This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
GUNS FOR THE GENERAL, TOADS OF WAR AND THE SIREN IN THE NIGHT
OKEY COMPASSION JACOB 06/11016
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND LITERARY STUDIES FACULTY OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF CALABAR CALABAR, NIGERIA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF BACHELOR OF ARTS (B.A. HONS) DEGREE IN ENGLISH AND LITERARY STUDIES.
CERTIFICATION This is to certify that this research work entitled ³Predicament and Implication: The Nigerian Civil War and the Morality of Women in Eddie Iroh¶s Forty-Eight Guns for the General, Toads of War and The Siren in the Night´ was written by Okey, Compassion Jacob
(06/11016) of the Department of English and Literary Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Calabar, Calabar, under the Supervision of Dr. Azubike Iloeje. OKEY, COMPASSION JACOB (Researcher) ______________________ Signature _______________________ Date
Dr. Azubike Iloeje (Supervisor)
______________________ Signature _______________________ Date
Dr. Ndubisi Osuagwu (Head of Department)
_______________________ Signature _______________________ Date
______________________ Signature _______________________ Date
DEDICATION This study is dedicated to my ever caring Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Okey and my beloved siblings, Ransome and Praise.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The success of my intellectual endeavour would have remained a mirage without the valuable input of some intellectual livewires who have been helpers of the vision. My sincere gratitude goes first to my supervisor, Dr. Azubike Iloeje, a father and teacher who guided, corrected, advised and served as a vital link between my dreams for this research work and its reality. Though he almost stretched the life out of me, his contributions has made this work a huge success. I deeply appreciate all my lectures who have impacted
knowledge in me from my first year in this department. My beloved cousin Lyclah, dear friends and course mates like Ogechukwu, Mike, Ezere, Mba, Bro Godwin, Alice, Mary, Umoh, Patricia, Anne, Nkashi, Sandy, Akai, Beatrice and the host of others who gave me moral support and aided me with some materials I used in this study, are warmly appreciated. The love, care and support of my parents, both financially and spiritually are greatly appreciated, for without them, these pages could scarcely have been written. I also thank my siblings, Ranny and P boy who aided me in their little way by encouraging and praying for me during the writing of this work.
Above all, my greatest appreciation goes to my heavenly father who loved me, gave me the breath of life, wisdom and grace to go about this research, even when I am not worthy. His love, grace, care and compassion saw me through it all.
ABSTRACT This study examines the predicament and implication of the Nigerian Civil War on the morality of women in Eddie Iroh¶s Forty-Eight Guns for the General (1979), Toads of War (1979) and The Siren in the Night (1982), which are the creative representation of the beginning, middle and end of the Nigerian Civil War. The predicament of women in Forty-Eight Guns for the General and Toads of War is closely related. It is the predicament of want. The result of this Predicament is the decline of morality as women, even the married, trade their bodies to soldier and the few rich who cou ld provide their needs food, clothing and shelter; some others, stole to survive. Since FortyEight Guns for the General deals with soldier in action, there are cases of rape and sexual molestation. In Toads of War, there are jobless ladies who gladly give themselves to men, others even cheat on their closest friends by having sexual intercourse with their benefactors; though, most of them had sworn never to let a man see them naked till they get married. In The Siren in the Night, there are the predicament of death of women who tried to keep their families together as a body. Others are the predicaments of uncertainty, fear and treat to lives of women whose husbands a re trying to fix themselves within some places of work at the end of the war. The decline of morality is seen in these three works as part of the inevitable instability of mind occasioned by the war.
TABLE OF CONTENTS TITLE PAGE CERTIFICATION DEDICATION i ii iii iv vi vii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABSTRACT -
TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Introduction Background of study
1 5 7 9 11 15
Theoretical framework Significance of study Review of scholarship Background of author -
CHAPTER TWO 2.0 Predicament and Implication: The Nigerian Civil War and the Morality of women in Forty-Eight Guns for the General. 17
CHAPTER THREE 3.0 Predicament and Implication: The Nigerian Civil War and the morality of women in Toads of War. -
CHAPTER FOUR 4.0 4.1 The morality of women in Eddie Iroh¶s The Siren the Night. 38 Summary 46
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The Nigerian Civil War which is at times referred to as the Biafran war is a terrible experience between the 6th of July 1967 and January 5th 1970. There was a war as a result of some unpleasant occurrences within the country and, the events of this war have greatly influenced Nigerian Literature. Writers have written mostly novels than plays or poetic works based on these horrifying
happening. These writers are either reacting from the federal side like Ken Saro Wiwa, Festus Iyayi, etc, or from the Biafran side like Eddie Iroh, Chinua Achebe etc. Dyson, Sally (1998) gives a summary of the Civil War, its causes and consequences on the country in the lines below: The Civil War that broke out on July 6, 1967 was to last for two-and-a half years. In view of the pogrom of Ibos in the North in 1966 rebel soldier Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and his followers regarded the conflict as a total war for actual physical survival. But by the end of 1969, the Biafran succumbed and the vital remaining airstrip « came within range of federal artillery. Military casualties reached an estimated 100,000. But the majority of death occurred among Ibo civilians: between 500,000 and two million Biafran civilians died in the war mainly from starvation (173). The pogrom or the massacre of the Easterners in the north can be traced first to the coup of January 15, 1966. According to Senator Joseph `Lai (1995), it all started in the coup of January 15, 1966.
In the early hours of the morning, a dissident section of the Nigerian Army kidnapped the Prime Minister Alhaji Tafawa Balewa and the Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okofi Eboh and took them to an unknown destination«. (64) The coup is spearheaded by the revolutioner, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogu and others which included; Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna, Major Chris Anufona and Major Don Okafor. They took it upon themselves to kill all the political Lords and thin gods who once fought for the liberation and independence of the country and its people from the clutches of colonialism, but are now in turn murdering those they liberated by their corrupt and heartless activities. All these Majors were assigned to each region to kill the top politicians. But, some people missed their targets and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr. M. I. Okpara who were among those mapped out to be killed escaped. Alhaji Tafawa Balewa (Prime Minister), Sir Ahmadu Bello (the Premier of the Northern Region) and Chief Samuel Ladoke (the Premier of the Western Region) are killed. As Senator Joseph `Lai puts it; Others who lost their lives were army officers from the North and West. No Civil leader or Military officer from the East was killed. The only exception was Lt. Col Unegbo who was shot because he refused to hand over the keys to the armoury (64 ± 65). For this reason, the coup was termed an Igbo affair because, no Igbo top politician or military officer, except Lt. Col. Unegbo, was affected.
This coup according to Ojukwu,Chukuemeka (1969), lead to a Northern revolt and counter coup in 29th July 1966 by Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon and Major Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma. This coup lead to the death of the first military Head of State, Major General Aguiyi Ironsi and Lt. Col. Fajuyi, the Military Governor of Western Region, bringing the 32 year old Colonel Yakubu Gowon as chief of Army and Head of State of Nigeria. This Lt. Col. Ojukwu a senior military officer did not support. There were other causes of the Nigerian Civil War which cannot be exhausted in this section ; majority of the causes are engulfed in the leadership tenure of Gowon. He promised creating new states but did not on the agreed date. He promised bringing to justice the soldiers who raided Benin Prison, removed, freed Northerners and brutally murdered detainees who were mainly easterners in
September 1966, who were all detained as a result of their alleged involvement in the attempted coup of 15 January 19 66. Contrary to the decision of Aburi Accord, recruitment into the Army continued in different parts of the country except the East. His (Gowon¶s) failure to abide by other decisions of Aburi Accord caused the Civil War. Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu the then Governor of the Eastern Region
announced on Radio that all Igbos should leave all other regions and return to the Eastern region since their lives were no more save. He went further to have meetings and talks with some top Eastern rulers.
