Review of Unexpected Joy at Dawn by Alex Agyei Agyiri


Unexpected Joy at Dawn – A Must Read


Alex Agyei-Agyiri’s ” unexpected Joy at Dawn” is a story of migration, identities, and . lives sabotaged by negative and xenophobic politics pushed to its coherent and horrendous conclusion pertains to the Ghanaian orders of alien compliance’ issued in 1970-1971, which was designed to compel all non-ethnic Ghanaians, so-called unlawful immigrants, to get back to there – so stipulated – ‘home’. the novel thus touches on concerns of more profound significance to the politics of race and migration in the 21st Century. A similar situation worked out in Nigeria at the wastefulness of the new civilian regime of mid-1985. The Nigerians faulted the foreigners for their financial woes and the then civilian administration system under Shehu Shagari requested that all Ghanaians in the nation should leave.

In any case, in the illumination of this foundation of the destruction of the spirit of Pan-Africanism and the development of xenophobia among Africans, Alex Agyei – Agyiri wrote “Unexpressed Joy at Dawn”. The novel also got an honor in the Best First Book Prize, Africa Region, of the Commonwealth Writers Prize.


Alex Agyei – Agyiri’s “Unexpected Joy at Dawn” is set in Ghana and Nigeria. it tells a story that centers on the existence of two siblings, Nii Moses, and Mama Orojo. During the 1983 deportation of Ghanaians from Nigeria under the Shehu Shagari government. Nii, who is a Nigerian by blood but a Ghanaian by birth, was left in Ghana by his parents as they made the tortuous journey to Nigeria when Ghana sanctioned the Aliens Compliance Order of 1969, which made each person living in Ghana without the expected papers an outsider.

His name was changed to mirror the name of his adopted parents. Following fourteen years of living in hardship in Ghana, which involves living in slums although he was an Assistant Manager at a bank, taking on multiple jobs, not being able to bury a wife, and being chased around by market people for implied ‘fraud’, he chose to go to Nigeria in search of his roots. Besides, he engaged the fears of being marked an outsider, because of the rising tensions in Ghana against Nigerians as an immediate result of the situation of Ghanaians in Nigeria. Thus, blackness and name alone don’t concede citizenship or a staying grant, one needs more than that.

After making the dangerous journey loaded with deaths, bribes, swindles, and armed robbing, and making it to Nigeria, Nii understood that once more, ancestral marks, color, and a name don’t also make him a Nigerian. More is required and it is the more which he lacks the most, such as the capacity to speak a Nigerian language, how to speak like a Nigerian, and dress like one. Nii was exposed and wherever he goes he is told ‘omo Ghana abi’. He moved from being a slave on someone’s cassava homestead to residing in slums to deportation camps to being a construction worker. In the long run, he was labeled as an armed robber and it was then that destiny smiled upon him.

While this is ongoing in Nii Moses Tackie’s life, Mama Orojo had also gone to Ghana in search of her sibling. At the point when all work flopped in rejoining with him, she in the process experienced passionate feelings for a gold vendor, Joe who was a customer of Expense Bank, where Nii had filled in as an Assistant Manager. It was in search of Nii, that they understood the monstrosity of the issue they had within reach including the entombment of Nii’s significant other, Massa.

Mama later returns to Nigeria in the company of her newfound love. In the meantime in Nigeria, Nii is carrying on with a daily existence less of a slave; a truly challenging life.

At long last, he and mama met under exceptionally strange circumstances, after Nii had absconded from a deportation camp in the company of his friend Aaron Tsuru and was hiding in an uncompleted building. Individuals had taken them for armed robbers. He and Aaron attempted to escape however Aaron died in the process and just then Nii thought it was over for him,

Mama Orojo and Joe, her gold vendor darling, saw Nii which leads to an unexpected Joy at Dawn.


Nii Tackie Cares for His Sick Wife.

