Nigerians leaving Nigeria to find the greener pasture is not a new thing, it’s been around for as long as anyone could think of. In fact Nigerians leave Nigeria so much that they even leave for countries that have at least half of the states in Nigeria they cannot compete with in any ramification you might want to use as a yardstick for comparison. What are Nigerians doing in Congo, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon, Uganda, Benin, Egypt. Even the UAE Nigerians run to to go take up jobs they would never do in Nigeria and start living in environments they would never live in Nigeria, apart from the idea of “I am abroad now”, there is nothing enticing about Nigerians in Dubai. I’m not saying looking for a better life or a better opportunity is a bad thing to do—it’s not, we all need to consider where we can have better opportunities after weighing the costs par the benefits. What I’m however trying to point out is the fact that the rate at which Nigerians leave Nigeria or are trying to leave Nigeria for anywhere at all in the last two years is alarming. This has gotten so viral that if you have a discussion about your plans with somebody and you do not mention a travel plan, to them it would seem as though you have no dream; getting out of Nigeria, they say, is the Nigerian dream.
How Nigerians would rather leave Nigeria for any country at all instead of staying in Nigeria is not the bone of contention here, the effects of the massive emigration on Nigeria is what one should worry about. As it is now, the best citizens Nigeria can breed are finding their ways out of the country by all means; see the rate at which health workers leave Nigeria because just any other country would treat them better than Nigeria. See how tech talents are leaving Nigeria for better opportunities. See how graduates are seeking scholarships and admissions in schools abroad like in thousands—if not in millions, just so they can get to leave the country. Every Nigerian leaving Nigeria now are people Nigeria had trained (even if poorly, at least made better than they could have been without the training), and because Nigeria is unable to give them the opportunity they need to exhibit what they are capable of and use it to better themselves and the country, they go to any country that is willing to take a chance on them.
The implication of this is that Europe and the Americas (especially) are still seriously benefitting from the labour of Nigeria; Nigeria builds quality citizens, and then send them away to the developed and developing countries so the countries would be the ones to benefit the essence of these citizens. In fact as it is now, the only Nigerians left in Nigeria are the ones with no hope of leaving Nigeria, the ones who are planning to, and the ones who are really willing to but cannot afford the means. This is a big loss for Nigeria, and the leaders are not taking this problems seriously; instead they are creating means to start exploiting Nigerians who are trying to travel abroad by increasing the price of every document they would need from the government for such process to be possible. The thing is, no matter how much it would cost for a Nigerian to get any document they would need to leave Nigeria, they would still get it; so if the government believe hiking the cost of these documents would reduce the number of emigrants, it actually would not. What government should do rather is to embark on serious opportunity-creating projects for the youths, and in fact with Nigerians with some sort of skills and qualifications in mind. The people have to be made to see the opportunities they could have here too, and the ones who are leaving because of insecurity should be eased down somehow with the government actually fighting insecurity instead of politicizing and commercializing it. Because if Nigeria keeps this rate of exporting her best citizens, this would mean there is no hope at all for the country to get better at anything.
Olusegun Peters is a businessman, an investor and a scholar. He is the founder of primerinfotech.com and pec-ng.com. He is passionate about contributing his knowledge to impacting as many people as possible one person at a time. Read more about Olusegun Peters here