Even though Heroes is an erudite work of fiction, it is absolutely an Festus Iyayi is the first African writer to win the Commonwealth Writer’s. Festus Iyayi () is one of the pioneer of social realism in African novel. Besides Violence (), The Contract (), Heroes (). Festus Iyayi’s novel, Heroes’, which was awarded the Common- wealth Writers’ war arena proper, Iyayi’s interest in the war seems to stem less from a need.

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Economic correspondent for several newspapers in Bendel; industrial training officer, Bendel State University, Ekpoma. Currently lecturer in business administration, University of Benin, Benin City. Association of Nigerian Authors prize, ; Commonwealth Writers prize, Festus Iyayi’s three novels, Violence, The Contractand Heroesas well as his collection of short stories, Awaiting Court Martialexpose the abject penury and disenfranchisement that constitute the social reality of the majority of Nigerians.

In language that is often vitriolic and stinging, Iyayi’s protagonists potently display his contempt for the rampant corruption that strangles contemporary Nigeria.

Festus Iyayi

Businesspersons, politicians, generals, and other officials hoard the country’s wealth and power at the expense of the working class. This base depravity of the ruling class manifests itself in various forms and ultimately trickles down to yeroes ruled class.

In each of Iyayi’s novels the real tragedy is that those of the ruled class are either forced or coerced to absorb ny oppressor’s abuse.

They in turn release their anger and frustration not upon the deserving ruling class, hetoes amongst themselves. Iyayi, however, does weave threads of hope within each of his narratives via truculent calls by the main characters to defy their oppressors en masse and fight for their civil rights as well as for the future of their country.

Also driving Iyayi’s political critique is a profound acceptance of humanity’s fragility and frailty. Especially in Awaiting Court MartialIyayi displays an uncanny ability for capturing the details of his character’s troubled psyches through crisp metaphors and often naturalistic imagery. Violence usually connotes physical abuse, but in his first novel, ViolenceIyayi redefines it as a continual, demoralizing structure that eliminates hope, pride, self-esteem, health, and the ability to live independently.

Having to always rely on borrowed naira from those who are more fortunate leaves deep scars of shame and guilt. Iyayi’s violence creeps into the corners of the pneuma of the lower classes, the have-nots, and renders them helpless against the socio-political machine powered solely by money, corruption, and privilege.

Obofun and Queen exemplify Nigeria’s corrupt, monied class. Obofun makes his millions by winning coveted building contracts through his connections in the government and through the relinquishing of percentages of the contracts’ total worth to those who award them. His wife, Queen, sleeps with other men to get what she wants—namely, supplies, which are otherwise expensive and scarce, for her hotels.

When Idemudia, a typical, destitute laborer, is fortunate enough to find work, the conditions at the site are deplorable. If he wants to keep his job and be able to feed himself and his wife, Adisa, then he has heroew swallow the maltreatment. If he chooses to fight bh system, to organize the workers against his boss, Queen, and to ask for higher wages and better conditions, then he risks being fired and subsequent starvation.

One of the most effective passages in Violence is a series of lines from a play performed at a local hospital. Iyayi utilizes this poignant and very effective device to convey his definition of violence.


Idemudia witnesses this play is educated and inspired by the actor who denounces violence and advocates resistance, and then leads his co-workers in threatening to strike for better wages and conditions. Iyayi’s writing continues to be mordacious and gripping in his second novel, The Contract.

The main character, Ogie, returns to Benin after an heroees of four years and is amazed and disgusted at how quickly and completely the city has decayed. There is filth and chaos everywhere. He learns that the government awards contracts for building hospitals, roads, and low-cost housing, then demands percentages for awarding the contract.

This practice leaves little or no money for building the structures the contract was for—resulting in inferior and often-abandoned projects. The people of Benin live in squalor while a few wealthy, corrupt officials get fatter. Anything can be bought or sold.

Men will even offer their wives for a favored chance at winning a contract, or lie, cheat, and even kill for fortunes.