It was Monday, 4. am Accra Ghana, on entering their one-room apartment, Nii Tackie was flooded with thoughts that his sick wife is already dead. He screens his wife’s name three times but the wife still lies motionless, he runs his hand over her to feel her pulse to confirm his fear. He feels bad at the height at which her health deteriorates. one could hardly tell she was just Twenty—two. He recalls and reflects on the verdict from all physicians that she has a few more days to live. Meanwhile, he heard some noise at the door, when he opened it, it was three of his neighbors who had come to show concern and be recognized him for his difficulties. He appreciates them and returned to his wife, but still murmuring. The wife demanded to know what the doctor had said about her health, and he assured her that she will get better. but get worried cause she knows the doctor had asked for more money and they had no money left. However, Nii brought up the idea of consulting a native doctor in the next few days. This he did just to take off away her worries.

Mama Orojo Share Her Memories With Ibuk as They Go on Evangelism.

It was 8 am in lllere, Nigeria, Mama Orojo and Ibuk who are members of the Amen Kristi church are about their Evangelical mission to win converts to their church. At that point, Mama Orojo sees an immigration officer and this makes her reflect on her past experiences. First, she speaks of how the Sahm brotherhood had considered them as poachers and how the people of illere had been so not receptive to their preaching. Mama Orojo recalls the day of their initiation into the Amen Kristi church and the dramatic display Ibuk had acted, rather than kissing the cross as the usual rite, Ibuk had
bitten it to the horror of everybody present and how she started laughing which later got other members of the congregation to laugh too.

Moving away from their initiation experience, Mama Orojo recalls how seeing the immigration officer reminds her of her brother who is still in Ghana. She recounts how she was forced to leave Ghana for Lagos, Nigeria fifteen years ago, alongside other Nigerians considered aliens and runners of the county’s economy. She tells how her parents had died a day after the other and left with no family and with very little money. She misses her brother and suddenly plans to visit Ghana and possibly bring her brother to resettle in Nigeria.

They both arrived at their place of appointment to meet Mr. Tom Monday, who received them warmly. He informs Mama and Ibuk about his daughter’s change in behavior especially towards other religious views ever since she joins the Sahm brotherhood, she becomes very intolerant but he hopes she will change.

Nii Experience Xenophobic Prejudice as His Recommended Project Was Rejected / Mama and Ibuk Meet Tom Monday Again.

Here, we experience the day-to-day work life of Nii Tackie. He works at the Expense Bank, as an Assistant Manager of the bank, We experienced how the project he recommended entitled Ant Hill Brick for funding was rejected by the manager. Nii feels sad about it. furthermore, a lady typist in the office makes passes to Nii as she switches attention to the bank manager by drawing his attention to the story about the aliens in a newspaper she holds. The manager admits having seen the story and shows his displeasure for all aliens working at his bank Right there, Nii knew the conversation about aliens was to ridicule him so he left muttering xenophobia to himself. He goes back to his seat with fear that sooner or later history would repeat itself and Ghana would ask aliens to leave and he sees himself as a victim because of his obvious tribal mark Linda the lady typist later requests Nii to visit her and Nii grudgingly agrees but when he is ready.

Mama and Ibuk on the other hand are done with religious talks but Tom Monday diverts their discussion to assisting Mama Orojo to get a contract since she claims to be a contractor. Mama welcomes the idea and expresses her preparedness to pre-finance the contract. This surprises Tom and increases his admiration for her. He wished Mama had not come as an evangelist, he would have proposed to her immediately. After another intriguing religious discussion about how God created man to live forever, Mama Orojo insists that the ‘seed of eternity is in humanity’ which Tom finds odd as he wonders why the same God who created Adam would curse him. Tom later reminded them of his trip to Lagos and promised to do his best to help Mama get contracts and mama’s response that he won’t regret helping her makes Tom feel hopeful that there is a possibility of winning Mama’s affection.

Nii Admits His Anxiety Over the Alien Issue in the Country and His Wife’s Health Condition.

