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Mr. Obi Okonkwo enters the courtroom for his trial.
One of his lawyers is late – his car broke down on the way – and gets a reprimand from the judge.
The courtroom is full of idle spectators, all anxious to hear the verdict.
Obi himself is indifferent, until the moment when the judge asks how such a promising young man could have done what Obi did.
Obi feels the sting of tears in his eyes. He had prepared for this moment, and planned to avoid crying, but now he is unable to help himself.
We then leave the courtroom and jump to the club bar. Mr. Green, Obi's boss, has a drink at the club bar after playing tennis. He strikes up a conversation with a British Council man.
The British Council man says he doesn't understand why Obi "did it."
But Mr. Green knows why: he claims that Africans are thoroughly corrupt. All the education in the world, he says, doesn't change that fact.
In Lagos, the Umuofia Progressive Union holds an emergency meeting. Umuofia is Obi Okonkwo's hometown and the Union is meeting to discuss Obi's case again.
They quibble over the facts of the case again: they gave him 800 pounds to study in England but he ruins himself over a girl. Should they continue to support him, since he is a brother, or should they let the case go?
What they don't understand, most of all, is how he could get caught.
Most people don't accept bribes themselves. They go through other people, so that it can never be traced to them.
Everyone now wonders how Obi could have acted so foolishly? What good was that college education if he does things like this?
Ultimately they decide that it is not their desire to wish harm on others, but if a man wishes harm on them, then they don't mind if he is ruined.
The implication is clear: Obi is such a man.
We then go back to the time when the Obi's village decided to send him get an education.
After the village of Umuofia had scraped together the money to send one of their citizens to get a college education in England, Obi had been the village's first choice. His grades were the highest in his province.
When Obi went to England, everybody in Umuofia got excited.
The priest at the Anglican Church quoted a Bible verse about Jesus to show that this was the fulfillment of prophecy – that somehow Obi would help his people.
Obi's father, Isaac, threw a huge feast.
The pastor told Obi that in the past, the village would have required him to be a fighter, a man of military prowess, to protect the village. Instead, the pastor went on, Obi would help his village by bringing knowledge back to them.
The women, led by Mary, sang hymns, said goodbye to Obi, and sent him on his way – having sacrificed a great deal to pay for his education.