Stella Dimoko Korkus.com: A Memo To Nigerians In The Diaspora Wanting To Return Home...

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Memo To Nigerians In The Diaspora Wanting To Return Home...

''.....Treat Nigeria the way you treat a long distance relationship. Miss her, love her, come back to her when you can, enjoy her but go back again to where you live and ‘hustle’. Don’t come and kill yourself for nothing here.....''







I got together recently with two of my friends, I call them brothers. One is into construction and he does a good job of it. He had earlier taken us to one of his project sites where i observed that he had mainly Ghanaian artisans. He says they are more reliable and come with superior skill sets. Another loss for our economy and teeming unemployed youths..... i tried to argue but his defence was superior so i gave up.


The other friend is a financial services consultant with expertise in tax advisory. We are all returnees having sojourned variously in Europe and America schooling and working. Armed with the much desired UK and American citizenships, we heeded the return home (Akuluouno) call early enough when we were in our 30s.


We talked about almost everything, family, career, Nigeria, and Nigeria again. Was it a good thing that we came back? Are we fulfilled? How are we coping with being apart from our families still living abroad? Do we think that our sacrifices for Nigeria matter to anyone? Where do we see the country Nigeria in the coming years? What did we think of the security challenges; Boko Haram, armed kidnapping, banditry and other crimes. Is the government doing enough to curtail rising poverty and unemployment? What’s the solution to the almost non-existent healthcare in the country? A situation that has made Nigerians to fast, pray and hope they would not fall sick. How do we cover millions of Nigerians outside the social safety net, who perpetually depend on handouts for food, house rent, children’s school fees, hospital bills etc. A reason why Whatsapp platforms have become the new GoFundMe, as Nigerians are daily inundated with requests to join one platform or another and contribute money for one thing or the other, burials, payment of hospital bills etc. What can be done about our decaying infrastructure, and rising national debt etc?.


As we bantered, midway, the viral news and video of the Abia state - born, Borno state based primary school teacher and her encounter with Borno state Governor filtered in. We discussed that and rejoiced at her small fortune (cash and promotion). We also frowned at a system that is satisfied paying a school teacher with over 30 years experience N30, 000 monthly salary.


I often get asked by friends and family living abroad on how best to relocate back home. My answers have always been positive and upbeat. I am not so sure anymore. It's tough living out here guys, i must tell you. Forget what you see during your short visits, and the lifestyles of some of the returnees you see on social media. Late Afrobeat King, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti captured the Nigerian situation very well a long time ago in one of his songs, he called it ‘suffering and smiling’.


Living and surviving in Nigeria everyday is a miracle. Former Governor of Anambra state, Mr Peter Obi was asked in a February 2020 interview if he has had a near-death experience, Obi said: “What is more threatening to someone than living in Nigeria? We live under constant threats here.”


In a homily on the 11th of February 2020, at the Funeral Mass of Michael Nnadi, the 18 year - old seminarian who was kidnapped and murdered by Boko Haram terrorists, His Lordship, Matthew Hassan Kukah, the Bishop of Sokoto diocese said that, “our nation is like a ship stranded on the high seas, rudderless and with broken navigational aids”. Continuing, His Lordship said that “Nigeria is on the crossroads and its future hangs precariously in a balance”.


Perhaps former Governor Obi’s response and Bishop Kukah’s statement sum up our dire situation.


If you are a Nigerian living in the diaspora and have been contemplating relocating back to Nigeria, ask again, must you really come back? Life here ‘get as e be’. Home should be where the heart is really, please make home where you currently live.


Treat Nigeria the way you treat a long distance relationship. Miss her, love her, come back to her when you can, enjoy her but go back again to where you live and ‘hustle’. Don’t come and kill yourself for nothing here. To quote Bishop Kukah again; “Sadly, or even tragically, today, Nigeria, does not possess that set of goals or values for which any sane citizen is prepared to die”. You are probably more important to your family and loved ones living outside Nigeria because at least, you can remit back some money to take care of family emergencies, help pay family members’ school fees etc.


There is a new wave and trend of even 'successful' Nigerians selling up and relocating to Canada and Australia, currently the top relocation destinations. This trend has even elicited an upcoming publication by the Africa Polling Institute titled ‘Deconstructing The Canada Rush’. Trump's American anti-immigration policies and the UK Brexit crises have made the two countries no longer so attractive.


Despite the social mobility of some ‘successful’ Nigerians, many can not afford to pay the school fees of their children. Growing up in Nigeria in the 70s, 80s and even 90s, school fees was never a problem for our parents. Unfortunately, many of us now struggle to pay school fees for our own children, something our parents did with their eyes closed. This is the reason why many people now control their births forced by economic conditions. How many people can afford the high school fees charged by private secondary schools and universities these days, without borrowing or selling treasured assets?


