The mother at Ibadan grips the hand of her daughter, smiling at me as we ride the elevator to the twenty-sixth floor of Cocoa House. The woman by the side of the road in Illorin, stirring a pan of akara bubbling in oil, scowls at her duaghter as the little girl laughingly leaps over a gutter. In Minna, the old woman hesitates as her daughter, a middle-aged woman stops her from crossing the busy road with a gentle tap of her hand on the hunched shoulder. In the dim light of Dr Aisha’s living room in Sokoto she nods as her daughter whispers if she can get more water for us as we ate dinner in her home. Hajara smiles wanly as she holds the hand of her daughter in the ancient city of Zaria as Nengi takes a photo. In Bauchi, Sifa tickles her duaghter’s stomach, smiling as little Lelani giggles with glee. A woman sitting in a shop laughs with pride as I ask if her daughter is really her daughter while buying peanuts and water in Jos. “Madam, she too yellow oh!” Lafia has a grandmother, a duaghter and a granddaughter in the market encouraging me to never give up writing, and saying with heartfelt voices that my Mother was a very beautiful woman. A hairdresser praises my full hair in Afikpo, cradling her daughter in her arms. Nembe in Bayelsa has a widow smiles with me as she roasts plantain over a fire, instructing her daughter to check on them less they burn. Akure is where a mother holds the hand of her daughter as I ask if she is her best friend.
“Yes,” she says.
The roads differed. The people were unique. The land and weather apart. But the mothers and daughters stayed the same, unchanging in love, aligned in similarities.
Nothing changed but me.