Massa laid in bed reaching painfully as Nii walls in. He quickly steps out to get the plastic chamber pot to vomit into and when he returns, Massa was moaning in pain again but plays down the degree of her pain when asked by her husband. Shortly after Nii tries to hunt down the mouse that provokes his wife and, in the process, lifts his wife’s spirit for soft laughter, he sat in a chair and sleeps off. He suddenly shouts in his dream: Blackness is not enough! Blackness…..Enough! three stripes only. till sleepy but managed to reach out to his wife who moaned in pain again. Nii finally admits his fears pointing out numerous stories in the newspaper that are whipping up xenophobic feelings in people that even in his office, think his tribal marks are going to give him away as an alien. His wife tried to reassure him that he would be fine and promised to stay a Ghanaian.

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Mama Prepares and Leaves for Ghana and Experiences Delays at the Airport.

Mama prepares for her journey to Ghana; she buys things she would need. she stuck six hundred nairas in twenty naira notes and inserts them into the back cover of her Bible. As she goes to bed that night, she began to reflect and mentally prepare for the journey. in her mind, she tries to locate her family house in Ghana.

She reflected on how her parents died on their way to Nigeria fifteen years back, and how her father was buried in a shallow grave. She however weeps a long time in the reflection of all she has gone through.

It was 10:30 am. in Lagos, Mama is held up in traffic on her way to the airport. she eventually abandoned the car and takes another taxi to the airport. When she arrives at the airport, while in a queue, a young man began to pester her that he could fix her a place on the London-Accra -Congo Brazzaville flight. She told him she booked a flight but the young man would not deter her.

After a while, mama got the attention of an air hostess who advised mama to ignore the young man that he is a cheat but when the queue breaks up and it appears that the young man was right. he takes advantage of the situation and requested for a fee of twenty hair to help mama. the atmosphere becomes rowdy and the passenger gets into a rage over the claim that the flight is full. luckily for mama, an air hostess takes her ticket and directs her to the customs for another checking and she was directed to flight HT954, seat Number 21. After all her doubt is cleared over her flight schedule, she also pays her airport tax and strides happily towards the immigration checkpoint.

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Mama Meets Joe

After she had been swindled on her flight to Accra earlier in the day and had bravely their best. Mama became worried and when she walks away from the station, she noticed that one of the policemen she saw at the station is following her and he catches up with her, the police corporal offers to take her to where she could get genuine gold if she wants one. Mama agrees to follow him to the Beyeema complex to get gold. She has some sense of security since the young man is a policeman so she didn’t hesitate to follow him.

When they arrived at the Beyeema complex, the policeman directs mama to take a seat. The policeman then informed Joe that mama is interested in genuine gold and added that she had been swindled at the early hour of the day.

After some disagreement, Joe brings out a small weighing scale and teaches mama how it works. And when mama offers to buy fifteen thousand cedi work of gold which impresses Joe and makes him think this kind of transaction will soon send him back to the mines that had become dangerous places to explore due to the activities of security service. Joe entertains his guests at Beye’s restaurant. Joe’s friend Naido who serves on the Minerals Board informs him of the government plan for the mining industry which will allow people like joe to engage in the mining business legally. Joe excused the
gathering and headed for the Expense Bank hall, in the bank he discusses the prospects of the government plan for mining with Nii, the bank’s Assistant Manager. After his discussion, he hurries back to join his guests at the restaurant.

Nii Suffers Humiliation in the Hands of His Students

Nii took a part-time teaching job to ease the financial burden imposed on him by his wife’s illness. He is in deficit at his workplace. Therefore, the need another source of income to augment his earnings. He is a perpetual latecomer because he walks down to the school to cut the cost.

However, his inability to manage his emotion when he arrived at the school on a fateful day landed him more humiliation from the students who were upset about his late coming and had written some insulting words on the board. His attempt to teach despite their rude attitudes we’re frustrated by the students that his response was not probably managed and landed him more humiliation. This, he pays for dearly loving and caring for his wife.

