• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Our youths & the search for elusive green pastures: Anywhere but Nigeria!

Our youths & the search for elusive green pastures: Anywhere but Nigeria!

In the good old days, young men went overseas mostly to school and because they could not scale through the Nigerian University merit-based and stringent admission hurdles. There were also those troublesome ones whose parents sent on ‘exile’ abroad so as to buy some peace. That was a period when people went to private schools because they could not get admission into Missionary or Government schools. How things have changed! The issue of people going abroad to ‘hustle’ was unheard of.

Suddenly, following the Structural Adjustment Programme, which sapped our economy, the consequential degradation of our currency and the riotous inflationary trends, the emergence of extremely avaricious and I-don’t-care-politicians, and the onset of Americamania (inexplicable quest for everything America and foreign) caused by the merciless forces of globalization, going overseas became a very big deal and to some of our ‘idle youths’, the ONLY option. Sure, some went abroad to study because due to an unfortunate reversal of fortunes, Nigerian certificates now get K-Leg and employers are ready to part with intimidating sums to hire-foreign trained Nigerians( I don’t know whether this applies to those who schooled at Cotonou some of whom bused their way to and from Lagos daily).

However, there is a growing horde of desperados, who believe that going overseas is the only option. These are the ones who go through the window, by legedezebenze, by camel, by truck, or by stowing away. They believe that the grass is greener on the other side and that the roads yonder are paved with gold, where one could pick dollars on the street. Where are they going and what are they going to do? They don’t know; they just want to leave this country.

In 2015, when the clue-ful PMB and his gang of desperate and disparate politicians overran Nigeria, somebody argued that Nigerians did not actually vote in Buhari; that they voted out the CLUEless GEJ. It was everyone but lucky Goodluck. Well, our people say that when a woman marries two husbands, she would be in a position to compare and contrast( this proverb also applies to men). So, for these youths, the war-cry is anywhere but Nigeria and they are sadly ready to become desert-rats in the process. Recently, Dangote’s net-worth rose to N8.4trn. thereby making him richer than 30 independent African countries. These are the countries where our youths are Andrewing to! (If you don’t know Andrew, the young man who desperately wanted to check out of Nigeria, then you are still a tata!).

Unfortunately, it is not only the idle, skill-less, and hopeless youths that are involved in this mad-rush out of Nigeria. Even those whom we regard as fortunate enough to have gainful employment( at least, their take-home pay can take them home and they still have some change) and perceived as well-off by local standards, are also rushing into this tunnel where the only certainty is uncertainty.

On 11/12/21, a young man working in one of our highly principled and stable foreign banks told me that 30 of his colleagues had checked out in the previous 12 months. When I asked why, he gave this saddening analysis; that everybody wants to leave because Nigeria is not working and living here is hard and harsh. People are either killed by UGM, unknown soldiers in search of IPOB members, police stray bullets, herdsmen, falling containers. You are also harassed and openly extorted by security operatives (some of whom use POS machines or escort you to the ATM points to withdraw cash for them) and that is where it ends because you cannot get justice and nobody cares.

The government has abdicated its responsibilities and left the people to their fate. You cannot get anything from any government agency unless you know somebody who knows somebody. You cannot get any job unless you are the child or a close relation of PEPs as the people in government are busy preparing their children to lead our children. And even when you are doing well, there is uncertainty everywhere because a single, ill-conceived government policy, introduced without notice and without a transition period, will just finish you!

He concluded that The future is bleak. That was when Akeredolu, with impunity, appointed his son as a DG of what Jimi Disu called a cash-cow agency in Ondo State Government and had the audacity to defend it! Sad indeed. A young doctor I encountered in November told me that working in Nigeria is like mad and that he has considered jetting out while a Youth Corps doctor asked about her plans replied without batting an eyelid: overseas of course!

Read also: Exploring sports to curb youth unemployment in Nigeria

The most unfortunate aspect of the troblem is that our government does not know the reason for the exodus. And the reason why it does not know the reason is simply Nigerian. According to a story attributed to a master storyteller and an arch-satirist, Kole Omotoso, a decade or two ago, the then Nigerian government set up a committee to probe why Nigerians were leaving Nigeria… they went to London Washinton DC, and Chicago. They stopped over briefly at Ottawa and Winnipeg before jetting over to Paris and Berlin. They sent for extra tickets to get them to( as at that time) the Soviet Union and China. At each city, at least one member of the committee stopped over to continue the work of the committee there. By the time they got to Beijing, only the chairman of the committee was left. He decided to stay in China to continue with the work! The government waited and waited. The committee never returned. No report was ever submitted. (And thus) Up till tomorrow, Nigeria Government does not know why Nigerians leave Nigeria. No be me talk this one!

So, these young -and not so young- Nigerians troop overseas, even when they have something doing in Nigeria and when they know deep down, that they cannot add any value to their host countries. These countries are in turn, dealing ruthlessly with our people, officially through ‘detect and deport’ policies and other subhuman treatments. They forget human rights whenever it comes to Nigerians and other black Africans though they are willing to assimilate thousands of people from other distressed countries. (Even those rescued off the coasts of Europe are accepted and provided for). Not all of them are as kind as the Czech Republic, which was willing to pay Nigerians and other less-fancied immigrants( from Afghanistan, Iraq et al) as much as 100000 CKZ( about N2m) so as to go and NEVER return. In places like Ghana and South Africa, the government would look the other way while the locals deal wickedly with our people, murdering, maiming looting, and arsoning their properties without consequences! Indeed, we have become a reproach to our neighbours; scorn and derision to those around us (Ps 79.4)!

However, despite these ugly experiences, which are widely reported, including those who are defrauded by their agents, those whose organs are harvested and abandoned to die painfully, those who are abandoned in the deserts, and the increasing anti-Nigerian sentiments across the world, our youths still line all the known and unknown routes in their search for the elusive green pastures overseas. Of course, at times, I do not blame them. In Nigeria, they are killed extrajudicially; they are discriminated against-openly and with impunity-and, there is indescribable poverty in the midst of equally indescribable opulence. And most of this opulence is exhibited by people who do not create any economic value; people who do NOTHING. Of course, we have failed to give our youths ‘citizenship that they could take to the bank’ as passionately exposed by Prof Dora Akunyili some years ago.

They won’t think of leaving Anambra, not to think of Nigeria