Not minding the advice of Major Nzeogwu who told him that the aim of their coup was to stop tribalism and corruption, he went further to declare ³the Republic of Biafra´ on March 31st 1967. This action leads to the Nigerian Civil War which officially started on the 6 th July, 1967. The Civil War lead to the destruction of many lives in the battle field and in refugee camps. Women on the other hand could not keep to high value their body which is their most valuable item. They give it out for food, clothing and shelter for themselves and their children. Young ones are recruited into the army, so were the old, as the others die on daily basis. The Civil War, a horrendous experience Nigerians prays never occur again separated families, caused pain and tears to many, both psychologically and physically. This research work is divided into four chapters. Chapter one deals with a general introduction to the work, background of study and the author, the significance of study, theoretical framework and review of scholarship. Chapter two handles predicaments and
implications: the Nigerian Civil War and the morality of women in Forty-Eight Guns for the General; Chapter three deals with
Predicaments and implications: the Nigerian Civil War and the morality of women in Toads of War; Chapter four deliberates on the
predicaments of women in the Nigerian Civil War in The Siren in the Night; and finally gives a brief summary discussed in the research. of everything that is
BACKGROUND OF STUDY Literature is a creative art of writing that does not exist in a
vacuum. It is an appendage to society. The occurrences within a particular milieu motivate writers to write either fictional or non-fiction literary works. The writers in Africa or Nigeria to be specific find in the activities and occurrences in society materials to write on. Literature therefore involves a group of people who share the experience of the fictional activities demo nstrated in a literary piece. About the
relationship between literature and the public, H. R. Jauss maintains that every «work has its specific, historically and sociologically determined audience that every writer is dependent upon. The milieu, views and ideology of his readers « literacy success requires a book which expresses what the group expects, a book which presents the group with its own portrait (85).
From the above, one sees that literature portrays the society, it¶s people and their experiences. This is applicable to African writers generally and Nigeria writers particularly. Early African and Nigerian novels are influenced by the
circumstances in history which mo lded the society from pre-colonial states and their cultural entities, where writer¶s concern according to Oko Emilia 2005: «was to reinstate the validity of African culture and prove that the African way of life and thought were worthy subject of Art (12).
After this period of cultural affirmation came writers and writings about the most embracing influence s of colonization which had created the political entity of that country. For instance, Nigerian colonialism becomes a significant factor in the socio-political life of the nation. Writers then wrote about colonial encounter. These works portrayed the destruction of the African believe and values as a result of their encounter with the European culture. In Nigeria we have writers like Achebe, Chinua, Ekwensi, Cyprian etc. Then came the literature of independence or post -colonialism where African countries have gained independence and we re now in control of themselves. These societies breed corruption, neo-
colonialism and the disillusionment of the poor masses. These aspects of society influence not only writers of the novel but also writers of poetry and drama, which reflects the corrupt practices amongst political hoodlums in the country. W ithin this period, the Nigerians experienced the Civil War. The Nigerian Civil War resulted to a certain kind of national literature. It produced writers who reported their terrible experiences either from the federal or Biafra angle. Iroh¶s trilogy; Forty-Eight Guns for the General (1975), Toads of War (1979) and The Siren in the Night (1982) is a reaction from the Biafran angle and it portrays vividly the unpleasant experiences of the Biafrans, during the war
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Eddie Iroh¶s Forty-Eight Guns for the General, Toads of War and
The Sirens in the Night express the historical ideology. This is because in this trilogy he tends to tell the history of the Nigerian Civil War, the happenings during and after the war. Historicism calls for writing things that affect people according to their history. The events of the Nigerian Civil War according to Nwahunanya, Chinyere, 1996; «were traumatic experiences that threatened the very existence of the people as individuals and of a people as a corporate entity «. (2). It is one memorable experience in the country¶s history that cannot be forgotten. The Civil War is therefore indelible from the minds of parents, children and relatives who experienced it or heard about it. Writers therefore act as historians by writing these
experiences either as fictional or non fictional novels, play text and poems, thereby making it unforgettable as other historical experiences of the country. These set of writers are divided into federal and Biafran voices but, 90 percent of the literature on the Nigerian Civil War are written by Biafrans, from the east. There is this disparity because according to S. O. Mezu (1993) as quoted by Chinyere Nwahunaya (1996): « since the war experience of Biafrans and the other Nigerians were not the same in spite of unification, divergent views of the reality of
the Nigerian experience will for a long time to come modify the Nigerian¶s vision of the world and consequently the literature emanating from Igbo land and the rest of Nigeria (12). Eddie Iroh is a Biafran writer who tells us the experiences at the beginning of the war in Biafra in Forty-Eight Guns for the General, where mercenaries are flown in to help the Biafrans. In Toads of War, he takes us deeper into history by po rtraying the period before the Civil War which is the coup and the pogrom of the Igbos in Kalu Udim¶s monologue: «the massacres, during which my people were machine-gunned out of the federation in a brilliantly bloody spectacle that left the tactical imprint of sandhurst training «. Then along came Biafra. Yes, our Biafra. The heaven for a persecuted people; the answer to Nigeria and massacres, the bold response to cyclic decades of pogrom «. (46). In The Siren in the Night, he brings his trilogy and war history to an end by portraying the tribalistic impulse on the society after the Civil War, using the characters of colonel Kolawole the antagonis t of the novel who is against Colonel Ben Udaja the protagonist of the novel, who is not tribalistic. Eddie Iroh therefore uses the historical ideology in writing the things that affected the people of Nigeria before, during and after the Civil War. Though these novels are fictional, they are quality historical materials that harbour the historical experiences of Nigerians before and after the period of 1967 ± 1969.
Significance of study This research work intends to explore in debt the predicaments
of women and their moral imbalance during the Nigerian Civil War in Eddie Iroh¶s Forty-Eight Guns for the General, Toads of War and The Sirens in the Night. Women are humans as men but, possess certain qualities that are different from theirs. According to Umoren, Tonia (2002); Scientific researchers in their study of the gametes have identified two sexes: male and female, strong and weak respectively. The female sex is the weak and it is the woman «. (2) From the above one discovers that woman is the weaker sex while the man are the opposite. A woman therefore might prove hard at the beginning of something but by the virtue of being the weaker sex, she could easily be broken by situations. Other characteristics of women and men according to Nicholson, John (1993) are; «men are thought to be physically tougher, more aggressive, more rational, better able to handle sex without love, and more like to be successful at work by virtue of their greater will to win. Women on the other hand are held to be more emotional and unpredictable, interested in people rather than ideas, and too suggestible and dependent to wield authority comfortable to anyone except perhaps their own children (2). There are various differences given in the above quote but, two are very important to this researcher; these are the ideas that women are more emotional than men and unpredictable. They do not handle
situations like men, they get emotional at the situations of their children and family as a whole. This deep concern and love makes them mostly unpredictable. Women like men have needs like: shelter, clothing, feeding and most especially some specific needs like their toiletries which their male counterparts do not really need. All these needs are essential and pressing on a woman and can make her go the extra mile of giving her body to a man that can provide these needs. During the Nigerian Civil War, families were torn apart, most fathers and grown up sons were recruited into the army and other children, left to the care of their mothers. Mothers have to carter for themselves and their children in a society where there is unrest and joblessness. Young women had to barter their bodies to stay alive, other women were raped by soldier who had guns to threaten their lives if they resisted. These are acts of total moral degeneration which on normal circumstances would not have happened. The issues discussed in the paragraphs above are the
predicaments of women during the war and its implications their morality. These will be analyzed vividly in the subsequent chapters of this research work as portrayed by Eddie Iroh in his trilogy.
