Emigration and Future Prospects in Nigeria

By Gbadebo Adeagbo

“Emigration,” as widely explained by series of publications, dates back to centuries where people of the world seek greener pastures in other countries, with excuses of hardship and unfavourable socio-economic and political conditions that bedeviled their home countries.

The year 1400s was critical in the history of the old Roman empire, a scenario that led to the expulsion of millions of Jews deliberately having discovered their lead role in the finance sector of Spain. Their expulsion was borne out of the greedy desires of the emperors to dictate and determine the fortunes of the European country without paying attention to the consequences of the rejection of what could have caused a pool of wealth for the nation if adequate measures is made in form of remittance.

Contemporary examples of this human-induced phenomenon have been seen all over the four corners of the world. While there have been justifiable reasons for the persistent exodus of capable men away from their respective countries due to economic reasons, justification have also been made that the problem could be solved just in a matter of time as long as citizenry understand the advantages or disadvantages and its long run benefits.

Arrays of opinion moulders have posited that emigration if not properly monitored would cause severe damage to the country losing citizens to foreign countries. The motive behind this thoughts is to discourage people from passing through the uneasy means of giving back to the country where they hail from. This notion has however been implanted in the minds of millions of Nigerians that escaping the country’s harsh conditions is the only alternative but failing to inculcate the culture of patriotism through diasporic synergy.

For the past forty years, the statistical data for the emigration rate have kept on fluctuating, indicating the attitudinal behaviors of Nigerians. The data is also indicative that about 68 percent are fresh graduates seeking financial prospects. While there have been serious “pull factor” in Nigeria, the rationale for such whopping numbers of international visa in 2017 which amounted to about 800,000 people should not be totally condemned, but seen as a working template for a prosperous Nigeria.

For the umpteen time, the American economists have observed the heavy presence of countries such as Indians and China in their fatherland. Coming out with series of theories was never a happenstance but concerted efforts that studied the sociologic impact of those escaping from their countries of origin. “it has not been shown that the restriction on high—skill emigration reduces shortage in the country of origin.” Said by Michael Clemens( one of the researchers).

With the literacy and educational qualifications of Nigerians, it would be easier to turn the complexity of emigration topic into pool of wealth for the country not minding the overwhelming challenges embedded therein. It is also important to stressed that, the absorption of our people by the foreign countries would support our emerging economy once trust, sincerity is deployed to the diasporic matters.

Several individuals have condemned the superfluous volume of our professionals running to the US, UK and Germany giving reasons of “brain drain” — their argument howbeit is justifiable but yet contains a pleasure in disguise. And by definition, it is a phenomenon where educated citizens migrate from the country of origin to seek a permanent residence. It must be told that, the East- West migration of the Germans after the second world war was indicative to the economic demerits of the European country — a situation where about 20% population (13.3millions) departed from their country without giving back to their home in form of remittance. Like Nigeria, like Germany. Most of the migration was illegal, as many took the loopholes in East and West Berlin to seek refuge in where they felt even with degree of uncertainty that, no absolute future can be guaranteed under a platter of Gold.

Ordinarily, the emigration could have paved way for the remittance of resources if there exist a coordinative foreign affairs department in areas that has been ravaged by citizens escapade but would have failed to account for the huge sum if the sincerity of respective government at all levels in Nigeria should be put to test. Yet, putting aside the demerits, the mass exodus of the Haitians away from their country generated millions of dollars back to their country to cater for the less privileged ones at home. About 1700$ was sent back home by individuals to foster the integration of their home country without rhetorics. This could have been the same way, the Mexicans developed their public sectors and its services, and placed her a leading operational of public services in the world.

For the sustainable development of the country, Nigeria government and her citizens should not totally condemned the emigration of her people but instead, monitors the foreign affairs effects through relevant government agencies. Unlike the North Korea where it has banned the emigration of her people closely followed by Angola, Ethiopia, Burma, Cuba, Iraq, Somalia– it must not be concluded that, these countries had not tried the foreign affairs effects but would have failed to be accountable in that regards.

While Chris Ngige Statements on Doctors have continued to generate criticism is because our people pay little attention to working theories of broad topics. We cannot fault the Labour Minister out of emotionalism owning to the facts that are realistic in his utterances. In his word, “I am not worried, we have surplus doctors, if we have surplus we have export.” He continued, “There is nothing wrong, they can go out to sharpen their skills, earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them, not from oil.” But forgetting that, beyond foreign earnings, remittance, etc. The Doctors would be instrumental in giving back the medical skills acquired to improve on our weak health sector– this could have pacified scores of commentators who felt bittered about the “bitter truth” declared by the Minister.

In practice, a 10% increment in emigration rate would cause 2-5% upsurge in the wage bill of Nigerian workers, A study that had been test run in Poland. The European country displayed friendliness to the emigration of her people and properly setting up a mechanism for remittance collection and utilization. Unlike in Nigeria, the decision to adequately refine the gold by passing through fire have been continuously contested forgetting the long run benefits if harnessed.

It is totally wrong to portray the image of Ngige as evil or common enemy of the people by daring to give analysis of the doctors& decision to move for economic prosperity. But as far as the foreign significance is concerned, the topic of knowledge transfer should be seen as fortune in disguise while the deliberation on “emigration” continues. For the case of India– the country utilized the broad opportunity to migrate to USA to pursue computer science programs and transformed into wealth fetching tool and at the same time built a domestic base of computer expertise as a result of judicious use of the emigration opportunity.

Tapping in the wisdom of knowledge transfer will do good for Nigeria as a country and would foster national development –if that is the only payback that could be derived from the explosive emigration of our people to the West, federal government should see this as pool of wealth and opportunity in the future ahead. This would perform a task of turning “brain drain” to “brain gain” to develop critical sectors of the economy.

In all, the decision to convert emigration resource pool to domestic wealth can only be guaranteed under a favourable government at all levels. It has been observed that our democratization and liberal thoughts are dependent on exposure and ability to give back to country of origin adequately through means of governance, sincerity, trust and honesty.

Gbadebo Adeagbo writes from Ado Ekiti.


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