Nigeria in the Colonial Era: A Historical Interpretation in Akachi Ezeigbo’s Novel The Last of the Strong Ones

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Abdullahi Kadir Ayinde


This paper examines the historical reconstruction of the colonial era in Nigeria by focusing on Akachi Ezeigbo’s The Last of the Strong Ones. The duty of the historian is to present and interpret events as factually and objectively as possible. However, the historical novelist is not under such an obligation; for he is at liberty to interpret history to suit certain purposes. He could manipulate events without necessarily watering down the credibility of the historical account. Hence, a historical novel is not a text of history, but an imaginative remodelling of history for aesthetic effect. It is the intention of this paper, therefore, to illustrate how Ezeigbo presents a new interpretation of colonial history in Nigeria by bringing women into the centre of the imperialist discourse. The novel is basically the story of the exploits of women who are of great repute, resourceful and intelligent, diligent and possess a very high sense of responsibility. The novel is set in a traditionally patriarchal society, yet women resisted colonial domination and political oppression to emerge as models of strength,resilience and honour. The story depicts the active participation of women in the social, economic, cultural and political emancipation of the nation under colonial subjugation. However, the essay concludes by showing that Ezeigbo re-tells the history with a large dose of creativity and thus risks the chances of losing the main substance in the historical facts. 

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