Mama is Subjected to a Thorough Search at the Airport.

Ironically, Mama congratulates herself for the success of her journey and especially her new acquisition of genuine gold but she failed on her primary purpose to meet his brother and relocate him to Nigeria. When she got to the airport, she passes through the immigration section at the airport without any difficulty. And just before she gets to the custom section, she had unzipped her bag, ready for inspection. The customs officer brings out all the content of her bag and examines them. He finds nothing incriminating, then directed her for other rounds of body search by two ladies. This thorough
inspection Mama was subjected to is indicative that people hide under religious cloaks.

Revolutionary Guard Shoot a Girl

Nii, after he had been humiliated by his students makes his way home. He stopped by the market to do some shopping. But the thought of Massa being alone at home changes his mind and hurries to get home before it gets too dark.

On his way, he noticed that many people are heading in the market direction, he tries to get attention from a girl who is also running after the crowd but the girl is angry that he is distracting her. Nii keeps his pace with the crowd. Eventually, it was a girl who is been held by six soldiers carrying guns and strings of ammunition. She had been caught selling above the control price and while she points at a fat woman sitting in front of a stall at the market, the soldiers asked if she was the woman’s daughter but she becomes paralyzed with fear and emphatically denies her. Immediately, one of the soldiers shoots
her and she dies. Nii is outraged by this incident which demonstrates the high level of impunity of the military dictatorship in Africa.

Nii Passes the Night at Linda’s House / Linda Tries to Seduce Nii.

As the curfew approached, no vehicle was in sight, and everywhere was becoming empty as people went indoors to avoid the curfew arrest. Nii became worried and his best option is to put up in Linda’s house since it was nearby, he finds safety in Linda’s house. While in Linda’s house, she throws herself at Nii but he ignores her. She even tells him that she could be useful to him If he accepts to take her to Lagos. Nii doesn’t understand why she wants to follow him to Lagos but she eventually opened up. She tells him that her husband is in London, and she has been denied a British visa to enable her to join him and she hopes if she goes to Nigeria with Nii agreeing to act as her husband it would then be easy for her to enter Nigeria since he is a Nigerian. Linda would back down on the attempt to seduce him and rejoices at the siren that simultaneously announced the beginning of the curfew. But Nii acts unimaginably when he removes his shirt, trouser, and underpants, puts them into his polythene bag, roughens his hair and opens the door, and escapes.

Nii Takes Massa to a Spiritual Healer.

Nii takes Massa to a spiritual healer that was recommended to him with a strong that mass will be cured of her illness. They embark on the journey to ‘ God is Beyond Science’ While on the Journey, Massa made Nii promise her that he would always remember her.

Nii promised her, however, it was her final will. She dies on their way to get spiritual help. Nii takes her to a hospital at Koforidua where she was confirmed dead at 8:40 pm.

Nii’s Journey to Nigeria.

Nii joins other passengers to travel from Accra to the border town Banukophe. Their experience on that journey shows the risk immigrants go through to move from one country to another. At a point, the leader of the group soon changes into torn and wrinkled clothes like a farmer and others follow suit except for Nii who is not familiar with the journey procedure. Nii recognizes Aaron, a soil scientist who had approached his bank to fund his project about bricks. However, the leader of the group reprimands
them for their talk which may draw unnecessary attention. They were exposed to all sorts of danger, brutality, and corruption among uniformed men at the borders. When Nii finally crossed the border to the outskirts of Lome, he kneels and prays.

Nii Is Robbed on His Way to Nigeria.

Nii’s journey from Togo to Benin was successful. With him was one of the people he traveled with from Accra whom he asked if he knows the person that was shot at the border. The man told him things like that happen regularly and that he should expect more. The man later introduces himself as Ezra, a trader.

