato’s Academy. Aristotle accepted that poetry is more philosophical than history but such a sharp distinction equally flies in the face of African Griots who have been delivering epic historic tales in the form of lyrical poetry. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was a philosopher-poet, scholar-activist, and statesman much like Leopold Senghor, Aime Cesaire and Agostino Neto who set out to develop a practical philosophy in poetic forms for the benefit of all of humanity, irrespective of differences in skin color, gender, religion, class or region of origin. This article seeks to flesh out the breadth of the poetic philosophy of Azikiwe that his young followers dubbed Zikism with emphasis on its opposition to injustice everywhere and its support for personal freedom and for national liberation. Since other authors in this special issue have dwelt on the scholarly and political writings of Azikiwe, this introductory papyrus will focus on the poetry of Zikism as a rich source of the representation of Zik’s philosophy. Finally, the lessons that present and future generations of Africans could learn from the great “Zik of Africa” will be outlined as part of the conclusion.

Keywords


Zikism; Azikiwe; Philosophy; Nigeria; Poetry

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Journal on African Philosophy. ISSN: 1533-1067 (online).
Editor: Olufemi Taiwo.

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