THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 11, No. 1, (2013)
Canoe Houses and Boat Regattas as Forerunners of Oil Insurgency in Nigeria’s Niger Delta
Yohanna Kagoro Gandu
Sociology Department Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria
This paper interrogates the social and economic settings that explain why purely cultural and environmental driven canoe houses and boat regattas have become the social kinetics energizing Niger Delta youths in their militant resistance to the extractive activities of oil Transnational Companies and the Nigerian state. The narrative from research participants indicates that scholarly debate over youth militancy in the Niger Delta has often omitted how culture and ecology intersect over time and how the mechanism of such an intersection manifests in the form of oil insurgency. The narrative holds that in pre-colonial and pre-oil Niger Delta, Canoe Houses engaged in competitive games like boat racing and regattas, the objective of which was to determine which canoe house could bring down or capsize the opponent’s boat on water around the creeks and, or even on coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean. These were healthy competitions which honed survival instincts in a treacherous and difficult environmental terrain, and metamorphosed, first, into youth street vigilantes, and later, into full scale oil insurgency.
Keywords: canoe houses, boat regatta, oil transnational companies, oil insurgency, Niger Delta