Monday, January 10, 2011

Back to Africa

­­We live in a society where no matter how bright you are, the circumstances of your birth determine how well you do, except of course if by some miracle you find yourself in government where plunder is the only option. This has got to be the only place on earth where honesty is derided as foolishness and theft and plunder are celebrated. This is a place where we don’t, as a matter of course, groom thinkers and philosophers or scientists and inventors; a place where patriotism is the last word on anyone’s lips, not surprisingly because it is difficult to feel fervour and passion for a place, which kills dreams and hopes.
 -Kadaria Ahmed  in Observations: The lesson from the North (10/01/11)

These are the kinds of stories I find in the news at a time when I`m thinking of my Exodus-cum-Exit Strategy to Nigeria. There are so many factors to consider in this exodus... 

Will I find work
Will I find pay
Will I find play
Will I find convenience
Will I find happiness
Where is my future heading?

After living in the West for almost a decade, I have become accustomed to this culture, norms, values and general way of life. So a few days ago when my folks said to me  ­­­ 'start thinking about coming back home', ask me why I experienced shock, panic, anger...? But believe me, I consider myself very patriotic, I love my Country. But I don`t like what it does to dreams, hopes, and aspirations.

You know how people say, `hard work pays` - well, that is not necessarily the case in my Country. Hard work does not always pay. The system is not in equilibrium. You can work for 35 years as a Public Servant and end up with no pension.  Your altitude in life is dependent on luck and chance, if anything. My Country is not a welfare state. I have seen homeless former veterans, who became amputated during my Country`s civil war and  various heroic `save-them` missions in West Africa. These individuals have nothing to show for it...unless you`re a top general living in the Hills. The average low-rank former veteran is broke, lining up monthly at a window scrapping to collect any semblance of a pension package. 

My people, with this kind of treatment, why should I surrender and run back to the unopen arms of my Country. Think: a lover forsaking all and running back to unrequited love, please why bother?  

Let me know your thoughts. 

P.S: I am not a fashion designer or any of those entertainment/celebrity-like things that many Western graduates have gone back to do in my country. Don`t get me wrong; I believe everyone has their part to play. But I am a glasses-doning, Political Economist yuppie, living and working in a capital city.  How can I surrender all of this for a high dose of uncertainty?


Ms.O said...

You still haven't holla-ed at me..:( I have the exact same questions about moving....I really want to...but I am wondering since I am not moving for music, designing or event management...would I find work? would I have the respect I want....#sigh

fantasy queen said...

happy new year!!!

it really isnt as bad....hard work really does pay, as long as you know the right people to get the right job, then you take it from there lol

but seriously, start doing your home work and researching companies you're interested in, your hard work will do you good, those who returned home and aren't so talented but call themselves 'fashion designers' aren't hard working, they're more interested in social climbing and designer bags to care about offices and bla bla bla.

do i make sense? i guess i'm just trying to say, its not as bad as you see it to be. from outside the box it looks hard, but when you're in, you'll have an amazing time, with of course one or two challenges to put you off. but trust God, all will be well.

Third World Profashional said...

Sweetie, hardwork pays in Nigeria. All over the world, not just here there are examples of nepotism and "who you know" to get ahead, so its not particular to Nig. There are many instances and at the same time many people who got ahead through their own hustle.

Trust me, move back.

Jaycee said...

I think no one should surrender to such an idea without 'specific' goals and plans in place. Like many business initiatives, the vision dies when there is no stronghold. Don't do it unless you see the clear path to take. Wait for the green light, or God's direction.

CodLiverOil said...

We are all adults, it's not everything our parents say we should do, though we should always respect them. Have you expressed your anxiety to your parents, have you discussed it with them at length? Ultimately you must do what pleases you, as you have to live with yourself 24/7.

You know Nigeria well, and the kind of society it is. As others have said plan well. Maybe you could be of more use to your family, by sending money (or more money) on a regular basis. Or lay the foundation for some sort of self-sustaining business.

If you feel the draw of Nigeria to be too strong to resist. Then you should seriously consider becoming self-employed, as working for others will only increase the precarious nature of your existence there. Your employment could suddenly be terminated with no payout for no reason. You can't rely on the courts to protect you.

Alternatively, you can split your time so that you spend some time in both countries. You can still work in Canada, but probably more in consultant self-employed capacity to allow you to do this.

Should you take the decisive step of moving back for good, always have a reliable plan B, ie:
- A foreign passport
- Some money in a Canadian bank account
- Ideally a property, or know people who would be glad to have you back at short notice.

If you have no plan B, then you are limiting your options should things turn sour as they often do there.

Mamuje said...

If you feel this strongly (albeit pessimistic) about coming to Nigeria, my best bet is to let your parents know why and dont even bother. Life is hard in Nigeria. FACT

2cute4u said...

I think everyone has their destiny and what drives or motivates them.. All you have to have working for you is the belief that wherever you go and whatever you do, that you would excel..

Anyaposh said...

Ms. O, i will hit you up soonest! I promise. I'm at work now and just stealing this time to respond to comments ;) expect my email. we'll discuss all about this back-to-naija strategy or not!

fantasy queen, happy new year to you too! you're making plenty sense. I've been researching and gathering contacts. if i am to move back, there's no room for dulling on the play or work front.

TWP, I think about it everyday! especially the whole 'to-serve-our -fatherland' bit. but i dunno o! it's hard to psyche myself now and just up & go back to my father's house.. kai, e go hard!

Jaycee, I'm on my grind - strategizing all the way.

codliveroil, you're making perfect sense. I get it. actually, im working on some of those plan B moves you suggested. as per parents, it's hard when they still see me with the eyes of 10 years ago. they dunno babes don old finish, time flies but it's like my parentals be slacking on that tip.

mamuje, you know it - life IS hard! all that NEPA wahala, drunk drivers after clubs, bribing mopol, e.t.c, it's too much. I've become a rewhipped ajeburra... get it? whipped butter! lol.. anyhow, i dunno if i can roll hard like that again. i've grown accustomed to order and i have a real fear of chaos... any which way, we go see.

2cute4u, i like your philosophy. that's a good attitude to navigate the world. i will re-learn it.

Vickii said...

Thanks for adding me to your blog roll!

Hmmm, as a fellow Nigerian, I have accepted that I might move back at some point, probably only in the instance that I end up with a Nigerian guy and the best thing is for us is to live there. At the moment I'm not choosing to, for all of the reasons you mentioned and more. To have the standard of living I have in England and which I've come to expect - things such as constant electricity, relative safety - you have to be filthy rich in Nigeria. And I agree with you when you say hard work doesn't necessarily pay off in Nigeria.

I guess only time will tell. Good luck if you're making the move back soon :)

Ginger said...

Thats a connundrum you have there. If you've got a job which looks like its a great career move or something, dont you dare hang it up cause parents are calling. Their biggest worry is probably to put you in a 'SURE'husband finding market (if they are anything like my family). Praying that God will guide you alright!

pamela said...

actually the designing celebish areas are shockingly unprofitable for 90%
you my dear will probably get a good job esp with your background. unemployment here is very different at different strata and for diff professions. do some research about the options you have. you may be surprised. as for the culture shock. thats another matter. i cant really live anywhere else but naija. i can travel, visit... but need to be here warts and all...