The novel tells us about the Nigeria and the Biafra war. It tells us how they fought the war and how Nigeria captured Biafra and how Biafra surrendered to Nigeria at last after losing a lot of people in the war .
The story started when the Biafra men and women school children and others are marching to the port Harcourt Civil Defence Corps, all dressed in khaki trousers, yellow round-necked vests and brown khaki caps, each volunteer carried his dummy gun, carved out of any available piece of wood, some very expertly done- as if he was clutching the one weapon that could eliminate the entire Nigeria. The Biafra in the novel promised them that they will never bow for Nigeria even if all of them died in the war that they will fight for Biafra that in the name of Jesus that they must conquer the Biafra and have their own country called Biafra.
The story started when Nigeria and Biafra was at war in late September 1967. The rising sun, beacon of hope for all Biafrans, had been born four month earlier on May 30, 1967, it was the day the republic of Biafra was proclaimed. The green Eagle Nigeria’s emblem had failed to protect the lives and property of Eastern Nigeria, the people from the land of the rising sun. That was why they started the war declaration and support had come all over Biafra. In the story Nigeria captured Biafra the first place they captured in the story is ogoja, Nsukka and Bonney sectors and the people moved down to Enugu. Dr Amilo Kanu recently Appointed Director for Mobilization who is the one that is organising the Biafra solders that are meant to fight the war with the Nigeria the war proceeded they later captured Enugu and a lot of places they captured obodo the house and the home town of Kalu at the war Kalu lost his first son and also he himself died because of the war that was fought. Nigeria was able to capture a lot of places in places in Biafra they captured Onitsha, Calaber, Umuahia, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Okigwi and so on and so forth at the end when the Nigeria planes resumed their nocturnal assignment at Uli airport. After the capture of Uli airport Biafra surrendered to Nigeria fully.
The war leads to a lot of things in Biafra people died a lot and sickness strike a lot of people such sickness like kwashiorkor and the people were taken to a refugee camp without food or change of cloth or any cooking utensil or other possession. In the story Mr Bassy the rich business man also lose everything he had because of the war between Biafra and Nigeria.
The story started when the girls, boys, traders, teachers, civil servants in Biafra are preparing for war with Nigeria and while they were matching to Port Harcourt singing and shouting that they will never bow for Nigeria even if anything happen that they most fight and win the war and have their own country called Biafra. The war was because of the way the eastern Nigeria is been treated and how they were they were not being taking care of in the country like the Northern that was the thing that led to the war and the Biafra republic started seeking for freedom and they think that war will be a better thing for them .
The Republic of Biafra was proclaimed on May 30th 1967 while the war started on July 6th 1967 the war begin and the Biafra had no war ammunition they were only with machete and wood gun while the Nigeria are prepared for the war they have ever thing possible for them to win the war and Biafra are only beating around the bush it didn’t take long Nigeria captured Nsukka Ogoja and Bonny sector Biafra only defeated Nigeria Twice but Nigeria in the story later captured that places they captured they captured Onitsha, Obodo the village and the town of Amilo Kalu the director of mobilization.
Because of this people started staying in the refugee camp penniless and with no food and cloth to change no cooking utensil or other possession it wasn’t a good place for Biafra. And the war killed a lot of people because of this war the first son of Amilo kalu died his name is Amilo junior and also Dr Amilo Kalu also died at the end of the story and also in the work Mr Bassy the owner of the biggest supper market in Enugu, Onitsha, Port Harcourt. And Ikot Ekpene he is the owner of the entire indigenous supermarket in town and all combines to give him the name indigenous. He also lose all that he had in the war he was left with nothing after the end which Biafra later give up after the innocent blood which they shed for nothing every boy in Biafra later surrendered because they know that the Nigeria are stronger than they are the Nigeria are prepared for the war will the Biafra are only with Machete and stick gun which they made by themselves in the story they tried all they could to know if they will get their own republic but it didn’t work ou in the story they only captured Nigeria twice in the story.
The novel is set in the eastern part of Nigeria a place generally calls Biafra the story began in 1967. Some event took place in Anambra State, Cross River State, Imo State and River State. It was written after the coming of the white men (post colonial era) after we have been colonized and the Eastern part of Nigeria, how they are seeking for freedom to have their own republic.
