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#SMW Lagos 2014: Exploitative Returnees or Nigeria’s Saviours



Nigeria, and the city of Lagos in particular, is a central hub in the reverse brain drain to the African Continent. With the hopes of “Africa rising,” juxtaposed with the harsh realities of challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, bureaucratic hurdles, and the infamous “Naija factor,” a move back to Nigeria can either be an ocean of opportunity or treacherous waters. This presents an amazing opportunity to foster a collaborative community of returnees and Africans at home, where they can share experiences and lessons learned on how to make the smoothest transition.

For the returning diaspora, the move back home to Nigeria can be hard to navigate. At Social Media Week Lagos this month, we hope to make the seemingly impossible transition a little bit easier. Vote or Quench and will host “I Just Got Back! Building Bridges for the Nigerian Diaspora“, an interactive panel discussion and cocktail hour. A featured event, the panel will spotlight a diverse and dynamic panel of young, trailblazing “I Just Got Backs” who are finding their way and leaving their footprints for everyone else ready to take the plunge. The piece below explores an oft-ignored aspect of the ‘IJGB’ conversation. Read on and share your thoughts in the comments box!
“I think the government is making a terrible mistake in making it so easy for people like that to have a so-called university education. Education for what? To get as much as they can for themselves and their family. Not the least bit interested in the millions of their countrymen who die everyday from hunger and disease.”

These were the exact words of Mr. Green, the short-tempered and irascible English civil servant who was working in Nigeria during colonial rule. He frequently expressed his inability to comprehend the duplicitous nature of the Nigerian mentality. These so-called patriots, punch their fists in the air, throw their heads back and cry for independence whilst their respective interactions with society, implicitly denotes a sheer disregard for the wider prosperity of their nation. Anybody who has read Chinua Achebe’s ‘No Longer at Ease’ will be familiar with Mr. Green. Though he is a fictional character, his aforementioned observation is far from fictitious.

Each year, thousands of Nigerians make the decision to move back home to either look for employment or set up businesses. Whilst success is not guaranteed, those who are yet to relocate are overwhelmed with evidence of the abundance of life back home: “Nwanne, if you see Chiedozie now eh!! His business is booming!” – “O boy, come and check out Dayo and his brand new Range Rover, it can only be God!” Behind these well-known promulgations is a deeply frustrated individual, tired of the futility of life in a foreign country and ready to hop on the cheapest flight back home. As they step out of Murtala Muhammed airport with their excess luggage, they inhale the sweet air and envision an inordinate amount of opportunities. They rub their palms together in anticipation. They are ready. Ready to join the herd of returnees who will turn a blind eye to the insufficiencies of our glorious motherland, as they embark on the relentless pursuit of prosperity.

It is incredible how we intoxicate ourselves with statistics about our impressive economic growth rates, and switch off when it is time to discuss the reported 63% of Nigerians living below $1 daily. Poverty is rife in Nigeria but do not fear! The Returnees are here! They will swoop in and save the day with the years of knowledge and experience they have accumulated abroad. They will pave the way towards a better, prosperous Nigeria and they will… Ok. Enough of the fantasy.

The reality is that many of these pirates who are fortunate enough to unearth the hidden treasure, will indulge in holidays abroad and pump extortionate funds into foreign economies. As they dine in Central London, they are immune to the unremitting hunger that torments many back home. This is exactly what trusty, old Mr. Green was alluding to; foreign degree holders unmoved by the fact many still cannot afford basic primary school education; individuals who have worked for years in the energy sector abroad, joining in the condemnation of NEPA without offering their expertise. They begrudgingly mumble something to their house-help about ‘the generator’ before turning the television back on. Able to escape the problems, they sit back and fold their arms. Biko, inform the rest of us, how has Nigeria benefitted from your return?

It is absolutely treasonous to profit from Nigeria without investing back into society. This does not mean donating a suitcase full of pencils to the failing school in your village. Whilst these well-meaning displays of altruism are commendable, it is time we concern ourselves with long-term solutions. You want to return to Nigeria to start a business? Great! But how is it solving a wider problem? Are you into Finance? Fantastic! How can you explore the emergence of ‘impact investing’ to ensure that you generate a measurable social impact alongside financial return? Money is great but life is ultimately about finding ways to feed back into the wider community; it is not a matter of choice, but one of duty.