For these and other reasons, migration continues to remain very attractive. In an essay in the Guardian newspaper of Tuesday, 12th February 2020, Babatope Babalobi quoting from different sources say that 15 million Nigerians live in the diaspora, 60 million Nigerians presently living in Nigeria are planning to leave if they have the opportunity. The numbers are rising. This accounts for Nigeria’s inflow of $17.57 billion in direct diaspora remittances between January and November 2019, according to a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) data.


As i was writing this, the news of the attack on innocent passengers by Boko Haram in Auno, Borno state killing 30 passengers and destroying 18 vehicles broke. Also the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) released a rap sheet against Senator Theodore Orji (former Governor of Abia State), and his son Chinedu Enyinnaya Orji, Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly. Both are being accused of misappropriating a mind-boggling sum of one hundred and fifty billion naira. No wonder things are the way they are here, and everyone wants to escape before the ship wrecks.


Back to my meet-up with my brothers, we had lunch, ate abacha (Igbo native salad), and drank red wine. Before we dispersed, we arrived at the conclusion that while our adopted home countries in Europe and America still offered more attractive living conditions, we may well have passed our prime to think of relocating back. Where are we going to start if we went back, having been away for a long time, and having invested professionally, socially, passionately and emotionally in Nigeria these past years?


‘We die here’, we concluded.

By Uche Nworah

44 comments:

  1. captured the last sentence. "we die here"


    ok now,,well said but i reserve my comment

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    1. We buy bad inverter solar battery/0810710517712 February 2020 at 14:09

      Better

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    2. Hope he has discarded that chidnma cucumber videos?hope ha nas given her back the car she won?hope you will leave/left ABS better than you met it?

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  2. Exactly! Stay where ever you are. Your safety isn't guaranteed here.

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  3. Pls explain to me what Uche is saying if you read it

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    1. If you are abroad, don’t come back. If you have already come back, and you are too old to return abroad, die here๐Ÿ™ƒ

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    2. Lazy youth. Lol!

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    3. They say “the best way to hide something from the black person is to put in in a book.”

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    4. East or west, home is the best. I don't want to die in the abroad abeg. No matter what you do, you will be a stranger for the rest of your life.

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    5. Your own better atlist if you got beheaded by herdsmen or boko haram your you will still enjoy your stay in nigeria

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  4. The God that did it for eka joy ,will do much more for me this year,Amen

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    Replies
    1. Amin oh Jesu. We are waiting for your testimony

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    2. My dear use express entry to Canada. Mei relocated last week to Canada and I have my permanent residence

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  5. Sad sad story but what are we going to do..

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  6. Nice writeup.
    However the adage "no place like home" is for a reason.
    There is nothing wrong in relocating to Nigeria from overseas, however, people ignore a very important factor...... AGE.
    If someone relocates before 35, you can still find your balance in terms of jobs (there are age restrictions to many jobs, although not openly highlighted most times), mental capability (ability to think outside the box, current with the happenings in Naija), family (do you have wife,kids-how old are they?)
    Another important thing is your life in the abroad. Are you really living good like that- do you have a career or are you doing menial jobs without any hope of salary increments (not that it is bad ooo)or even worse living on benefits? How much are you earning, are you really enjoying life, can you afford to go on holiday (even if it is to Nigeria) every year?
    Its easier to be an entrepreneur in Naija than Overseas.

    As I said earlier, it is a good writeup but I do not agree with " We die here" mentality. There is a lot of unexplored market in Nigeria and if you are a young person, do not be left out of this.

    I could go on and on but.......I'll just stop here.

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    1. if you do menial jobs abroad you still can afford the basics, but if you do menial jobs in naija wetin you get? it is only in naija people look at life's ultimate in terms of luxury. big car, big house, big big everything. all you really need in this life is have the basics and enjoy good health etc, pursue your passion which will ultimately make you money anyways here or the abroad.i have lived abroad and currently back in naija as middle class. if i had my way i will best live abroad as an expatriate worker i.e with a multinational..when am old and die, bury wherever i breath my last and let my children spend whatever money i have left to move on with their lives. abroad over naija anyday for me but i thank God i have a good job here for now. my kids have British passports cos my hubby is british/nigerian but we are waiting to be done with sec sch before we relocate to the UK.

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    2. @ 14.35, exactly. Low income earners can always buy basics. Eg Dove body wash 2.50, you will get asda body wash for 1 pound, coffee there is Necafe, kenco but you will still get basic coffee on the shelf.

      At the end of the day, the disparity btw the rich and low income earners is not too huge. Even for clothes, there is primark, H and M for those who can't afford Gap, Next.

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  7. How about mass shootings in the States? Is Europe devoid of terrorism?๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’

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    1. its everyday you see mass shooting abi? even when there is a shooting what is the response rate and chances of apprehending the perpetrator out there over naija? what is the rate of killings in the north of Nigeria? all countries have their challenges but i will rather take my risk and live in the abroad than be back home in naija

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    2. @14:08. Does it occur in the abroad as frequently as it happens on a daily basis in Nigeria...... I mean terrorist attacks??

