The Role of Editorial Cartoons in Democratisation Process in Nigeria: A Study of Selected Works of Three Nigerian Cartoonists

The Role of Editorial Cartoons in The Democratisation Process in Nigeria:
A Study of Selected Works of Three Nigerian Cartoonists



Matric No: 030108020


September 2010

I hereby declare that this dissertation, The Role of Editorial Cartoon in Democratisation Process in Nigeria: A Study of Selected Works of Three Nigerian Cartoonists is original and carried out by me.
          JIMOH, GANIYU AKINLOYE                                


“If I made it, it’s half because I was game enough to take a wicked amount of punishment along the way and half because there were an awful lot of people who cares enough to help me.”
--- Althea Gibson
I’m extremely grateful to Almighty God who made it possible for me to reach another significant point in my quest for knowledge in life...I say Alhamdullilah Robilalhamin.
My appreciation goes to my mentor, role model, Teacher, Mother and Supervisor, Dr (Mrs.) Peju Layiwola, whose intelligence and creativity I revere greatly. I will forever be grateful for your contributions to my success. Thank you so much ma, may you continue to soar like an Eagle.
My profound gratitude also goes to a very special person in my life, someone whose approach to life shapes my belief and influences my actions: Mr Rasheed Otun, thank you so much for the supports you gave me.
Also, my mummy and lecturer Dr. (Mrs) Awogbade, your coming is a blessing to all of us. I will forever be grateful for your motherly advice and care, thank you ma.
A big thank you to my parents Alhaji & Alhaja Jimoh Alabi Oyeyode, may the lord in His infinite mercy grant you long life in good health and peace of mind.
To the Head of Department, Prof. Anthony Mereni, The Lecturers, Creative Arts Department; Mrs Ofuafo, Chief E.A. Bassey, Mrs Ezeagwu, Mrs Yemi Oye, Mr Austine Emifoniye, Mr Bolaji, Mr Ephraim, Mr Cornel-Best, Mr. Kenny, thank you all.
My special brother, Rafiu Jimoh and his family for their invaluable support.  Umar Jimoh, The Aiyedes ;  Alhaji and Alhaja Aiyede, Rukayat Aiyede, Kola Aiyede  and Iyami Halimot Ilupeju, thank you all for your efforts in making sure I succeed.
To my friends Ademola Oladoja (Dynamic Creatives), Eleshin Abisoye, Tunde Lawal (Vicbat), Ukay, Bolaji Biggie, Hassan Musa, Bunmi my Venus, Yusuff Fadairo, Lekan LAAS, Lekan Sanda, Akinwole Johnson, Yomi and Bukola –you are true friends to the ‘core’, thank you for contributing to my success.
To my Brothers in Islam most especially Alfa Ismail, who is always there for me, and Alfa Abdullahi, I am grateful for all your advices and prayers.
I can never forget my uncle, Prince Aderemi Adefioye, the cool guy with the heart of giants, your way of life influenced me and set you as one the few people I hold in high esteem , your efforts in making sure talents do not waste make my heart soar, thank you sir.
To my sisters and brothers from another mother , Aminat Eniola Agboluaje, Modupe, Kashy Oshodi, Wale Adetunji, Oyindamola my P.A, Chief Ceramo, Steven, Abosede, Clems,  and all those too numerous to mention, I say thank you all . My special appreciation goes to my colleague, friend, confidant and ‘twin brother’ Quadri, Oluwasegun (pastor), the gentle guy with heart of giants, thank you so much for your friendly support. My course mates; Nene Ereso (nana olomu), Adesanya Tayo (mama ibeji), Tombra, Mr Thomas, Mr. Tayo Aje, Mr. Sodiq, Uche Ezebuiro, Lolade, and Mrs Uhnwanwo (looted artefact) - “I’m gonna miss you guys”.My roommate Silver Ojeison, how can I forget those delicious meals?  It has been a wonderful time together at Henry Carr Postgraduate Hall.
My appreciation also goes to the light that came when hope seemed lost. Ruth Eloke, thank you so much for making your laptop available when mine crashed in action. Your contributions made this project a reality, thanks a lot.
Also Mr and Mrs Zipyah, my mummy Mrs Oladoja (mama ‘Ladoja). To Dr. Ademuleya and Mr. Segun Ajiboye, both of the Department of Fine Art, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Dr. Ademola Azeez, FCET, Lagos, Prof. Tejumola Olaniyan, thanks a lot for all your contributions.
My special thanks to Mr. Akin Onipede, for his effort in gathering materials both primary and secondary data required for this project, also Mr. Adeboye Adegbenro of  the International Academy of Design & Technology, Troy Michigan, who despite the erratic internet service was patient enough to listen and respond to my questions online, thank you sir.

Political Cartoons otherwise known as Editorial Cartoons are single panels of graphics that are satire of political events.  Apart from serving as a corrective measure, they also serve as historical documents and are a ‘snapshot’ of the political climate of a given period.
Over the years cartoons have shaped public opinions on societal issues that have sometimes resulted in tragedies in the manner in which information is transmitted to the public.
In 2005, over 300 people were killed in the Northern part of Nigeria during a religious riot fuelled by a Danish Editorial Cartoon publication which satirized the Islamic religious leader, Muhammed. Such occurrences show that cartoons are a formidable force and could serve as mirrors of the society.
Cartoons have played a major role in the democratisation process in Nigeria particularly during the military era. The Newspapers are awash with various images depicting the ills in the society.  The themes range from corruption, political instability to electoral fraud. 
This thesis examines the role played by editorial cartoons in the democratisation process in Nigeria. It focuses on the military era between 1983 and 1999: this period being the last phase of military incursion into Nigerian politics.
Thirty published editorials cartoons by three renowned cartoonists: Josy Ajiboye, Adeboye Adegbenro and Akin Onipede are studied and analysed to establish their roles in documenting what is regarded as the ‘Khaki’ years of oppression in Nigeria.
The analysis carried out reveals that cartoons played vital role in documenting, critiquing and reflecting social and political issues.


Contents                                                                                       Page
Title Page                                                                                          i        
Declaration                                                                                       ii
Certification                                                                                                iii
Dedication                                                                                         iv
Acknowledgement                                                                                      v
Abstract                                                                                            ix
Table of Contents                                                                             x

          CHAPTER ONE
1.0   Introduction                                                                                      1
1.1         Statement of Problem                                                              4
1.2         Purpose of The Study                                                             4
1.3         Research Question                                                                            4
1.4         Significant of Study                                                                 4
1.5         Scope of The Study                                                                 5
1.6         Methodology                                                                           5
1.7         Limitation of The Study                                                          6

Literature Review
2.0         Historical Background                                                            7
2.1     History of Cartooning in Nigeria                                             11
2.2     Forms of Satirisation in Nigeria                                                        11
2.3     Modern Cartooning in Nigeria                                                12
2.4     Theoretical Frame Work                                                                   17
2.5     Review of Literature                                                                18
3.0     Background of The Three Cartoonists                                              21
3.1     An Overview of Nigerian Democratisation Process
 between 1983 and 1994                                                                   24

4.0     An Analysis of Selected Editorial Cartoons                                      30
4.1     Analysis of Cartoons by Adeboye Adegbenro                        31
4.2     Analysis of Cartoons by Josy Ajiboye                                             42
4.3     Analysis of Cartoons by Akin Onipede                                  54

5.0     Summary and Conclusion                                                       66
BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                                  68