This is an inflated account of the activities taking place amongst the returning Nigerian diaspora. It is true that a number of individuals are already finding innovative ways to bring about change, but this should be the rule rather than the exception. As you step out of Murtala Muhammed airport with your hopes afloat, forget about the sweet air and prepare yourself for battle. Irrespective of where you live, as Nigerians, we are all engaged in a ferocious war. In the fight against inexplicable corruption, poverty and civil unrest, we have been positioned in the front line. There is absolutely nothing wrong with striving to attain success upon your return; this inborn tenacity is synonymous with the Nigerian spirit. It is easy to be swept away by Chiedozie and his “booming business”, or the bespoke interior in Dayo’s Range Rover but as well as the desire to personally prosper from the Nigerian landscape, let us return with an uncompromising determination to build solutions, create jobs, and prove Mr. Green wrong.

Arise, O Repatriates,
Nigeria’s call obey!

Talk About It: #smwIJGB #smwlagos. Register Now to RSVP {Click Here}

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  1. yostic

    February 15, 2014 at 10:43 am

    To be honest…..I think most people are tired of this Nigerians in the diaspora returning topic. Nigeria is a nation on 160 million people. We have serious issues in this country. Returnees or aspiring returnees are at best 10,000 people. Thats a very small number and not worth debating endlessly over. If you want to come back, come back, if you want to stay, stay. The vibe I have been getting is that they are some special breed of Nigerians who need to be handled with care, and managed and given more attention than they are worth….


    1) People who will stand up for what is right
    2) People who will fight for justice
    3) People who care about those being oppressed
    4) People who have hope
    5) People who won’t give up on her and will SPEAK out

    Returnees may or may not be or do the above….NO ONE in the series you have run spoke about activism or anything that will really make a serious difference. It’s all about my skills, my background, my education, my hustle. I know some people who have been featured, and frankly, Nigeria is neither better or worse with them here. They are highly replaceable with local talent.

    I agree, many Nigerians in the diaspora may be more talented and have more complex skill sets, but that is not what the country needs frankly. We need Mandelas and Martin Luther Kings, not Einsteins, Obamas, or Richard Bransons

    This Move back to Nigeria series honestly does not help promote returnees or people living abroad in a good light. They are presented as people who need to be handled with kids gloves. It’s somewhat patronizing and not very progressive.

    This is the last article I will read on people based abroad who are not sure of moving back because of how harsh life is in Nigeria. Because thats what this series has been reduced to. Speak to your Oyibo councellor or something.

    • CC

      February 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

      I absolutely love your comment !! Speak the truth my sister/brother

    • i no send

      February 15, 2014 at 11:45 am

      gbam ..what i have been saying for years the way i was once in diaspora ..but it doesn’t define just doing my bit need ringing a bell everywhere you go ..truth is no one cares if u are a returnee or departee

    • yostic

      February 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Same here…was in the UK for over 7 years.

    • Chigbo

      February 15, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      The reality is if you are not one of the 0.1% stinking rich or extremely well connected
      Lagos upper class, all this Return to Naija stories na wash!!!!

      Better chilax for where you dey cuz Naija is tough for mere mortals

    • nene

      February 15, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      gbam. the returnees only have negative thoughts at the back of their minds until they start making money in nigeria. they are here to exploit, that’s the way i see it. they are not fully convinced and i only care about nigerians who are really passionate about our country, not people who believe they are fixers, or they come back home to get a piece of the money that’s being shared around because they can’t make it abroad due to their skin tone, and returnee entertainers are also part of this group (i won’t name names).

    • Cancel Reply

      February 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      @Yostic, well said #GBAM!

    • TheRealist

      February 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Just ONE person can make all the difference in the world – or even if it’s just in the life of one person it’s still worth it. Of course that ONE person does not have to be a returnee, but please do not confuse quantity with quality. 160 million bums (and there are many returnee bums btw) is a burden rather than an asset… just saying!

    • yostic

      February 16, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      The politician who steals public funds and opens orphanages (run by his wife) in his village is sure as hell making a difference to those kids lives right?

      I get your point, but like I said earlier, Nigeria has serious issues. One returnee moving back and spending every last saturday of the month at a motherless babies home but then evading taxes is not what Nigeria needs. We need the right type of difference to be made.

      I agree, everyone is relevant, and everyone has something to offer, but the car needs to be started with the right key, if not all those other parts – the windscreen, brake, seats, etc are not very effective…..

    • Jo!