REVIEW OF SCHOLARSHIP According to the Encyclopedia of African Literature;
Eddie Iroh is one of the many writers who came of age during the Nigerian Civil War and like many works connected with this traumatic event in post colonial Africa, his novels are not concerned so much with the wider politics of the war but with the mediate effect on the people who lived through it. « Iroh¶s novels are memorable for their concern with its immediate effect on the people who lived through the conflict rather than the wider politics of the war (1). Forty-Eight Guns for the General focuses on the emotional tension of people living in a war torn enclave, the human carriage and waste caused by war situation and the pompous leader who does not know what it means to be completely patriotic and heeding to advice. The consequence of this according to Nwahunaya, Chinyere (1996); «is that in the cause of the execution of the war which forms the subject of the novel, foreign mercenaries are trusted more than patriotic indigenous officers. Through the mercenary involvement in Civil War, Eddie Iroh in the novel shows us the imperialist and neo-colonial machination which underline the instability of African nations (209). From the above it can be said that Nwahunaya describes FortyEighty Guns for the General based on the life in Biafra and the military. It expresses just the idea of the introduction of mercenaries to fighting in support of the Biafrans, a form of neo-colonialism. She also looks at the novel as portraying a leadership by people who are deaf to true and patriotic advice of citizen s and blinded to trust the mercenaries. It can then be said that Nwahumanya, Chinyere in her
analysis of Forty-Eight Guns for the General did not relate the novel to the portrayal of the women during the Civil War. In Toads of War, Eddie Iroh exposed the evils that were common in Nigeria before the Civil War which surfaced with greater intensity in Biafra. This consequently caused the failure of the
revolution as stated by Nwahunanya, Chinyere (1996): His comments of the social ethics which informs the behaviour of many highly-placed persons in Toads of War, makes the book a remarkable achievement, for as the book suggests, the replay in war-time Biafra of the objectionable behaviours which in the first place made Biafrans want to pull out of Nigeria, means that some of the causes of our problems are congenital and so cannot just be wiped out by merely drawing a new map and hoisting a new flag (209). She says in Toad of War that there are the harrowing memories of the pogrom when ³Kalu Udim´ for instance talks about: «the massacres during which my people were machine-gunned out of the federation « then came along Biafra. Yes, our Biafra « the bold response to cyclic decades pogrom «. (118) She does not stop here, she goes further to state that: Beyond the pogrom is the need to start afresh on a clean slate, to sweep into oblivion the vestiges of the corruption that had been the hallmark of political life in pre-war Nigeria. Iroh records that in the following interior monologue from Toads of War « fat men grew fatter sucking the blood of learn men. Lean men dried up and snapped like twigs « (118 ± 119).
This corruption leads to the coup of 15 January 1966, the pogrom and then the Civil War. She also has it that: it is these various cor rupt power profiteers that Iroh refers to as the ³toads of war ³ « who are prepared to exploit whoever they can «. Given this situation where a few people have everything and the majority has nothing, the stage is set for the exploitation of whoever turns up. Women turn out to be the main victims of these power profiteers. A typical toad of war is Chima Duke. He is aware of the helplessness of Kechi Ugboma and girls of her type and therefore wants to exploit it to the fullest «. (128).
From the above analysis, it can be deduced that Chinyere Nwahunaya sees Toads of War as a novel that portrays the corruption in the society, which leads to the coup of January 15, 1966, the Pogrom and creation of the Republic of Biafra. She also sees the novel as that which tries to trace back the memories of the cause of the coup, the pogrom and the initial satisfaction of Biafrans, when finally ³their own Biafra´ is created. She does not widely state women¶s immoral practices as a result of the war, she only sees women as instrument exploited by the rich because of their helplessness. In The Siren in the Night things have deteriorated to a stage where the Biafran state cannot be salvaged from the doldrums and disillusionment it has already entrenched itself among the people. With the military disabilities to compound the problem, defeat is already indicated. Men of conscience like Ben Udaja see that the only
solution to the problem is a defection to Nigeria as a way of accentuating the collapse of Biafra since the revolution failed. Ben Udaja before the formal end of the war initiates his own personal rehabilitation when he makes up his mind to defect from the Biafran cause. According to Nwahunanya, Chinyere (1989): out of the conviction that it was no longer meaningful to continue the war when the leadership had not only derailed from initial objectives of the revolution, but was also becoming impervious to genuine advice (39). Ben Udaja¶s action is that of a disillusioned patriot who seeks the means of saving the number of masses from the continuous deaths by working as the Director of Civilian coordination to assist return Biafran masses. This employment of his according to
Nwahunanya Chinyere (1996) results to an: Issue of tribalism and power in a tr ibally pluralistic country like Nigeria «. Here he focuses on the use into which tribal sentiment are put by people who find themselves in positions of influence, and who want to use such position to achieve political ascendancy«. Because those holding pow er are often afraid of losing it, members of other tribes with the same political unit are often branded saboteurs, agitators or over-ambitious political enthusiasts «. This kind of experience in many African countries including Nigeria compel one to read the behaviour of Mike Kolawole and his perception of the responsibility given to Ben Udaja in The Sirens in the Night «.(209 ± 213). The extract above gives a summary of what Nwahunanya, Chinyere gives as an analysis of The Siren in the Night. She sees it as
a novel written on the impulse of tribalism in the country as portrayed in the work by it¶s author, Eddie Iroh between the activities of the protagonist Ben Udaja who is a Biafran returnee who surrendered before the war officially ended and is given an employment as the Director of Civilian Co-ordination but is envied by the antagonist Colonel Mike Kolawole, Head of the Federal Security and Intelligence Directorate. She also did not talk about the plight of women, now the war was getting to an official end, the Biafrans are surrendering and tribalism is getting at its peak as the ³big men´ try to stop the effects of a show casing returnees. The above analysis of these novels given by Nwahunaya, Chinyere do not vividly reflect the predicaments of women during the war or their moral breakdown: This is what this researcher tries to do in the three chapters below
BACKGROUND OF AUTHOR Iroh, Eddie is the author of Forty-Eight Guns for the General
(1975), Toads of War (1979) and The Siren in the Night (1982); Without a silver Spoon (1981) and Bannana Leaves (2007). During the Nigerian Civil War, he was a desk editor for the Biafran War Information Bureau. Afterwards he worked for Reuters, the news agency, for Evans publishers and then for the Features and
Documentation Department of Nigerian Television, Enugu. Since 1979,
he has been the Head and Controller of the Documentary Department, Nigerian Television Authority Lagos where he is writing and directing a documentary series on the origin and development of th e Nigerian people called ³Portrait of a Culture´. Eddie Iroh is championed by his action -packed trilogy of the war in Biafra; Forty-Eight Guns for the General, Toads of War and The Siren in the Night. These three novels reflect three periods of the War. Forty-Eight Guns for the General reflects the beginning of the war as faced by the people and the military in Biafra. Toads of war reflect the period of war and the effect on lives outside the military. While The siren in the Night deals with life on Biafra after the war for the returning civilians and military men. A brief summary and analysis would be done on these novels in the subsequent chapters.