1.0   Introduction
Background of the Study
'The political cartoon has been one of the most powerful weapons through the ages ... dictators of the right and the left fear the political cartoonists more than they do the atomic bomb. No totalitarian government can afford to be ridiculed’ (DeSousa & Medhurst, 1982: 202).
Editorial cartoons are single panel graphics that comment on political events and policy, and serve both to define the significant topics of political discourse and record them, thus creating a “snapshot” of the political climate in a given period. Cartoons have been seen from the humorous perspective and generally have not been studied for their rhetoric capabilities (Vinson, 1967: 35), however, the recent Jyllands-Posten’s Muhammad cartoons controversy in Denmark, which sparked violent protests around the world, speak to the continuing importance and potential power of cartoons as a medium of political communication.
Some scholars see cartoons as an important medium for the formation of public opinion on salient social issues (Agberia, 1993; Adekanmbi, 1997; Everette, 1974; Vinson, 1967). They are seen as "both opinion-molding and opinion-reflecting" (Caswell, 1982: 14), and they provide subtle frameworks within which to examine the life and political processes of a nation (DeSousa & Medhurst, 1982: 153). Cartoons are intended to transform otherwise complex and opaque social events and situations into quick and easily readable depictions that facilitate comprehension of the nature of social issues and events (Agberia, 1993: 33). In doing so, they present society with visually palpable and hyper-ritualized depictions (selectively exaggerated portions of 'reality') that attempt to reveal the essence and meaning of social events.
Editorial cartoons are defined as "a graphic presentation typically designed in a one-panel, non-continuing format to make an independent statement or observation on political events or social policy" (Edwards & Winkler, 1987: 306), they often employ humor or irony to point out shortcomings or hypocrisies within the political system. While many studies (including this one) use the terms "political cartoon" and "editorial cartoon" interchangeably, others differentiate between comic strips with political content, and single panel cartoons that make commentary on politics and policy. The latter would generally appear on the editorial page of a printed newspaper, and are the focus of this study.
Cartooning has been one of the most significant tools in propagating and promoting the cultural heritage in Nigeria. Editorial cartoons throughout Nigerian history reveal that they have served as unique windows useful in understanding local and national politics. Using imagery, metaphor, symbolism and other rhetorical devices, the cartoonist defines political situations and attempts to interpret them visually in a way that is both amusing and thought provoking. The exploits of Akinola Lasekan, with his editorial cartoons in the ‘West African Pilot’ in the 1940s and 50s reflect colonial life, and also depict the struggle for nationhood which later culminated in Nigeria's independence in 1960 (Olaniyan, 2002: 5). In addition, cartoonists like Dele Jegede, Josy Ajiboye, Aliu Eroje, Boye Gbenro, Akin Onipede among others through their cartoons have decried the rapid deterioration of the Nigerian state, in the hands of corrupt political leaders. The metaphors and other figurative devices used in the visual language of editorial cartoons are often ‘powerful’ and the key purpose is to reflect and maintain power relationships in a given political structure. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, political cartoons, serve as a unique record of the particular events, attitudes and narratives present during a moment in political history (DeSousa & Medhurst, 1982: 75).
Editorial cartoons featured prominently during military rule in Nigeria. The period (1983-1999) witnessed remarkable events in the democratisation of the country. Characterised by abusive use of power by the military government beginning with General Muhammad Buhari’s coup d'état on 31 December 1983, followed closely was the tenure of General Ibrahim Babangida, who was described as the “Maradona” of Nigerian politics due to his methods of politics visible in the annulment of the Presidential Election in 1993, and the eventual transmission to democratically elected president in 1999. Each of these developments elicited specific reactions from the Nigerian people and the editorial cartoonists of the time who as 'visual journalists' captured the sequence of the events in satirised-illustrations.
This study aims to examine the role editorial cartoons played in the transitional phase of Nigerian democracy. Selected published editorial cartoons by three Nigerian cartoonists will be analysed. The period 1983 to 1999 is brought to focus because it was the period that witnessed (till date) the last military era in Nigerian politics and it was a period on which the foundation of the present democracy was built.
1.1 Statement of Problem
Editorial cartoon has a long-standing tradition of merging social satire with political commentary in a society. It has in several situations, been the most direct medium for criticizing maladministration in governments (Agberia, 1993: 7). According to Onipede (2007: 2) the history of the struggle for democracy in Nigeria will not be complete without discussing the role of Nigerian cartoonists during the military era.
This study aims at exploring the role this genre of graphic art had played in documenting and reflecting the socio-political conditions during democratisation period in Nigerian.
1.2 Purpose of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to establish that editorial cartoons play significant role in the society in which they are made and can serve as historical text in documenting and reflecting the socio-political state of affairs in Nigeria.

1.3 Research Question
This research seeks to answer the following research questions:
i.           What are the roles of editorial cartoons in the Nigerian democratization   process?
ii.          Do editorial cartoons reflect socio-political experiences?
iii.         Can editorial cartoons serve as historical text?

1.4 Significance of the Study
This study will throw more light on the role of editorial cartoon in the democratisation process of Nigeria. As there is a dearth of publications and research on the art of cartooning in Nigeria, the previous studies either focused on the works of  particular cartoonist  (Emi, 1980; Oyo, 1993; Adejinle, 1987), or on formal analysis of styles in Nigerian cartoons (Olaniyan, 2005). This study will contribute to knowledge on the role of editorial cartoon not only in the development of the contemporary art but also its significance on the Nigeria political scene.
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study will focus on selected editorial cartoons by three professional cartoonists published in major Nigerian National Newspapers between 1983 and 1999. Thirty editorial cartoons by three cartoonists: Akin Onipede, Boye Gbenro and Josy Ajiboye, will be selected; ten works from each cartoonist published between 1983 and 1999. These cartoonists are outstanding and have been one of the few Nigerian cartoonists who used their works as a weapon against tyrannical military rule of the period.
1.6 Methodology
This study will focus on the qualitative analysis of data, which will draw heavily from primary and secondary sources to achieve its objectives. Primary sources will include oral interviews with the cartoonists whose works are being studied. Scholars and newspaper readers will also be interviewed. Copies of published editorial cartoons from 1983 to 1999 will be retrieved from these national dailies; National Concord, Sunday Concord, Sunday Times, A.M News, Tempo and The Punch, being the newspapers that featured the works of cartoonists under study in this period. 
Published and unpublished literary materials will be reviewed. This will involve gathering of information from books, journals, newspapers' articles, exhibition brochures, magazines, internet etc. The Universities Libraries ( University of  Lagos, University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University etc.) , Centre for Black Arts and Culture (CBAAC) library and Media houses ( Punch Newspaper, The Guardian, The Nation etc.) will be visited for these secondary materials.
Descriptive and historical methods will be used to analyse the data collected. The analysis will be chronological and comparative of the various factors of historical, political cultural and stylistic relevance to the study. Visual elements of the various works will be studied and analysed to establish the findings of the study.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Since there is dearth of publications on cartoon scholarship in Nigeria, it is envisaged that getting enough secondary materials on editorial cartoons will be a major limitation of this study, majority of the data will be collected through fieldwork.


2.0   Historical Background
The word ‘cartoon’ is derived from the Italian word ‘cartone’ meaning ‘paper’, the term was used by painters for preliminary drawings on paper which were then transferred, either through tracing or punching, on to a surface which may be a ceiling, a large canvas or a wall ( Jegede, 1990:  2 and Adekanmbi, 1997: 7).
According to Adekanbi (7), the word cartoon is used loosely to describe any drawing published originally in a periodical that makes its own point, with or without a caption. He posits further that the uniqueness of a cartoon can be clearly distinguished from an illustration or sketch, in that the cartoon strip or comic strip usually tells a story and often appears in periodical publications, whereas an illustration simply illuminates a scene or point accompanying an extended text in a publication (8).
It is important to make obvious two distinctions about this field: the difference between “comics” and “cartoon,” for Scott McCloud (1993: 2), comic is “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and (or) to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” (9). This definition builds on an earlier one by Will Eisner (comics as sequential art) and is widely accepted as a standard way of understanding comics. Comics, then, are not just doodles, but rather visual symbols designed with a specific intent or purpose.
On the other hand, according to Everette (1974: 662), defining cartoons is trickier because there is not one widely accepted definition. Therefore, he proffers a definition based on an amalgam of current literature and discussions in the field. He states:
‘…generally, cartoons are single or multi-framed images that convey a message both with words and symbols. Both comics and cartoons use symbols, but comics have a sequential nature to them that utilize more panels to tell their story thereby allowing for more depth to the story. Cartoons, on the other hand, invoke two conceptions: their presentation (all information presented in either a single or just a few panels, versus presentation in multiple panels) and their production (animated programs are also called cartoons; however comics are mainly relegated to print). In this, cartoons can be far simpler in their presentation however they amplify that which they want the reader to recognize and understand (665)’
Cartoons are amalgams of images (the symbols), captions (the written words), and social commentary (the spoken and unspoken words). They combine all of the information needed to understand their message into one simple visual form and present it in an easily accessible medium in books, newspaper, or the web.
A cartoonist uses various icons which are symbols representing objects within a bordered object called a panel, or frame. These panels represent a single moment in time: a slice of life caught in mid-pose, much like a photograph. Unlike comic strips or comic books (mediums that have multiple panels), all information is found within the single image, thus they may be complicated and difficult to decipher at first glance. Cartoons also utilise specific visual elements in order to replicate human communication. Sound (dialogue, self-talk, music, etc.) is created using words and symbols.
Editorial cartoons also called political cartoons is a type of cartoon that is satirical by nature, using humour to draw attention to a significant social-political issue and are usually featured on the editorial page of newspapers. According to Agberia (1993: 10), editorial cartoons are designed to satirise current political matters and offer subtle criticism cleverly coated with humour and satire.
The common features of such cartoons, according to Olaniyan, (2000: 4) are a good grasp of current affairs, clearly identifiable political issues and problems that are local and international, deft craftsmanship and skills in snappy graphic language.
Editorial cartoons in its present usage trace its origin to the art of ‘caricature’, which is referred to as made-up features with humorous intention. According to Jegede (1990), the use of the word ‘cartoon’ dates back to the fifteenth century when it was used as an essential element in the completion of stained glass designs as well as frescoes, a form of wall painting practiced by the Italians. Cartoon is generally understood as any drawing which through the use of humour, satire or caricature provokes a response in its audience (2). 
The first picture to be called a cartoon was John Leech’s drawing in 1843 in the ‘Punch’ newspaper in Britain. The word was first used when a great exhibition of cartoons were given for a competition, devised by Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert, to prepare designs for Frescoes for the new House of Parliament. From the entries which were naughty and ridiculous in subject matter, John Leech drew a series of imitations in Punch, satirizing them and railing at social and political abuses of the day (Popoola, 1983: 5). Earlier than this, in Britain, William Hogarth (1697-1764) had established a reputation as the first political cartoonist while, in Spain and France, Goya (1746-1828) and Honore Daumier (1808-1879) respectively, used the medium to launch vicious and satirical attacks on those socio-political practices which they considered repulsive to public sense of decency (Jegede, 1990: 3).
During the 20th century, the general course of ‘pictorial comedy’ was shifted by the First World War. Political cartoons during and after the war were excessively partisan while the cartoons about the war itself tended to alleviate the pain of the struggle (Popoola, 1983: 18). The audience for comic publication was greatly enlarged after the war. The most interesting features of cartoons and caricature in the first half of the 20th century were the establishment of ‘one-line-joke’ and the ‘pictorial-joke’ without words with enormous diversity of styles of drawing. The New Yorkers was probably the inventor of the ‘one-line-joke’. The ‘joke’ without word often in two or more frames, was the extreme of economy of language (Adeniran, 1984: 10)
Cartoon got to an advanced stage in America after a temporary imitation on European style. The American native school produced renowned cartoonists like Thomas Nast who was hired by ‘Harper’s Weekly’, a magazine founded in 1857 to draw pictures of news events. His cartoons about the U.S civil war published on September 3, 1864, put him in the first rank of the U.S. cartoonists. Nast’s drawings were vigorous, simplified in idea and usually humorous. The trend in American cartoons from 1883 to the middle of the 20th century  according to Popoola (1983) ‘…could appear to lie in these directions: greater sophistication, greater obliqueness of presentation, the triumph of the ‘one-line’ caption or even the caption less cartoon and the substitution of vulgularity and illiteracy for charm and fancy ( 27)’.