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  8. A word they say is enough for the wise.

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    1. what is doing this one, na you go first go abroad

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    2. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ @ anon

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    3. Abi o. Wait till reality sets in. The soul less early morning commute in deep winter. The first experience of racism/othering in the work place. The working just to pay bills. The demands of both families in naija. The demands of childcare with child minders. The post code lottery of healthcare access and the experience of how black children are othered especially in posh boarding schools. The list goes on.

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    4. 18.10 she won't understand yet, give her time lol.

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    5. I was relocated to the UK by my company a few years ago. I've got my passport now but still visit Nigeria regularly. I see all the challenges and suffering people are facing and so sponsor a few students through uni as my own contribution.

      Despite the current situation, you can never catch me using derogatory words to describe Nigeria. It is only an unwise person that uses his left hand to point to his father's compound.

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  9. He writes really well.

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  10. biko i am among the 60 millions that want to leave this country....this country get as e be i swear

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  11. When we talk of abroad.. u guys should travelto European countries like England and Germany not silly countries like Malaysia and countries where they don’t even have slight respect for u, at least Uk still have respect for blacks

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    Replies
    1. Germany should be struck off your list

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  12. Uche Biko go and sit down!
    Continue pimping out babes for your ogas at Awka inugo!

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  13. Of course, a lot of Nigerians would love to go back home If wishes were horses and the country was ok.

    This is not necessarily because they are suffering abroad but because they are able to connect more to their fatherland, they miss the weather,they miss their families. There is just this nostalgic feeling about home.

    The life abroad is sort of regimented and can be boring.

    Generally, I respect Nigerians a lot because of their hustling spirit. You see them every where, determined specie and a lot of them are doing well. Naija sabi read and them know book. A lot of Nigerians are doing well abroad.They own nurseries, care homes, recruitment agencies, doctors, nurses, lawyers, business analysts etc.

    There are those doing menial jobs too and I also respect them because as long as one is hustling legit, nothing wrong.

    For me, my greatest concern about Nigeria is insecurity. Take this out and I can cope with any other thing.

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    1. Very true. If Nigeria were better, I know so many people that would relocate back home. There are just some things that you can't quantify and home will always be home (no matter how some people abuse it).

      Insecurity is a big one, rightly said.

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  14. I keep on saying this, even with all the tomfoolery going on back home, let PHCN or whatever agency that is now in charge give 24 hours light and I wouldn’t even mind going back. I’d always love Nigeria no matter what but at the same time I’m just angered by the fuckery that goes on there, it’s like a love-hate relationship.I don’t understand Nigeria at all, honestly. In Chinua Achebe’s words: “Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting”. Thy pretty much sums it up. I’m still very hopeful that things would get better.

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    1. @snarker you said all my mind I love Nigeria but i hate what the leaders and followers are doing ..its a love hate relationship

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  15. My friend Randy at 60 decided to relocate from Ghana to US. It boggled my mind because most people in the US are retiring at 65. He had a terrible time getting a job here because of his age. He got married to get papers—The interview went bad because the wife decided she didn’t feel like it anymore in the interview so he was refused. He was doing menial jobs working in old people’s homes. He really wanted US citizenship so he got married again. He couldn’t afford to pay his rent. His health went south from stress. He was working day and night just to survive. He fell asleep while driving home from the night shift. His car hit a tree, he survived but had a heart attack at the hospital. He died a month after getting his green card.

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    1. The stress abroad no be for here, I can relate that story above,it's very real. A nigerian colleague told me the collision accident he got was as a result of exhaustion and him dousing while driving. It happened to me too, exhausted, just exited a high way and gbam, I hit a culvert and my eyes flew open.I keep a very black coffee beside me but it doesn't help much in case of extreme exhaustion. In abroad, you are just existing but in Nigeria, you actually live albeit dangerously. And I need to correct some impression here, some.most meanial job cannot get you even a one bedroom apartment in my area, unless shared apartment. Which you never stay to enjoy because you're always out working.alot of peeps end up putting their health on the line.

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    2. he would have been much better in ghana

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    3. If you have a good job abroad or in Nigeria life can be tolerant bcos you have a little more to spare. If you are a poor man the suffer na same. Only difference is the basic amenities work abroad. The grass is always greener on the other side. I live abroad. I like the quality of life here. And contrary to what Nigerians think, it Is not one size fits all. Not everyone is a Nigerian nurse so we don't all work 16 hour days. I work from home 3 days a week. I am home by 4pm on the other days. I can travel out anytime I want so home is where you make it. You just have to keep on.

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    4. This thing is very subjective sha. Every day I pray not to hear news of my fiancรฉ’s accident cos he leaves home by5am and returns home sometimes 11pm and guess where he lives?? Lagos!!! Nigeria is very stressful oo
      If you have accident in Nigeria your chances of survival is next to nothing. I’m expecting him to move here in the next three months

      Delete

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