By Chukwudi Anagbogu
The craze to travel abroad at all cost by Nigerians did not start today; it backdates to the pre - colonial era, and this post - colonial dispensation, there is no sign of its extinction. The only difference now is that, unlike those days when people fall over themselves trying to secure visas to 'choice' countries like the United Kingdom, The US, France and perhaps Germany, many are now willing to travel to just anywhere provided they leave the shores of the country. One does not fail to imagine what Nigerians are doing in countries like Niger, Chad, Libya, Seychelles, to mention but a few.
The false impression a lot of people have about life abroad is very sickening. People think that the moment you board a plane out of the country, your life is made. What a mirage! What about our young girls who see marriage to 'been-tos' as the best thing to happen to them, or the average person out there who exclaims in admiration and envy when he learns that someone he knows has crossed over?
When you travel abroad and see what Nigerians do to eke out a living, you will shudder. In fact you will rather stay back in your village and manage your supposed poverty. It is known to us already the way so many of them there acquire the much sought after 'green card': marry a white lady, ditch her the moment you get the green card and move on to 'greater opportunities'. Should we not pity those who do the type of jobs demeaning to their personalities? When you end up working in a morgue, or a laundry after bagging a master's degree, it tells bad about you.
Scores of Nigerians get hung on daily basis ,while others bag life sentences for drug trafficking and related offences. Our girls in Italy, South Africa and other countries recount gory tales in the discharge of their 'duties.' As if that is not enough, you are treated as a second hand citizen. Remember, racism is still viral!
Notwithstanding all the negatives in 'hustling' abroad, people still don't mind going there. This could largely be attributed to extreme frustration caused by unemployment,negative mentality ,
underemployed, lack of ideas and so on.
Is it not funny that while many people are stuck there and are looking for every means to return, you are selling off the little property you have to raise money to travel out. You are simply bereft of ideas. Why not plough the money and the time you waste at embassies on meaningful ventures here. Many die of high blood pressure when after many years of applying for visas ,they don't get it. Some also secure loans they are eventually unable to repay. Anyone with entrepreneurial skills would always make it. It is pertinent to note that most wealthy men today made it here in Nigeria! It's a matter of been focused.
However, travelling abroad could be a wonderful experience, if you are travelling from a position of strength, for studies(especially if on scholarship) or on vacation (if you are buoyant enough). Even those that do white collar jobs have plans to resettle here in the short term.
We always spend time condemning our country, whereas we all are culpable for whatever is wrong in the country, hence to fix it, we must equally do so in unison.
Because of the unemployment situation, we should all tilt towards skills acquisition as well as entrepreneurship/small and medium scale businesses. One of the problems we have today is that a lot of our graduates are unemployable! Thus, because skills acquisition requires minimal formal education ,it should be harnessed maximally.
Abroad is not the way people fantasise about it. A lot of people who go there return with unrealistic and make believe stories, deceiving those into believing that the only way to maximise your potentials is to travel abroad.
Notwithstanding the present economic challenges in Nigeria, our country is still fertile for wealth creation. We simply need to look inwards and put our creativity into work! To be continued. ..