2.1   History of Cartooning in Nigeria
Caricature as a form of art had existed for a very long time in Nigeria before the advent of the colonial masters, contrary to the belief that this form of satirisation in Nigeria is a colonial innovation (Onipede, 2007: 2). It would be pertinent to note that the functional concept of cartoons have been embedded in some Nigerian traditional Societies which were used to satirise and correct the ills of the society. Satire in traditional societies found expressions in verbal and visual elements which include abusive and mocking songs during traditional festivals such as Oke Ibadan, Gelede, Efe and Bolojo etc. and sculptural mocking images on helmet and facial masks worn by the masquerades during Egungun festivals.

2.2 Form of Satirisation in Nigeria
Egungun is a form of ancestral worship in Yoruba land and is also used as a form of satire, ridiculing wrong doers in the society. Another form of satirisation is the Efe ceremony which is often celebrated during the annual Gelede festival; a period when special sacrifices are offered to appease the goddess, ‘Iya Nla’, to protect the society from any impending dangers (Adejinle, 1987: 10). The actual ceremony commences with the Efe entertaining the elderly women in the society. In the course of this, the Efe mocks and criticises the traditional rulers/government and condemns known defaulters in the society such as exploiters, deviants and murderers. These satires are usually expressed verbally by the Efe masquerade. This is in contrast to the Gelede/Egungun masquerades who communicate satire visually through differs traditional motifs portrayed on the mask (11).

2.3   Modern Cartooning in Nigeria
According to Olaniyan (2002: 124), cartooning in its present mode in Nigeria had no indigenous provenance and was part and parcel of colonial modernity. It is attributed to the contact with the west. Akinola Lasekan (1916-1974) was reputed to be the first Nigerian cartoonist to work in the media (Olaniyan, 2002; Onipede 2007; Adekanmbi 1997; Jegede 1990). Akinola Lasekan, a graphic artist, illustrator, teacher, textile designer and painter became famous as a result of his political cartoons, featured in the ‘West African Pilot’: a newspaper established in 1937, this paper was founded by Nnamdi Azikwe (1904-1996), the founder of the first Nigerian anti- colonial political party, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), between 1944 and 1966. Lashekan’s early cartoons were stiff and mainly illustrative. Stylistically, Lasekan was handicapped because the cartoons, in the absence of process engraving, were printed from woodblocks, a process which discouraged creative embellishments (Jegede, 1991: 6). The drawings and captions were all carved out meticulously in woodblock before printing and it was not until much later that he started signing his cartoons under the pen name ‘Lash’.
According to Jegede (1991: 4), Lash was concerned with some of the social vices which manifested in colonial Nigeria. By 1948, Lash became principal cartoonist to ‘West African Pilot’ and his cartoons were freer and more vitriolic in their attack on those who did not belong in the same political camp as Nnamdi Azikwe. Their cartoons graced the front page of the newspaper. Although the cartoons still retained the single-panel format, they were given prominence. This was done perhaps to ensure that, at a glance, readers caught all the ‘venom’ that Lash would customarily unleash on such political actors as H.O. Davies, Idowu and Bode Thomas. Lasekan’s cartoons were basically targeted towards the opposition party and tended to uphold the authority of his employer, Nnamdi Azikwe (Olaniyan, 2002: 17).
In December 7, 1959, Lash’s cartoon depicted the Action Group, a major opposition political party to NCNC, being guarded by five wild dogs, each portraying the party as a ‘Violator of Human Rights’, ‘Destroyer of Parliamentary Democracy’ and Inventor of Mass Deceit’ (Jegede, 1991). The image of  Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the leader of the party’s stature was diminished in inverse proportion to the meteoric rise of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, ‘defender of the oppressed’, the Nigerian ‘David’ who successfully confronted the ‘imperial Goliath’ and the greatest ‘political evangelist’ (7).
With the exit of Lash from the scene in 1966, strident political cartooning gave way, to strip cartoons. Attention was then shifted to action or comic strips. In 1960, for example, the ‘Daily Times’ showed no interest in publishing social or political cartoons by Nigerians. Rather, what the daily Times did with unswerving regularity was to carry, on daily basis, three strip cartoons on ‘Bruin’, ‘Buck Ryan’ and ‘Garth’, all of them from foreign sources .  Meanwhile, Ore Gab Okpako had joined the Daily Times in May 1959. A graduate of Bennet Correspondence College, where he studied Commercial Art, Okpako was transferred from process engraving to the editorial section where he began as illustrator. Eventually, He went into cartooning and serialization- giving crisp and amazingly lucid artistic interpretation to Cypran Ekwensi’s ‘People of the City’, ‘Amusa Sango’, the ‘Spear Magazine’, and ‘Jagua Nana’. With the establishment of the ‘Lagos Weekend’, Ore Gab Okpako responded with the strip cartoon series, ‘Omo Eko’.

Towards the end of the 1960s, Ayo Ajayi had become the staff cartoonist, drawing ‘Tortoise Adventures’ in Daily Times as a weekly column. At about that time too, Cliff Oguigo started his ‘Little Joe’ strip cartoon series in the ‘Sunday Times’. All of these ran concurrently with ‘Garth’ and occasional syndicated foreign cartoons. Other cartoonists provided similar services although not on a sustainable basis (Olaniyan, 2000; Jegede, 1991).
Jegede further opines that the growth of editorial cartoon in Nigeria was due more to the efforts of individual editors than to any editorial policy. He supports Adekanmbi (1997: 14)’s view that the press as at early seventies had not fully appreciated the enormous power of the cartoon. He states:
 ‘Until the eighties, what obtained in the area of cartooning was due more to the efforts of individual editors and than to any editorial policy. And the growth of the cartoon genre in Nigeria is indebted more to those individuals than either our colleges or schools of journalism, neither of which has no provisions for the training of the cartoonist (9)’.
Josy Ajiboye, a prolific cartoonist joined the Daily Times in 1971 and began doing illustrations and cartoons. Initially, his cartoons bore no title until one of the paper’s journalists ‘Sam Amuka Pemu’ (Sad Sam) gave them ‘Hey Life’. When Gbolabo Ogunsanwo became editor of the Sunday Times, he gave Josy’s cartoons the title which has since become popular with the series: ‘Josy Ajiboye on Sunday’. Sam Amuka is credited to have been a major contributor to the development which cartoonists have made on the scene today with the establishment of a new weekly newspaper “The Punch”. The newspaper which got its name after the London Punch became the unofficial training ground for numerous humorous cartoonists. The enterprise at The Punch not only produced such cartoonists as Dotun Gboyega and Boye Gbenro, it also encourages many other newspapers to consider the idea of creating regular columns for cartoons (Jegede, 7; Olaniyan, 5).
The 1980s, witnessed the establishment of new media organisations: The Concord, The Guardian, Newswatch, ThisWeek, FunTimes, The Champion, Prime People, Vintage People and Vanguard among others. This development actuated a healthy competition from which the cartoonists have benefitted and the art flourished. Dotun Gboyega and Boye Gbenro left The Punch for National Concord where they have since joined by Osazuwa Osagie and the only known female cartoonist, Folashade Adebare. Meanwhile, Leke Moses, Moses Ebong, Tayo Fatula and others kept The Punch tradition of cartooning alive (Jegede, 12).
The establishment of ‘The Guardian’ in 1983 introduced a new dimension to cartooning in Nigeria. With the advent of Bisi Ogunbadejo, the scene witnessed a period of serious academicism, exciting suspense, disguised poetry combined with uncanny wit, ‘sophisticated sarcasm’ and ‘irreverent talkativeness’ to expand understanding of cartoon (Adejinle, 1987: 21). Ogunbadejo demolished the argument that drawing is so important to cartooning. According to Asowata (2005: 2), the frontiers of Nigerian cartooning continued to expand in the 1990s as more graduates of art took greater interest in cartooning and imbued their works with zest that brought much light and expressions to the art.
Editorial cartooning under military rule provided a very radical platform for cartoon presentations. Cartoonists spread across national newspapers like Daily Times, Sketch, Tribune, Punch, Guardian, Vanguard and weekly magazines like Newswatch, Tell, The News etc. and ‘brought light into the dark moments’ orchestrated by the military dictatorship. The Abacha years (1993 – 1998) were more daunting for cartoonists, as State Security Service (SSS) officers were deployed on repressive mission to haunt down cartoonists. They lived under this ‘tight grip’ of military dictatorship and criticised the government of the period. Among the crop of contemporary cartoonists of the late 1990s and the year 2000s are Tejumola Kayode, Muyiwa Johnson, Akinwale Onipede, Ohams Albert, Moses Ebong, and Aliu Eroje.
 This chronological documentation of the origin and history of the art of cartooning in Nigeria served to show that the art of cartooning has come of age. It has developed into a vibrant means of communication; furthermore it continues to play vital roles in the documentation, critiquing and reflection of both social and political issues in Nigeria.

