The attention and visibility that Dike Dike Chukumerije’s performance poetry is getting is arguably a function of both his craft as well as the import of his quest—a conscious propagation of a Nigerian identity. In this sense, his work qualifies as representing the driving force of much of contemporary Nigerian performance poetry in the poetry slam tradition.
This paper seeks to argue that performance poetry in Nigeria in general and the poetry of Dike Chukwumerije in particular is better read in the context of the obsession of the Nigerian public with poetry that either speaks to their situation or is topical. Dike Chukwumerije’s work stands out for many reasons: its primary engagement with the Nigerian national question, the intellectual rigour it invests in the discourse and propagation of a Nigerian identity and the strategic way it deploys autobiographical data in executing its purpose. The paper relies on selected pubic performances of the poet’s work in theorising his work.