Nigerians In Foreign Lands: What a Cloud Of Confusion

by L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu

Many Nigerians now live abroad, in every corner of the earth literally. We have asylum seekers and the “overseas passionate” that makes people expect anyone who has traveled abroad to return with a lorry load of money amongst other issues. Persons near-not often noted that there has not been enough exposure of these Nigerians living abroad; but thanks to the so called peers, about the ill treatment, for example, about racism and racial profiling, that has been prevalent in western countries against these Nigerians. Most of them frustrated to do such unjust practices. It is indeed surprising that anyone with a decent sense of humanity should tolerate racism and racial profiling. It speaks a lot, in terms of evolution, about these so called materially advanced countries that many Nigerians rush to, sadly having been successfully duped by the media. It is more disgraceful, when our own brethren in different countries keep silent on these matters just because they do not want to give a negative picture of their life abroad. That is really a disgrace because it does not give the true picture of life abroad to those who want to be the next in line wannabes.

There is actually no such thing as wannabes that is all a myth which has been bloated through false pictures of media, boasters, and those who prefer to keep silent about negative aspects of life abroad. This only perpetrates wrong things to build up; and tomorrow, more of our brethren, who struggle, as is known, through many a hardship, in our country; Nigeria, to go abroad for supposedly better lives, will have been successfully duped again, wasting their lives, time, and money, to make others abroad rich. It is conveniently forgotten that the differentials in financials and other aspects that exist abroad, are the very key facts that have portrayed a falsified picture of any glamorous countries being better than Nigeria, for instance.

Consequence to that 130 million people in Nigeria live substandard, disgustingly poor lives and if any of them can better their lives they will leave even for hell. Being poor in Nigeria is a hellish nightmare especially with current lawlessness and literally no government or police that can protect people. Nigeria today is an example of mismanagement and extreme corruption, injustice and insensitivity. Despite all if someone can move around corruption and other hurdles, the opportunities now are more than ever considering the industrial and urban growth.

Hence, the onus lies on those abroad, to speak out the truths happening through their experiences, to enlighten other youngsters in Nigeria to be aware of what is life abroad, and to put an end to these dehumanizing trends of racism and racial profiling abroad, amidst falsified media hype of equal rights and opportunities for all. There is more to equal rights and opportunities than receiving equal pay. There are many more procedures and various factors of every day life that speaks very badly about ridiculously pre-historic mentality that is pushed down generations in an illogical attempt of power play. It is disgusting that such mentality prevails today, in 21st century, when the world is supposed to have become advanced and a better place to live.

That the Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has a specific and special role to play in overseeing and monitoring the conduct of our foreign affairs and also assess the various policies and their probable options perhaps needs no advocacy. It augurs well for the country when the committee becomes energized and actively pursues some very constructive measures. Sometime back I had in one of my columns made a pointed reference to a role that committee on Foreign Affairs should play with immediate effect and that is by asking the Foreign Office to send the ambassadors-designate for a Senate Committee appearance before the appointments are finally approved. The Committee should have a full hearing on what the country’s representatives abroad have to say about their knowledge of the countries of their accreditation, about Nigeria’s economy, its political and social parameters and above all, what they plan to achieve during their tour of duty abroad in some specific, actionable terms. Just seniority up the career ladder is certainly not enough for winning such a responsible mantle, unless the nominees do project and prove their ability to understand , analyze and ably represent to advance the country’s image and interests, at the high level they are about to be installed.

Nigeria will have enormous and large migration in coming years wherever they can but alas there are fewer places they can easily go because most countries have closed doors on almost all Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, Mexicans and poorer Africans. This is the reality. Even Chinese do not want any immigrants despite the relative growth there.

Nigeria has an identical twin in Caribbean where most people live in urban filth and poverty. ALL Caribbean’s who can afford or manage want to go to the States. When here they just continue to live poor but compared to their home country they can at least send a little money to their families. However the Caribbean in the US have absolutely no respect and most are treated very poorly, almost same as Nigerians and Kenyans in Gulf or even worse.

Unless and until the governments become really for people by people we will have a migrating world. Chinese are only major exporter of people who despite their economic growth at whatever cost, are still leaving China at high rate. Chinese are the biggest migrating race in the world. Because the reality is that Chinese middle class is merely of 50 or 60 million and all else are poor laborers without future. Chinese main problem is that they don’t speak English and they are usually employed or trafficked by the Chinese mafia, which moves about 1 million Chinese per month.

We are all impressed by the lead taken by the Committee to go on a visit to Britain. Here I wish to observe that a visit by the law-makers will only be helpful if preparatory work is done in full, covering some of the major issues and having a clear idea as how to deal with British known position as well as with their exceedingly capable defense of their own interests. Many of the insightful write-ups published in our leading dailies do give a wide spectrum of valuable analyses and inputs to assist formulation of our viewpoints, perhaps more than one can obtain from the routine, run-of-the-mill briefings, if at all, emanating from the Foreign Office. The Foreign Affair Ministry needs to understand that our foreign relations are drowning. They should do indeed put things more tersely than Nigerians thought had been water-drenched and mud-drawn. – Story of failed diplomacy? .How, then could Nigerians living abroad have quoted some instances to drive home the point perhaps with greater force.

Grass is always greener on the other side. People here are attracted to the idea of migrating to the west. Those already there want to come back at times. People are attracted to finances and there is nothing wrong in earning money. Everything comes with a price. If you want your Nigeria then you get the corrupt society, police, judiciary, government etc with it. If you wish to stay in some developed nation then you get to face racism, homesickness and other issues. It’s not about where we are. It’s more about being content. We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.

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1 comment

Rosie March 18, 2009 - 1:22 pm

Ask any Nigerian in the diapora; to live abroad, you have to pay your dues. You work really hard – get an education, work your way up and may, just maybe – luck will smile on you and get a middle class life. A few will probably get rich, a smaller percentage will be wealthy….but all comes from not giving up and not expecting anything to be handed to you on a platter. It is not easy. I tell this to relatives all the time. To live abroad, be ready to stand on your own two feet at the drop of a hat.


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