2.4   Theoretical Frame work-
Different theories have been advanced by scholars as suitable for the study of editorial cartoon. The study was carried out within the framework of Foucault’s concept of gouvernmentalité (governmentality), a construct that describes relations between the government and the governed, characterised by abuse of power on the part of the government, and attempts by the governed to limit that abuse (Foucault, 1994: 785; Monga, 1996: 56). Governmentality, and its inherent power dynamics, is illustrated in Nigerian cartoons by cross-species transilience, an African folk narrative device whereby plants, animals, material objects and natural phenomena are ascribed human attributes, and human beings are animalized for purposes of satire.
Cartoonists who employ transilience engage in what Deleuze and Guattari (1972: 222; 1980: 400) call ‘deterritorialization’, the communicative act that consists of taking human beings out of their familiar ‘territories’ for purposes of ethical critique.
This study based on the framework, examines the manner in which a number of Nigerian cartoonists denounced authoritarian abuse of power during the military rule through the use of visual metaphor, transilience and deterritorialization.

2.5   Review of Literature
In terms of research and other related studies of cartooning in Nigeria, not many are known to have been done.  Available materials are mostly in the form of unpublished theses in Tertiary Institutions and Journal articles.
In the late 1980s, the Daily Times published two volumes on cartoons Josy Ajiboye. These publications are anthologies of his works with no stylistic or historical analysis of the cartoons.  Other cartoonists like Boye Gbenro, Mose Ebong, Leke Moses, and Abraham Ohams have followed the trend of publishing their cartoons with no literature backing the images.  Though these publications have no literary content their values as primary data for research on cartoons is note worthy.
Oladejo (1990)’s study on the concept of meaning in relation to cartoons, examines cartoons drawn from “ The Guardian, Vanguard and National Concord” newspapers in relation to the concept of meaning.  His study focuses on twelve months (August 1988 to July 1990) and is broken into three parts. The first aspect focuses the functional values of cartoons in the Nigerian society.  It also examines the structure of verbal elements, (verbal language) in cartoons and how these help in overall understanding of the cartoons.  Another aspect of the study explores the level of interpretation of the visual elements and examines whether educational background affects understanding of cartoons. In Conclusion, the author reveals that the major function of cartoons in Nigeria is that of social criticism.
Aina (1985) examines the cartoons in four Newspapers namely the “Guardian, Concord, Daily Sketch and the Observer. The first two newspapers belong to individuals while the last two belong to the government.  The four newspapers were selected to test the influences of ownership on their respective cartoons and provide a form of balance between the government and privately owned newspapers.
The author’s examination of cartoons in the papers (government and privately owned) show much of unfavourable comments on government and that there is still a wide gap of understanding between the cartoonists and the cartoon audience.
Ugele (1998) on the other hand examines the development of Newspaper cartoons in Nigeria with a study of the cartoons of Senide Obe (Obe Ess.). The study is based on the background, the themes and style of his cartoons. Furthermore it focuses on the development of cartoons in Europe, America and Nigeria in the colonial era.  It also examines the visual and the verbal elements of the cartoon, the various types of cartoons and their functions in the society. One interesting observation in Ugele’s work is the absence of female cartoonists in Nigeria. However this study does not address the use of cartoons for political satirisation.
Obiora Udechukwu’s paper (1979) on Nigerian political cartoonists in the 1970s examines the origin of cartoons in Europe and America. He looks at the Euro – American cartoon tradition of which focuses on criticising societal ills.  Udechukwu considers indigenous practices like satirical songs in the Ibo culture of Nigeria which had similar aims of satirisation.  Like cartoons, the songs use humour in satirising negative characters in Ibo society.  The author examines the evolution of cartooning in Nigeria and the contributions of Akinola Lasekan, bringing into focus his themes and style. He concludes that the role of the cartoonists is like that of a critic and “gadfly” who is out to check the excesses of the people in power.
Abe (1988) examines the role of humour in tackling the communication problems of a heterogeneous society like Nigeria.  The study examines humour with a survey of cartoons in the print media. The problems and benefits of humour are duly considered.  In this light, the cartoons of Bisi Ogunbadejo are analysed with consideration of his academic background, the themes and his style.
Olaniyan (2005) examines the role of cartoon as a weapon of nationalists’ struggle in the colonial era of Nigeria.  He focuses on the works of Akinola Lesekan and critically examine how the political climate of the period influenced Lasekan’s nationalistic struggle against the colonial government.
While all the afore-mentioned literatures concentrate on the art of cartooning and their meaning, stylistic analysis of  cartoonist, the problems and benefits of humour in cartoons and also the importance of cartoon in nationalistic struggle in the colonial era, the review shows a gap in the need to study editorial cartoons in the post colonial political climate. This study examines the role of cartoon in democratisation process in Nigeria.  Focusing on the period that witnessed the longest military era in the history of Nigeria, the study shows ways through which the military government were criticised, satirised and checked by the cartoonists in the periods when other means of anti-military campaigns were being “suppressed”.


3.0       Background of The Three Cartoonists
Adeboye Adegbenro, Akin Onipede and Josy Ajiboye are the three selected cartoonists for this analysis. These cartoonists according to Olaniyan (2000: 1) belong to the cartoonists of the iconic level. He posits that the scale of iconicity measures the degree of likeness or non-likeness of a cartoonist's images to actuality.
Although cartooning is defined precisely by some distance to actuality, achieved mostly by amplification through simplification, cartooning cannot disregard actuality entirely because it is highly dependent on the viewer identification of images. Cartooning is thus simultaneously a prescriptive and proscriptive challenge in which to be more iconic, i.e. "realistic," is to lose its cartoonish, i.e. caricaturist, essence, while to turn the other way round and be less iconic, i.e. "abstract," is to lose its referential power and thus its audience and function (2).
The cartoons on the high iconic level grant the viewer such an express visual access without much intellectual challenge, the iconic cartoons are generally the most viewer- friendly and, given the cartoonist's artistry, generally the most popular . These cartoons often have a political slant in their story line.

