This year, Nigerians in the diaspora were reported to have remitted up to $35 billion US dollars. That is more than Nigeria’s annual budget. Where would this country be without these remittances from relatives or friends oversea, who provide these relief funds for housing, school fees, subsistence, medical attention, etc.?
The Nigerian diaspora, by virtue of this very important (though largely ignored) contribution, are perhaps the reason why the suffering back home has not reached a breaking point; why the hunger has not driven us all to a state of utter madness and chaos.
Many of those in the diaspora have long considered the Nigerian space unliveable, they have simply checked out, become members of new (progressive) countries, and the only reason they still keep their Nigerian passport is merely for the sake of avoiding the trouble of requesting for a Nigerian visa.
Nigeria, for this class of individuals represents a destination only fit for a week-long Christmas holiday, for which they can feel the warmth of a home they no longer completely believe they belong to. To change their dollar currencies to the Naira, if only to at least derive, first, the joy of giving, and second, to prove that indeed, the grass is greener on the other side.
The sad truth is that, each year these “abroadians” come back, they meet Nigeria in a far worse state than they left it. They may want to believe they’ve checked out, but can they completely check out when they have brothers, sisters, aunt’s uncle’s, fathers, mothers, nephews and nieces down here? Can they completely check out when all of these people that represent family or relatives remain under the siege of incompetent governance and dilapidated health and security infrastructures?
Personally, I have always supported the need for people to relocate to environments that support their dreams, even if such environment is located beneath the sea or adjacent to the Bermuda triangle. If there is a place better than this place, and you have the means; go! But now, I must add, if our answer to the rot here is to take our bags and run away, then we may as well be prepared to run forever, because it isn’t going to fix itself.
Note to the “abroadian”: the next time you return home, this place would be worse than the last time you visited. It’s not a curse, that’s just how it is.