My Naija Sisters, Happy Belated Independence Day. I know what you are thinking: after three million years, how come I’m just waking up to Independence Day wishes? Lol. Well, since we are still in October, the congratulations are still very much in order.
Okay, congratulations aside, (though some might argue that there’s nothing worth congratulations.) there’s something I want to talk about. We all know it. We all know someone who has done it. We are probably low-key working towards it. Don’t think too far. I’m talking about that Canadian Immigration you’ve been planning since last year. Lol.
Sis, I don’t blame you. When I was much younger, being Nigerian filled with so much pride. But now, it is so hard to have an iota for dignity as a Nigerian. It pains me when I wake to the news of one kidnap story or one incident of abuse by law enforcement officers. Chai. We are seeing pepper! From Boko haram to “bandits” to kidnappers, to IPOB in the East, to general insecurity in the south. Our naira is almost like toilet paper! The list goes on and on.
Because of all these problems, many young Nigerians began migrating en-masse to countries that’ll appreciate their talent. Okay, they didn’t just begin. People have been migrating since 19 kpom kwem, but the rate in the last ten years has skyrocketed.
See, one of my older friends quit his job in Chevron! and moved to Australia. I was so curious because he was doing well in Nigeria, so when I asked him why he moved, he said: I cannot imagine raising my children in such a dysfunctional place. Omo! When a privileged man talks like that, it has reach to worry. But the worst part is all the talent we are losing, human resources like my friend. We are arguably experiencing the worst brain drain Nigeria has seen in recent years. The last time there was this massive brain drain was in 1984; guess who the President was?
During his Independence Day speech, our President made a speech that basically said, if you want to leave Nigeria, leave. Ah, he didn’t even address the reasons why people are leaving. He didn’t try to say; please stay. We are trying our best to fix it. Even if it’s a lie sef, the blatant disregard for Nigerians was just so sad to see. It’s like telling us OYO- On Your Own.
But does this mean those who leave don’t love Nigeria? Does it mean we no longer hope and believe in the nation? Look! I am also in one of the western countries pursuing a graduate degree. But Nigeria will always be my home. My family, friends, childhood memories are all there. So yes, leaving the country does not translate to being unpatriotic. In fact, I say to people these days if you can leave, start preparing. But I mean this legally.
Truth is, Naija is not the worst place to be in the world, so it’s not like those who are staying back are doomed. But it’s also not a question of people staying back being better citizens or committed. At the end of the day, choose the option that empowers you to serve Nigeria better. If this means leaving to find yourself in another country, then do it. When you have built yourself intellectually, economically, and emotionally, then you can always find ways to give back.