Adeboye Adegbenro
Adeboye Adegbenro was born on 23 of November 1959 at Ibadan, Oyo Sate, Nigeria. He attended Ayetoro Comprehensive High School at Abeokuta. Adeboye had been influenced by the cartoons of Dele Jegede right from secondary school. He got the job of a cartoonist at Punch Newspaper, the same day he went for an interview after his senior secondary school education in 1977. Though influenced greatly by the works of his predecessors like Dele Jegede and Kenny Adamson, he nevertheless created a unique style for himself in the Nigerian cartooning scene.
He left the Punch in the 1980s for Concord Newspaper, which belongs to his uncle, M.K.O. Abiola. Adeboye left the shore of the country in 1990 for the United States of America where he furthered his education and graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in illustration and cartooning in November 1994. He has been a working artist, painter, animator and musician for over 26 years. He has worked as a 2D effects artist at Walt Disney feature animation, Warner Brothers feature animation and Dreamworks SKG feature animation. Adeboye is also a Michigan State certified teacher.
He currently teaches 3D modelling and animation at International Academy of Design & Technology, Troy Michigan, Baker College in Clinton Township, and ITT Technical Institute, Flint Michigan. Adeboye illustrated the Oscar Award nominated animation ‘Mulan’, as well as several others which include Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Iron Giant, Osmosis Jones, and Eldorado the City of Gold. Adeboye is working on his first solo Feature 2D movie titled "Things Fall Apart", an adaptation of the book by one of Africa's foremost writers, Chinua Achebe. Adeboye plays the Saxophone and leads a band known as "Odu Afro Beat Orchestra" based in Detroit Michigan (Adegbenro, 2010).
Josy Ajiboye
Josy Ajiboye was born in Erinmope Ekiti in Ondo State in 1948. He joined African Challenge Press, a subsidiary of Sudan International Mission (SIM), in 1961 immediately after his secondary school education and became their trainee for five years. He also studied commercial art, illustration and painting at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos through active support of SIM, where he was taught by Paul Mount, Yusuf Grillo, Solomon Wangboje, M.A Adebayo and Jake Oyewola, all of Fine Arts Department at the Institution. Ajiboye who is also a painter started the art of cartooning with Morning Post Newspaper in the late 60s and later moved to the Daily Times where he worked as a cartoonist (Ajboye, 1985).
Josy Ajiboye is known for his social and political cartoons, which has featured in several national newspapers for the past forty years. He drew a weekly cartoon column in the defunct Sunday Post under the title “Life with Josy Ajiboye” and was the editorial cartoonist for “Morning Post” newspaper in the late 1970s. He had his first exhibition at the Gong Gallery in 1977. His second exhibition which was sponsored by the French Cultural Centre was held at the French Embassy in Nigeria in 1979. He worked as an Art Editor of the Daily Times Nigeria Limited for several years before retiring from active service. Ajiboye has contributed immensely to the development of cartoons in Nigeria.

Akin Onipede 
Akinwale Olasupo Onipede was born on 9 March 1965 in Ekiti State in the Western part of Nigeria. He attended Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti between 1975 and 1980. He proceeded to the University of Benin in 1982 where he graduated in 1986 with a B.A in Painting. Akin Onipede worked briefly in Nigerian Tribune and several media houses in the early 90s where he worked as editorial cartoonist. Onipede is a talented artist who works in different media in expressing his feelings in visual form. He is an artist whose interest and practice straddle different fields of the art profession. He trained as a painter and has worked as an art teacher. He is a versatile artist and known as a cartoonist, art writer, critic and cultural activist.  
He bagged the M.A in Visual Arts Award in University of Lagos in 2006 and is currently a PhD. research candidate in the same University. His works and experience span the academia, media and studio.

3.2 An Overview of Nigerian Democratisation Process between 1983 and 1994
Nigeria’s current civil rule is a product of two futile attempts by different military heads of state, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Sanni Abacha, to transit to civilian rule. General Abudulsami Abubakar planned the transition, which ushered new era of democracy. The Abubakar political transition programme (June 1998 - May 1999) is the shortest in Nigeria’s political history, lasting barely one year (Momoh & Thovoethin, 2001).
It is pertinent to note that, out of approximately forty-one years of Nigeria’s independence, civilians have successfully ruled the country for only twelve years, while the military have ruled the country for about twenty-nine years. While Nigeria has had seven military regimes, and four civilian regimes (Shonekan’s Interim government and Obasanjo’s civilian rule inclusive). This situation has enormous impact on the political development of Nigeria (3).
Democratisation process of the then military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo produced President Shagari in 1979. After he was re-elected into office in 1983, the military took over the political power through a bloodless palace coup of 31 December  1983. General Buhari who became the military Head of State adopted different measures to curb the economic downturn which was caused by the World Oil glut and the resultant fall in Oil price; the main foreign exchange earner of Nigeria. Buhari’s regime witnessed stringent measures on the economy which had far reaching negative consequences on the living conditions of a larger percentage of the citizens.
In its bid to discourage negative press reports, the military government promulgated laws like the notorious Public officers Protection Against False Accusation Decree of 1984 (Degree 4 of 1984). The Buhari / Idiagbo government (1983-1985) also launched the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) campaign. It was meant to restore discipline in all sectors of the nation (4).  During this period large numbers of journalists were arrested and imprisoned for criticising the military government.
The military government was later overthrown on August 27, 1985 by General Babangida who promised to revive the nation’s economy and hand over political power to civilian government within a year. His government organised a transition to civil rule programme with the formation of two political parties, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National
Republican Convention (NRC). Prior to that period several
National Electoral Commission boards organized by the Head of State were dissolved and lots of politicians lost confident in him and assumed he was not ready to leave office. This assumption came to reality when he dissolved the presidential election claimed to have been won by Chief M.K.O Abiola, the presidential flag bearer of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993. The uncertainty of the political atmosphere and pressures within and beyond the country forced General Babangida to “Step aside”. This led to the formation of an Interim Government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan. The three months of Interim governance in Nigeria almost led to anarchy. Different protest in support of the annulled presidential election were mounted across the nation and the country was almost turning to a state of war when General Sanni  Abacha overthrew the transitional administration in November and installed himself as head of state. Abacha abolished all state and local governments and the national legislature, banned all political parties, and replaced many civilian officials with military commanders. He named an 11-member Provisional Ruling Council, consisting mainly of generals and police officials, to oversee a 32-member Federal Executive Council. The executive council included prominent civilians and some pro-democracy activists and was created to head government ministries (7).
In January 1994 Abacha presented a budget that abandoned market reforms instituted in 1986, making it impossible to negotiate for aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In the face of increasing foreign debt, low industrial output, and harsh autocratic rule, resentment against the military government grew steadily. In response, Abacha announced details of his political transition program, but when the constitutional conference held in May 1994 was widely boycotted by pro-democracy groups, Abacha had the police issue a strong statement affirming that non-governmental political activity was illegal. In June 1994, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election proclaimed himself president and was arrested for treason. Civil unrest intensified, particularly in Lagos, and oil workers declared a strike in support of Abiola's release. The strike crippled Nigeria's leading industry, but Abacha clung to power, and the strike ended in September. He suppressed opposition brutally, even within his own camp. In the earlier part of 1998 he forced all the political parties to adopt him as their sole presidential aspirant and aimed to succeed himself as a democratically elected president in by October same year. Abacha died suddenly of a heart attack in June 1998.
The Abacha transition programme like the Babangida episode was a political fraud designed to entrench General Abacha in power and was inconclusive due to his death in June 1998. The demise of General Sanni Abacha, on June 8, 1998, ushered in the regime of General Abubakar Abdulsalam. Thus, he became Nigeria’s Head of state, the second day after Abacha’s death ( 9).
Immediately on assumption of the reins of power, Abdulsalam began a new democratisation course for the country. He set a new agenda for the political and economic rejuvenation of the country. His first focus was how to launch the country back into the comity of nations. He found this necessary due to the fact that his predecessor’s audacious rule had ‘won’ some sanctions against Nigeria from the international Community. Also, due to the sanction imposed on Nigeria because of human rights violation and protracted military rule, the economy of the country was seriously affected. Therefore, General Abubakar's administration was faced with the task of rebuilding the economy. He did this by travelling to western nations to solicit support for his regime and the economy.
The greatest and most important task for the regime was how to return the country to civil rule after several futile attempts by his predecessors. General Abubakar embarked on reconciliation and consultations, with different people and groups in the country. He admitted the failure of past attempts at democratisation in the country, dissolved the five political parties registered by the Abacha regime and their assets were taken over by administrators appointed by the government. Similarly, all previous elections conducted under these parties were cancelled, for lack of credibility. Immediately, senior civil servants were posted to take charge of local government councils, for the management of their affairs. In a bid to convince the world that the country has finally turned to the path of democracy, Abubakar pledged not to interfere with party formation. Consequently, Abacha's electoral commission, the National Electoral Commission (NECON), was dissolved and a new electoral body was established: Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which was headed by Justice Ephraim Akpata, a retired Supreme Court judge. This body was charged with the responsibility of registering political parties, registration of voters and the conduct of elections.
Many transition implementation agencies established by the Abacha regime were also dissolved. These include, the Transition Implementation Committee (TIC), National Reconciliation Committee (NARECOM) and Power Devolution Committee (PDC). The decrees establishing those agencies were also repealed. The electoral commission opened the floodgate for party registration, with some specific guidelines. Thus, about fifty political associations emerged, within a month. However, only nine of them met the conditions for registration of political parties, in accordance with INEC guidelines. Consequently, nine political associations were registered provisionally as political parties. These include, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), All Peoples Party (APP), Democratic Alliance Movement (DAM), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), United Democratic Party (UDP), the United Peoples Party (UPP) and the Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ).
On December 5, 1998, election into Local Government Councils was held. This election was used as a yardstick for the final registration of political parties. The electoral guidelines stated among other things that, any party that would eventually be registered must score at least a minimum of five percent of the total number of votes in at least 24 states. Thus fulfilling this and. Other conditions, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), AlI Peoples Party (APP) and Peoples Democratic Party were granted full and final registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the three parties that qualified to participate in the remaining elections on the transition programme.
The 1999 transition process witnessed for first time in the political history of the country, the nomination of presidential candidates from a particular zone of the country, Olufalaye the presidential aspirant of AD came from Ondo state and Obasanjo, the PDP presidential flag bearer is from Ogun Sate. This development may not be unconnected with the fact that Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election (who eventually died in detention, after the annulment of that election) was from that zone. This gesture was ostensibly used to appease the Yoruba of the south-western part of the country.
The February 27, 1999, presidential election eventually produced General Olusegun Obasanjo as the civilian President of the country and marked the “end” of military rule in Nigerian politics.


