In Chinua Achebe’s novel, Bisi is a girlfriend of Obi’s friend Christopher. She and Christopher go out one Saturday night with Obi and Clara; Bisi wants to go to the movies, but agrees to go out dancing instead. They stay out until two in the morning, and Bisi is reluctant to leave; she says the dance is just starting to heat up.
Christopher is a good friend of Obi Okonkwo. He has a degree from the London School of Economics, and has recently been transferred to Lagos from the city of Enugu. Christopher and Obi enjoy lively intellectual debates, especially on the topic of corruption in the Nigerian civil service. Christopher invariably opposes Obi’s point of view, perhaps for the sheer pleasure of playing the devil’s advocate. Christopher’s attitude is much looser than Obi’s on the ethical questions concerning bribery. Obi admires Christopher’s flexibility in moving between standard English and pidgin, or ‘‘broken’’ English, depending on the context. Christopher does not support Obi’s choice to marry Clara, but helps Obi find a doctor willing to perform an abortion.
Mr. William Green
William Green is Obi’s supervisor at the Scholarship Board. Mr. Green is a stern, demanding boss who insists that the Africans working under him address him as ‘‘sir.’’ His attitude toward Africans in general, and educated ones in particular, is contemptuous. He frequently proclaims that the Nigerian people are selfish, irresponsible, and not equipped to govern themselves. However, he is capable of generosity on an individual level; for example, he pays the school fees for the sons of his African steward. Although Obi dislikes Mr. Green personally, he admires his devotion to duty, noting that he often works until the evening, even putting off personal obligations like dental appointments because of constantly pressing work. Obi finds it paradoxical that Mr. Green should work so hard for a country he does not believe in.
Charles Ibe, an Ibo, works as a messenger for the Scholarship Board in Lagos. He writes a letter to Obi asking for a loan of thirty shillings, saying his wife has just borne their fifth child.
Reverend Samuel Ikedi
Reverend Samuel Ikedi, pastor of St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Umuofia, leads a prayer meeting for Obi Okonkwo at his parents’ home before his journey to England. At the end of a long speech, he advises Obi to take his studies seriously and not to be drawn into the pursuit of pleasure.
The lorry driver takes Obi from Lagos to Onitsha aboard a mammy-wagon christened ‘‘God’s Case No Appeal.’’ He smokes and chews kola nuts to stay awake, but nevertheless nearly falls asleep at the wheel. When the lorry is stopped by the police, Obi’s watchful presence prevents the policeman from accepting a two-shilling bribe. Moments later, out of view, the policeman charges the driver’s mate ten shillings. The driver then berates Obi for sticking his nose in business that does not concern him and for being ‘‘too know.’’ Other passengers echo the driver’s rebuke.