Over the last two years, departing aeroplanes from Nigeria to international routes have seen a high number of Nigerian passengers with one-way tickets, they will not be returning to Nigeria for the foreseeable future.
The current number of Nigerian leavers now is comparable to the thousands that left Nigeria for greener pastures from the 1980s to 2000s. The fact that Nigeria is again witnessing its highest number of departees in one political window needs to be examined in depth. The sole reason preventing the numbers of Nigerians currently leaving reaching the levels of those who left in the 80s and 90s is the harder immigration controls in the western world brought on by Brexit, Trump, and the emergence of far right political parties winning majority seats across Europe.
So why are we here again? Why are Nigerians trying so hard to leave Nigeria? What is the major catastrophe this time? My guess is Buhari. Yes, the new Nigerian exodus is due to Buhari. Buhari has cut Nigeria’s “big men” down to size. Austere salary packages, reducing the size of serving minister’s entourage, special assistants and personal assistants. Economic factors facing the new regime such as a decline in oil price and budgetary challenges means Buhari has gradually stopped the wastage and false economy that has blighted Nigeria for years. But how has this caused another exodus from Nigeria?
A glance at the profile of Nigerians who are leaving Nigeria today will reveal they are very different from the ones who left in the 80s and 90s. The difference is, the reason for emigrating before was poverty and educational breakdown but the new exodus is due to a shutdown of personal wealth, and please let us highlight the word “PERSONAL”.
The new batch of Nigerian leavers are in the business circles. They are the property developers, Top end car dealers, arms dealers, yatch buyers, bulletproof vest importers, private jet owners, Bereau de change owners, Luxury boutique owners and oil sector business people. Most of them were thriving in Nigeria. So how come a change of government stopped that? It makes you wonder what type of business where they in? What did they manufacture, export or create that could not withstand changing the President? The answer is simple, they were all benefiting from stealing from Nigeria. They did not make anything, produce anything, empower Nigerian youths with jobs or do anything that added value to Nigeria. All they did was help Nigerian leaders steal and the leaders kept on borrowing more from foreign governments anywhere possible. That turn-by turn mentality to loot Nigeria was their business, and when their turn came through friend or family they went back home to do just that. A further insight into the new wave of people leaving Nigeria and returning to the west comprises of over 50% of people who lived in the west before, London and America precisely. Most had nothing in the West but it took them only 5 minutes in Nigeria and they were billionaires.
In the diaspora, two years ago a hard-working Nigerian could not afford a land or building in Nigeria because corrupt Nigerians were pushing up the prices. Now with the exodus of the business men and stolen money the price of land and building have fallen. The average Nigerian in the diaspora can now build a house, start a business and create employment in their country.
Today, more Nigerian graduates worldwide are thinking straight. We are using our dynamism positively because we have a leader that has set the right tone. We should accept that Nigerian corruption will not be cleaned in one day. We must resist calls and bribes from all the so called elite criminals trying to gang up the youths against a man who is trying to help them. We have come a long way and they want to take us back. Give Buhari a chance.
Edo boy From London