The Nigerians Who Fled For The United States

By Abdulwasii Ilyas

 

 

America: The Land of Milk and Honey

Barring nostalgia, xenophobia, and racial profiling, most Nigerians of my generation would opt to dwell and live in the United States of America for obvious reasons. Citizens there, glaringly perceive the causes into which their tax remittances are channeled.

Although under-performing, the ‘American Dream’ and the talk of America as the land of opportunities rages on. Success and achievement seems to have a nexus with place and time. The United states ranks first among the countries with most billionaires in the world. Employers predominantly place a premium on degrees obtained not from the United states alone, any foreign certificate is held in even higher regard than the local ones, grades irrespective. The ability to secure a trip abroad for any purpose is a remarkable feat in itself.

Warts and all, the American system trumps prevailing circumstances in Nigeria in almost every conceivable  way. Both founding fathers and citizens made sacrifices in the distant past. Affairs are conducted in a manner nearer to sanity than obtains here. Although if you are a black living there, you stand the risk of getting shot by rampaging white policemen without any one raising an eyebrow.

Home Unfit to Live in

PHOTO: PUNCH
PHOTO: PUNCH

In a meeting with Nigerian professionals in the United States, President Buhari had asked them to be prepared to return home. That their competence and outstanding performances will come in handy in bringing the country out of the current rot. I was going to think his statements as laughable until their incongruity stared me in the face.

The president quite well concurred with the ubiquity of highly competent Nigerians all around the world including back home. Aside from being gratuitous, the call to return home flies in the face of current economic realities in the country since we are not likely to get out of the recession any time soon.

One of the ramifications of a recession is the surge in unemployment rates. “And it may take longer than we would like, but we will definitely get out of it.” Says finance minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun in an interview in Abuja recently.

With  scores of Nigerians unable to find meaningful employment, which as a politician, the president knows better than anyone else, asking economic migrants whose adventures paid off to get ready to return to what is to them an albatross, is like an indulgence in a chitchat. Apparently, Mr. Buhari’s hosts will take his call with a grain of salt in the midst of dim hope that the home front takes a turn for the better.

Nothing is rosy around here, and having had a taste of living conditions home and abroad, returning home is the last thing on the minds of the Nigerians in the diaspora. The change in this case seems to begin with the President. Rejigger the country’s economy and social system and the emigrants and other foreign nationals will beat their path to Nigeria.

As it is, The president’s cabinet, world leaders  and those sympathetic to his cause believe his policies are beginning to yield fruits. Bad news is, such fruits are yet to be perceived by the common Nigerians.

Laying bare his mind on the comment box of the Punch online, Lawrence had to swiftly move back to the US after the business he set up failed and his salary at the job he secured to teach Nigerians the knowledge he acquired from the US were unpaid. His story is relatable. Our business environment is more hostile and the career landscape less stimulating than what obtains there.

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