In the previous chapters, the narrator lets us into the past history of an all-embracing Ghana. We also get ourselves acquainted with Mama Olu Orojo’s humble business beginning and now, the important position she occupies in her community and within the church.
Mama Orojo travels to Ghana to reunite with her brother. During her flight, she meets a man who offers to sell a gold ring to her. Nii Tackie too is bedeviled with the reality of his tribal marks.
Nii Tackie is in the bank, at work, tensed about the Ant Hill Brick project. He feels strongly the project will change the narrative of the construction industry of the country. However, contrary to Nii Tackie’s expectation, the project is not approved by the bank authorities.
Linda again reminds Nii Tackie of her request. Nii Tackie consents and they fix the time for the visit for 5.30 p.m. later that day.
Also, in this chapter, we have our first glimpse of Joe. Though his name is not specifically mentioned, his office location (Sixth floor of Beyeeman Complex) and mission at the bank (which would be repeated) give him away. And this description too:
Nii reasoned that the young man was fortunate. He was young with little education, but his account at the bank said that he was a millionaire. (Page 62)
Joe is also affected by the revolutionary government’s directive which does not allow any withdrawal from any account above fifty thousand cedis unless he provides receipts and “records which established the bank account”.
Aaron, the initiator of the Ant Hill Project, walks into the bank to receive the bad news about the rejection of his project.
Mama Orojo exchanges some naira notes for cedis, under the direction of the man she meets on the plane, the one who wants to sell a gold ring to her.
The exchange rate is one naira per forty cedis. For her one hundred naira, she receives four thousand cedis and pays the unnamed ring seller.
Here, there is a subtle reference to Ghanaian bad economy through its poor exchange rate.
Mama Orojo later books an appointment with the man for the following day at Room 8, Nova Hotel (for more gold transactions).
Back at Expense Bank, the Bank Manager breaks the news to Aaron Tsuru about the bank’s decision; reiterating that Aaron’s project does not suit the bank’s objectives or fall within the purview of the bank’s aims.
Aaron Tsuru meets Nii Tackie as the former emerges from the manager’s office. Aaron confides in Nii Tackie about his troubles on the project; about government officials who okay the project but begin to avoid him; and now, the bank.
Nii Tackie expresses his genuine support for the project.
‘If I had some personal funds,’ said Nii. ‘I would have helped you […] I am personally interested in your achievement’
However, Aaron is not the one to give up easily. He says:
‘But I’ll fight on. […] The way out does not lie in this country.’
From the foregoing excerpt, it seems Aaron may be considering leaving the country like many of “its creative thinkers, inventors and innovators”.
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Mama Orojo takes a taxi. The driver (once involved in illegal gold business called Daga) tells her the gold ring she holds dearly is not genuine.
Mama Orojo realises she has been duped. The driver takes her to a police station near the airport to lodge her complaint.
The scene changes to Expense Bank. Aaron has left. Joe is introduced into the story proper. He laments to Nii Tackie about not being allowed to withdraw his money from his “own account in the bank” without the Attorney General’s letter of permission. He expresses his dire need of money.
Nii Tackie tells him nothing can be done when Joe seeks his assistance. He says:
‘You’re suggesting to me to change a man into a woman […] Not even the governor of the Bank of Ghana can withdraw money from his account, if the account is over fifty thousand cedis . . .’
The author takes us back to the unnamed man, who hiding behind a giant teak, sees Mama Orojo entering the police station to file a report. He quickly leaves for Korle Lagoon where he changes into new clothes.
A little probe into his character reveals that he has some kind of connection with Joe. There is also a clear indication that he is a man of many names:
His professions were as varied as his names. (Page 73)
At the police station, Mama Orojo realises the man is a wanted criminal identified as I-Put-it-to me. The sergeant on duty promises that he and his men will look into the case.
Away from the police station, a police corporal (with number A.1601) offers to take her to a friend who deals in pure gold. Weighing her options, Mama Orojo agrees to follow him.
He being a policeman gave her some security. (Page 76)
Mama Orojo’s swindler (a.k.a. “the man”, “I-Put-it-to me) coincidentally boards the same taxi Mama Orojo took moments back.
The driver, a loquacious person, talks about how one of his passengers was duped on the Lagos-Accra flight. The man quickly lies about his flight details; that he travelled through Rome-Paris-Accra flight. This, he does, to avoid being suspected.
In this chapter, the narrator takes us to the sixth floor of Beyeeman complex.
Here, we encounter an unidentified occupant of one of the two offices that flank Joe’s office. Joe’s office is Room 5.
All we could draw from the man’s identity is that he is into illegal mining. His job and source of livelihood is being threatened by security agencies and the vigilante groups keen on keeping the country safe from the activities of criminals and social deviants. Most of his customers have gone into hiding to evade arrest. For him, that’s bad business.
Joe is in his office, going through the bank statement of his foreign account (a balance of forty thousand pounds). He is grateful to Nii Tackie for giving him the advice to save some of his income in a foreign account.
He thinks of acquiring the two rooms at the either side of his office (Room Four and Room Six); he is ready to pay the landlord double the rent in order to acquire the two rooms. He wants to expand his office as he intends to go into the legal mining business. His original plan is to build a large office building but that has to wait till the Mineral Board’s decision on the availability of legal mining to all.
Like the unidentified man, he is also into illegal mining business and has been affected too by the new security measures. He is wise not to go to the gold fields to mine gold. He and his Daga group devise ways of supplying their foreign customers; they often insert the precious gems into the stomachs of parrots.
Reacting to this, the government places a ban on the export of birds.
Joe calculates his net worth and he feels proud of himself. Joe catches a glimpse of the man in Room Six and the unidentified man seems familiar to him. It’s least surprising because the both are into illegal mining.
Mama Orojo and the Corporal are on their way to Beyeeman Complex.
And in Nigeria, Tom Monday is trying to draft a love letter for Mama Orojo. He has written two letters and is on his third. He feels the first two are inappropriate for a very important woman like Mama Orojo. At the end, he ends up writing:
‘I love you, Mama. I’m all for marriage. Just give me a chance …’
He wrote about some religious issues before he enveloped the letter and addressed it to Mama Orojo.