Below is an intellectual rant from my Nigerian friend. It is a very nice read.
Allen, can you imagine that some of my friends and relatives feel I was not patriotic for emigrating from Nigeria to the UK. They say that I got the best out of Nigeria and refused to give back to the society. They even laughed at me that I left my comfortable life in Lagos, Nigeria to become a “white man’s servant”. The annoying part of it is when I ask the question: what has Nigeria got to offer me? I hardly get any good answers.
The years before my decision to emigrate were laborious. I really did not want to leave but my challenge was less with the Government but with the people. The society left me behind but that situation was still manageable; it was the attitude of the people that moved the needle for me. After encountering certain attitudes and nonchalance in some quarters, I decided it was time to move to saner climes.
This is a society that values everything that comes from Abroad. If you have foreign accent, the people attribute more intellectual capacity to you than the guy or lady with local accent. Before their eyes, you are second rated if your accent is not British or American. The same approach applies to foreign education and work experiences. What about colour of the skin? Even with my qualifications, I was second rated because I had my degrees in Nigeria; less educated folks from Europe were rate higher. This discrimination was not from the government but from the people. So, I made up my mind to emigrate to a place where skills and intellectual capacity are appreciated.
Go to the shopping mall, stand by the door to view what the average middle-class Nigerian buys; you will find out that about 75% of the goods will be foreign made. These people saw locally made goods on the shelves but no, they will not buy them. Locally made goods are for the poor people. One of the mark of “arrival” (meaning that you have made it; you have crossed from poor to middle-class) is the ability to buy “made-in-Europe or UK or America” goods. That is not the government, it is the people.
There was the story of a friend, based in California, who visited a mall in Lagos. He said that after parking his car, there was a white guy ahead of him, approaching the entrance door. The door man (supposedly poor guy) reached out to open the door for the white guy but when my friend got to the door, he had to open it himself. Out of curiosity, he asked the doorman why he was “courteous with one and uncourteous with another”; he got no positive response. The attitude is that “everything from abroad is better”.
Unknowing to the vast majority of the people, it is not exactly the government or economy that is making people desperate to leave (it may be part of it), the main crux is the attitude of fellow Nigerians. If your attitude shows me that I will respect you if you are from abroad, why will you then worry or call me unpatriotic if I decided to relocate to saner climes to become a “person of value”.
Sometimes, you wonder why Nigerians are desperate to leave these shores. There are many reasons for their desperation but one of the most understated reasons is the people’s mindset that abroad is better. If you are second rated in your own land, you will move to the place where you are valued as Human.
So, the next time anyone accuses you of being unpatriotic for emigrating, tell them to look in the mirror to see one of the reasons why you left.