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Last weekend, I had friends come in from Chicago and this was their first time visiting North-Central Nigeria. I took exceptional pride in showing them around my city, though as I begun to speak on what makes my city what it is, I begun to feel sad and a little ashamed at the same time. For my past two weeks of writing, I have forced myself to speak of Nigeria in a positive light, as many times I find it far too easy to focus on the chaotic, uncivilized society that it is. This week is somewhat of a compromise; it is a diplomatic meeting of two bodies, somewhere in between the conflict. Nigeria once again summons up the courage to take and not give any to me, in this long, encompassing and abusive relationship that we share. I am appalled by what she puts me through mentally, but this horrid relationship must be rectified; I swear it. This week, I will not speak of Nigeria as a whole; I will focus on my Capital city.

I took my friends to Jabi lake mall, where we walked up the dysfunctional escalator, but had the luxury of standing on the working one, which led to the lower floor. Rebecca wanted to get ice cream from Cold Stone, as the franchise is one that she easily recognized from her life in the United States. I immediately halted her in her tracks and suggested we tried somewhere new: Creamy Planet, the place directly opposite Cold Stone and Dominoes pizza. I sat and thought about how distasteful some of the things we consume may be, yet people keep buying from them not for the none-existent blissful taste, but because they are from foreign franchises. Nigerians are the masters of self-identifying with all international affairs. I thought about how local places like AJ’s pizza gets snubbed unfairly, because one simply cannot use AJ’s pizza to raise shoulder in Capital city society. Abuja is a city of levels, where everyone tries to get as high as they possibly can. Sometimes, the ascent makes people patronize and participate in places that they cannot completely justify.

I continued to think, which may be a dangerous thing as my mind sometimes runs untamed like the wild stallion of the Cimarron. I considered why people flocked into foreign-owned franchises so much, when the Nigerian economy bleeds dry. Nigerians don’t really invest in Nigeria, but we help generate fortunes for other countries. What happens to the great Nigerian owned franchises? Why are they not powerhouses, contending with the best of the best? Immediately, I thought about Mr. Biggs and the splendid memories it gave me in the days of my youth. If I keep reminiscing on my younger days in the society that my older self currently lives in, I will eventually let the floodgate of tears loose. I thought of their sausage rolls and scotch eggs, the meat pies and the slushies that made me wish I could inject them all directly into my veins at the same time. I thought about the kid play areas with the arcade games and the mini obstacle courses where I made countless friends for those singular nights of adventure and feasts. The final thing I thought about in relation to Mr. Biggs was how it all went wrong. In this case, the higher the ascent, the longer the fall. Why are Nigerian businesses not given the best chance to succeed? Why do many of them get mismanaged and end up done? I was baffled as the place of joy as a child currently sits in a state that depresses me. A place that had so much potential has transformed itself into such a disappointment.

Most of these questions still linger within me as I let my thoughts gallop with the wind. Maybe the introspection is a true quality of mine that I hope lives on; maybe it isn’t, and my mind was affected by the brain freeze. Whatever the cause of my plaguing thoughts, I hope they do not remain in my mind, but ignite themselves in the minds of others, manifest themselves in actions and gestures, and eventually help us make new blissful memories to dance along with the ones of our youth.

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