Diction and Language
The language is simple to understand but the Biafra in the story while preparing for war they normally sing in Igbo language for example
Ojukwu bu eze Biafra
Edere ya Aburi;
Awolowo, Yakubu Gowon
Ha enwegh ike imeri Biafra!
Biafra win the war:
Armour’d-u car, etc.
We have so many songs they sang in Igbo in the story to show who serious they are in what they are doing.
Point of view
The novel was written with the third person omniscient point of view in telling the story about the Biafra and the Nigeria war.
Mood / Tone and Atmosphere
The mood was that of anger and sadness in telling us what happened how innocent people were killed just because of the war but at last they later give but after losing everything although in some cases the mood change in the two occasions they defeated Nigeria. The atmosphere created is that of suspense ad zeal or anxiety to know more about the war.
- Theme of regret
- Theme of patient and generosity
- Theme of death
- Theme of failure and disappointment
Theme of Regret
This theme is seen in the life of Biafra and the life of Fatima and Mr Bassy the rich man. Biafra regretted all they did they regretted going to war for the first time wasting their time in war just for nothing and after losing almost all they had they later give up the fight at the end of everything ten thousand men that went to war only two thousand returned in the war and each day Nigeria and each day that Nigeria capture any of their town they become angry especially the Port Harcourt the Nigeria captured in the story.
In the story Fatima the wife of Mr Amilo Kalu in the story her wife regretted all she did and all the effort her husband put in Biafra after his death all the innocent people that died because of the war that was between the two units and also Mr Bassy in the story that is a big and a rich man who prink and pop Champaign any day and any how he wants after the war he was rendered useless with nothing his shops were destroyed by them and he begging afresh after the war.
Theme of patient and generosity
The Biafra had patient and prayed that one day that they will win the war they waited thinking that things will definitely change for good, that they will be free from everything and have their own republic but it never happened the way they planned it all their plans failed and they were disappointed in everything they did. They keep on waiting to know if they will hear any good news one day but it never come all they were hearing is that Nigeria have captured his place and that place they first of all captured Ogoja, Nsukka, and after that Enughu and Obodo the home twon of DrKalu the director for Mobilization in the story they killed and did a a lot of thing but at last after their patient waiting and thinking that will be better nothing happened nothing became better for them so they decided to give up the figt and return to Nigeria.
Fatima Kalu the wife of Amilo Kalu in the story waited that things will get better for her to stay and be free as she was before when she was brought back to Obodo to stay when Biafra captured Enugu where they were staying but things didn’t get better in the story also she help to cure the children that have kwashiorkor and she help to other for food to be brought in her husband’s village Obodo and also for food to be taken to the refugee camp where people are kept because of the war that is going .
Theme of death
This theme is seen in the novel in Biafra where people were killed and also the ten thousand Biafra that went to war only two thousand returned alive they killed a lot of people because of the war and so many people. The war saw to the death of Amilo kalu the junior who did in front of their house and also to the death of Mr Kalu Amilo who died during the war. A lot of blood was shad because of the war and a lot of people was affected with kwashiorkor because of lack of good food during the war and the cost of everything including garri was expensive then.
Theme of failure and disappointment
This theme is seen in the life of the Biafra and in the life of Mr Kalu Amilo. The Biafra who think that after everything that they will win the war was disappointed because they never win the war they didn’t suicide in their plans they only captured Biafra twice in the story and the other thing that happened was that of the Nigeria capturing them in the war they lack quality ammunition for the war but Nigeria were prepared for it in all cost they went and bring everything useful for war the Biafra at last started to use bomb and other things to fight after losing a lot of lives in the war. They were later disappointed that Nigeria had captured all their territory and the places they hoped on and killed the important people in the republic people like Kalu the director for mobilization who was also killed in the story.
Characters and Characterisation
Three major characters
- Dr Amilo Kalu
- Mr Ndubuisi
- Mr Bassey Duke
Two minor characters
- Prophet James
- Halima Uche.