4.0 An Analysis of Selected Editorial Cartoons
                       Thirty editorial cartoons by three cartoonists are examined and analysed. The main themes and the contextual background of the cartoons are identified and discussed. The editorial cartoon samples are single-frame and multi-frame narrative illustrations, which were selected from published editorial cartoons within the time frame of the period under study and grouped under each cartoonist. The cartoons in all reflect different themes based on each artist’s response to societal issues, but they all tend towards the same subject matter: reflection of the political situation in Nigeria.

4.1 Analysis of Cartoons by Adeboye Adegbenro

Declaration of Assets, Boye Gbenro, Published in the National Concord, 17 January, 1983, 12 x 5cm

“Declaration of Assets”
The declaration of all personal assets was one of the hurdles individuals were required to cross before holding public office in Nigeria during the second republic.  This led to the use of dubious means to hide the “ill-gotten” wealth.
This cartoon shows President Sheu Shagari addressing the masses about the “innocence” of his cabinet members as regards corruption and property declaration.  The President and his cabinet members were shown in semi-naked pose with their “big tummy” which the cartoonist emphasizes to as metaphor for hypocrisy.  Though the figures are physically almost naked; not hiding anything from the public, but the “ill-gotten” wealth is hidden in the “big” inaccessible bellies away from the critical eye of the masses. Close observations also revealed that the rods of the ladder used to climb the podium are bent due to the weight of their loot hidden away from public’s gaze in their stomach.

Chop and Quench, Boye Gbenro, Published in the National Concord, 17 July, 1983, 12.5 x 5.5cm

“Chop and Quench”
 For thorough analysis and understanding of this cartoon, it is pertinent to discuss the concept employed by the cartoonist in his expression. The cartoonist like others under study employed the concept of “Transilience and Deterritorialisation” propounded by Deleuze and Guattari (1972: 222; 400) in some of their works. In African mythology and folklore, human beings, animals and plants are transilient. That is, they morph or blend smoothly into each other according to the needs of community morality, ethics and aesthetics (Senghor, 2001: 12). The effortless, cross-species “transilience” between human beings, plants, animals and natural phenomena in African cosmology can be referred to as ‘deterritorialisation’, to borrow the expression of Deleuze and Guattari. To deterritorialise is thus to break down well-marked political, cultural, biological and social boundaries or territories. A fish out of water is deterritorialised; human beings in space are deterritorialised (437).
This cartoon depicts politicians and electorates as Monkeys.  Monkeys in African culture symbolises a stupidity, and are usually use to satirise a foolish person. It is believed that monkeys are foolish and can be easily tamed especially with banana.  The character of the politicians are likened to the attitude of the bigger monkey who eats the banana (dividends of democracy) alone and even prevents the second monkey from reading from the book (democracy) he is reading.  In a bid to enjoy these alone, he slips and destabilises not only himself but the other monkey (the electorate) as well, blaming it on something that is “far fetch” – the world wide recession.
The cartoon satirises the political climate during the Shagari regime.  The corrupt, selfish attitudes of the politicians are brought forward through symbolism and metaphor.  It depicts the derailment of democracy, of its very precarious odyssey in Nigeria and of the escapist excuses which politicians offer for their failures.

Probes and Enquiries, Boye Gbenro, Published in the Sunday Concord, 11 December, 1983, 10.5 x 5.5cm
“Probes and Enquiries”
Nigerian governments have been accused of having good programmes but no implementation. Governments usually set up commissions of enquiries into different societal issues but most of these are never implemented.
In this cartoon President Sheu Shagari is depicted amidst reports of different commissions of enquiries he set up.  The cartoonist expresses his opinion through the figure helping Shagari in the cartoon.
Through this cartoon the need to implement the reports of the enquiry are expressed and the cartoonist even warns the President on the impending collapse of his government if these reports are not implemented.

Presidential Award Galore, Boye Gbenro, Published in the Sunday Concord, 25 December, 1983, 10.5 x 5.5cm

“Presidential Award Galore”
President Sheu Shagari came to power in 1979 and was re-elected in 1983 for another four year term.  His government was highly critisised for lack of focus, extravagant spending and corruption. These were later cited as reasons for overthrowing the government in December 31st, 1983 by the military. However his acolytes praised him as one of the greatest leaders Nigeria will ever produce and he received many awards from both within and without the country.
In the cartoonist’s opinion, Shagari was a great leader in an ironical way.  He depicts him being decorated with awards based on his shortcomings. It is a bold, bawdy satire of Shagari’s limitations as a leader, and of his misconceived notion of leadership.
Federal Character, Boye Gbenro, Published in the National Concord, 13 February, 1985, 10.5 x 5.5cm.

“Federal Character”
There has never been any disagreement with the principle of reflecting the federal character in National Development. In practice, however that principle has been considerably perverted and abused. The growing impression particularly in the southern part of the country is that the north is getting more than its fair share of the national cake. Boye Gbenro criticises this development in a visual derision.

Soja go, Soja come, Boye Gbenro, Published in the National Concord, 2 July, 1984, 10.5 x 5.5cm

“Soja go, Soja come”
On December, 1983 after four years away from political rule, the military returned to power and put an end to the tenure of democratically elected President Sheu Shagari.
The cartoonist expresses the opinion of the citizen about the military regime.  Here a presumably dull student is asked about the definition of military regime which he simply put as “Soja go, Soja come” meaning that the military had not fulfilled their promise of not interfering in government after 1979 handover to democratically elected government.

Food, Boye Gbenro, Published in the National  Concord, 25 September, 1984, 10.5 x 5.5cm

The military government has been hammering so much on the virtues of nationalism and patriotism. But the cartoonist saw that the common man’s greatest need is food. This satire shows the need for the government to make what concerns the common man more abundant. The expressions on the same figure in different circumstances attest to this fact.

24 Years of Independence, Boye Gbenro, Published in the Sunday Concord, 30 September, 1984, 10.5 x 5.5cm

“Years Independence”
Nigeria celebrates 24 years of independent governance in 1984.  It was believed that though the country is 24 years old, she is still being “handicapped” to perform as a 24 years old.
Using a blindfolded and crawling old man as a metaphor for backwardness and lack of development, the cartoonist depicts Nigeria as an immature.  The country is metaphorically blindfolded with a cloth labeled “colomentality” – The cartoonist is positing that the nation’s retarded maturity is greatly caused by many factors which include dependence on colonial masters in economic policies even though the country has gained independence. 

The Famous Rulers, Boye Gbenro, Published in the National Concord, 31 December, 1984, 10.5 x 5.5cm
“The Famous Rulers”
This cartoon is a graphic assemblage of the numerous social ills and travails in Nigerian society during the regime of General Buhari. The various problems plaguing the society are personified and represented with stereotypic costumes of the people of different regions in Nigeria. Closer observation shows that each region’s shortcomings and biases are employed by the cartoonist to satirise different ethnic backgrounds in Nigeria. The central figure, dressed in Hausa outfit and labelled “Quota System”, communicates a lot about the Hausas’ agitation for even geographical distribution of governmental appointments and policies regardless of qualification and capabilities. The depiction of Igbo man in stereotypic cap and robe shows that the Igbos, in the cartoonist view, are tribalistic. The approaching figure labelled Mr Indiscipline represents the Yorubas with his attire, which shows, in the cartoonist opinion, that the Yoruba people are not obedient.

Salvaging it together, Boye Gbenro, Published in the Sunday Concord, 6 January, 1985, 10.5 x 5.5cm

“Salvaging it together”
General Buhari’s regime was characterised with hardship and stringent economic measures.  It was the period WAI (War Against Indiscipline) was introduced.  A large number of public servants were retrenched, salaries cut, and inflation was on the rise.  All these are presented as a burden on the dying common man in the society. The General believed these were needed to rescue the economy from recession, but the burden was actually been borne by the citizens.

4.2 Analysis of Josy Ajiboye’s Cartoons
Army Rule, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 9 August, 1987, 8 x 12cm

“Army Rule”
This cartoon criticises the incursion of the military into the corridor of political power in Nigeria.  Through the use of symbolism and metaphor, the cartoonist asks a rhetorical question.  General Babangida who just came to power few months before the cartoon was published is shown in his full military uniform looking down at the citizens as if to listen to their reaction about the opinion posited by the cartoonist.  Democratic Rule and Army rule are placed on a scale to show which has the heaviest weight in Nigeria power politics.  The map of Nigeria showing Nigeria at twenty five years after independence is nailed to the scale to show that the scaling is all about Nigerian political discourse.  The weight of Army Rule is more than Civilian rule, this shows that the number of years of Military rule which started in 1966 after the bloody coup by Colonel Kaduna are compared to that of civilian rule.
In this cartoon, Ajiboye wondered if the military who were supposedly believed to protect the state could still continue to control the Nation’s political scene despite the fact that these roles are clearly spelt out in the constitution.
The expressions on the faces of the two men who represent the citizens show that of fear and scepticism about answering the question.  The response in “pidgin English” satirises the level of literacy and coherence of the governmental policies and action. Ajiboye seldom makes use of “pidgin English” in his cartoons because he believes that it might be restrictive.  However, he employs it in this to satirise the citizens who know what to say but because of fear of persecution refuses to say it as being illiterates.

