Relocating to Nigeria: Best Practices

by Sylvester Fadal

Several reputable Nigerians have expressed desires to relocate to the motherland within the next few years. The thrust of this brief information was my private discussion with some of these individuals through emails and telephone conversations. Having recently spent a month in Nigeria with my entire family (who by way loved it tremendously this time like they did a few years ago) and this being my fourth trip to Nigeria within the past five years, I believe I can realistically share some insightful information with others out there with a tinkling of hope that they can someday relocate fully to a place they continue to hold dear to their hearts.

Nigeria is a great place. Each and every visit for me, as an independent traveler or for my family as a group of travelers, have been nothing but splendid.It is a great, relaxing place if you chose to truly migrate your mindset to your new setting. There are commendable improvements that I can’t possibly explain.The truth is, regardless of what is said negatively, it all depends on ones preparedness, level of expectations and attention to detail.

Prior to Relocating

If you truly plan on relocating, be prepared. Nigeria has never been more ready for relocating Nigerians in Diaspora than now.Arrival to the MMA is friendly, stress less and swift.No baggage hassles and all what not.

There are several business opportunities. To practice, survive and excel in any of these businesses, you must be resident in the country or else someone else, regardless of how trusting and dependable they might have appeared initially, will get rich managing your business for you.You must and I repeat MUST have your personal home of residence.Don’t plan on staying, renting or squatting with someone else for too long. It won’t do you any good being in someone else’s home if you plan on being there over six months per year. Build or buy your home wherever you chose to be.If all else fails, rent it out or sell and return to you original location.

For instance, Lagos, Ogun and Edo State are my typical places of residences. I am in one of these places at any given times.A moderately sized home is good in most places but it must be extensively comfortable. Don’t copy the joneses but if you can, note the following. If you have never been to Victoria Garden City (VGC) or Lekki Phase One, take some time to be there. Properties that retailed for $100,000 six years ago are now worth $220,000 or more. This is based on clear and specific information. This outstanding growth competes with the California housing boom.If you plan on being in Lagos and can afford it, please get a property somewhere in Ajah, Lekki, VGC. These areas can reasonably compete (comfort-wise) with any developed country in the world. Alternatively, a property anywhere in Ikeja, Ogba, Surulere or a similar but decent environment of good scale that are considered reasonably safe is just as good.

Be realistic. You will have no choice but to adapt and practice a few things you may not believe in anymore. The police officer will not change because you chose to relocate. Sometimes, somewhere, you will have to bribe someone. A lot of the ease of functioning requires you grease the palms of others. You can fight, puff and threaten people all you want but life will present you a lost of ease if you are willing to tip at will.If you chose to drive an SUV, you will get pulled over a lot more times on freeways by cops and they will ask for all sorts of papers up to and including “Title of Ownership” just to frustrate you into bribing them.The assumption is, if your can afford a truck that expensive; you should have some excess cash for occasional tips.Any church you visit for the first time will have a special place in the very front section for you as a first time visitor and they will clearly watch you make your offering as a guest. This is routine. Don’t freak out. It is not all about you. Don’t drop your wallet the first time, as there will be a second and possibly a third offering for various special events. I speak from experience.

Avoid being ostentatious. If you are one that enjoys displaying all the jewelries you have ever owned at once, stop it. A simple wristwatch is good enough. Wear simple clothing. Don’t start flashy and hope to tone it down.You are there for the long haul. You may set yourself up to get robbed. Get some simple but decent clothing and remember the heat requires that you maintain a cool. Oh, by the way, it doesn’t matter what car you drive, it must have a well functioning A/C.

Fears & Concerns

Yes, you have to be concerned. You should have some fears. With time, you should be able to suppress those concerns and overcome your fears.Safety is still an issue so be wise in your actions. Avoid late nights and displaying items that are uncommon in your vicinity. If you are relocating to a local region such as a university campus or somewhere similar to hold a job or conduct business, remember Nigeria is a free market place. People seek services, buy/not buy products and whatever it is you chose to do, apply the model best applicable to the environment.It is an interrelated system. If planning to relocate as a lecturer, apply as a visiting professor for a start.Spend a semester out there.See if you really like it.It is different from the USA, UK, or a truly developed country.

While most people/students will pay you a lot of respect, cult members are hardheaded and very dangerous.Understand the mechanics of surviving in such an environment.

In general, Nigerians are respectful and respect is earned in two major ways, wealth and age. Regardless of your self-claimed achievements in Diaspora, respect your elders. Don’t call them by their first names. They will in turn reciprocate and give your guidance.Don’t minimize the valid concerns of others regardless of what you think of their opinions.Maintain very little trust of people. You can easily get overwhelmed with too many helpful hands so make your decisions wisely. Be generous if you can and when necessary. Remember, if all else fails, you can pick up your passport and return to your country of location or settle as a comfortable landlord if you have several properties working for you. There are a zillion other valuable tips out there to complement my finite window of experiences in this specific area. Seek multiple inputs but clearly avoid the assayers of your good intent.

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BIGFEST June 3, 2006 - 12:44 pm

No matter how long one stays in another land,he or she know there is no place like home.Your write-up is an "expo"to those that are in dispora that must surely come home one day.

Ben JoJo May 30, 2006 - 11:54 am

very Good article!!!

I am planning on visiting Nigeria for the first time in 15years, to research into possible business opportunities. I have heard many negative stories about Nigeria which are very discouraging, sickening and threatening.

With your article, I see some light at the end of the tunnel for Nigeria, hopefully it is not that of an oncoming train.

Thanks for the highly informative article, you are a blesing to many of us. I have called some colleagues to read your article. Moreso because some of these my business partners have been refusing to venture into Nigeria, and some of them are even Nigerians!

Could you please recommend some businesses that may be good to operate in Nigeria? Did you observe some particular need or a vacuum (businesswise) that those of us in the Diaspora could go into?

Keep up the good work. Nigeria needs more people like you.

Anonymous May 26, 2006 - 9:18 pm

Excellent advice and very real.


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