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      Poetic Devices In The Poem Leader And The Led By Niyi Osundare;


      The poem is made up of (12) twelve stanza of two lines each. Ina stanza 1(one) the lion States his manifesto and intends to contest for the leadership position of the animals pack. However, in stanza 2 (two) the antelopes fault ” the ferocious pounce of his paws.” Which is not required of a leadership at that level.

      Similarly, In stanza 3, the hyena express his wish to contest for the highest office in the group. Whereas, “the impalas shudder” and his lethal appetite is seem by the other animals.

      As a challenge to his candidacy, in stanza 4, the giraffe, another leadership candidate campaigns to be elected as the leader of the pack. He is disqualified on the promise that his eyes “are too far from the ground.”

      In stanza 5, the zebra joins the race for leadership position at the centre. The group ” points to the duplicity of his stripes” as a major a factor for his disqualification. Furthermore, in stanza 6, the elephant, the biggest of the pack, sees his size as an added advantage to the claim of leader position of the group.” But is colleagues dread his trampling feet “. Accordingly, his is disqualified from the leadership race.

      Also, the warthog and rhino in stanza 7, are also asked to withdraw from the leadership contest because of their ugliness and riotous nature respectively. In stanza 8, the political struggle between the members of the pack, for the leadership position at the centre. Makes the group to look ” like a snake without a head”.

      In stanza 9, there, is a call for hybrid of habits by the sage in the Forrest, As a result, in stanza 10, they is a call for caution by some wise member of the pack. For a leader who is ” A little bit of lion” and a “little bit of lamp.” Such a leader is viewed as having the capacity to lead the (members of the pack) and bring about positive development in the animal pack.


      In stanza 11, the qualities of a good leader is further highlighted. The wise ones, further state that the he should be “tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe.” Besides, he must be transparent ” like a river, mysterious like a lake.” In stanza 12, the pack demands and resolve to vote for ” A leader who knows how to how to follow ” and has the ability to make the” followers mindful of their right to lead.”


      Diction: the poet prefers the literary device of satire, using the animals pack to symbolize the political struggle for power at the central government. Niyi is advocating for the best leader either from the minority or the majority linguistic group. As long as the leader has the capacity and ability to ensure good followers hip and leads the country towards positive development.

      Mood: the poet’s mood is that of disappointment, following the poor governance of the country, that is rich in human and natural resources.

      Tone: the poem has the tone of ” calls for hybrid of habits ” as advocated by the forest sage. The poet subscribes to ” A leader who knows how to follow the followers and ” mindful of their right to lead. ”

      Satire: Niyi employs the literary device of satire, like George Orwell of the ” animals farm”. He satirizes the political struggle for the control of the central government, by the linguistic groups I the country, Nigeria. He does not see the need for Nigerians to celebrate their best leaders after their death.

      He appeal to the major ethnic groups in the nation, not to see governance at the centre, as a do or die political struggle. Hence, the electoral empire should be allowed to conduct a free and fair elections and campaigns devoid of the use of money to influence the choice of votes to elect their major leaders. Consequently, the leader can be from the minority or the majority linguistic group.

      Symbolism: it is very obvious to the reader, that the poet applies the literary device of symbolism in the poem. Niyi uses the animals pack struggle for leadership of their group to symbolize the political human struggle for the control of power at the central government.

      Repetition: there is the use of repetition in lines 19 and 20 ” A little of ….. ” these lines are repeated for the purpose of emphasizing the kind of quality that is expected of the desired leader.

      Alliteration: this literary device is used in lines:
      4″… Pounce of his paws
      10 “the pack points.. ”
      14 ” the rhino too riotous”
      16 “….hybrid of habits”
      19 “a little bit of a lion”
      20″ a little bit of a lamb ”

      Simile: the literary device is used for comparison. Example are: lines
      21 “tough like a tiger, compassionate like a dove”
      22 ” transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake”

      Personification: Niyi personifies the Animals pack by giving them human quality, in the act and struggle for the control of the central government.

      Evaluation/ judgement
      This poem is Niyi’s protest about the poor governance in his country, Nigeria. He feels it high time someone talks about it, though everybody knows about it. The rate of crime and criminalities is worrisome and the poor feels the pains and suffering more.


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