The Faces of Janus: Issues of Justice in Wumi Raji’s „Another Life” and Julie Okoh’s „A Haunting Past”
The focus of this article is on the question of social justice in contemporary Nigeria as depicted in Wumi Raji’s Another Life and Julie Okoh’s A Haunting Past. Using analogies to the Roman god, Janus and John Rawls’s assertions on the concept of justice as the basis for analysis, the article evaluates the nature of justice in Nigerian society: the operations of the legal system, the role of law enforcement agents, crime and punishment, and the application of justice in the Nigerian electoral process, as these issues are presented in the plays. Both plays rely heavily on irony to illustrate that in Nigeria, the application of law is arbitrary; and that oppression and violence are integral parts of politics and governance. The article further argues that, like Janus, the Roman god, the concept of justice in contemporary Nigerian society, and by extension, African societies, is two-faced; it can be good or ugly depending on which side an individual finds himself/herself at any point in time. The article shows that the same social institutions and persons entrusted to uphold justice are those who perpetrate forms of injustice. Ironically, in Nigeria, and as the two playwrights seem to suggest, justice and injustice are the same god, wearing different faces at different times.