Metropole Magazine

 
 
Today's Weather: Abuja NG: Partly Cloudy, Day 360|Night 260

            
31 Jan

Jamal is an Abuja-based billionaire bachelor and businessman who works hard and parties hard. Welcome to his world.

Week 16

Monday

I was back in Abuja feeling stronger. Even though a shipment of luxury office furniture for one of my store was damaged and the store’s MD wasn’t picking up his calls, and even though I was still getting annoying emails and calls about the sex scandal, I was feeling on top of the world. I will soon marry the woman I love, the one who warmed my heart enough for it to spill its secrets, and who didn’t judge me for becoming rich off the proceeds of my father’s death. I arranged for Louis Vuitton representatives to bring their choice products to a private viewing for her, and told her to choose whatever she wanted.

Tuesday

ZeeGC’s 320 factory staff in Brazzaville were protesting poor working conditions, so I approved a salary increase and six buses for their transportation, calculating that the predicted profits from my interests in Congo will cover that shortfall. One of my drivers who I’d sponsored to Mecca absconded, and when he was caught he gave Saudi authorities my number. After I arranged for his return he begged for his job back but I refused. But the new driver that replaced him crashed my Rolls Royce today and abandoned the vehicle in fear, so I gave the old driver one his job back. At least he drove carefully.

Wednesday

I had dinner with Zainab’s parents and her four sisters including Halima, who never looked me in the eye. We discussed plans for the wedding, but when Alhaji asked about my mother, Zainab and I looked at each other in alarm, then I told him my mother will contact him soon. Zainab and I have decided not to tell anyone about my father’s murder, especially since Alhaji had known Uncle Gumbo in the past. Although my mother disliked Zainab’s family, if she doesn’t cooperate I’ll just tell them she can’t attend the wedding.

Thursday

I wore my Armani Herringbone-striped suit to a meeting at the UN headquarters to discuss a collaboration, and afterwards had lunch with Dr Bolagun and the Chens, who I hadn’t seen since our emergency meeting following the sex scandal. Today we discussed the divorce of a colleague who had impregnated their second housegirl in two years. I marvelled at how gossip travelled so fast among the business community, and I was happy I was no longer the topic of conversation.

Friday

Zainab wanted a wedding in Abuja, but I wanted it in Rome. My nightmares had stopped, but I was still seeing Dr Ferral whenever I could. He was the only other person who knew about the murder, and I spent our sessions recalling details I’d forgotten and talking about how badly I treated my mother afterwards. I’d concentrated my anger on her instead of Uncle Gumbo, and she reacted by letting me shut her out of my life. “Has she had any therapy?” Dr Ferral asked. I laughed. “Just because I’m talking with you doesn’t mean it’s normal for Africans to tell strangers their problems,” I said.

Saturday

Dr Ferral noted that I ended up resenting the girl in the room with me as well as my mother following my father’s death, and concluded that my love-hate relationship with women sprang from that night. I somehow blamed them for his death. Tonight at our engagement party at my house, Zainab agreed. “You enjoy women, but you don’t like them. Except for me,” she smiled sweetly and I laughed. I’d arranged for Tuface to perform tonight, along with fireworks, chocolate fountains, Chinese circus acrobats and the video of my proposal in Switzerland playing on a big screen in the garden.

Sunday

After a meeting at the House of Representatives, I had lunch with some associates before heading back to my office, and was reading an MOU when my assistant told me my brother was at the gate. Strangers often try and get through security by saying they’re family members just to beg for money, so I told him to refuse the man entry. “He said his name is Ishaya Gumbo.” I froze. Uncle Gumbo’s illegimate son had been in America with his mother since we were kids. When he walked into my office I was shocked: he looked exactly like Uncle Gumbo. It was like seeing a ghost.

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24 Jan

Jamal is an Abuja-based billionaire bachelor and businessman who works hard and parties hard. Welcome to his world.

Week 15

Monday

I was relieved. Unloading all I had held in for 13 years made me feel lighter. Zainab assured me that none of what happened to my father, my mother and my father’s business partner Uncle Gumbo was my fault, and that my father would have been happy with my success, even though I saw Uncle Gumbo kill him and never told anyone. After days of investigation, we finally had a breakthrough with Alhaji’s troubled investments. I advised him about who to fire, who to hire, how much to reinvest, where and when, and also put him in touch with my key team.

Tuesday

“Why do you think Uncle Gumbo did what he did?” Zainab asked. We were in my Jacuzzi drinking Moet. I told her I didn’t know. I was 16 when it happened. I’d snuck into the house that night with a girl, and when we heard a shout, we rushed out and saw Uncle Gumbo run out of my father’s study, then drive off. He didn’t see us. I then found my father with a knife in his chest. Since that day, I was never the same again.

Wednesday

I met with Alhaji in his office today. After we discussed business, I asked him again for Zainab’s hand in marriage. This time he agreed. “I have seen a change in you these past few weeks. I don’t know what it is, but it’s good,” he said. Aliyu and I went to a private showcase of the latest Maserati, and I booked two; one for myself and the other a belated wedding gift for Aliyu. Zainab and I and Aliyu and Miriam had dinner at the expensive restaurant with no name. They will be relocating to London in a few weeks and I know I’ll miss Aliyu terribly.

Thursday

After a video conference with my MDs lasting three hours, I had lunch with Aliyu and Zainab, where I dropped a bombshell:  Uncle Gumbo and my mother were having an affair before he killed my father. Aliyu was shocked. “I know they married a year after your father’s death, but...” he shook his head sadly. Uncle Gumbo paid for all my studies abroad and gave me N3m seed-money to start, and when he died he left me most of his wealth, but I was tortured inside: he took my father from me, then took the place of my father in mine and my mother’s life. “But he was such a nice man” Aliyu said. I nodded. I don’t know what my father did to make such a gentle man commit murder.

Friday

I had postponed our ski trip to Switzerland to this weekend, and Aliyu and Miriam joined us. As we flew out of Abuja in my private jet, we had already launched into discussing my father’s murder. “Do you think your mother suspected Uncle Gumbo?” Miriam asked. I said no. The girl I was undressing the night it happened told her friend I knew the killer, and eventually word got to my mother but I denied everything. I was too afraid to even confess to bringing girls in the house, talk less of calling the wonderful Uncle Gumbo a murderer. I became angry with my mother for marrying a murderer, and she couldn’t understand my behaviour. We stopped speaking when she and Uncle Gumbo moved to Canada.

Saturday

I still couldn’t sleep at night. Zainab stayed up as long as she could, but when she fell asleep I watched TV and walked around The Lodge hotel where we were staying. Aliyu and Zainab were good skiers, so they spent hours out on the slopes whilst Miriam and I drank hot chocolate and talked in front of the outdoor fireplace: she about her plans to open a crèche in London and me about Uncle Gumbo. I was like a tap, things I’d held in for years kept gushing out, especially because I knew I could trust the three people I was with with my life.

Sunday

We went on a tour during the day, and I promised to buy a property here since Zainab enjoyed the place so much. The cold winds and being able to uncover my secret all made me feel fresher than I’d felt in months. This evening I arranged for staff to spell out ‘Zee Will You Marry Me?’ in red lit candles on the snow outside so Zainab will see it from the cable car as she approached. She was already in tears when she came down, and in front of Aliyu and Miriam and all the guests, I went down on one knee and proposed with a 10-carat, flawless diamond ring I designed for her.

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