CHAPTER TWO 2.0 PREDICAMENT AND IMPLICATION: THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR AND THE MORALITY OF WOMEN IN FORTY-EIGHT GUNS FOR THE GENERAL
According to Ezeigbo, Theodora (1991); No historical or political event in the turbulent history of Nigeria has given birth to such a large corpus of literary works as the Civil War ± a fratricidal conflict that caused the death of thousands of people «. There were experimentations in fiction with various forms which has hitherto not been explored «. (24) Eddie Iroh explores this experience in his action-packed trilogy. Forty-Eight Guns for the General is the first of the trilogy, it lunches the reader into the atmosphere of the Nigerian Civil War from 1967 ± 1968, as faced majorly by Biafrans. The story in this novel revolves around the activities of ³the Christian Brothers´, a group made up of forty-eight mercenaries under the leadership of the color conscious, selfish, German, Colonel Jacques Rudolf. The Christian Brothers are invited to Biafra to s erve as aids in the war that is getting tensed as the days passed. Rudulf, as the General¶s representative fine tunes him to only accepting his ideas and suggestions. His plan is to enrich himself and go back home to rest. He does this by keeping away the white soldiers from the war front and training them for a special attack, then forming a special division which he calls ³« our own unit´(60), made up of Major Schmuts, Captain Hans Heizn, Amilo Relli, Major Dan Marc, Major Bill Ball and
Major Denault Georges, who together have secret meetings and agenda on how to control the Biafran army. Georges does not belief in the idea that they came here to earn a living and help the General «, not to score a quick victory «. And if you are fighting to make a living you fight to stay alive « and a good General fights where and when he likes (61). He has human sympathy and conscience and wants to help the Biafran soldiers at the war front. Rudulf sees him as a treat so sends him and his followers to the Calabar front where the battle is fierce, then asks Captain Michael to keep close watch on him. The report by Michael is too applauding, so Rudulf decides to kill them for his safety. Michael is not able to accomplish this mission because Jutes tells him the truth. For not killing Georges, Michael and Jutes a re kept in prison under strict custody. Captain Belgar and Coullar are sent to kill George and they accomplish the mission. As the war continues, Calabar just like Aba, Port Harcourt a nd the host of others falls. Onitsha has to be defended in order that it does not fall. This is the last opportunity for Rudulf to execute his last scheme and get away from the country so, he and his trained soldiers goes for battle. Meanwhile after his release, Colonel Charles Chumah, a legend to the Biafran Soldier has been ordered by the General to be the deputy commander of the 5 commando under Colonel Jacques Rudolf, to fight and defend the city. He is bitter and does not join
Rudolf who on the other hand sees him as a treat. Chaumah together with major Chime Dimkpa reassembles and train the Biafran soldiers for their own battle. On the other han d, Major Derek Tremble feeds the federal government with information about the plans made in Biafra so, they attack, bomb and destroy their armoury. This makes the Biafrans leave for the fight before the zero hour. The battle is serious and about 25,000 or more soldiers
including Major Dan Marc, dies and Onitsha is lost. Rudulf knows it is time to execute his last plan, he gives the surviving soldiers a generous meal, tells them that the General says Onitsha is
meaningless if the airstrip is endangered and therefore gives order that they should wipe out every advancing force with maximum speed. They sheepishly followed and aided him in seizing the airstrip and the super constellation aircraft which carries relief items and battle equipments. He then demands a ransome of two million dollars from the General. The General sends orders to Colonel Charles Chaumah who responds immediately. With the help of Flight
Lieutenant Boma, Captain Gideon, Major Chime Dimkpa and other soldiers, Captain Rudolf and his fellow collaborators are captured, leaving Amilo Relli dead since he tries resisting arrest by the now sensitized soldiers, who once stood by them. This victory brings Colonel Chumah to the fore as he is now the Commander of the 5
The above is the summary of the novel Forty-Eight Guns for the General. Apart from this story above, Iroh also portrays in his novel the predicaments and implication s of the Nigerian Civil War on the morality of women. These would be discussed below with instances from few other works. In normal societal situation, women are very expensive. Majority of them cannot be gotten so easily; their suitors must beg, spend on them and wait patiently for their reply before even thinking of having sexual intercourse with them. This statement is not applicable during the period of war, the Nigerian Civil War to be specific. Women become so cheapened and could be gotten without stress at anytime to satisfy the sex starved men or just for the pleasure of it. This predicament is captured in the statements of Kaptain Heinz to a man who offers him a drink: ³No not a drink « I want a woman! Give me a woman´. In reply to this request, the fat man who offers him the drink replies: Ah, you can always have a woman when you want « have a drink first ± it is a good appetizer for a woman « the room roared in approval. (48).
The implication of the Nigerian Civil War from the above predicament is that, the high value and respect for women is lost. His demand is met and Kaptain Heinz gets the woman he wants but his; «only regret was that the woman he duly got stole eighty-five dollars from his wallet while he was asleep the next morning´ (48).
This quotation reveals to us the fearless beast the war makes out of the woman. Women are rarely thieves, but here, we meet a bad and fearless woman who steals as much as eighty -five dollars as a result of the war condition. The implication of the Civil War here is that, the moral standard and make-up of the woman is reduced to that of a thief in order that she survives. During the period of war, women become urgent wives and urgent divorcees to men who might never pay their dowry. They hastily get entangled with mostly soldier who are capable of protecting them and providing their needs, even as married women. This predicament is captured by Ekwensi, Cyprian in his novel Survive the Peace. Stories circulated freely about wives who gave themselves to men in uniform to whom all power had now passed, some in return for food, many in return for favour and protection, others purely to show off (37). What is unfortunate about this hasty entanglement is that the women are easily and hastily separated from their benefactors because, they are soldiers and soldiers are mobile especially during
the period of war. Their stay in a particular place is not always certain as they are only sent there on assignment. While leaving, they leave their women behind and these women will likely get involved in another relationship with other group of soldiers. This predicament of women is capture in the conversation of some soldiers quoted below: «when we smash the rebels and get to Arochukwu, there will be beer in the shops and women hiding in the bushes«´ ³I left one in Calabar I hope to find her when I get a pass´ ³« sorry for you, you won¶t find her, your commander must have commanded her by now« (56) From the above, one can say that the implication of the Nigerian Civil War on women¶s morality is the lost of sanity and trust. Wives can no longer be trusted confidently by their husbands who might be at the battle front, or girls, as their parents or relatives cannot boast without doubt of their sanity. Furthermore, during the war, women tend to fall in love with the big men in town who had all the money and things they needed to survive because, they showed them generosity. This act of generosity is mostly expressed in order to exploit the poor incapable women of their bodies, which they have preserved all through the years when there was no war. In The last Duty by Okphwho, Isidoro for instance, one sees a practical example of a woman (Aku) who falls in love with (Toje) a generous and wealthy army commander whose aim was just to exploit her. His generosity is captured in her statement that:
Where can I run, what can I so? If it weren¶t for the goodness of the federal army commander here « where would I be today? (11). In Forty-Eight Guns for the General, Iroh states this
predicament of women clearly in the statement below; Their officers flew about in the best cars which they drove like land-jets. They drank the best liquor, smoked foreign cigarettes and wore new clothes. They were loved dearly by the girls for their generosity with foreign currency (139). Rape is an ill in society which in normal conditions rarely occurs; women on the other hand are very protective of themselves and hardly give up their bodies to men, even as prostitutes. But, during a war situation where abnormalities are normal, rape is rampant and committed by the men with the gun, on a gun point. In the novel, we see a 28 years old Swedish spinster Miss Wenda Britta in this horrible situation. She lo ves children and is a member of the Red Cross. She establishes a centre for war orphans threatened by malnutrition then, gets food and drugs from the nearby airstrip for them. When the airstrip is taken over by the greedy foreign mercenaries, she goes to get food as usually but is captured and made prisoner. She preserves and secures her body, refusing to have sex with any man not even with the struggling kaptain Hans Heinz who struggled with the unyielding girls. He gets angry and says: ³Damn you, you bitching bastard!´ «³Now! Or I¶ll use that gun!´ he glared the gun!
