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This study is based on Satire in contemporary Nigeria Poetry, using The Eaters of the Living by Okpanachi and A Carnival of Looters by Tayo Olafioye. The poets adopt satire as their style so as to improve the society by criticizing and ridiculing anyone engaged in bad or evil acts. This study explored the works of the poets; Okpanachi and Olafioye, their satirical techniques and the themes there in present. The poets depicted the vices in their societies in a satirical style that ridicules, scorns and criticizes the follies of their leaders, the people and the societal structure as a whole. More so, the study focuses on how satirical poetry can serve as a weapon or an attempt for social change by adopting the sociological theory for analysis. The satirical techniques and themes that were examined in this study would be of benefit to literary and non-literary students as a whole.





            Nigerian writers have long come to realize that transformation is needed in their societies and their artistic creation instills truth into people’s consciousness in any given age. They committed themselves as writers who are to restore order in the situation of the society; politically, economically, socially and morally. They have always found the informing vision of their creativity bound by the socio-politically experiences of the nation which their work reflects.

Nigerian writers also enunciate on political affairs in their nation and explain her disappointing post-independence trajectory. It is argued that Nigeria’s failure to assert its political autonomy manifest itself mostly in literature (Ayo 2008 : 334). When anomalies are found in the society or become too glaring in any society, the literary artists attempt to rectify such anomalies. Satire is one of the weapons employed by these literary artists and it can be based on poetry, drama or prosaic forms, which are the genres of literature. This study concerns itself with satirical poetry.

The term satire is derived from the Greek word Satira or Satura lanx, which means a dish full of colourful fruit. It was reference to satire being “biting” in contrast to other works. Over the centuries, satire has been used in play, journalism, fiction and poetry as a strategy of aiming at a particular group or individual through humour. Through literary criticism, satire has been seen as an art form, which deconstructs the world in order to create meaning (Prescott 2007 : 4).

The Greek and the Romans extensively employed it as a weapon of attack on their respective societies as far back as the 7th century B.C. Among the Romans, there are such names as Horace, Juvenal, whose works and ideas have continued to shape and influence the mind of contemporary satirist.

Wole Soyinka, Femi Osofisan, Ola Rotimi, Niyi Osundare, Funso Aiyejina, Toyin Adewale, Remi Raji, Musa I. Okpanachi, Tayo Olafioye and other writers are using satire as an artistic mode of expressing the social reality in contemporary Nigeria. The Nigerian society and aspirations of the masses remain realized.

Poetry, a form of literary genre, is a reflection of what its enabling society is. It could be a reflection of the past and present experiences of the society from which the poetry is produced (Akpboroboro 1994 : 26).

Poets write to criticize or ridicule in satire and mainly aim at transforming their societies. Contemporary Nigerian poets like Tayo Olafioye and Musa I. Okpanachi adopt satire as a style in their collection of poems, A Carnival of Looters and The Eaters of the Living respectively.

According to Molara Wood (2010 : 1)

Musa Idris Okpanachi’s Eaters of the Living carries this practice

            of dark, satirical writing even further towards a tortured and

            cynical social vision. The cynicism is reflected in its distance from

            everyday picture of its environment to a more alienating literary

imagery. Its bleak vision blunts the incisiveness and poignancy of

 the verse and darkening mood moves the vision beyond satire into

cynicism and close to despair.


Tayo Olafioye’s Carnival of Looters is the second major publication of poetry that he has published. Onokome Okome (2000:5-9) says:

Like patriots all over the world, what Olafioye strives for is to create,

 at least in his poetry, this balance by insisting upon making obvious

the imbalance of contemporary Nigeria’s social existence, he suffers

the fate that all poets must carry in similar social and political contexts.

His poetry is political, cultural, moral, economic and beyond this, it is

an inner quest to conquer the turbulence of the world.



This study explores different type of satirical techniques in poetry and why the poets have used them. It focuses on how poetry or satirical poem can be used as an attempt on social change. Literature is to educate, instruct and entertain. This study examines how the poets have been able to use their poems to achieve these.



This study would show the relevance of Musa I. Okpnanchi’s The Eaters of the Living and Tayo Olafioye’s A Carnival of Looters as satirical poetry. Satire is one of the weapons used by poets to convey their message in both pre-colonial and present age.

Work has been done on Okpanachi’s poetry in Images of Bestial leadership in Musa I. Okpanachi’s The Eaters of the Living by Foluke Aliyu-Ibrahim (2008: 45) but this study is justified by its focus on the two poets – Okpanachi and Olafioye – bringing out the themes and satirical techniques in their poems. Also, sociological theory will be adopted as an approach to the knowledge of this study.

This research work is going to be of benefit to the entire members of the society because it deals with happenings in contemporary Nigerian societies.



This study is restricted to only two collections of poem, The Eaters of the Living by Musa I. Okpanachi and A Carnival of Looter by Tayo Olafioye.

The focus is on the satirical poems of the poets. Analysis will be done on the selected poems by examining the poetic or satirical techniques, themes and the type of satire adopted by the poets, for the scope of the research work.



The study concerns itself with Satire In Contemporary Nigerian Poetry : A Study of Musa I. Okpanachi’s The Eaters of the Living and Tayo Olafioye’s A Carnival of Looters.

The sociological theory to literature discourse is used. This theory studies the work of art as determined by social forces and it has dialectical impact on the society.

For the purpose of the analysis of the data collected for the research work, the research entails the use of textual analysis as parameters for drawing conclusion on the research findings. It also includes tools for analysis which are textbooks, handbooks, internet and other document relating to the two collections of poem.



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