      February 17, 2014 at 10:00 am

      My dearrrrrrrrrrrrr………………………………..* Take 5*

    • John de Beloved

      February 17, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Wow, to say i love this comment is to say the least. thumbs up…

    • greenb

      February 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      I have to say this is the most intelligent comment i have ever seen. I think you hit the nail on the head. Thank you for making me realize what really matters. In other countries, no one cares where you are from or what you studied unless you have something valuable to contribute to society.

  2. naijawehailthee

    February 15, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Only in Nigeria would the Concept Foreign-trained/Experienced Returnees be somehow Twisted to be seen as a Negative rather than Prized Human Capital that they are all Over the World. Hate at you own Peril.

    In Normal/Civilized countries Attracting top Talent (that are are not even from their Countries) is a Cornerstone of Basic Economic Policy, but not Nigeria, where even Fashola said it’s not his Business. We are not a Serious Country. *Hiss*

    • lorenz

      February 15, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      what do you know? Should attracting Nigerians abroad be Fashola’s business in the first place? So you want our visionary governor to kiss asses-in-diaspora. Its simple, if you want to be part of the Nigerian dream, pack your bags and come and partake in the hustle? Who knows, you might change your life and the life of others as well. Personally, I’ve chosen to emerge with an emerging market, and that’s why I’m here. Someone with a western education, orientation and mentality should know better. Or don’t you think so?

    • naijawehailthee

      February 15, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      You are speaking with emotion and not Logic.

      Ofcourse, Fashola should Appeal to Overseas Nigerians. This is Basic Economic Policy.
      His lack of Concern shows the Depth of Incompetence and Apathy for Progress in Nigeria.

      Normal/Civilized Nations bend over Backwards to Attract Talent from over the World (who are not even from their Country).

      They do Everything in their Power to get them to come and Work, Invest, Live in their Country.

      They do this because it is a GLOBAL COMPETITION to attract the best People to your Country and Other Countries would have them if they slip up.

      They know that Human Capital is the most Valuable Resource in the World, not Oil and Gas.

      They know that Immigrants and Foreign Talent has historically been the Economic Driving force of World Powers such as the United States.

      They have Favorable Visa/Citizenship schemes, Scholarships, promise of Higher wages, Loans, Grants, Tax-laws, Business Laws, Property Laws.

      Fair enough, that you were Attracted to Nigeria because of your Heritage ties, but in a Globalized and Competitive World, where the Competition for the Best Talent is Tough, Nigeria needs to be doing alot more if we want to Advance.

  3. naijawehailthee

    February 15, 2014 at 11:19 am

    By the Way, to any of you JGB’s wondering how you can Change Nigeria. I have two Words for you BUSINESS and POLITICS.

    DO NOT go and study Law, Engineering, Economics and come back Aspiring to be a Presenter, Radio Host, Presenter, Designer, Stylist, Musician. PLEASE STOP lol!

    ENTER into BUSIENSS in your Technical Field, or better yet create Businesses. This will not only benefit you, but also the Country through Providing Goods and Services and Boosting the Economy.

    ENTER in POLITICS. Tweeting from afar and calling yourself and ACTIVIST is USELESS. Being in politics is the most Direct way that the Future of the Nation. Join a Party, Start a Party, Create and Support Campaigns and Eligible Candidates, Run for State, Local, National Government, Lobby for jobs in Ministries and Parasatals. This is how you can directly influence the Laws and Management of the Country for the better.

    *Drops mic* *Walks of Soap box*


      February 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Totally Agree, great comment!

    • sigh

      February 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      90% of fashion is business, ode.
      And which parties are you in?

    • ms lala

      February 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Politics…am laffing in pidgin…pheeeeew guuuuuuuurl or boooooooi you funny…yes have a fresh returnee join politics..I have a BA in political science and currently in a gradute school of political management …return home and join a political party means am going to be fighting against the tide…and you know what that tide is…and being an activisit from afar aint a bad idea ooooo after witnessing OGONI 9 hang and then baptized with acid…forget it when last did we even celebrate uncle Ken . the fact is Nigerian returnees expect special treatments am sorry but its true and really sad..from them being placed either in lagos or abuja for youth corp while other youths head to prayer places to bind and cast being sent to the north or some remote village. lets not even forget the pay advantage they have. they are lots of returnees doing good like a young lady that started a recycle business in Lagos she pays the natives money for their bottles and items and they are other returnees who simply don’t do squat but occupy the sits and stiff Nigerians of oxygen at piccolo mondo, and any other restaurant, lounge, club thats popping…..

