Throughout the poem, Osundare (a Nigerian poet) develops how a dictatorship government in Nigeria has made a wrong impact upon the lives and decisions of the Nigeria citizens and to also highlight his central concern about rugged individualism in Nigeria. To illustrate this impact, the poet has used personal anecdotes in the first three stanzas to refer to how unequally and harshly the dictatorship treats innocent Nigerian citizens. The poet also illustrates the fact that there are rugged individuals in Nigeria because he writes about a rugged individual who witnesses all the brutal punishments received by the government towards the three Nigerian citizens: Akanni, Chinwe and Danladi. This typical Nigerian citizen wants to separate himself from the Nigerian dictatorship and the country Nigeria itself, until he is also unmercifully punished like all the other hopeless Nigerian citizens: Akanni, Chinwe and Danladi. This highlights the reason of why Osundare wrote this poem which is to send a deep and clear message to all citizens of Nigeria that they should fight for their fundamental human rights and shouldn’t just be rugged individuals.
Firstly, after each personal anecdote of Akanni, Chinwe and Danladi, Osundare asks a rhetorical question in the refrain to question the selfishness of the rugged individuals in Nigeria and also helps Osundare to evoke guilt in the reader by making them feel both sympathetic and empathetic towards what Akanni, Chinwe and Danladi have to go through. The phrase ‘What business of mine is it, so long they don’t take the yam from my savouring mouth?’ has been written by Osundare to suggest that the citizens of Nigeria are hopeless and have no power against Abacha’s dictatorship to fight for their fundamental human rights and also don’t know the fact that they can live their life within their desire. The typical voice of a selfish Nigerian citizen keeps repeating this phrase to exemplify how he does not care about any other citizen other than himself. The reason this quote gives me this meaning is because the poet uses indentation to signify the distance the character wants to create. Osundare uses symbolism in the word ‘yam’ which identifies the advantages the rugged individual has which are: freedom, life, food, luxuries and most importantly he has his fundamental human rights. Additionally, the word ‘savouring’ emphasizes how selfish the rugged individual is and only cares about his desires, instead of fighting for the less fortunate than himself such as: Akanni, Chinwe and Danladi. Moreover, this is effective because Osundare uses indentation in the refrain which implies how the character in the poem has a desire to separate himself from all the bad things which Akanni. Chinwe and Danladi had to go through. This symbolises the rugged individualism as we see it physically on the page. In the final stanza we learn that the rugged individual himself is taken away for his house which kind of links to Danladi’s anecdote as he had also been taken away from his home but had been beaten by Abacha’s army. This is done to show the negative result of rugged individualism. Osundare is trying to say that the civil fight in Nigeria should be regulated as a whole to stop Abacha and his army from harming it own Nigerian citizens; if people work together, they can preclude Abacha’s dictatorship from dehumanizing because the Nigerian citizens can overcome them if they work in a group – not when they are distanced apart like the rugged individual in the poem.
Secondly, throughout the poem, Osundare could have used first names to recount what happened to Akanni, Chinwe and Danladi to signify that these people were either members of his family, housemates or even close friends. Also Osundare illustrates that the abuse against the Nigerian citizens will never end. He shows this by making recommendations to time: ‘One morning’