Every Nigerian is an expert on how to bring the country out of recession. During the week, people on twitter were, as usual, sharing ideas on what government is doing wrong and what they can /should do right. One Twitter user had one of the most amusing ideas about how Nigeria can be better. Here is what she said ‘Nigerians, you people need to let us who’ve lived in a working system take charge of that country. International exposure is a prerequisite.’
International Exposure: This word which originated from Twitter, I think, simply means, someone who has lived outside Nigeria, preferably in the US/UK/Canada in working systems. In places where bail is really free, where they won’t reschedule your flight without prior notice, where doctors do not ask for an advance fee before attending to patients, where doctors do not go on strike every other day, where universities are not shut down over ‘2009 agreement’ for months at a stretch. Do you get the picture?
The twitter user continued with: ‘I’m convinced that there’s no way a Nigerian who hasn’t lived and worked in the first world can change that country.’
As usual, some people agreed with her, others disagreed and in a few minutes ‘international exposure’ was trending.
There are so many things wrong with our country, the Nigerian government, our failed infrastructure, terrible healthcare, bad educational system, insecurity etc but having innovative ideas is not one of them.
This idea that only a person with ‘international exposure’ can save Nigeria is condescending, Eurocentric and very silly. This is how colonialism started. I imagine the first white folks that sailed to Africa said: ‘Oh these barbarians without international exposure let us colonise them and make that continent work’.
The current problems facing Nigeria began in 1966. Those who led the first coup, those who carried out a counter-coup, those who ordered the massacre of Igbo, those who led that bloody civil war, the ones who took over successive governments all of them were foreign-trained graduates with ‘international exposure.’
Yes, it is true that when you travel outside you see things that motivate you to want to make your country better but why do you think Nigerians who were excelling abroad come to the country and fail? Why is Fashola who was an excellent governor, now struggling as a minister? Or madam Finance Minister who said (or maybe did not say that) recession is just a word. Have you forgotten so soon the powers that be that shut Kachikwu up? The frustration Okonjo Iweala and Dora Akunyili faced? Nigeria, as it is today, is a peculiar place, there is nowhere on earth like this country. Nigeria is set up to defeat you, and only the strong who, ironically, are Nigerians who have mostly never left the country can survive here.
If Zuckerberg was Nigerian he wouldn’t have been Zuckerberg, Nigeria would have found a way to clip his wings. Remember the video that went viral of Nigerians who had some business with the embassy abroad, how frustrated they were? Crying and cursing? International exposure is not our problem.
The trouble with Nigeria is the ruling class, the class of 1966, every one of them and their allies must go. We need to go back and rebuild the foundations of this country. Nigeria is that house the owner planned as a bungalow but has built 10 stories on the first foundation. Any little wave that blows will threaten to pull down the house.
Meanwhile, dear young Nigerian, if you can get out of the country please hurry up and go get some ‘international exposure.’ Companies are now employing only foreign-trained graduates in this country.