Emigrating from a country ‘In-dependence’ - OPID News

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Monday, 4 October 2021

Emigrating from a country ‘In-dependence’

 Emigrating from a country ‘In-dependence’

SIR: This year’s Independence Day celebrations have been spiraled by an air of mixed thoughts and emotions. For some, the ‘day’ is a moment for counting our losses, reflecting on our failures and lamenting our inability to emigrate away from this “cursed” country.

For others, however, it is a celebration of the Nigerian spirit, of resilience and unity in the face continued threats of succession for 61 years.

Nigeria is a country away from our best expectations. Its citizens still battle with poverty, unemployment, harsh government policies, corruption, and poor infrastructure amongst other challenges. These challenges have continually confined many Nigerians into poverty just as it permeates all circles of the less-privileged class. The system seems designed to keep the economic class in permanent stagnancy – the rich remaining perpetually rich, while the poor are consigned to the slums and ghettos, and the middle-class, to struggle away from poverty and into sustenance.

The average Nigerian citizen must have had hopes of the nation becoming better and greater, fueled by the imposed spirit of patriotism and dedication to the nation-state. However, these have been dampened by the government’s show of non-concern to the citizens’ plight, and the continuous stifling of general dissent and promotion of harsh policies.

Our true status independence has been a question that has been continually asked: are we a country in independence or in-dependence? Do we feel justified, being the “giant of Africa” that we proclaim ourselves to be, to continually to look up to the West and other aid-serving nations? Do we remain independent by being dependent on foreign aid, external interference and intervention?

What are we celebrating? The unascertained, denied loss of souls at the Tollgate? The terrorism-infested northern states or the ransom-fueled kidnappings? Or all the problems and menaces that quake our hearts to mention?

The Nigerian citizen’s primary instinct is survival, and in a nation where lives no longer hold value, emigration to “the abroad” for greener pastures serves a perfect leeway into prosperity and sustenance, away from a country not yet in full control of the optimization of its own destiny.

The Nigerian society values almost anything foreign – from certifications, experiences, currencies and every other thing carries the foreign badge. Due to this, it is fruitless to convince people who have the opportunity to stay to “to develop the country”, when their toils would not be recognized in the first place. The resultant effect of this is that a lot of talents and human resources are being lost to foreign shores and markets.

I am not against emigrating for better conditions. All that I advocate is that Nigerians in diaspora should not abandon the country as soon as they exit its borders. The problems we complain of are created by us by extension, and the countries we run to did not become great by running away from their problems. Nigerians abroad should continually ensure that they push relevant policies, either from abroad or within, to ensure that the situation eases up for individuals stuck in the country, with no access to the kind of privilege they might have had or benefitted from.

It is only when these are done that Nigeria’s chances of being lifted from its position of being in-dependence to being truly accorded the status of independence. It is only then that we can ease the situation in the country, to propel us collectively to greatness and independence, thereby welcoming us all into a new dispensation.

• Adedimeji Quayyim Abdul-Hafeez, University of Ilorin.

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