One such conflict involves the characters Ezeulu and Nwaka. Ezuelu is "unhappy with the escalation of a minor conflict with the nearby Okperi tribe whom he sees as entitled to a disputed piece of land. His arguments for not going to war are considered and reveal his knowledge of history. But a powerful speaker and a very wealthy leader, Nwaka, prevails. Unfortunately, the delegate sent to the Okperi gives in to his anger after being goaded about his virility and breaks the ikenga or ancestral image of the Okperi spokesman, who then kills him."
Ezeulu also comes into a man vs man conflict with Winterbottom. "Winterbottom is a chief foil for Ezuelu, as he is presented as colonial governor with superior sensitivity and certainly common sense. After the war, he breaks all the guns in Umuaro, and becomes known by an epithet that evokes this act. Winterbottom is also an idealist, however, who strongly believes in the mission of British colonialism.