Festus Iyayi Biography

Like Idemudia in ViolenceOgie’s abomination of the stark contrasts of wealth and poverty in his hometown is potently conveyed. He swears he will fight the system of which even his father is a part. He takes a job at the council and soon finds himself tortuously torn and confused over right and wrong.

He continues to reaffirm decent convictions, but eventually compromises his values to become “corruption with a human face. HeroesIyayi’s third novel, is set against the background of Nigeria’s civil war in the late s. As in his previous work, Iyayi’s style is forceful and bold. Once again, he cries out against the injustices in Nigeria through well-crafted characters and electrifying writing.

Osime is a journalist who supports the vociferous calls for a united Nigeria and those denouncing the Biafran soldiers and exalting the Federal troops.

He sees the Federal troops as the saving force for Nigeria. But when the Federal troops shoot and kill his girlfriend’s father without cause in cold blood, he begins to realize that there heroee more to the war than he had originally thought. Osime quickly sees that even though the Biafran and Federal troops commit wretched crimes, the generals and the officers are the real enemies of the people of Nigeria.

The soldiers have learned to become murderers from the military’s officers—they are merely instruments of destruction under the orders of officers who seek power, territory, and fortune. In its critique of the generals and military power, therefore, the novel offers a useful analogy for unveiling the hypocrisy and self-interest that lie hidden behind bourgeoisie ideology. Osime’s solution is the formation of a third army—one that fights the greedy politicians, businesspersons, and generals. A total revolution, powered by the third army, could eliminate the corrupt officials reigning at the top of all sectors of Nigerian society and replace it with rule by those who love the land, work the land, and therefore respect it and its inhabitants.

Iyayi’s criticism of Nigerian society is relentless in all three novels, but even among the dire revelations and depressing reality of the polarities of privation and opulence in Nigeria, he offers an encouraging creed for social change: Defeated, yes, but never bu.

The collection’s fifteen stories create a gallery of herroes souls, poignantly imagined and rendered visibly luminous by Iyayi’s piercing psychological descriptions.

Heroes – Festus Iyayi – Google Books

As in the novels, the main character’s crisis, no matter how unique or personal, often reflects the political chaos and social disintegration of the nation at large. For example, the opening story, “Jeged’s Madness,” is about a mutually festuus marriage that jyayi ends when a rich bureaucrat, Mr. Throttle Cheat-Away, offers the husband advancements only so that he can rape the wife.


The title story, “Awaiting Court Martial,” is a dreamlike, first-person confession made by a once-efficient executioner of the state. The doomed soldier did not give the order to shoot his latest victim, his brother, who came boisterously laughing to his own execution. The brother’s gestus disarms and ridicules the effectiveness of the mass execution, transforming the marksmen into boys simply “spitting at the sun.

Please include a link to this page if you have found this material useful for research or writing a related article. Content on this website is from high-quality, licensed material iayyi published in print form. You can always be sure you’re reading unbiased, factual, and accurate information.

Paste the link into your website, email, or any other HTML document. Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can’t heres it easily. Hide my email completely instead? I have been opportuned to read the first two novels of Professor Iyayi. They really capture the true position of the nation’s itayi economic and political divide which has kept the country from rapid development. Iyai is a prolific writer and reading the novels gives the reader and any other audience a serious reason to think about our country.

Mary Okeke Reviews: Heroes, , Festus Iyayi ****

While the unity of the country can not be sacrificed on the alter of the leadership failure, it is the belief of this contributor that the ethnic diversity of the country should be be seen as a benefit for the people to expolit to advantage. Nigeria is not a mere geographical exprression. It is the teaming population of the country that is actually the heart of what is called Nigeria. In each of Iyayi’s novels the real tragedy is that those of the ruled class are either forced or coerced to absorb their oppressor’s abuse http: Packers and Movers in Delhi go to: Packers and Movers in Hyderabad go to: We are provide affordable Packers and Movers services in Pune.

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