Electoral Body Formed, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 9 August, 1987, 8 x 12cm

“Electoral Body Formed”
The symbolic use of the domineering hand in this cartoon connotes an aura of authority.  The hand is used as a symbol of authority to represent the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida warning the members of the new electoral body to conduct elections as part of programme of transition to civil rule. This cartoon shows that the Electoral body which was supposed to be independent of government’s control is not fully independent and can be easily manoeuvred by the federal government.  This later happened when the body was dissolved about a year after. This cartoon implores the citizens to say their opinions about the democratisation process of the period and to demand for a free and fair election.

Black Bomb, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 16 August, 1987, 8 x 12cm
“Black Bomb”
One of the techniques adopted by Nigerian Cartoonists in the 1980s was the use of “response” strategy in challenging governmental policies in their cartoons.  Cartoonists like Josy Ajiboye, Akin Onipele, Boye Gbenro, Dele Jegede, Moses Ebong and a host of others employed this technique to satirise the government.
This editorial cartoon shows the need to concentrate on the electric power sector for technological development rather than concentrating on “White Elephant” projects.  The cartoonist who uses less of symbolic elements and concentrates more on dialogue, visual gestures and actions uses the statue of “Sango” done by the renowned artist Ben Enwonwu as a symbol to represent NEPA (Nigerian Electric Power Authority).  This statue which adorns the entrance to NEPA Headquarters at Marina Lagos is shown here, holding the Kerosene Lamp instead of the double edged axe. The symbol of a burning candle on its head clearly addresses the issue of electric failure in Nigeria.
The symbolic elements of the Lamp, burning candle, contrast greatly with the purpose and function of NEPA. The pun is that a body charged with responsibility of producing electricity but now relies on the “light” from other objects. The use of irony in this cartoon centers on the cartoonist’s view that NEPA is not “working”, meaning not efficient.
As a public commentator and critic, the cartoonist, brought out his opinion through the response he made.

Third Anniversary, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 30 August, 1988, 8 x 12cm
“Third Anniversary”
General Babangida came to power in August 27, 1985 by toppling the military government of General Buhari.  His reasons for “seizing” political power included the need to strengthen Nigerian economy through a strong currency in the foreign exchange market among other reforms he promised to implement. August 1988 marked his third year in office and nothing seemed to have been reformed.  Nigerian Naira went lower in value against the United State Dollar which caused high rate inflation in the country. Josy Ajiboye reminded the Head of State metaphorically through his portrait on the wall about his promises while he celebrates his third year in office as the Head of States.

Election Rigger, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 27 August, 1991, 12 x 8.5cm

“Election Rigger”
The democratisation process under General Ibrahim Babangida witnessed political turbulence especially in the Western Part of Nigeria.
Actions of party loyalists included vandalisation of opposition parties’ properties. This cartoon satirises tactics of some political aspirant who evolved the strategy of tearing off others’ posters for only theirs to be seen.  The cartoonist considered this as a preamble to election rigging.

Dissolution of Party Executives, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 15 September, 1991, 12 x 8cm

“Dissolution of Party Executives”
General Ibrahim Babangida embarked on different democratisation processes and assured the citizens on handing over to democratically elected government come August 1992.  These processes always ended up in dissolutions at the peaks of their realization.  This strategy, some politicians believed was devised by the General to elongate his tenure.
This cartoon captures one of such instances in 1991 when party executive councils were dissolved.  The agony of party chairmen is visually depicted in this cartoon.  The chairman who fainted after reading the news of dissolution is being revived by probably his wife or secretary. The expressions on their faces are full of surprise, disappointment and fear.

Striking Tutors, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 1 December, 1991, 12 x 8cm

“Striking Tutors”
            The military regimes were characterised by Labour Union protests that usually led to the workers’ boycotting their duties. One of such instances is presented in this cartoon. The emphasis is placed on the message on the back page of the newspaper. The arrogance of most military leaders is also displayed as the message serves like a warning to the striking tutors as if what they demanded for was not their right, the government promised to replace them if they embark on such strike again. The standing figure which obviously expresses the cartoonist’s opinion challenged the statement and posits the double standard policy of the military leaders who made sure that the salaries of the military personnel were paid on a regular basis and denied the other sectors their right.

Nigerian Press, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 16 February, 1992, 12 x 8cm

“Nigerian Press”
            The military regime employed different strategies to limit public opinions and criticism of their government. One of such strategy is to restrict the Press from doing its duties. Several Journalists were kidnapped and killed.
This cartoon satirises the sober state of the Nigerian Press. It was metaphorically depicted as a lonely prisoner in an unfavourable atmosphere. The witticism here is the irony of the statements on the wall and in the foreground of the image which contrast drastically with the ambience of the prison.  
Rescheduled Debts, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 3 October, 1993, 12 x 8cm

“Rescheduled Debts”
            This cartoon which was done against the background of Nigerian foreign debt rescheduling criticises the government on the need to safeguard the future generation from the short comings of today’s administration.
The plan of the newly installed Interim Government of Chief Ernest Shonekan’s plan to reschedule the payments of Nigeria’s foreign debt is brought to censure in the cartoon. Josy Ajiboye captures this in a visual presentation full of allegories. The father sweating profusely under the weight of the debt he incurred is planning to relieve (reschedule) himself off the load (Debts).  The cartoonist conjectures through the young boy that the relief is temporary and only to be borne by the next generation.

Bank Chiefs, Josy Ajiboye, Published in the Sunday Times, 22 August, 1993, 12 x 8cm

“Bank Chiefs”
            This is a satire on the level of corruption in Nigerian society. Using direct visual expression without any “coded” visual symbols, the cartoonist satirises the fraud that typified the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida in the early 1990s.  Ajiboye posits that more looted funds should be recovered from the looters.

4.3 Analysis of editorial cartoons by Akin Onipede

No Political Ambition, Akin Onipede, Published in A.M. News, 3 February , 1995, 10.5 x 5.5cm

“No Political Ambition”
This editorial cartoon satirises the Abacha government’s equivocal statements about his political ambition. The cartoonist played on the General’s statement about not having political ambition, yet he was planning to succeed himself when he transit political power to civilian government. The cartoonists through the appropriation of “palace jesters” portrayed in the cartoon, lampoons Abacha by the statement made by the palace jesters in response to the statement.
This cartoon has metaphoric visual codes embedded in it. The paradox of the statement was first challenged by the portrayal of Abacha, wining and dining on a bottle of champagne labelled “power”. This contradicts with his statement of not having political ambition, whereas he enjoys power as “a drink”.

Civil Rule, Akin Onipede, Published in A.M. News, 9 June,, 1995, 10.5 x 5.5cm

“Civil Rule”
This cartoon metaphorically presents the political ambience of Nigeria, during the military reign of General Abacha who took over the government in 1993 in a bloodless coup, unseating the Interim government of Ernest Shonekan. Abacha in order to rule Nigeria indefinitely, planned to transit from military rule to a Civilian to avert the economic sanctions levelled against his government by the international community. It was during his regime that the acclaimed winner of the June 12 presidential election Chief M.K.O. Abiola was imprisoned for Treason felony. This tainted his image and made the citizens, lose confidence in him.
The cartoon captured this entire story in a snapshot of metaphoric imageries. Abacha’s government was represented with a rickety vehicle that is being weighed down by the antecedents of his government. His loyalists were depicted by the person (labelled sycophant by the cartoonist) helping him in pushing the car to the metaphoric ‘Civil’ destination. Abacha is depicted with his stereotypic “sunglass” and cultural marks as the driver of the car which was laden with the political and economic short comings that characterised his tenure.
The major obstacle to Abacha’s planned democratic rule was the ‘June 12’ presidential election issue. This is also depicted in the cartoon as a stumbling block in the journey to “civil rule”. This cartoon documents visually and vividly the political climate of the period.

Endangered Species, Akin Onipede, Published in A.M. News, 3 February, 1996, 10.5 x 5.5cm
“Endangered species”
This cartoon captures the political events during the reign of General Sanni Abacha the mid 1990s.  This cartoon, expresses views on the state of the opposition groups in the country. The only pressure/political group that ‘openly’ opposed the military rule then was NADECO (National Democratic Coalition).  General Sanni Abacha’s regime was characterized by suppression of opposition and the press.  Prominent members of opposition group like Chief Olu Falaye, Chief Bola Ige, Alfred Rewane and a host of others were hunted by the State Security Services (SSS) for disturbing the peace of the country.  The cartoonist uses metaphor, which is one of the strong elements of cartooning, to disseminate the information about the political atmosphere. NADECO members were portrayed as endangered species that need to be protected from the abusive hands of the military.

