Between ‘japa’ and self-assessment

In the spring of 2020, a Nollywood movie producer wanted me to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, to work with a top organization whose social media handles are verified. She maintains a cordial friendship with a don at the organization, and her words had injected belief in me: the best writer they needed at the time.

She gave assuring words to ease my movement over there. I could feel her genuine and elderly love, but some contradictory thoughts crept in, and they got the best of me for many reasons.

Two months ago, a very dear friend of mine whose mentor (who stays in the UK) needed two capable youths to travel to the UK and work with an NGO over there, wanted me to go to the UK with him. He tried his best, that he even invited me to his apartment for a detailed discussion, all to get me inclined to a “divine travel” as he would put it. My reply disappointed him, yet my dear friend threw his belief behind my word.

To the one reading this, I have a shallow mind and had let go of opportunities that would have made me, and pumped money into my account. Well, you are right; but you’re also wrong. Away from personal reasons that I won’t state here, the concept of ‘JAPA’ does not exist in my life manual. If it does, sincerely, I would have bid Nigeria an emotional goodbye, even prior to 2020.

Running abroad does not interest some of us. And it’s no joke. Even when to some, abroad degrees are better than Nigeria’s, some of us seek to bag our degrees here, set up our businesses here, enjoy the Nigerian frills and freedoms, break and make records here, while also contributing meaningful quota to our land, in our land.

These are the ‘whys’ we constantly ask ourselves, if we’re one of the reasons Nigeria is getting better or worse. These are the “whys’ I have not and will never collect a Kobo from any politician – even when, I have been approached by some of them – including two governorship aspirants.

Although there’s nothing bad in writing for them and getting my pay, yet I want anything I say or write to be from my heart and not my stomach. I do not want to betray my conscience, so I can praise the ones who do good among them and criticize the ones who do bad – since there’s no grudges attached or political points to score. I only seek a good Nigeria which I and the coming generations will be proud of. “We are not mad people who will see a good thing and say it’s bad, we are also not sycophants who will see bad thing and say it’s good”, as former Afenifere leader, late Chief Yinka Odumakin would say. May God grant solace to his bereaved.

Read also: Ex envoy frowns at “Japa”, tasks Nigerians on change in 2023

Often times, our leaders are not the problems as we envisage. Only if we carefully open Nigeria’s pandora box, we would find our individual wickedness, selfishness and greed lying low in it. But the best solution to the millions of us? Japa.

Watch how abroad countries like UAE, UK and co are slamming their doors against the entry of Nigerians? Often times, it’s because of the atrocities Nigerians perpetrate at those countries – drug trafficking, stealing, cult wars and all – which they also engage in here but would be quick to drop all blames at the government’s doorstep, once their bad actions boomerang.

This rather justify the unpatriotic but true say from an anonymous person that, “Take all Nigerians from Nigeria and watch Nigeria becomes Canada. Put all Nigerians in Canada and watch Canada becomes Nigeria”. Another funny way to say, “You can only take Alli out of the village, you can’t take the village out of Alli”.

Until we all make a Self-Assessment of ourselves, until we stop inflicting hardships on ourselves, until the powerful people among us stop oppressing the powerless ones, until we stop collecting peanuts from politicians in exchange for votes, until we all believe the change we want truly begins with us, maybe until then, we can all recline on our couches and smile at the Nigeria of our dreams.

Turning blind eyes at all these but running abroad may truly better the individual lives of the few of us, but it would never deliver the Nigeria of our dreams and would rather continue to batter our image in the global scene.

Enclosing this, I opine that ‘Japa’ would never be the solution to Nigeria’s problems. If it is in your opinion, my best wishes are with you.

Amao, a writer, writes from Lagos