The mention of the gun lying among the pile of clothes over the empty crate caused Wenda¶s Stout heart to tremble. She had put up a masculine fight against the united force of Hans Hanz as soon as he had tossed the gun away along with clothes. But now the gun! Oh God! The gun! She moaned silently, her strength suddenly sapped by mortal fear of the maniac¶s threat. ³My God! My God, oh oh´. She moaned ineffectually as Hanz Heinz, his eyes a glint with the smile of evil lust about to be assuaged tore her thighs apart and ripped of the last shreds of Wenda Britta¶s privacy (200). From the above, one sees that the strength of a woman to resist immorality is subdued by the introduction of a gun. The gun here serves as a weakening force to a woman¶s strength during the war. In Survive the Peace by Ekwensi, Cyprian, we see the power of the gun over a woman as: into Ukoha¶s compound one evening ran an Obodonta girl. She was in tears and her clothes had been torn. At first she was incoherent but constant questioning made her stammer out her story, she could not describe clearly who had done it but she said it was a large man in Khaki. The man¶s face had marks and he carried a gun. (28). The implication of the above predicament of women during the war is that: women¶s sanity is destroyed, though, not willingly as seen in other predicaments, but unwillingly, by force or compulsion. In conclusion, it can be said that, some of the predicaments faced by women during the Nigerian Civil War as shown in Iroh¶s
Forty-Eight Guns for the General mainly as a result of lack and want of the basic necessities of life ± food, shelter, clothes and protection. They get all these in exchange of their bodies which is their most valuable item. These actions of theirs lead to a low moral decadence in society as pointed above. The implications are as follows; women can no longer be trusted for sanity, they lose their high value within family and society, those who do not get enough turn into rogues while those who still protect themselves and their dignity not minding the horrible situation, are raped with the treat of a gun.
CHAPTER THREE 3.0 PREDICAMENT AND IMPLICATION: THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR THE MORALITY OF WOMEN IN TOADS OF WAR
Toads of War is the second of Iroh¶s trilling trilogy about the Nigerian Civil War. The Encyclopedia of African Literature has it that ³« Toads of War (1976) traces the fortunes of former soldiers as they try to survive in the bleak last days of the secessionist Republic of Biafra´. (1). It begins with a prologue which introduces the reader to the collapse of Umuahia to the federal army. Owerri becomes the last resort of the refugees. The story is narrated by an epileptic disabled soldier, Kalu Udim. He tells us that the rich man who has enough food stuff in his store house and has affluence never finds it difficult relocating to Owerri since a renovated b ungalow is waiting for him. Unlike the poor, the rich man never prays for the war to end, rather, he fine-tunes the young into fighting tirelessly. Kalu is employed in the price control Directorate and given an exemption letter from being enrolled as a soldier because he is epileptic. While in office, an urgent letter arrives for his boss, one of the ³toads of war´; Kalu see the urgency of the message and executes the information. He does this hoping to be appreciated by his boss but, gets disappointed. As the result of this action he is pushed to the war front not withstanding his health condition. He does well in the army and is promoted from second-lieutenant and platoon commander
to lieutenant and company commander in less than two weeks. His mother is not comfortable with this, but can do nothing to stop him. The battle is hot at the front and he needs to go. While at the front he had an epileptic fit, waking up to find himself in the hospital without a right arm. He later gets the news of his mother¶s death after she hears of his condition. He is therefore on a revenge mission on his boss. The novel is divided into forty-two episodes with different headings which will not completely be mentioned here . In the first episode ³make love not war´ we see the narrator (Kalu) and his friend Meju talking about the number of cars parked in front of the female hostel. Meju has given up on Biafra from what he says, he thinks he will be captured by the federal troops and be free. Kalu has also given up hope but can never go to the front because of his bad arm. Meju leaves Kalu and meets Captain Martin Chieze when the Colonel briskly walks in, excuses Meju and informs Captain Martin that Hamman¶s Brigade have sworn with their lives that the General must be killed in order that the death of their beloved Major Hamman is avenged. They plan to do this by entering Owerri disguising themselves as Biafran soldiers, at an unknown time. In preparation for their attack, an assault squad of about a hundred people including Colonel Martin, Sergeant Meju and the Commander is formed. Captain Aliu Pam and other members of t he Hamman¶s Brigade take off for their mission after about a week of
their treat. Five members wear the Biafran uniform together with twenty-five other members in pretence as prisoner; not consenting to the warning of the Brigade Major. Trekking through the vast cassava farms they passed the first checkpoint, get to the second one and demand for a Land Rover to convey them to Owerri. Unfortunately, they are trapped after a serious interrogation and they started shutting. Thirty of them are killed and only thirteen Biafrans died including Sergeant Meju. In some other episodes kalu tells us about a girl Kechinyere. He meets her in one of Major Mere¶s parties when he goes in search of Lance-Corporal Okere who he promoted at the time he was not disabled. She comes into the party with Major Chilaka Ukagtta, a friend and school mate of Kalu who now pretends not to know him anywhere. Kechi is a beautiful air hostess who held high her moral status until the war which leads her to trading her body for the necessities of life. Apart from Chilaka, she strongly attaches herself to Chima Duke a wealthy, ugly man who travels to Lisbon and gives her assorted gifts. While Kechi is about going to see Kalu some days later, Major Chilaka walks angrily into her room demanding to know the affairs she has with Kalu, the ³one-armed Bandit´ as he called. Kalu waits and does not see her so he goes to the relief centre to get relief which he does not get like other hunger stricken people. As he stands
in total disappointment he sees Kechi, Major Chikala and some girls who have illicit affairs with father Nwobi, get a lot of food. The Duke¶s stay in Lisbon is extended so Kechi goes in search of Kalu. She takes him to watch a play, to a motel where they have a good meal then to a prayer house where the prophet tells him openly that he is bearing grudges against somebody. But, he advised him to leave vengeance for God. This ge ts him really upset. He co mes to Kechi¶s house the next day in order that they went for a dance when Chima Duke his former boss comes in. He goes out in fury then comes back and shot him to avenge his mother¶s death and his hand but, he is jailed. In Toads of War, Iroh does not only tell a story of the NigerianBiafra war, he presents to us the predicaments of women during the war and illustrates their survival tactics. Women as stated in chapter one are prone to several needs which their male counterpart are not, they also do not have the stout heart which men have to withstand hardship, starvation, lack of shelter and protection. Furthermore, women posses in them that which can be given out to the men of sudden influence who have what they needed. Among the female characters in the novel is Catherine
Kechinyere Ugboma, Kechi for short. In her we see a vivid portrayal of women during the Nigerian Civil War. Kechi is a very pious girl: « whose first attraction in life has been the convent, would have died in her sleep if she
had dreamt of herself thinking like a mortal sinner, as her devout mother would have put it or talking like a lewd, lascivious lackery of Lucifer as her alternative and even more devout headmistress, the Reverend mother Labore, would have described it (19). Kechi is a sanctimonious and hardworking girl who makes everyone around her happy and proud. She has no single report against her while in school. She is just chaste and diligent in her study. Kechi even promises mother Labore that she will live a life of chastity wherever she goes until she get s married to a ³Catholic´. Kechi becomes an air hostess till the war begins: «in the two years since the war began, Kechi Ugboma had gone down a sleep, long way. The war and three hasty evacuations took their toll on her rich wardrobe and reduced her personal belongings to a lone, forlorn suitcase. Her wartime job in the Housing Directorate paid less than a quarter of her salary and allowances as a top air hostess. Her once glamorous life seemed a distant, hazy dream without colour, dominated by the dreaded four-letter word W-A-N-T. (28). In order to make ends meet, Kechi ha s no other choice than flirting with the big shots. Kechi, a once chaste girl who refused going to the University because she is stopped from attending the convent, now metamorphoses because of W-A-N-T. Her choice of words even degenerates, She boldly says that: ³As long as men like what I have « I don¶t mind trading it for what I want´ (18) because: «it was the only way, the only love, now. A girl got to live; to look like a girl,« give what you have. Get what you want « She began to spruce up for the Saturday night out. (19).
