we Analysis of A Government Driver On His Retirement By Onu Kingsley Chibuike ~ Naija Poets

TITLE: A Government Driver On His Retirement

POET: Onu Kingsley Chibuike

OTHER POEMS: Without Thee

GENRE: Poetry

CATEGORY: Life and Death

DENOTATION: A retiring civil servant chauffeur took his freedom for granted and his foolishness led to his death.

POINT OF VIEW: Third person

FLOW: Climactic

THEMES: Disobedience, Freedom, Endurance, Servitude, Death,  Imperfection, etc

STRUCTURE: Eight (8) Stanzas

POETIC DEVICES: Repetition, Synecdoche, Alliteration, Anastrophe, etc.


TONE AND MOOD: Sarcastic tone and Sympathetic mood

SIMILAR POEM: A Taxi Driver On His Death by Timothy Wangusa


Onu Chibuike wrote the poem "A Government Driver On His Retirement" to address the matters relating to road traffic regulations.

From the context of the poem, non-adherence to the road traffic regulation is disastrous.
Few of the rules are to observe speed limit, to avoid drunk-driving, and so on.

Onu Chibuike employed the medium of poetry to hammer the fact that experience doesn't guarantee perfection.

"An appreciative symbol
For undented thirty-five years of service to fatherland"

As noted in line 19 - 20 of the poem, the government driver has been in the job for 35 years yet a single neglect of traffic regulations cost him his life.


The poet is a vibrant Nigerian writer, a member of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and a civil servant.

It is no surprise how he could paint the picture of a retiring government driver in the poem A Government Driver On His Retirement.


Let’s write the context of the poem in prose form.

Today, a government chauffeur celebrates his retirement after his many years of faithful service.

For a very long time, he had stirred clear of alcoholism in order to obey the rules and regulations of driving but today, he's eligible to become a freeman.

He urged, "Come, friends, rejoice with me I shall booze and zoom myself home_ away from duty rules come, celebrate my freedom"

"Early to duty tomorrow holds not, thirty-five years of faithful services I'll booze to sleep away my sufferings today I've long waited for"

A brand new car is given to him as a reward for his diligence_ which aggravated his joy of retirement. He drank and suddenly drank to stupor.

On his way home, while driving, alcohol blurred his vision. He crashed his brand new car and died.


A Government Driver On His Retirement by Onu Kingsley Chibuike is a free-verse.

A free-verse is form of poetry that is void of planned rhythm and planned rhyme scheme.

Those in such category are Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara, Parable by William Soutar, etc.

The poem ( A Government Driver On His Retirement ) is a total of 33 lines void of planned end-rhymes and rhythms.

Through a climactic flow of event, the poem is relayed from a third person perspective.

The driver's identity isn't revealed but the event of his down was narrated by the poem persona addressing him with third person singular masculine pronoun and also complemented the narration with quotation found in stanza 3 - 4:

"Come, friends, rejoice with me
I shall booze and zoom myself home
Away from duty rules
Come celebrate my freedom"

"Early to duty tomorrow holds not,
Thirty-five years of faithful services
I'll booze to sleep away my sufferings
Today I've long waited for".

To be noted as well, is the fact that the diction of the poem is as simple as water.

The poem persona doesn't narrate for the purpose of mourning the driver's death but to make fun of the driver's foolishness. This is why the tone of the poem is sarcastic.

On the contrary, the mood pushed out of readers is sympathetic.


There are many themes in the poem, such as (a) the theme of disobedience, (b) the theme of freedom, (c) the theme of endurance, (d) the theme of servitude, (e) the theme of death,  (f) the theme of imperfection, etc.

As regards the theme of freedom, the whole poem resonates freedom because the celebration of retirement is synonymous to celebration of freedom.

The poet expressed the importance of freedom by employing words like "freeman" in line 7, "Today frees" in line 23, "Celebrating the celebration of his retirement" in line 26.

And now to the theme of death.

The poem "A Government Driver On His Retirement" also reminds the readers that no matter how long humans hunger for freedom or even get to the point of celebrating it_ death is a boss to freedom (no human being is free from death).

