The great debate: living abroad or going back home

Why Nigerians choose abroad     

I sat on the main floor of the building, reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie while waiting for my Italian class to start. I’m only in the first few chapters of Part I: The Early Sixties – which have made me laugh out loud many times than I’ve wanted to. Buried in the book, I didn’t see him coming until I noticed a shadow come to a stop mid-walk, right in front of me. I looked up to see an elder man staring at me. He asked me a question about an instructor from the Dominican and the next thing I knew, we were deep in conversation. The elder Nigerian/Canadian man told me about his children, his non-Nigerian wife, and his 40 years in Canada and six years in Germany prior to that. An interesting thing he said was that he rarely goes back home and the times he’s been were for funerals or major things like that. He had his reasons why he preferred living abroad to life in Nigeria.

Government/police corruption, lack of security, lack of adequate jobs and pay, constant dire civil unrest. These are some reasons why he and fellow Nigerians abroad reconsider settling down back home – the reason why those who go back home check out again to pursue a better life. Also, some Nigerians abroad don’t have real connections that tie them to Nigeria such as families and friends. And Nigerians from low-income family who end up abroad are also likely to reject going back home to live.

For many Nigerians who live abroad and don’t see themselves ever settling back home, the bottom line is Nigeria = LACK OF employment and pay, security, accountability, transparency. This makes it hard for them to leave the comfort of their lives. There are many attractive aspects of living abroad. For many people, to give up those perks is to start from scratch if one moves back home.

The popular saying goes: there is no place like home. But what is home when you have money but no peace of mind because you’re constantly scared of arm robbers coming to your house and the next thing you’re scared of something else? What is home when the facilities and care at government hospitals are not much and you cannot afford to pay private hospitals bills?

Like the elder Nigerian/Canadian man put it “I can call the mayor of my city to talk about seniors care in our city and he will hear what I have to say. I can’t say that about Nigeria.”

On the other side of the coin are Nigerians at home and those abroad who feel strongly about settling down back home. I sense these Nigerians are annoyed, disappointed and even angered by their counterparts.

It’s optimistic and quite a good thing to go back home and contribute to improving the country. How many Nigerians have actually contributed to improving the country? If you have contributed in any way, how do you show that you’ve contributed – and the impact of your contribution to the country? Do Nigerians have to be settled down back home to contribute to the improvement of their country?

“Just because we are here abroad, doesn’t mean we don’t want things to improve in Nigeria. We want to improve so that one day we can go back home,” Abimbola Ishola, Nigerian Diaspora Shows Solidarity In New York

“Africa has men and women of substance that will take back what they learn and acquired from respective places they dwell and go back to Africa and make it a place of comfort,” Living Abroad vs. Going Back Home,

~ by omonaij on March 18, 2012.

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