She goes out and gets what she wants; food, clothes, and the host of others from Chima Duke and Major Chilaka Ukatta. In return, she gives out her body for sex, a thing she never imagined doing until wedlock, before the war. This is the same situation one finds in Gladys, a character in ³Girls at War´ by Achebe,Chinua. At the beginning of the war, Gladys is devoted, modest, patriotic and dutiful. One sees this in her dress code at the checkpoint: She was a beautiful girl in breasty blue Jersey, Khaki jeans and canvas shoes with new style hair ± plait which gave a girl a defiant look and which they called ± for reason of their own ± ³air force base´ (104).
But as the war continues and things get worse as it does for Kechi, she dresses self-consciously and expensive ly with the intention of seducing men to meet her needs: She wore a high-tinted wig and a very expensive skirt and low-cut blouse. Her shoes obviously from Gabon, must have cost a fortune (108). Apart from her character and dress code, her speech pattern also degenerate, she now uses careless and vulgar words that even shocks Reginald Nwankwo who is about taking her to bed. She says: µYou want to shell?¶ she asked. And without waiting for an answer said µGo ahead but don¶t pour in troops!¶ (118).
Though Kechi gets all she needs from her two-doors, (Chima Duke who brings her make-up and clothes from abroad and Major Chilaka Ukatta; who brought her furniture and foodstuff) like most women who traded their bodies, she never feels happy or pleased doing it. We see she has a living conscience when she tells kalu: «in low tones broken by sobs, about her background about mother Labore. I learnt how she lost everything after the war began. How she had found herself the unwilling prey of the men who now had everything that a woman needed. And how she had come to find her original attachment to the old feminine values unrealistic (108). Apart from Kechi, one sees in Ihuoma, kechi¶s closest friend, the predicament of women and the degradation of morality. Ihuoma is as loosed as Kechi, even worse, as a result of want in this period of extreme scarcity. Ihuoma and Kechi: «always killed time chatting, plating each other¶s hair in turns whenever their men friends were not visiting in the evenings. This evening they seemed to have run out of topics for gossip, men, money, clothes, cosmetics «. (16).
Another predicament of women is seen in the quotation above. This is the predicament of joblessness. Since women cannot go to the war front and employment opportunities are slim, most of them find themselves jobless and to get themselves occupied, apart from
flirting, they gossip. Gossiping in itself is a treat to moral decadence in the society.
Ihuoma keeps Kechi¶s keys whenever she passes a night out with one of her men-friends. Out of slight jealousy o n one of these occasions, she thinks that: «life is hard and threatens to become harder everyday, « if she herself had as many menfriends as she needed to keep afloat, Ihuoma thought, she probably wouldn¶t spend many night in her cubicle either. Home is where the next meal is «. (29). In the midst of these thoughts comes in the ³toads of war´ Chima Duke, a man of sudden influence and one of Kechi¶s men friends, who comes in search of her. He leaves a message with Ihuoma that he is travelling to Lisbon and he guesses she would need some things. He then tells Ihuoma that he would get a hair thread for her. In just a mention of this Ihuoma is carried away then: « Chima suddenly turned to face her. µAs a matter of fact, Ihuoma, you will get more. Anything you want, you¶re a nice girl«.¶ He had gathered her in a sudden swoop and was kissing her hungrily, lustfully, before she could answer. The unresisting girl was desperately hanging on to him, hanging on to her hair thread from Lisbon «. (30). A total moral decay in women because of want and scarcity is seen in the above quote. Ihuoma is so cheapened; she readily succumbs and gives her body to a man who just promises her a hair thread and other of her needs. She becomes his prey in order that he does not change his mind. What a moral decay!
In Gloria, one sees a total moral bankruptcy. Gloria gets gonorrhea and she knows she is going to die since there are no available drugs at that time of the war. Kalu tells us that Kechi says Gloria claims she got the dreaded disease from an army officer ³and since this guy has over a dozen girlfriends, Gloria reckons she won¶t be the only casualty. Safety in numerous sort of.´ (105).
Another shocking aspect of Gloria¶s life is that she says she; «wouldn¶t mind going to be with her Colonel once again says Kechi quoting her friend ³He is so good in bed. He has a member as big as a rocket with a warhead to match his enormous wallet!´ (108). From the above picture painted of Gloria, one sees how the crisis situation brings out the beast in the woman. She is dying, but because needs to stay alive in the few days she has to live , she is still willing to have sex with the man who gave her the gonorrhea because he had the money. In Gloria¶s behaviour and reaction towards her present condition one sees that though many like Kechi have
consciences that are alive, and feel remorse for their dirty deeds, others like her do not feel an atom of regret. Their situation has so deteriorated that the fear of death is dead and the immoral quest for money and food to feed while they are alive though dying is alive. The implication therefore is that, most women do not feel any remorse as they continue giving what they have to getting what they want till they die or the war ends.
Apart from these examples discussed above, there are other periods in the novel where the narrator makes references to girls and their activities during the war. Out of starvation, he goes to the relief centre at Emekuku to get some relief. On his way he sees a beautiful girl standing on the shade of a tree with two disabled soldiers. He is shocked because: She was attractive and looked well-fed. She wore good clothes and even had lipstick on; which spoke eloquent of her state and connections at this tail -end Biafra. She had a shopping bag hanging from the end of her arm, and an expectant look on her face. Probably waiting for some boy friend t o drive her to the market, I thought. This type didn¶t need to go to the relief centre for her supplies. They would have them delivered to her doorstep in an army Land Rover. Which is why it was odd that she should be waiting on our side of the road. I concluded that she could only be taking advantage of the shade. (61) What he thinks is the truth as a car stops by the road and gives her a lift, leaving behind the three disabled soldiers who plead for a lift. He carries her to only God knows where and, it is certain that he will have a share of her body and will give her money to get the things she needed. When he finally gets to the relief centre, we see another portrayal of women during the war. The Reverend Father Nwobi who is in charge of the centre never worries about the hungry masses. He too, a minister of the gospel preys on young ladies because he has what they want. The hunger stricken masses pleads for food which is
available, but they are not given. Kalu even talks directly to him thinking he will be pitied but, this does not work as the Father orders his brothers to send everyone saying there is no enough and they had closed for the day food. But as he (Kalu) looked inside the room ³two young girls were waiting to be attended to by Father Nwobi. They smiled as they saw him´ (66). Kalu leaves in total disappointment but before he leaves he; «had a brief moment to look again at the crammed relief store, at Father Nwobi now beaming at the girls. At the altar of the chapel next to the food store (66). He is lucky to meet an old friend on his way home who ta kes him to her house. When he narrates his ordeal to her, her reply is; µif you hope to get something out of him next time´, Esther went on, µI suggest you plait your hair, borrow some girl¶s dress and get hold of a real big sack. His brothers will see you in through the back door, Pronto¶ (68).