Ezla takes a young cyclist while Nii goes for an elderly one. On their way, the man tries to engage Nii in different conversations but seeing Nii is determined not to play balls, he slows down the bike, beats him up, and robs him. By the time Nii manages to get up, he walks to the road where he finds a house and when he walks further, he realizes that he has crossed the border and he had entered Nigeria.

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Nii and Aaron Fall Into the Hand of Nigeria Security Officials

Nii walks from the border to a town where he changes into decent clothes. While he was praying, a certain man stood over him and as he turns to see who he is, the man addressed him as ‘Omo Ghana’. The man lost his cool and draws the attention of their officers who declares Nii as a ‘perfect’ Ghanaian. Nii and Aaron and other arrested foreigners are ordered into a vehicle. Their experience shows that xenophobia is not restricted to a particular country or group of people in Africa. The irony of it is that what Nii partly runs for in Ghana is what he is made to go through as he arrives in Nigeria. He began to regret his decision and recalls his wife’s wish that he should not go to Nigeria. It also becomes a glaring reality that his inability to speak Nigerian languages would make it difficult for him to locate members of his family.

Nii Meets Marshak

The drive to seek his family keeps him at his place of work where he carries cartons of bottles of beer from the vehicle into a storehouse. He is frustrated on the job but he won’t relent though tired and disoriented. Two ladies who had observed how tired Nii was walked up to him and speaks the Ghanaian language to him. he was excited and after a brief chat with the ladies, who introduced themselves as Marshak and Akosua, they invited him to visit them at the hotel. He agrees with the thought that they could help him.

Nii visited Marshak and Akosua in the company of his friend. However, the visit reveals the extent to which, Marshak is desperate to get married and settled into a more meaningful life. Marshal who had come from a responsible background but all her eagerness to get married has not been fruitful.

The unfolding incident at Marshak’s place at the hotel also reveals Nii’s dedication to his late wife. Her memories keep flooding his mind and he calls Marshak by the name of his late wife.

Mama Goes In Search Of Nii

Mama visited joe unexpectedly at his office and tells him about her brother she has seen last about fifteen years ago. This time, mama is determined and devoted solely to the search for her brother. Joe assisted Mama in search of Nii and he recalls that there was a striking resemblance between mama and Nii when he last saw him but he failed to notice the resemblance. They painstakingly search for Nii, from his formal place of work at Expense Bank to his residence, then to the hospital where he abandoned the corpse of his wife because he could not pay the demanded fees, to the spiritual house,
Nii intended to take his wife before she died on the road where the deacon tells them how he persuaded Nii to stay but he insisted that he would travel. This information scared the ghost out of mama as she remembers the scene of desperate foreigners at the Badagry border.

However, the tiring and discouraging search process helps mama to discover that Nii has traveled to Nigeria and the lady he left in the hospital was his wife who died on the way to get spiritual healing at “God is beyond Science.

Marshark Visit Nii at Miliki

Marshark visits Nii at a small room apartment he shares with his friends; Aaron and the carpenter.

Nii wonders why a beautiful lady like Marshark would want to get entangled with him. But it became obvious that Marshak has an unrequited love for Nii.

Joe Declared His Love For Mama

Mama and Joe take part in the funeral rites and internment of Massa in Sampa. Joe’s unflinching support all through their journey from Koforidua to Sampa and during the burial is magnanimous. After all, done. Mama thinks about how she would find her brother and Joe assures her to be less worried that Nii would be in Lagos. Joe thinks of how he would make his intention known to mama and when he eventually summoned the courage to tell her after beating around the bush, he asks mama if she would marry him.

Mama accepts and this marks a new beginning of blissful life for joe.


Nii Visits Marshark Again

Nii regretted how he couldn’t give Marshark an auspicious smile in her during her last visit to Miliki now decides to reciprocate the visit. When Nii arrives, they both were in an earnest mood, and just when they were both deep in fondling each other a knock on Marshark door from a boy of about fifteen years of age angered Nii and he accused Marshark of humiliating him. Marshark pleas and explanation of how circumstances forced her into prostitution fell on Nii’s deaf ear when he hears another knock on the door from the proprietor of the hotel. Nii left her that night and when he returned with his friends at Marsharks place the following day to apologize and ask her to join them on the trip to Lagos.