Another theme in the poem is the theme of imperfection.

Humans lack perfection in the same way the government driver in the poem. Unexpected actions or events could transform to error. A mere celebration of job retirement became the downfall of the government chauffeur.

The theme of endurance. Endurance and patience are siblings and both are very rewarding.

The reward for endurance in the context of the poem are freedom and gift (a brand new car).

As seen from line 17 - 24:
"More joy to send him home.
A brand new car in his name
An appreciative symbol
For undented thirty-five years of service to

"Come, friends and rejoice more,
Joy till no more joy to joy
Today frees and makes me a king
My patience rewarded".

The theme of disobedience.

The theme is absolutely nothing but warning.

The government driver's refusal to obey the regulations which he foolishly thought was only guiding his duty, made him kicked bucket of untimely death.

The theme of servitude is obvious in the poem.

Servitude is a state of being subject to a powerful authority.

Serving or being in civil service can be viewed from different perspective.

The character in the poem considered it to be a yoke or bondage which was why he craved freedom.

To be candid, thirty five years of engaging in a routine is not a joke.

Probably, that could be the reason why he considered himself suffering in line 15:
"I'll booze to sleep away my sufferings"


The obvious and simple to remember  among the poetic devices embedded in the poem are (a) synecdoche (b) euphemism (c) repetition (d) imagery (e) anastrophe (f) alliteration (g) enjambment (h) irony (i) onomatopoeia (j) assonance

Synecdoche; representing a whole with part or part with whole. In the poem, there's "like a snake without a head" in line 10, " Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe" in line 19, “Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake" in line 20.

Euphemism; is a practice of replacing a harsh word with a very mild one in a work of art. Example of euphemism in the poem can be found in line 32 - 33:
"And it sent him home
Home to rest in peace".

The word "Home" is used as a replacement for death.

Repetition; is a poetic device where certain words, phrases, lines, or verses are repeated twice or more to create a sing-song rhythm or emphasis in a poem. Just for mentioning sake, few words repeated in the poem are “wheels” in line 1 and 29. “home” in line 3, 10 and 17. Repetition of phrase such as “...faithful service to his fatherland” in line 2 and 27. "Come, friends, rejoice..." in line 9 and 21.

 Imagery; using words or expressions to created mental picture in a poem so the readers can see, smell, feel the event clearer. Few in the poem are "faithful service" in line 2, "his boozy throat" in line 5, "Eligible for his country's services" in line 8.

Anastrophe; reversing the word order as to add some levels of effect to expression or line in a poem; it can also be called inversion. In line 3 is "Today retires he home" and in line 13 is "Early to duty tomorrow holds not".

Alliteration; successive use of consonant sounds within a line or two in a poem. "In faithful service to his fatherland” in line 2, “he home” in line 3, “In obedience to duty rules and regulations” in line 6, “Come celebrate my freedom” in line 12, "Booze boozed his vision and clear judgment" in line 30.

Enjambment; flow of idea from more than a line in poetry (run-on-line). This poetic device is evident in the poem "A Government Driver On His Retirement".

Irony; expresses one's meaning by employing a language that normally signifies its opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect. In the poem A Government Driver On His Retirement, the emphasis placed on going home is an irony.

Onomatopoeiaforming word from a sound associated with what is named. In poem, "zoom" found in line 10, which is a sound made by car is used to represent the word "drive". "Boomed" found in line 31, which is a sound for explosion is used to represent a crash.

Assonancerepeating vowel sounds within lines. "I shall booze and zoom myself home" in line 10.

Pun; also paronomasia, is a form of word play that exploits multiple meanings of a term, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. An example is in line 26 "Celebrating the celebration..." and in line 30 "Booze boozed his vision..."


A Taxi Driver On His Death by Timothy Wangusa is a poem similar to “ A Government Driver On His Retirement ”. Both poems address the importance of obeying road traffic regulations.

In Timothy Wangusa's poem, the voice of the poem foresaw himself been killed in a car crash when his metalic beast (his car) suddenly decides to malfunction.

Continue Reading >>>

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo With Wings Flying)

Blog Archive

Popular Posts

Article Index