Women to a large extend during the war are at better position than men, not to starve. But these positions are always immoral, dirty and unpleasant as seen in all the instances portrayed by Iroh in his novel Toads of War. Notwithstanding how bad this act is, Kalu tells us that: µif you don¶t want to starve in Biafra, stay close to the girls (67).
This is actually true because, the girls have their private parts to trade for food to the rich few. But as a man, what do you have to trade? In summary, it could be said that the situation women found themselves in during the war conditioned their actions. The major predicament of women presented to us in Toads of War is that of lack and want in the midst of scarcity. To survive therefore, women have to behave in ways that oppose their previous ways of life. These decay their morality and in most cases harden their heart from morality. But, the fact during the war is that, no matter how most girls have preserved themselves, they have to stay alive; in order to stay alive, they have to satisfy their needs where there is extreme scarcity; the only way to get this satisfaction is to according to Kechi ³give what you have to get what you want´(19). What then do they have to give to these lustful, preying, greedy µtoads of war¶ who are in charge of all they needed except their bodies?
CHAPTER FOUR 4.0 THE MORALITY OF WOMEN IN EDDIE IROH¶S THE SIREN IN THE NIGHT. The siren in the Night is the last in Eddie Iroh¶s action packed trilogy. In Forty-Eight Guns for the General and Toads of War he gives us an insight to what the Civil War is like from the Biafran angle. But in The Siren in the Night he brings us to the end of the war, when Biafra surrendered to Nigeria. He tells a story of the predicaments Ben Udaja, a onetime Colonel of the people¶s army who even f ormed a powerful and much-dreaded guerilla strike force called the Biafran Organization of Freedom Fighters (BOFF) in collaboration with General Alex Madieobo, Commander of the B iafran Army. But, he surrenders himself to the federal government seven months before the war ended. After the fall of the Capital city, Udaja see no hope in Biafra and therefore joins the other civilian by surrendering himself to the federal government. This act of surrendering as the senior rebel functionary merited him an appointment in the office of Civilian C o-ordination. This also provides the federals with a month-long extravaganza of propaganda. Colonel Ben Udaja¶s appointment and fa me, as many Biafrans surrenders, displeases Colonel Mike Kolawole, who is the head of the Federal Security and Intelligence Directorate. To him, the amnesty proclaimed by the General should not mean amnesia.
Colonel Kolawole gets to know much about Ben Udaja from Olu Amadi (Captain under Udaja¶s army in Biafra). He is one of the youngest among the five men arrested by him with the help of Major Paul Badru in Konko Bar: a place he learnt from a report that has become a favourite haunt of former Biafrans, returning to Lagos. After getting all needed information about Udaja, the former Colonel of the people¶s army now the coordinator of returning civilians he decides to track him down by all means. With the assistance of Ulo Amadi, Major Paul Badru, Kinsman Akin oba Ola Dele, Dr. Timi Bimbose the most renowned psychiatrist in the eastern region of Nigeria and the host of others, and by adhering strictly to the instructions of Dr. Timi Bimbose, he is able to subdue the morale of Ben Udaja. Kolawole calls the private lines of Udaja, leaving him with a treat that the BOFF is after his life. Udaja believes this revolt since, he who spur them up to fight, abandons them at the time they needed him most. In this confused and fearful state, he shifted his wedding ceremony from Christmas season to Easter period. The worse happens when he returns with his wife from their honey moon to discover that the whole doors are open but nothing was stolen except that the switch and telephone were not working and a diabolical coffin found in his inner room.
Furthermore, a grenade is kept on the bed his wife laid when he went out to tell the General what was going on. But, all these are not true, there are just the schemes of Dr. Timi. The worst happens when he receives a tape recorder that carries Kiki, his daughter¶s voice sounding against him. It almost drives him insane, it makes him strangle a man almost to death and even leads him to killing Ulo Amadi, with the mindset that Amadi is just a pretender who knows his life is at stake. He is tried and convicted but later vindicated as Kiki narrates her experiences. All the convicts are then arrested and punished accordingly. Every writer presents his own view about the end of the Nigerian Civil War. The above story is Eddie Iroh¶s view about the end of the war and this for instance, differs from Ekwensi, Cyprian¶s view in his Survive the Peace. In The Siren in the Night, Iroh did not really elaborate on the predicament and morality of women he rather expatiate on the tribalism exhibited on the returning Biafrans, to Nigeria. Notwithstanding, a discourse will be done below on the predicaments of women at the end of the Civil War in the novel The Siren in the Night. Women to a large extend have a strong affection and
attachment to their husbands and children, this strong bond cause them to take actions which might bring them deep pain and death in some occasions. This bond also gives them some amount of boldness
which they ordinarily would not have had. One sees this in the character of Maria in the novel. After the capital city is conquered and overtaken by the federal army, people run for their lives but a ³harggard-looking woman´ (17) Maria, did not run. She stays back in her house aft er her husband escapes with their two sons, she does not leave but remains boldly, hoping her husband and sons will return. Maria is left with her sixteenmonth-old baby girl in absolute scarcity of both water and food. But, in love, she breast feed her baby for three whole days without feeding and this ³left the woman like squeezed and dried bitter-leaf´ (17). The baby cries seriously and this, in collaboration with the situation of her husband and children, causes serious pain for this woman and so: «the woman wept in her helplessness. Gleaming beads of fears trickled down her cheeks, burning her like the little one¶s own hot tears which were also making tracks down her bare shoulders «. (19).
Apart from pain and sorrow one sees another predicament of women like death, still in the character of Maria. As Maria waits in her dissolute house for the return of her husband and sons, she is captured by the federal army as a rebel collaborator. She tries to explain that she i s not a rebel collaborator but to no avail. They later bring her back with the hope to capture the rebel soldiers she has been collaborating with. Her loving husband comes back in search of her and their daughter but is shot by the
command of Colonel Kolawole. Finally, Maria and her little daughter are both shot to death. In the above, one sees the predicaments of pain and death of women as a result of their deep affection and attachment to their families. Apart from the above, we see another predicament of women in the character of Mrs. Laide Kolawole. This is the predicament of dejection of women by husbands who think they owe many
responsibilities to the state than to their families. The head of the Federal Security and Intelligence Directorate, Colonel Kolawole is too busy a husband to attend to his family affair. He rarely goes home and cancels even having lunch at home by asking Corporal Femi to: «µcall madam and tell her I¶m not going to be home for lunch¶, madam was the Colonel¶s wife not his mistress. (42) Kolawole does not even care when he told that: Madam wishes you would come home for lunch at least once a week (43), his only reaction to such a plea from his own wife is: µDon¶t worry about madam. She¶s just being a woman¶ (43) Apart from the duties of the nation or spending time with other women Colonel Kolawole has his own duty that makes him absent and careless about his family. His duty is tribally motivated. This duty is to
subdue and bring down Colonel Ben Udaja, a returnee Biafran and any other rebel who tries to be outspoken and famous. To trap Ben Udaja, he takes his daughter (Kiki) hostage. This keeps him away from home, his wife and kid, and ³his absence from home had lengthened to the point where she no longer wasted dinner for him´ (116). Mrs. Kolawole has even slept when her husband calls. Imagine how reckless he sounds on phone. He is told his son is ill and his reply is; µoh dear, pity, well, you know what to do; call the doctor´ (166),
She then replies that: ³of course I have. If we ever waited for you to do anything here, then dogs would lick our eyelid. Listen dear, when shall we see you again « at Christmas? (166),
and he answers: µMay be. I have a lot of things to do¶ (166),
his wife asks: µDon¶t you always?¶, (1666),
Then, he terminates the call by saying: µI¶ll call you in the morning. Good night¶ he hung up, leaving her once more puzzled by his growing indifference to his household, wondering whether national security was shaped like a naked woman sleeping under the bed sheet by his side. (166 ± 167).
