It is easy to say now that every university graduate in Nigeria under the age of 35 knows five people that have left the country. If you do not know 5, you know one that has left the country and countless others processing their “masters”. This has become a worrying trend for me because I do not want to leave the country and it is starting to seem like I am not serious with my life. Everywhere I turn, there is someone processing papers to leave the country, it is almost as though the goal of being born in Nigeria is to leave the country.
My reservation towards leaving the country was formed by my upbringing. From a very young age I learnt that you cannot go to your neighbour’s house too much. When you go visiting once, they must come visiting the next time. If they cannot come to your house, you cannot go to their house. However, I do not delude myself in thinking that Nigeria is worth visiting.
It is glaring, even to the blind that the quality of life in America and Europe is immensely better than life in Nigeria. The rule of law is observed, you get adequately paid for work done, the law enforcement is mostly there to serve and protect, not kill and extort. The list of pros’ is endless. However, if you observe what happened in Ukraine at the start of the invasion you can see that when the chips are down the neighbour will leave you to die. A train was prepared to evacuate people from war threatened Ukraine and at the station, by sheer colour of skin, they decided who could go and who could not. The Africans discriminated against at the train station would not have been in that situation if they could find what they went to Ukraine for in their own countries. So, I say if your house is dirty, you do not run away from it, you clean it. A perfect dilemma is birthed. If you go to your neighbour’s house too often, one day you will knock at the door and someone from behind the door will tell you they are not at home.
There have been many talks on where to start sanitizing the country. Many say it starts from the president, others say it starts from the constitution, some say it starts from law enforcement; there are many recommendations from many experts. I am not an expert and I do not intend to recommend where to start. However, I want to implore everyone that reads this that we cannot all runaway. There is work to be done in Nigeria and we need to stay and get it done.
I must mention the effect of the #EndSARS protest of 2020. I was greatly gladdened at the start of the movement. It is an indication that we are beginning to appreciate the task ahead of the Nigerian youth today. I do think we made an underestimation during the protests. Nigeria was 60 years old at the time of the protest, I think we thought we could solve 60 years of rottenness with 2 weeks of protests. Our enemies showed us what we are up against. For us to get a glimpse of the Nigeria we want, we need to have warriors on the ground, some may ‘jand’ but even more need to stay,