Enough, if not too much, has been said about this business of Japa. ‘Don’t japa,’ ‘Japa with sense, those who have Japa-ed are suffering but pretending to be enjoying…’
It’s the “suffering” part that gets me.
I can almost imagine a few young people who have made up their minds to Japa, pulling the brakes and telling themselves to hold on.
‘Maybe Nigeria isn’t so bad…’
‘Maybe I should just remain the king in my corner of Naija than to go to the abroad and be suffering.’
Truth is, with all the scary stories we hear about moving abroad during this period, it makes sense to apply the brakes and do a quick review. But you look around you and Nigeria keeps failing you and so thoughts of leaving assails you yet again.
I hear people telling me horror stories told them about their Japa ambitions. You hear things like, “Once you get to oyibo land, forget your certificate, go and work in Care…go and work in a warehouse, do nights…”
They are telling them that abroad is no bed of roses. I agree, Naija isn’t either but to make “suffering” like a rite of passage for everyone is wrong!
Everybody’s Japa is not the same. If you have skills they need, if you are resourceful enough. If you are persistent enough, they will hire you.
However, not all of us have the balls for Japa.
And not all of us will venture out so that Nigeria doesn’t suddenly become an empty land.
There is Japa and there is Japa!
Here’s to those who will, just prepare yourselves. Not for suffering but for work. increase your pool of talents and skills. Update your resume. Go online and research. Ask questions…from the right people. Then get ready for hard work. Hard work isn’t something we have ever been afraid of as Nigerians, I think.
The recent ban on Nigerian students bringing their dependents along with them to the UK has further disenchanted many young Nigerians from the route to “easy” migration.
The way I see it, this won’t be the first time the British government has tried to stem the tide of migration to its shores. I doubt that it will be the last. What is instructive for me here is this:
Nigerians will still Japa. It’s a question of finding the next best route(s) and the destination doesn’t have to be the UK. Let’s face it. We are not a people who give up simply because we hit a brick wall of foreigners telling us we aren’t welcome in their land.
Nigerians will find other lush lands to migrate and grow and contribute immensely to that country’s economy.
Just like the Indians. They form nations in virtually every country on Earth. You can’t even refer to them as the “Indian community” anymore, they are often in large numbers to form nations…within nations.
Once they settle in a place or country and they begin to make economic progress, they bring in their families, their relatives, and soon what you think are communities are little India in foreign lands. They even have little India here in Naija, go to Ilupeju…yeah, they are there, and portions of Victoria Island.
Why can’t we be like the Indians?
For instance, in the UK, they are about the highest number of nationals given foreign work visas in the. They practically run the economy and keep finding ways to bring in their people into the UK. Who is steaming that tide of migrants?
They work hard! They contribute meaningfully to the economy.
Same as Nigerians. After study, Nigerians will hit the labour market and work their hearts out! Yeah, our values differ from the Indians, I know. We want to drive the best cars, wear designer clothes, and send photos to our loved ones to see how we’re balling in oyibo land…still doesn’t mean we aren’t hardworking!
So am I saying in the abroad is easy? By no means? Like many countries post Covid, the UK economy is struggling to find its feet. We read about it all the time.
But are people still prospering in the economy? Yes
Are people suffering, oh yes!
So would some new migrants…while trying to find their feet. Just the same way they might struggle even in Nigeria. However, the difference is this, those who apply themselves will succeed. Let’s not kid ourselves, our people are resilient and in a system that truly works, it won’t be long before you succeed. Those of us who can’t japa look to those who have succeeded through sheer hard work and commitment.
I have met Nigerians, young and ambitious, who went abroad in the last couple of years. A couple of years ago, as in two years ago, one ran for the council and won in his borough and another a lawyer practicing in an NGO and yes, there’s another a writer, doing just great.
Not every Japa-er will suffer
Did they do Care work to start with? No
Did they flip burgers because that’s what their older countrymen/women did before they found better jobs, no.
Did you just say just three success stories out of thousands of migrant Nigerians out there? No, actually, there are several success stories. In fact, there is one success story for each of all of the horror stories we hear of suffering Nigerians.
Many Nigerians are hardworking and are excelling abroad and they form the majority. This makes me understand why people aren’t telling anyone their Japa stories, so they don’t get jinxed with a suffering mentality.
However, any economy that chooses to deprive itself of our talents is doing so at its own risk.