No Persecution in Nigeria, Akin Onipede, Published in A.M. News, 5 June, 1996, 10.5 x 5.5cm
“No Persecution in Nigeria”
The military era was characterized by assassinations of members of the opposition group. The assassination of the wife of the acclaimed winner of June 1992 presidential election, Kudirat Abiola in 1997 during Abacha’s rule. It was believed that the military government carried out the assassination.  The country was thrown into days of mourning and confusion.
This can also be visually seen in this cartoon which depicts a sobbing newspaper reader, lamenting on the hypocritical statement by the British government prior to that period that there was no persecution in Nigeria. This period witnessed the death of members of the opposition group like Alfred Rewane, Kudirat Abiola, Suliyat  Oladeji, Layi Balogun and many others across the country.
Transition Programme, Akin Onipede, Published in A.M. News, 10 October, 1996, 10.5 x 5.5cm
“Transition Programme”
This editorial cartoon presents the equivocal moves of General Sanni Abacha’s democratisation programme in the mid 1990s, Oniped, who is found of using metaphoric elements in his cartoons, visualized the transition programme in this symbolically coded editorial cartoon.
The cartoon depicts General Abacha mounting a cylindrical object labelled “Transitional Programme”.  He is dressed in a military uniform which shows his status at that period as a military head of state.  He passes through a metal cylinder as a military leader only to come out with a civilian cap, which is an archetypal symbol in Nigerian cartooning to connote civilian government.  The image of Abacha as a civilian president is emphasized with the big question mark sign placed by its side.  The cylinder, ‘Transition Programme’ is also supported at the underneath by an object, tagged NECON which is an abbreviation of the electoral commission constituted by the Abacha government (National Electoral Commission).  The caption “A change of caps or guards” compliments the question mark beside the “democratised Abacha” and asks a rhetorical question. This question asserts more emphatically the obvious answer that “Abacha was succeeding himself as a democratically elected president who only needed to change his cap, as depicted and guard, he still remains the same person, so nothing really changes. 
It should be noted that Abacha had not made his intention of running for presidential election known when this cartoon was done.  He was financing the political parties secretly and eventually all the political parties adopted him as their sole presidential flag bearer. The cartoonist saw this coming and expressed his opinion in this visually interesting and politically enriching editorial cartoon.

June 12, Akin Onipede, Published in A.M. News, 31 October, 1996, 10.5 x 5.5cm

“June 12”
This cartoon presents the tense political atmosphere in 1996 during General Abacha’s regime. The editorial cartoon shows the acclaimed winner of the 1992 presidential election, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, tied up in a pit. This symbolises his imprisonment by Abacha government. Abacha is shown, wearing a cunning smile and pulling the other blindfolded into a pit. In other analysed editorial cartoons, Abacha’s government was characterised by political assassinations and kidnappings. Prominent opposition group members were killed or imprisoned. This cartoon served as a warning to the politicians at that period about Abacha’s motive, when he called for political reconciliation with politicians loyal to Abiola. The cartoonist saw the gesture as a “cunning” invitation to imprisonment.

Politirickcians, Akin Onipede, Published in Tempo, 7 November, 1996, 10.5 x 5.5cm

This cartoon deterritorialised General Sanni Abacha and situates him in an aquatic habitat, depicting him as a fish that is been tricked into a hook by the bait tagged “Presidency”.
The background of this cartoon rests on Abacha’s ambition of ruling Nigeria indefinitely. Due to pressures within and outside the country to democratise, he planned on succeeding himself as a civilian president. It was obvious for him that he could not succeed without the support of some politicians. He eventually won most of them over and got adopted by all the political parties as their sole candidate for the presidential election.
Onipede believes that the politicians did not really succumb to Abacha’s offer but on the contrary tried to use the presidency as a bait to get what they want from him. This he depicts by labelling them “Politrickcians”, emphasizing the letters “TRICK” which means “Ploy”. 

The Prodigal Son, Akin Onipede, Published in The Punch, 15 Septenber, 1998, 10.5 x 5.5cm

“The Prodigal Son”
In this cartoon, Onipede satirised the political class as the Biblical “Prodigal Son” that embezzled his inheritance.  The democratisation process of General Abdul Salam Abubakar was characterised with profligacy. This is depicted with caption on the top left corner of the cartoon that reads “INEC demands N7b for transition”.
The cartoonist employed the use of metaphor and personification to depict items budgeted to spend on by INEC (Independent Electoral Commission) established by General Abubakar. The lavish spender (labelled Transition in the cartoon) represents INEC. Billions of Naira that have been wasted over the years on transition programme are also depicted by the empty cartoons with labels indicating the transition years. The symbolic reactions of the International community represented by the two foreign spectators in the cartoon reflect the cartoonist’s opinion on the “transition jamboree”.
Akinjide Declares Interest, Akin Onipede, Published in The Punch, 17 September, 1998, 6.5 x 8cm
“Akinjide Declares Interest”
Richard Akinjide was the Attorney General of the Federation in the Second Republic. He played a significant role in the presidential election that produced President Sheu Shagari in 1979. Akinjide who popularised the “12 ⅔” constituency formula in Presidential Election was depicted here as been hunted by his antecedents. He declared in 1979 that for a Presidential candidate to win in an election, he/she must have a majority vote of ⅔ of the 19 states in Nigeria. This affected the electoral decision and resulted in NPN of Sheu Shagari emerging as the ruling party toppling Obafemi Awolowo’s UPN.
Onipede drawing from the antecedents of Akinjide, situated his satire on his (Akinjide) interest in the presidency in 1998. Here, Akinjide is portrayed with his stereotypic dressing style and cultural marks, the cartoonist through the question asked by the reporter, is curious to know how Akinjide’s decision in 1979 will not affect his presidential ambition in 1998.
Fellow Nigerians, Akin Onipede, Published in The Punch, 26 April, 1999, 10.5 x 5.5cm
“Fellow Nigerians”
The military usually use the gross maladministration of previous civilian governments as one of the reasons to justify their interferences in democratic government through military coups. and usually promise a better administration. Most of these ‘self-acclaimed messiahs’ turn out to be the worst looters of the treasury. Onipede captures democratisation process of General Abubakar’s government. General AbdulSalam Abubakar succeeded Abacha after his untimely death in office on July 7, 1998.
In this multi-panel cartoon, Abubakar is portrayed in the first panel as a “Hungary-looking power craze” officer who just “seized” political power. The second panel shows the same officer after several years of embezzlement telling the citizens that he is stepping aside, but with stolen national properties and money. This is portrayed by the exaggeration of the officer’s belly in the second panel. Though this statement “...I’m steeping aside” was made by General Ibrahim Babangida in 1993 when he was forced out of government by local and international pressure. 
The cartoonist re-appropriates the statement as one of the peculiarities of the military heads of state.


5.0 Summary and Conclusions
An observation of the themes and styles of the cartoons analysed reveal that the cartoonists, Adeboye Gbenro, Akin Onipede and Josy Ajiboye are among the Nigerian cartoonist who use the genre of visual commentary to reflect, criticize and influence the opinion of the people in social political matters in the country. Their works reflect the political climate of the nation during this period (1983 – 1999) which witnessed different military regimes and democratisation processes in Nigeria.
The study notes that even though military governments placed embargo on the freedom of the press and a lot of journalists and political activists were imprisoned or “silenced” by the military.  The cartoonists were the only people who could go scot free when they criticise the government through visual satire and humour.
This analysis can be used to answer the research questions which the researcher earlier stated:
  1. What are the roles of editorial cartoons in Nigeria democratisation process?
  2. Do editorial cartoons reflect socio – political realities?
  3. Can editorial cartoons serve as historical text?
Editorial cartoons reflect socio-political realities in the Nigeria society.  The analysed cartoons show the political and social climate of the period.  The cartoonists had been able to “freeze” these realities in a “snapshot” of images that can serve as reference points to the events of the era.  Putting the cartoons together in a chronological arrangement, the history of the era can be read visually and understood; hence the cartoons serve as historical text that documents the past events.
These cartoons play the role of informing the electorate of their right, the governments, the need to be transparent and not equivocal in the policy and also the importance of democratically elected government.  They have brought out the short comings of the government to the public assessment in humorous ways.
This thesis has examined the historical development of cartoon in Nigeria and looks at the significance and role of editorial cartoons in democratisation process.  The democratisation process under four military leaders, General Buhari, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Sanni Abacha and General Abdul Salam Abubakar were brought into focus.  The political ambience under these military leaders were characterised with agitation for democratic rules from pressure groups, political activists and editorial cartoonists, who used their cartoons as visual weapon to satirise the government.
Through the works of the cartoonists, it has been established that editorial cartoons play a significant role in Nigerian democratisation process, through social criticism, cartoons serve  as the speaker through which people’s opinion could be heard and ‘unfriendly’ policies of the government can be checked.
It has been revealed also that cartoons are historical texts through which past societal events can be revisited and analysed.

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