    • The Best President

      February 26, 2014 at 10:53 am

      I Love You. I wouldn’t have said it any better.

    • Kehinde

      February 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Guy, I also relocated from the UK and I know you can study anything, be it Engineering or law and still be able to make business out of it to profit the society. No one needs to study business to know about it. All you need to do is read wide, know what and where you want to add value in Nigeria and key into it. One of the approaches of keying into a social problem in Nigeria is business. But it doesn’t mean w should all go to study it.

    • naijawehailthee

      February 16, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      You misunderstood my Point. Let me Clarify.
      1) I said People should not study “Law, Engineering, Economics and come back Aspiring to be a Presenter, Radio Host, Entertainment, Designer, Make-up, Stylist, Musician” because I know many who have and to me it is an inefficient use of Education.
      2) I meant contribute to Business as an Employee as well as an Employer.
      3) Highly skilled, Foreign trained Employees are Key to Nigeria’s Economic growth in this Globalized World they Power their respective Industries.
      4) Highly skilled, Foreign trained Employees are also Key as they bring in Experience, Investment, and Exposure to Create Businesses that will also Power the Economy by Providing good and Services, which benefit not only them, but the Country as well.

  4. sηººÞ¬mιηι

    February 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    true talk,we have d gud nd d bad

  5. Dr. N

    February 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    @naijawehailthee correct! I do appreciate their talents. Another issue is their boldness which I agree shd be channelled into politics. When u borrow money to train your child abroad n she comes home wt tattoos, dancing on stage in pants n bra, claiming to have found her “passion”, I wonder. The naija brought up who would have been more shy also want to out do them. It becomes a vicious cycle. Something has to give. Return if u will, but be a light. Great article.

  6. Geane Chukwuma

    February 15, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    I agree with most people and also disagree with most. I understand for some. Nigerians within nigeria that it is annoying to see this move back. To nigeria stories, but to some it is inspiring to come help nigeria get more brain gain- and this is a fact. We are diasporans have an idea of a nigeria, a more hopeful naija that most people don’t see. Some argue that what a foreign trained nigerian can do, a naija trained one can do as well, and in have to tell y’all that is a flawed erroneous form of thought. The nigeria school system is so flawed and in many instances as corrupt as the politicians in the country. Yes nigeria needs new businesses to be created, and for those of us who have talents to apply it wisely, but the government must help to encourage those growth through small business loans or grants. If nigeria wants to create more employment opportunities the federal government and Nigerians must realize that agriculture is the best way to help young Nigerians and to better the naija economy; we cannot depend on oil forever, it shall dry up one day. If nigeria had national places like museums and research laboratories more jobs would be available to graduates, but as we know all politicians do in nigeria is pocket the money meant for development. So those Nigerians who dey vex about these stories ,stay angry and try and make sure something happens. Progress I believe starts with the individual. Start by doing your own small parts by helping your villages and communities. Arrange peer group meetings and decide what to do to better your villages. Start there and make sure that you don’t take bribe money from politicians. Progress is only possible when young Nigerians start helping their communities on their own than waiting for a fast way to make money.

    • yostic

      February 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Theres a lot of truth in what you have said….for me, the fact remains that the Nigerians in the diaspora and their returnee friends are not the reason for Nigeria’s problems….and they will never be the solution. They are DEFINITELY not saviours.

      We should all play our own part in preventing the situation from getting worse. But please if you live in Nigeria, you will understand that the IJGBs are not the answer. If you really want to know anything about Nigeria, then move back. Too many naive perceptions out there.

    • Newbie

      February 16, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      Your opening statement is a fallacy. You cannot agree with most people and at the same time disagree with most people. Just saying….

    • John de Beloved

      February 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Well sid. Seems like you took the words off the tables of my heart…

  7. Lara

    February 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I run away o, before I go and say something wey pass my mouth.

    Dear commenters naijawehailthee and yolstic, are you seriously saying that foreign-trained talent is equivalent to locally-trained talent? That is very ignorant, man. Seriously. Look at the syllabus and textbooks at our Nigerian universities, then let me ask you again: are you seriously saying…?

    It is ignorance that will kill us in this country. All the drastic changes of the past 8 years are down to three things: 1) better governance 2) foreign trained labour returning (otherwise known as brain gain or reverse brain drain) 3) technology, i.e. your mobile phones, laptops, iPad, wireless, etc.