Dr Amilo Kalu
In the story he is the director of Mobilization and also the only son ok Mazi Kalu and the husband of Fatima who is from Obodo and he don’t like going home and also he don’t have any house in his in his father’s house in Obodo his father’s roof is liking and it is his father’s in-law that is repairing it for him while his son is very rich leaving comfortably in the town. And in the village he had no house of his own in his village but he had mansions outside his village.
He lost his son Amilo Kalu the junior during the war at the age of five, and he was left with only one issue Emaka the younger boy, he is the leader of the Biafra solders in the story and he is determined to fight the war to the end. He only build a comfortable house in the village when the Nigeria captured Enugu that was why he build a small bungalow for Fatima and his son for them to live comfortably in the village that was why he was able to build a in the village. He is also a man that loves girls in the story he has a girl friend a mistress Love who service him when his wife is in Obodo because of the war and the capture of Enugu. He is a determined man who stands and never goes back he was killed in an air raid that was how he died and he loves and care for his family so much that he don’t want anything to happen to them.
Mr Ndubuisi Akwaelumo
In the story he is abbreviated to ‘Akwa’ he was the youngest Permanent Secretary in the civil service, with the additional wartime duty of Director for procurement. He always look relaxed, even in a storm, and had such a pleasant, gentle disposition that you had difficulty in reconciling such a refined man of culture with the Neanderthal gorilla style a forestation all over his body. He grew hair even on the ridge of his nose. His beard was thicker than his Excellency’s.
He is a good friend to Kalu Alimo who helped him when he lost his little child, his five year old child, he was the one that took little Amilo to the cemetery where he was buried and also the time and the day Fatima came back home from Libreville and was told about the death of her husband. He was the one that took care of her, with the help of his wife Rose and later he tried to convince her to go back to Libreville where she was before she came back for the death of his husband, he is able to convince Mazi Kalu to tell Fatima to go back to Libreville that Biafra is not Safe for her to stay and also for her to take good care go the remaining issue of Kalu the little Emeka who is still there with Mazi Kalu she was able to go back.
Mr Bassey Duke
Mr Bassey generally known as indigenous. He didn’t went to higher institution because of his result he is a good and good fearing man who is very rich,richer than the educated ones in the story he loves making friends with educated ones and at times he use to make jest of them in some cases he use to pop Champaign in every successful move that Biafra make he is a very good and spending man.
If you ask of indigenous supermarket in Enugu, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, and Ikot Ekpene they will show you each of his super market bear his name INDIGENOUS SUPERMARKET and all combining to give him his popular name ‘Indigenous’. He built himself a lovely country house on the outskirts of Ikot Ekpene, breaking the monotony of statues of his dead parents guarded by cement leopards which provide the commonest landmark on the Ikot Ekpene Umudike road.
He later lose everything he had in the before the end of the war he became sick that he was taken to the hospital from this hospital to the other he lose everything he had before the war ends. No more popping Champaign but he also console his self saying that he that have life have hope.
He is the prophet and the man of god in Obodo who always eye prop in peoples conversation after hearing Mazi Kalu’s conversation with his in-law about the defeat of Nigeria he went and tell the people of Obodo that he had told them before that thing happens and he is the one that told them to fast and pray that Biafra will soon be free from Nigeria he made the people of Obodo to fast and pray and in the story he sleep with young and married people he will tell you that the holy spirit invited you to his hou after which he will sleep with you.
He later died because of the bomb that was throw in Obodo and also his church was destroyed by the bomb and some of his congregation also died with him.
She is the Housa woman that married to a Biafra. Her husband Mr Uche was a Railway Corporation in Zaria who live in railway quarters he was killed in Zaria leaving her and her children with only the cloth they had on them. And his wife and children the two boys she had she bring them back to Biafra in search of their father’s house, she finally located the house and she start a small trade which her children accompanied her to a small market about two miles from their home soon after breakfast, to the man whose machine ground her cowpeas for her in preparation for the big eight-day market where she usually sold several pounds’ worth of a kara balls. From the market they heard the sound of gunfire; the Nigeria had infiltrated some armed soldiers to scare away the civilians and seize an important road junction. It had become impossible for her to return home that was how she lost the contact and started staying in a refugee camp where her first son died of kwashiorkor and the second one is also affected with the same thing that was why she came to seek for help in Fatima’s house. She later died in the war with her remaining son.