Characterisation in Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come to You by Chance

Characters in Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come to You by Chance include Kingsley Ibe, Cash Daddy, Ola, Mr. Paulinus,

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I Do Not Come to You by Chance
I Do Not Come to You by Chance front cover.
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The characters in Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come to You by Chance include Kingsley Ibe, Cash Daddy, Ola, Mr. Paulinus, Aunty Dimma, Augustina, Charity, and Godfrey. These characters contribute to the plot development of Nwaubani’s debut novel.

Kingsley Ibe

Kingsley Ibe is the protagonist of I Do Not Come to You by Chance. He is the narrator and the central figure in the novel.  

Kingsley Ibe is a Chemical Engineering graduate and the first son (Opara) of his family. As the first son, he’s entitled to a big piece of meat in the revered egusi soup and other privileges. However, the same position lumbers him with responsibilities he finds difficult bearing.

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His family sees education as the shortest way to success, a reason his father broke the bank to send him to a university. After graduating, he encounters a strange and unwelcoming scenario, something he never expected, making him appear helpless and hopeless. There is no job anywhere in Nigeria due to the failing economy, leaving him unable to cater to his family’s needs.

His girlfriend, Ola, breaks off their relationship because he is financially handicapped. He couldn’t afford to pay her bride price. Kingsley’s greatest challenge comes when his father’s health deteriorated, and no hospital takes him in without a deposit.

Kingsley faces a moral dilemma as he chooses wealth gained through fraud to support his family. He is lured into the ‘419’ business by his uncle Boniface. He literally sacrifices his morals and ego to climb the social ladder, even though his parents register their disapproval of his choice.

By the end of the novel, it is established that Kingsley is unapologetic about his fraudulent activities. Even when he has established legitimate businesses (notably, Kings Cafe) with the proceeds from scamming Europeans, he still continues his advance-fee scam on the low. This is evident in his continued correspondence with Mr Winterbottom whom he could not stop fleecing up till the end of the novel.

Cash Daddy

Cash Daddy is one of the notable characters in I Do Not Come to You by Chance. His real name is Boniface. He is Kingsley’s wealthy and influential uncle who is involved in fraudulent activities. He runs a successful empire of email scams. In the author’s words, “Cash Daddy suffers from Elephantiasis of the pocket.”

Characters in I Do Not Come to You by Chance
Characters in I Do Not Come to You by Chance

Cash Daddy is introduced in the novel when Kingsley’s father’s health deteriorates and he is rejected by hospitals for not being able to deposit cash for his treatment.

The weird and extravagant Cash Daddy, whose fortunes come from replying scam emails on his laptop, renders help with strings attached to his cousin. He would later evolve into Kingsley’s mentor in the world of scams and deceit. This allows him to exert significant influence over Kingsley’s decisions and actions.

As typical of ‘big men’ who have no use for their ill-gotten wealth, Cash Daddy goes into party politics to contest for the post of the governor of his state. He is however murdered while at it.

Ola

Ola is Kingsley’s ex-girlfriend. They have been together way back from the university. Although she deeply loves Kingsley, she doesn’t see herself marrying him because of his unappealing financial status at that time. Kingsley is jobless and unable to find jobs since graduation. She thinks he cannot afford to pay her bride price, and even if he struggles to pay it eventually, he cannot take proper care of her if they marry. Consequently, she severs their relationship.

Ola is depicted as a source of emotional turmoil for Kingsley. Their relationship ends in betrayal when Ola announces her engagement to another man.

Mr. Paulinus

Mr. Paulinus is Kingsley’s father whose illness strains the family’s finances. His health issues will eventually lead to his death.

Kingsley’s father is a graduate of a UK-based university, so he works in the civil service. As a government employee, he doesn’t earn a huge salary that will enable him to live a luxurious life or afford everything his family needs.

However, he does train his son, Kingsley, at a university. Because he has exhausted himself working in the civil service and still has financial difficulties, he advises his son not to end up like him. In fact, it is his deteriorating health that forces him to retire from the civil service.

Aunty Dimma

Aunty Dimma is a successful business woman, and Kingsley’s aunt who advises Kingsley and his mother. She is portrayed as a strong, supportive Nigerian woman. She accompanies Kingsley’s mother to visit Kingsley after the incident involving Kingsley and Godfrey.

Dimma does not mince words when condemning fraud related activities. Her mouth is described as “a miracle worker” which she uses to lash a whole lot of men; some of whom are 419 artists and most notably, Chief Boniface also known as Cash Daddy.

Aunty Dimma serves as a voice of reason and morality amidst the deception and turmoil surrounding the family.

Augustina

Mrs. Augustina Paulinus is Kingsley’s mother. She runs a tailoring shop to support the family. She provides emotional support to Kingsley and his siblings amidst their hardships.

Augustina worries about her family’s well-being but disapproves of Kingsley’s fraudulent lifestyle. It is least surprising that she appreciates Kingsley’s decision to start Kings Cafe which for a start signifies her son’s break from fraud.

Charity and Godfrey

Charity and Godfrey are Kingsley’s siblings. Charity is Kingsley’s younger sister who seeks his guidance and support throughout the novel. She is beset with academic struggles and romantic interests.

Godfrey, on the other hand, is Kingsley’s younger brother who wants to drop out of school. He faces conflicts with Kingsley and seeks independence from familial expectations.

Further Reading:

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