Unfortunately, Marshark had committed suicide because he abandoned her and Nii cried inconsolably as he regrets his action.

A Deadly Mining Operation.

Tally O has been brooding over the idea of Joe, his closest friend, getting married. While he waits in a small hut in the forest for the arrival of his colleagues in the illegal mining business, he thinks about the possibility of his colleagues falling into the hands of the law and also feels his end might be near. When his colleagues arrived, including Joe, they began the business of the day. In the process, they suddenly heard a gunshot that slashes Tally O’s shoulder and he began to bleed profusely.

Joe, on the other hand, struggles with his heavy sack as he tries to escape, he was also shot at but the bullet landed on the deadwood very close to him. He manages to hide under the roots of three huge trees known as three sisters. In fear, he recalls two encounters they have had with the guards and how they killed two guards. Away from his fears, driven by the will to survive, Joe struggles to maneuver his way through the forest. But the other members, after a brief argument about how to rescue Tally O with no obvious solutions decide to kill him while they all escaped to the hut.

The Amen Kristi Church Opposes Mama’s Choice Of Marriage Partner.

Mama did not hesitate to inform the chairman and elders of her church, the Amen Kristi church, about her marriage plan. She believes they would all be glad to hear that she is getting married. But the news didn’t go well with the chairman who is surprised at mama’s decision to marry someone who is from another tribe and county. However, this was a rude shock to mama, and wonders why the chairman speaks against getting married to someone from another tribe when the church has always preached the
oneness of humanity.

The position chairman and other council members of the church over mama’s intentions to marry a foreigner contribute to the development of the theme of xenophobia in the novel and their instantaneous decisions to expel Mama and even rebuke Ibuk when she speaks to defend mama’s decision shows the conspiracies that characterize church politics in Africa. However, Mama shows a firm and courageous attitude towards her decision when Tom Monday proposes and the chairman encourages her to accept his proposal in the view to discourage her from marrying Joe.

Religious Riots in Egba

The religious riot that happened in Egba portrayed mama as a courageous and selfless woman. The other religious group known as the Sahm Sect caused the mayhem. While Mama and the Secretary of the Amen Kristi church were having a Bible discussion at the Paleos Family house with their hostess, Mrs. Paleo, suddenly the room is filled with smoke, and immediately their hostess had gone downstairs to check alert that the building is on fire.

Through the window, mama saw that people were running from the burning houses and she was able to see the chairman of the Amen Kristi church who had been tied to the steering wheel of the bus that brought them to the neighborhood, with a burning tire left beside him. Bravely, Mama was able to devise a means for her, the Secretary, and their hostess to escape from the building. Mama also assisted the chairman of her church to break loose from where he was tied. When the soldiers arrived, they fired a few gunshots into the air to bring the terrain to normalcy and mama alerted them that a woman is trapped in the burning house. The soldiers and some people gave a hand to rescue the woman. Mama discovered that Ibuk had been slaughtered. The soldiers and the journalists commended mama for her courage. She was taken to the barrack to make a statement about the incidents

Locating the Orojos in Ijase.

Nii and Aaron had been held at Hajj camp where aliens are kept preparatory to a decision of their fate. They both escaped from the camp and decided to locate Ijase, Nii’s ancestral home in Nigeria.

The journey, of course, came with many problems but they made it to the suburb of Ijase. They lost enthusiasm to further ask for direction and the fear of not being rearrested by the immigration officers made them look for a place to rest and hide. They are weak and exhausted from the job they got from a construction site to get money.

