Relocation Mongering As Single Story

Every headline announcing one more challenge is quickly followed by another long lecture filled with reasons anyone who could afford it should abandon the country without delay.

Aren’t they doing the same thing against the government in our country today, due to unrelenting security challenges, some of them possibly instigated by Aiye themselves? / Photo credit: opengovpartnership.org
Aren’t they doing the same thing against the government in our country today, due to unrelenting security challenges, some of them possibly instigated by Aiye themselves? / Photo credit: opengovpartnership.org

If Nigeria was an organisation, by now the offices would have been emptied of almost every employee.

Who would stay in a work environment where their safety is not guaranteed; when they’re not sure of returning home in one piece after each working day?

If Nigeria was a religious institution, the worship halls would have been cleared of every devotee now. I’m not even sure the members of the clergy would be left behind.

Who would still devote precious time in an empty sanctuary that abandons its worshippers to whatever threatens them?
If Nigeria were a marketplace, both buyers and sellers would have deserted it long ago for being hopelessly unprofitable.

If Nigeria were a spouse, the marriage would surely have ended in divorce in the last few years.

Let’s face it, no marriage could ever survive the total breakdown of trust between partners, the gross neglect and selfishness that has become an original Nigerian narrative.

High level Insecurity, inflation, nepotism, corruption and the king of them all, impunity, have become our constant companions.

Nigerians are hungry and angry.

One shouldn’t be surprised, therefore, with how many are struggling to leave the country at this time.

Many of our young people are working and saving with the sole aim of leaving the country as soon they can.

But it’s not even the first time this would happen.

Many of us can still remember ‘Andrew’ in a popular public message TV commercial in the mid-80s who was determined to ‘check out’ of Nigeria out of frustration.

Most of the reasons he gave for taking that decision still exist as I write.

“Men, I’m checking out. No good roads, no light, no water. Men, you can’t even get a common bottle of soft drink,” he had arrogantly declared on his way out.

Many Nigerians like ‘Andrew’ truly left the shores of this country in search of the proverbial greener pastures at the time.
Almost three decades later, the prognosis isn’t any better.

What is not OK is the trending penchant to present relocation as the silver bullet that will deliver all Nigerians (about 200 million of us) from the myriad of problems we currently face in this country

We still don’t have good roads.

Electricity is now a commodity left for the highest bidder in the land.

Access to potable water continues to be a mirage for many, especially those in the suburban and rural communities.

Add these to the per second kidnappings, banditry and killings, and there you have it; the complete recipe for hopelessness among the people.

This time, not only ‘Andrew’ but even Adeline, Adesuwa, Adanma, Adetayo and Adamu have all boarded the outbound train.

And that’s OK.

The world is a global village and people should be allowed to move freely.

About three years ago the Pew Research centre published a report that showed that at least one million sub-Saharan Africans migrated to Europe and the United States between 2010 and the time of publication (2018).

The report also indicated that more than 51 per cent of those sub-Saharan African migrants living in the US came from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya, with Nigeria and Ghana topping the list.

Yes, it is ok to relocate to any country they wish to so long they take the legal route to achieve their dreams.

But what is not OK is the trending penchant to present relocation as the silver bullet that will deliver all Nigerians (about 200 million of us) from the myriad of problems we currently face in this country.

Wherever you turn, everyone and their pussycat have turned migration advisors, telling the rest of us why we should abandon Nigeria and look elsewhere for our salvation.

Every headline announcing one more challenge is quickly followed by another long lecture filled with reasons anyone who could afford it should abandon the country without delay.

While we understand that these gestures might surely be coming from a good place, from fellow Nigerians, most of them already living in the Diaspora, out of genuine concern for the well-being of those of us still left in this country, one is still forced to ask if it’s really this simplistic.

Nigeria is hard and hot enough. However, it isn’t irredeemable and the only one capable of effecting the desired change is the man in the mirror

So, when everyone who is able to do so leaves this country does that then mean the challenges would then disappear? Or what would happen to the those left behind; family members, neigbours, colleagues and friends who couldn’t afford the move?

Perhaps they don’t matter because they are not us, our children and our spouses.

Then, tomorrow when we hear that our young people are trapped in countries like Oman, Yemen and their likes, where they have gone as domestic hands, we question their sanity and what they could have gone to do in such countries.

When we hear that they are involved in ‘deadly sea crossings’ and get drowned in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe we shudder at the desperation of it all.

But that’s part of what you get when we continue to stimulate apprehension with our constant ‘Get out of Nigeria now’ sermon.

This needless additional anxiety, especially among those who are well aware that if they sold them, their ancestors, their descendants and every piece of property they have ever owned on this earth, they wouldn’t afford such a venture can never end well.

Nigeria is hard and hot enough. However, it isn’t irredeemable and the only one capable of effecting the desired change is the man in the mirror.

But are we even ready to have this conversation?

Written by Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe

Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe is the Editor of The Interview Abuja, has worked as a journalist in Punch Nigeria Nigeria Limited and also LEADERSHIP Newspapers where she rose to become the Editorial Director.