From the above discussion, we see how devastated and dejected the woman (Mrs. Kolawole) is, as a result of her husband¶s
recklessness and carelessness towards her and the family as a whole. In these wicked and tribe conscious attitudes of Kolawole towards Ben Udaja, we figure out another predicament of women immediately after the war as recorded by Iroh in the novel The Siren in the Night. This is manifested in the character Miata Malari, the wife of Ben Udaja, and the predicaments is that of uncertainty and f ear. We begin to see the predicament of uncertainty when Miata and her husband (Udaja) arrives the airport at Enugu after their wedding in Kaduna. Udaja observed that there are no car or guards (he started having guards when he started having treat that BO FF was after his life) waiting to pick them home and he began to panic: The young woman looked at her man¶s face. His worry was poorly masked. Inside him a relay of thoughts chased one another in a closely paced race. What¶s the matter Ben? The girl scanning his worried look.(159). After spending a long time waiting at the airport, an
accompanist of Colonel Kolawole who has an idea of the goings on offers them a ride home. But, when they arrived, the behaviour and reaction of Udaja to the things he observes at home keeps Maita uncertain, and further gets her terrified. At first sight of the door being ajar when he has all the keys to himself, Udaja panics the more and;
Maita eyes were fixed questionly on the silhouette of her husband, searching for his face (162). Maita¶s fear grow when Udaja runs, leaving her in the dark, inside the house, to the garage, finding everything strange. Maita has no idea of what Udaja have been passing through so, she did not understand his strange reaction to things. An extreme po rtrayal of fear of Maita is when she unknowingly walks to her husband who is carried away by the sight of a diabolical coffin kept in their inner room. This terrifies and makes her scream into unconsciousness. Iroh puts it this way: «her husband¶s massive bulk blocked her view, shielding her from the diabolical sight. Innocently, she walked up beside Ben, her hand reaching out to grab his. Her night shattering scream, punctuated by sharp gasps, filled the silent room Udaja turned in time to see her tottering to the floor. He reached out with both hands and took hold of her «. (165).
In The Siren in the Night as discussed above, there is no portrayal of the moral breakdown in women, only their predicaments. From the above, we observe the predicaments of pain and death in the character, Maita. When the capital city falls as other Biafran states, people run for their lives and surrenders to Nigeria; families scatters, but some over concerned women like Maria stays back hoping they will be reunited with their families. Apart from pain and sorrow they get from starvation, many lost their lives, as she does.
Some people who worked in the federal side (mainly Hausa¶s and Yoruba¶s) grew highly tribal conscious and could not condone the idea of these revolting Biafrans getting good jobs and fame so, they revolted. By combining their duties to the nation, personal pleasure, their mistresses and their fight aga inst returning Biafrans they have no or limited time for their wives and family as a whole: thereby causing the predicament of dejectio n for their wives. This is seen in Mrs. Laide Kolawole. The activities of such people put the wives and love ones of the surrendering Biafrans into total uncertainty, extreme fear as seen in the character Maita Malari, the wife of Colonel Ben Udaja. Conclusively, it could be said from the above that Eddie Iroh has portrayed the predicaments of women at the end of the Nigerian civil war in the last book of his trilogy, The Siren in the Night.
SUMMARY This study has examined the predicament s and implications of
the Nigeria Civil War on the morality of women in Eddie Iroh¶s FortyEight Guns for the General, Toads of War and The siren in the Night. The Nigerian Civil War as earlier stated is a very terrible occurrence in the country which disrupted the normal activities, behaviours of people and reaction to morality. Its result is death, starvation, separation of family members, and corruption etc. The people mostly
affected are women, mainly because they stay at home , hear, bear and face all the pain. Literary writers however, explore this ordeal in various ways in novels, plays and poems. From the novels that a re used as a case study in this research, viz: Forty-Eight Guns for the General, Toads of War and The Siren in the Night, we have seen the predicaments and implications of the war on the morality of women. In Forty-Eight Guns for the General the predicaments faced by women is that of lack and want of the basic necessiti es of life which led to the exchange of their bodies just to stay aliv e, others who keep themselves are at times raped. The implication of this is that women can no longer be trusted for sanity while most others turns into thieves. In Toads of War, the predicament of women is also that of lack which also results in the trading of their bodies to the men who has what they lack. Others who never traded their bodies were raped In The Siren in the Night one sees pain, death, uncertainty and fear as predicaments of women who believes in the ir family reunion and rely strongly on their male counterpart. The major predicament of women as seen above is that of lack which result was prostitution. Women have no choice than to trade their bodies in order to stay alive.
It could be said that in his trilogy, Iroh, Eddie has been able to capture the fears, feelings, problems and reactions of women to things during the Nigerian Civil War. His writing affirms Kechi¶s statement in Toads of War that, it is war and everything is abnormal and girls who have no money to bribe their way through have to, ³Give what you have, get what you want´(19).
WORKS CITED Achebe, Chinua. ³Girls at War´ in Girls at War and Other Stories. London: Heinemann. 1972 Dyson, Sally (Ed). Nigeria: The Birth of Africa¶s Greatest Country.(Vol. two). Spectrum Books Limited: Ibadan, 1998. Ekwensi, Cyprian. Survive the Peace. London: Heinemann 1979 Ezeigbo, Akachi Theodora. ³War, History, Aesthetic and the Thriller Tradition in Eddie Iroh¶s Novels´ in African Languages and cultures. Vol. 4, No. 1. The Literatures of War. Taylor and Francis Ltd, 1991. Iroh, Eddie. from Encyclopedia of African Literature. Bo ok rags.com.htm. Iroh Eddie. Forty-Eight Guns for the General. London: Heinemann 1979. _______ The Siren in the Night. London: Heinemann, 1982 _______ Toads of War. London: Heinemann. 1979 James, H. R. ³Literacy History as a Challenge to Literary Theory´ New Literary History 2, in Philip Rice and Patricia Waughty (Eds). Modern Literacy Theory. London: Arnold, 1989. Joseph, µLai. Nigeria: Shadow of a Great Nation. Lagos: Dubes Press Limited; 1995. Nicholson, John. Men and Women: How different are they? New York: Oxford University Press, 1993 Nwahuanya, Chinyere. A Harvest from Tragedy: Critical Perspective on Nigeria Civil War Literature. Owerri: Springfied Publishers, 1996. ________ "The Pulse of the Nation: Tribalism and Power´ in The Siren in the Night, Nigerian Magazine Vol. 57 Nos. 182. January ± June, 1989. Ojukwu, Chukwuemeka, Odumegwu. Biafra: Selected Speakers with Journals of Events. New York: Perennial Library, 1969. Oko, Emelia. The West African Novel and Social Evaluation. Calabar: Thumbprints International Company, 205. Okpewho, Isidore. The Last Duty. UK: Longman Group Limited, 1990
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.