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After much struggle, thoughts of death occupied their minds and they both ruminated on the reasons why they had come to Nigeria. They passed the night in another uncomplicated building and the following day, they reported at the construction site. In the course of the work, Aaron is involved in an accident that causes a cut on his head.

The foreman refuses to be sympathetic or pay them for the day that he even threatens them with an immigration official. They rely on paracetamol since they couldn’t go to any hospital without appropriate papers.

Nii Reunites with his Sister Unexpectedly

Aaron’s condition got worse and Nii is helpless as nothing can be done to help his friend. Nii asked his friend if he had seen an angel, he believes in the superstition that when a person is about to die such a person would see an angel in the preparedness for their departure. When it was 5:am, a Muezzin calls other Muslims to pray. Nii observes that activities are going on in the last of the eight rooms in the compound. Wachuk had reluctantly gone out in search of places in their compound after he bowed to the pressure and verbal engagement from his wife, Idem, on how coward of a man he is for
not joining other people in the neighborhood in search of robbers. When he got upstairs and found a table, he was shocked and alerted people in the compound of the presence of possible robbers in the compound. Soon, activities and the movement of people downstairs woke them both up and they realized they are in danger and decide to escape. Aaron jumped first, followed by Nii, and when they both landed, Aaron had stopped breathing and fear gripped Nii but he is also ready for the worse, he raised his hand to surrender and the unexpected happened, among the people who he had surrendered to was Joe, he recognized him and then his sister, Mama Orojo. And when Joe announces that the suspected robber is Nii, mama drops the club she is meant to use in hitting the ‘armed robber’ in her compound.

After a moment of disbelief, Mama cries and embraces her long-lost brother.



Moses Nii Tackie

He is a young university graduate, who studied accounting and works as an assistant manager at the Expense Bank He is born Ghanaian as all records of him bear his Ghanaian name but the three tribal marks on his cheek give him away as a Nigerian if the to run a tribe. He is married to Massa and incidents in the novel portray him as a caring, loving, and faithful husband. For instance, he refused to have sexual intercourse with Linda even when she throws herself at him.

Nii was separated from his family, who returns to Nigeria fifteen years ago after the Ghanaian government asks all aliens to leave the country. His both parents died on their journey to Nigeria, while Mama Orojo, his sister is his only surviving relative.

However, his double identity makes him live in fear in Ghana, and when his ailing wife, Massa died on their way to get spiritual healing, he decides to return to Nigeria to reunite with his sister.

Nii is also a hardworking young man that confronts harsh economic reality by engaging in part-term jobs to upset its effect on his salary as an assistant manager. Even when he crosses to Nigeria he picks up numerous menial jobs to sustain himself and since the time he arrived in Nigeria when the Nigerian government has asked the aliens to vacate the country, he constantly faced the difficulty of his double identity and his inability to speak any of Nigerian languages makes him always be seen as a Ghanaian.

Nii is one of the protagonists that joins the two parallel stories in Agyei-Agyiri’s “Unexpected Joy at Dawn”. Being a crucial character, his accidental appearance before his sister, while he was been pursued as a suspected criminal, brings about the resolution of the central conflict in the novel.

Mama Orojo

Mama Orojo is the only surviving relative of Nii Moses Tackie. She relocated to Nigeria with their parents when the Ghanaian government asked all aliens to leave their country leaving Nii behind. Unfortunately, both parents died on the road to Nigeria. She is a buxom single lady who faced a lot of difficulties settling in Nigeria after she lost her parents on their journey to Nigeria. Against all odds, she builds her business and becomes very prosperous and influential with a thriving construction company and a confectionery store. She is a believer and an active member of the Amen Kristi church and participates in the church evangelism outreach.

Mama’s first journey to Ghana in search of her brother, Nii Moses Tackie, was not successful on her primary purpose in Ghana, but she met Joe Boye who introduces her gold business and later becomes her husband. Mama is brave and displayed her courageous will when she jumps down from the burning house to save a baby during the religious riot at Egba started by the Sahm sect. Mama becomes elated when she accidentally meets her brother who she had embarked on a two times journey to Ghana in search of him right in her compound.

