Back then in 2014 during my school days, one man in my village once asked me this question:
“How many sons and daughters born by your father are abroad. How many of them are graduates by the way? Do you have a Doctor, lawyer, Teacher, or anything in your family?”
I picked and saved this statement in my heart. I told myself that I would write about it maybe when I travel to overseas or maybe when I’m still in Nigeria. I vowed to write about these things. Perhaps, the man in question will end up reading it or not. I always have it in mind that I must let some people know that going to overseas or abroad does not automatically make someone rich or wealthy, staying in Nigeria also does not give you this success automatically; you have to work for it anywhere. There are people in Europe, America, Asia that those in Nigeria are better off than and there are those in abroad that are better than those in Nigeria. It fate that makes everything perfect. There’s a saying that all fingers are not equal, some are longer than some. Same is life and chances.
The truth is that this escape that European, America and Asia countries offer us from the mess we Africans have created for ourselves is one of the biggest problems we have in Africa. And it goes either way, even up to our Leaders. To me, one of the reasons our leaders have not taken full responsibility of fixing the country and some of the mess is the fact that they and their children don’t have to be partakers of the rot of the system. They go abroad to treat their illnesses and come back to mock us, they send their children to great colleges abroad and all that. This also includes children of very wealthy people who are not in government as well. And because these people when they have escaped, there is little or no motivation to contribute their quota to make their country a better place rather they stay back to enjoy what other leaders or people have worked hard to build. And because the upper class is always a model of how life should be to the imitating and intimidating poor people, the mentality filters down. Even if the poor can’t afford to send their children abroad to study, they make sure they send them there to hustle. The western world has become for us an offshoot of prosperity while motherland is a bondage to be escaped. Who is going to build motherland if we all leave her to the western countries? If this is not inferiority complex what else is it? We do not even realize that these countries we run to for haven were built by human beings like us; we don’t even believe in what we are capable of doing. I wish somehow, we all were locked in here and a tariff on traveling put on us, then we would have been able to find a solution to the problems wrecking our countries. In fact, so many people go abroad for one reason or the other. The reasons or the opportunities that took Emenike abroad may be different from yours. He might have better opportunities than you. Life, I understand are of chances. It is made of choices. Some people will choose to go abroad to suffer than staying in their country home even if the suffering is of the same level.
I have heard so many stories of Nigerians who went abroad and were taken as refugees in a refugee camp. They were taken care of till a certain period. I have heard several stories of those who were gunned down by the laws of the country. I have heard of many who went abroad to wash plates, some are in the mortuary taking care of corpses. Some are roaming the streets of Europe and America. Some have made it going there too. We have some Doctors, Lecturers, Lawyers, and writers of Nigerian blood who have made it over there. Perhaps, before you think of leaving Nigeria to another country for school, jobs or what have you, you should be able to plan yourself very well. if you see the opportunity of going out, prepare yourself very well. Make the necessary plans on how you can be of help to yourself over there.
It is very important to note that not everybody that abroad would favour, not everybody would go to London, USA, Ghana, Australia, Canada or Malaysia and make it. While some make it there and others don’t but the truth is, wherever you are, you should pray for God’s grace and work hard in everything you do. One of the major problems is our parents comparing their children with Emeka that travelled to Malaysia. Our mothers and fathers accuse their children of wasting away while others are in USA sending Money to their Parents. Few days ago, I heard a mother cursing her daughter for wasting away. She told her that Patience has gone to Italy and she has been sending money to her parents from Italy. She even pointed to her daughter the house that Patience built for her people. The girl started crying. She shamed the girl publicly. She made her daughter a laughing stock in the compound.
Meanwhile, she never asked herself what Patience is actually doing in Italy. She don’t know if Patience is a prostitute known in Nigerian parlance as runs girl over there or she is into “Drug tracking or not. All she cared to know was that Patience was sending money to her parents from Italy. And Patience has built houses for her parents. Patience mother and father are driving the latest cars. This is the mistake some of our parents make. We should stop comparing our daughters or sons with those people that went to abroad for greener pasture. They are not better than your children. Some are into many things which are not what you’ll dream of your sons and daughters to do. Why push him or her into the dungeon to be devoured by the demons?
However, these days, it has become a norm to qualify a rich family in some villages with their sons and daughters who are in abroad. It was children during the days of my father that was why my father had many wives who birthed him many children. Then, it was believed that these children helped their parents in farm during planting and harvesting. So therefore, the more children you have as a farmer, the more land you cultivate during planting season. These days, we have old men and women, young men and women, boys and girls in the village qualifying a rich and wealthy family through many children they have abroad and how many graduates are there in the family.
If you have your way, go, but if you don’t have your way stay. Personally, I prefer to stay back in a country where I will have my freedom to do whatsoever I like than going to another land where my freedom is limited. I prefer staying in my home country where I will have peace of mind than going to some countries where being black (Racism) would make me a less human than others. We can’t continue running. This is our home and we must be the one to build this home. This is our land no matter how rotten it is.
One of my friend who travelled to China once told me that it is not easy in China. The language barrier, the cold and many other things is really affecting him and aside that; he has not settled down. This guy I’m talking about spent two million naira to process his papers from Nigeria to China. The last time we spoke, he told me in tears that in China, once a any black man commits any offense other blacks (whom perhaps have incomplete Papers) would be on the run. If the case last for two weeks or one month, other black men would still be in their hiding place until the case is resolved. I know we don’t have light here but they do. I know things or standard of living may be high over here but theirs are little fairer. This is our home and we can’t run away from it.
Someone once told me that when one of his friend invited him to Spain. He was excited to leave Nigeria to Spain. This man promised him heaven and earth whenever he gets to Spain. He promised him Jobs, Accommodation and many other things when he gets to Spain. My brother packed all the necessary things he needed and travelled to Spain. He said on getting to Spain, the number of this man went dead. He didn’t see him in the Airport to pick him as both of them have agreed. He was stranded in the Airport. What he did was to book for a cheaper hotel in Spain and lodged. One week turned to two weeks to three weeks and to a month and he could not find a trace of this his friend. He gave up looking for him. He became miscreant in the streets of Spain. He did many menial jobs just to survive. At the end of the day, his luck caught up with him and he was deported back to Nigeria after many escapes. He said he was grateful that he came back to Nigeria than staying there. To some, it could have been a different story. I had another story of one man who left my village, Nkporo and went to Scotland. He spent 20 years in Scotland and came back a Doctor. He built houses and had one of the best Hospital my street in Aba then.
One of my neighbours sold most of his wares to then his apprentice. He was selling palm oil in drums at Ikotun Market. He had close to four shops and ware houses where his depots were. He was doing fine, business was moving very well. However, He wanted to change business because a friend who stayed in China told him that he can come down to China with the money he had and start importing cars and other commodities. He sold everything he had then to his Apprentice and moved to China. Fast forward to five years later, the business wasn’t moving for him. he left China back to Nigeria and discovered that that his Apprentice he sold all his goods and four shops and warehouses to has become a bigger boy and he was broke. He became poor and did not know what else to do with his life. He started serving his former boy just for him to feed himself and his immediate family.Please don’t let anyone teach you what to do, not everyone who travels abroad make it big. All fingers are not the same as destiny differs.