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Amid Economic Crisis In Nigeria, Here Are The Pros And Cons Of Relocating Abroad

Relocating abroad

The Nigerian economy is in a crisis but is relocating abroad the solution? Our GDP has been fluctuating and recession is not far from us. Inflation is double digits and our total imports and exports are significantly lower than for preceding years. This is economic jargon to the layman. He knows the economy is in trouble because transportation cost has gone up since petrol cost N145.

See Also: The power of perception – From the hopeless continent to Africa rising.

The cost of everyday items he uses has also gone up. Tomatoes are expensive; rice and every other foodstuff in the market have also shot up in price. The health care system has not improved. While the Boko Haram menace has reduced, there are new threats from the Fulani herdsmen so, security is still threatened. For the average Nigerian, there is no change. Most times all he sees is pitch darkness.

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Relocating abroad isn’t a new fad. It could almost even qualify as some kind of internship. Ask people what they currently do and they will tell you they are processing their travelling – like it were some kind of job. From regular people to health professionals, Nigeria has always had its share of exodus. It seems Nigerians are just in a hurry to leave the shores of this country. Popular relocation destinations include United Kingdom, United States, Germany and Spain and, more recently, Canada. Especially for professionals, Canada is the new relocation destination.

See Also: Medical tourism and medical brain drain – Nigeria’s loss and India’s gain.

I ran into two professionals recently who are both relocating abroad. One was moving his family (wife and 3 kids) to Canada. They were given permanent residency permits. The other professional was moving (with also a wife and 3 kids) to the US on a visiting visa. This guy was going to “wing” it. Considering he’s on visiting visa, he can’t work legally and is expected not to stay at any one time beyond a particular length of time.

There are two routes Nigerians adopt to relocating abroad. One is the right channel where you get a visa that allows you live and work in the country you intend to go to. The other is what I call the “wing” channel, where you get a visiting visa to the country of choice, relocate permanently and try to somehow find your feet when you get there.

See Also: Bridging the gap between dreams and realities.

The main reason people tend to want to relocate is usually to get a better quality of life or higher standards of living, most times more for their kids than themselves. Broken down, this could range from security, quality education, and a functioning health system to accessibility to basic utilities such as power and water. What other countries take for granted are unfulfilled campaign promises in our country.

One, while in Nigeria, could get access to all of these things that make for better quality of life but not without its heavy financial implications. If one is wealthy enough, which should not be the case, one can have access to all of these and more.

What I think is that the other reason many want to relocate is a loss of hope in the Nigerian state, a loss of faith in leadership, unfavourable economic conditions, institutionalised corruption and a rooted belief that Nigeria cannot get herself out of the abyss she drove herself into.

There are downsides to relocating abroad. Regardless of how much it is downplayed, racism is still real. Many times you get discriminated against simply because of the colour of your skin or the spelling of your name. You will have an education disadvantage too as your degrees might not be too relevant over there. This means you would have to go back to school or get some sort of diploma from the universities over there.

Also, you would have to do jobs you find, not necessarily what you like, just so you can pay your bills. My observation of those who have relocated over a twenty year period also show contemporaries left behind in Nigeria fare better financially and are more economically relevant than those who relocated. These notwithstanding, one wonders if there is hope for Nigeria or a reason to remain here if one has the opportunity to escape her menace.

Nigeria is the one country where you will have the most social and economic relevance. You never contend with having to be a second class citizen. As an emerging economy, the opportunities are enormous and once we get power and security right, our economy will grow at double digit rate. Our large and growing population literally is currency. These people need diverse types of products and services and this creates business opportunities. These businesses will have to be run by people and that also creates career opportunities.

Beyond enterprise, there are opportunities to work in government, influence policy through politics or start or join pressure groups that keep government in check and contribute to shaping the policies and value system of the country. Staying behind gives one the opportunity to contribute his quota to creating a new Nigeria one would be proud to hand over to one’s kids; a Nigeria where our passport commands respect at any custom’s entry point the world over; a Nigeria where things actually work.

They say the cup is either half full or half empty and many times how we see the cup is a reflection of our person. So, yes, Nigeria may have its many issues and chaos may be the order of the day, but the one difference I observed between those who have opportunities to relocate but stay and those who actually relocate is the potential greatness the former see in Nigeria and the role they think they can play. Nigeria is undoubtedly en route to greatness. The question is: what will your contribution be? You can start with shelving your relocation plans and doing something immediately about the areas that give you concerns or you think impede Nigeria’s route to greatness even if it’s just bringing attention to it like I just did.

God bless Nigeria.

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