Joe Boye

Joe Boye is also known as Owura Ku, he is thirty years old and a father of two children from two women whose families were not willing to encourage these women to be joined with him legally. Joe had his difficult shares of life. First, he was once an apprentice to a tailor at Oda and when his master closed down the shop, he leaves for the city where he ended up becoming an illegal gold mining business with his friend, Tally O. Joe became independent from Billy, the man that introduces him to the illegal mining business after like a month on the job. He was introduced to Mama Orojo by a police corporal at his office on the sixth floor of the Beyeeman building.

Afterward, Joe became a reliable friend to mama and his unflinching support to Mama on her trips to Ghana is commendable. He proposes to Mama with a gold ring and Mama accepts with affectionate glee.

Massa Awosika

She is Nii’s ailing wife whose sickness appears to be intractable. She is just twenty-two years but she is bedridden till her death on their way to get spiritual healing at “God is beyond Science”. Massa had been an intimate friend to Nii from their school days and this explains the reasons Nii remained faithful to her when she was alive and even when she dies. She is a good and loving wife, she cares about her husband’s financial and psychological wellbeing, and being a firm believer in the philosophy of Pan—Africanism, she believes Africa is home for all Africans when she sees that her husband is worried about the fate of Aliens in Ghana, she tries to calm him down and encourages him to stay in Ghana.

Aaron Tsuru

Aaron is a young brilliant scientist and the brain behind the Ant Hill Brick He has a Ph.D. and a diploma in Project Management, a former lecturer at the University of Ghana where he received a certificate of honor. He met Nii when he first visited Expense Bank to seek financial support for his project. However, all the presented didn’t meet the bank’s stringent policy for giving out loans. Nii tries to help yet the bank denies him the loan. He leaves Ghana out of the frustration he encountered at the bank.

He later meets Nii again at the border when they were trying to illegally cross the border to Nigeria.

Aaron dies when he falls from the uncompleted building when they were running from people who had mistaken him and Nii as robbers.



She is a friend to Mama orojo. She is a member of Amen Kristi Church and a regular partner to mama on evangelism mission. She is in support of mama’s decision to marry Joe but she was not allowed to vote. She died during the religious riot in Egba, Lagos.

Tom Monday

Tom is a widower who resides in lllere. We had an encounter with him when Mama and lbuk had gone to evangelize to him at his residence. He secretly admires mama and when he finally proposed to her, it was rather too late. He played major importance towards the resolution of the story because he was the one who hinted to Nii that he looks like he had befriended and also tells him that mama lives at ljase.

Tally O

Tally o is joe’s intimate friend and a partner in their illegal gold mining business. He is also known as Daga. Tally O is a hardened criminal that has a persistent record of being wanted on the police list but he keeps changing his identity from one crime to another. He met his doom on their last illegal miming trip. This deadly trip almost claim Joe’s life too but it was a turning point for him to turn a new leaf, but Tally O never had that opportunity.


Paleo is a ruthless immigration officer. He is in charge of other immigration recruits whose job description is to put aliens in check He arrested Nii and Aaron and takes them to lllere for them to work on his farm. His wife died in the fire accident during a religious riot at Egba but his child was saved through mama’s heroic response.


He is a retired educationist from the government service. He runs a remedial school for students who want to improve upon their ‘0’ and ‘A’ level grades. The school runs in the afternoon so why Nii can pick a teaching job on some days after his banking job?


Susu Boss

Auntie Joe

Odeefo Nkansah




Alex Agyei-Agyiri is an author born at Adamorobe in the Akwapim South District of the Eastern Region of Ghana. He is a result of the University of Ghana, Legion, and a lawful specialist. His works incorporate the honor-winning poems, ” Passover”, “Ancestral Faces” and “This Death Call”

Article Culled from Lasu-Info-com

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