All characters in No Longer At Ease has dreams and hopes that they want to fulfill. Unfortunately, these hopes and dreams often conflict with the reality of their life situations. Obi Okonkwo wants to be part of the elite, but he hopes to do so without succumbing to corruption. He also wants to marry Clara, even though Igbo culture forbids him to do so. Isaac and Hannah Okonkwo want to see their son be a good Christian and to use the power of the written word to succeed, but they cannot let go of the part of their culture that forbids marriage to an osu. Ultimately, Obi's family and kinsmen prevent his marriage to Clara, and he succumbs to the temptation of accepting bribes. Obi's dreams, hopes, and plans fail completely.
Although Obi believes it is his backward Igbo culture that prevents him from getting what he wants, it is actually his personal character flaws that get in the way.
Although Obi discovers a lot of obstacles for achieving his dreams, ultimately it is simply his lack of foresight that causes his difficulties.