Since Africa gained independence, many people have been moving in and out of the continent, legally and illegally.
Scholars who study Africa have said that this happens because of things like a lot of poverty, many people not having jobs, and most African countries not doing well economically, including Nigeria. But now, after COVID-19, more Nigerians are leaving for the UK and other places, and this is a worrying trend with many different consequences.
IF you plan to japa too, then this article is for you. Here are a few things you should know to make an informed decision on whether to Japa or stay in Nigeria.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO:
1. Declining economic conditions
Nigerians seek to study in the UK due to Nigeria’s poor economy, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic hardships and unemployment in Nigeria drive university graduates to seek better opportunities in the UK. They view the UK as offering a more organized society with job prospects and better healthcare.
They raise funds through personal savings, selling property, and taking loans. This shows the extent a man can go in the quest for survival. This migration trend leads to a significant transfer of funds from Nigeria to the UK, a more developed country.
2. Career projection
Many Nigerian students want to study in the UK to advance their careers since they believe it provides better opportunities than Nigeria’s struggling educational system. The poor state of education in Nigeria, including unpaid lecturers’ salaries and inadequate facilities, has led to disruptions like the recent eight-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). This situation has driven students to seek education in the UK.
3. Lingering security issues
The insecurity in Nigeria has made many of you very scared. This fear shows up in things like hijackings, kidnappings, and armed robberies happening in Nigeria. To deal with this, Nigerians are coming up with different ways to survive.
One way is to leave the country, and lots of people are doing this. Some people feel really unsafe in Nigeria and don’t want to live there anymore. Nigerian youths have complained that things are getting worse in Nigeria, like with security, the economy, and police harassment.
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT GO:
1. There is a good market for businesses
Nigeria has a thriving business market, with 3,300 startups in 2020, the most in Africa. Half of these are fintechs, making around $4-6 billion in revenue. In 2021, Nigerian startups raised $1.7 billion of the $2.9 billion raised by African tech startups.
The business environment is tough, but there are opportunities. Kubi Igwe and Ikechukwu Emeka Nweze successful business and their sense of ownership in addressing Nigerian challenges are some reasons you should choose to stay.
2. There are vast resources to tap into
According to Toyin Owolabi, “one great way Nigerians in the diaspora can still be actively engaged in Nigeria would be to invest in the country through different means, as well as patronizing businesses that contribute to the economy.” There are still many sectors to be tapped- Information Technology, Agriculture, Tourism, etc. Although the IT space has recorded a significant level of growth with the rise of tech startups, there is still so much white space that has not been addressed.
For example, even though we think of the Nigerian fintech space as being crowded, the reality is that the average Nigerian holds about half as many financial products as the average South African.
3. The Naija spirit
I call it the spirit of companionship. Here in Nigeria, your neighbors’ business is your business. It is what makes us look out for each other. It is why we look forward to hanging out with our friends every Friday. It is even why, sometimes, Nigerians are tagged “loud” people. The Naija spirit is a happy one. It is no doubt the reason why we excel so much in entertainment.
4. You are a Nigerian first and forever
No matter where you are, there’s no place like home. Wherever you are, the food will wake your tastebuds, the music will make you buga, the jokes never stop.
In Nigeria, your presence in a boardroom does not need to be explained. Your ambition will not elicit gasps of consternation. There is no ceiling to what you can achieve.
Having said all of these, if you find yourself on the japa train, remember to support the move towards a better Nigeria. You could choose to contribute to socio-political causes and movements or to return when the time is right. And if you Choose to Stay, endeavor to join hands with those of like minds towards making Nigeria a home indeed.