    Please stay in your hole instead of making these weirdly xenophobic comments in public spaces. Those moving back to Nigeria or thinking of moving back to Nigeria or sesedes, big WELCOME. Please come and contribute to making the country better, whether in “Law, Engineering, Economics” or as an “Aspiring Presenter, Radio Host, Presenter, Designer, Stylist, Musician.” If you cannot pursue your dreams in your own motherland then where else can you do it?

    Let haters hate.

    • yostic

      February 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I never said foreign talent = local talent. I said that the specific people I know who were featured here on BN can be easily replaced with local talent.

      Having said that, I think your comment is very ignorant Lara. You are insinuating that all foreign trained graduates are better than all locally trained. You are lumping them under one umbrella without taking into account the differences in school pedigrees and courses. I wonder if you have had the opportunity to deal with some high performers who graduated from unis in Nigeria and some kids who just wasted their parents cash abroad.

      You speak about the textbooks and syllabus.. it shows how little you understand about the real world / Nigerian world and what really counts. If you had said something about examination taking standards and lecturer-student relationships, then I would have agreed. Nigeria needs people with better work ethics and more integrity, which is what the foreign trained graduates bring to the table.

      As a foreign trained graduate with degrees from multiple ivy league universities and experiences at blue chip firms, I can confidently tell you that Nigeria’s problem is not where her citizens are educated and their fancy CVs…’s way bigger than that.

      Dear foreign graduate, please move back. No one is discouraging you from doing that. But please do not act like you are doing the country a favour. And also try to understand that Nigeria needs much more than your fancy work experience….She needs people with hearts who are ready to fight for what is right regardless of the circumstances….

  8. Soraya

    February 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    This article true on so many levels but neglects one thing- how about the Nigerians themselves at home? What are they doing to pressure the government to do what it needs to and is supposed to do as a government? Power, health, transportation, education- what have Nigerians back home done to confront the government? Never mind the returnees- what about those left behind????

    • Cancel Reply

      February 15, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Food for thoughts!What about those at home? What are they doing to move the country forward?

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      February 16, 2014 at 2:27 am


    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      February 16, 2014 at 2:32 am

      And may I add here that too many young, educated Nigerians back home are actually ADDING to the multitude of problems we’re wrapped in as a country. Which makes the job, whether executed by internal saviours or external contributors, a million times harder to carry out.

    • Noni

      February 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      I knew if I read enough comments someone would say exactly what I was thinking the entire time. Nigeria should save itself and stop looking for saviours in people who are just trying to live their own lives. Everyone in Nigeria should feel bad about crossing their arms not just returnees.

    • Razy

      March 5, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      My dear, thank you for this comment. What are the nigerians at home doing?

  9. Suki

    February 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    At first I didn’t get this article, but now I do. The writer is not trying to compel people to move back, it more like: Those of you that have decided to move back what is your MOTIVE? Is it to enrich your bank accounts, fast cars, Mansions, the lot…”TO OPRESS” or is the vision bigger….being part of an innovative force that will gradually emancipate millions of Nigerians from “OPRESSION”……….as a nation this should be our mindset.

    • TheRealist

      February 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Are both mutually-exclusive? Can’t a person simultaneouly enrich themselves and society?

    • Newbie

      February 18, 2014 at 12:55 am

      And what is wrong with wanting to put money in your bank account a.k.a earning a living? The last time I checked, it was still legal to earn a livin- in fact, anything to the contrary would be highly suspect.

      not everyone is interested in social development, activism, politics, charity, whatever- heck, not everyone’s good at it to begin with! People have just got to get used to the fact that returnees have just as much right to Nigeria as ‘stayees’. If you can sit on your fat behinds and wait for the government to come and do everything for you, so can they. If you can use any means necessary to advance yourself, so can they. Ahn ahn? No be dem kill jisos nah?

      And for those people who believe that returnees expect too much, well, let the market decide abi? The way it works in any market is you evaluate and price yourself. If you got it right, you get what you’re asking for. If you got it wrong, you – as my Ghanaian friend would say- advise yourself. If they truly are commanding higher salaries then please don’t hate, they must have something that employers are willing to pay a premium on. If they are not (and many aren’t), then fear not.

      Like many commenters have said, the trouble with Nigeria is not rocket science. It doesn’t need any high falutin foreign degree to be solved. Our issues stem from the basics and unfortunately spread to everything. Electricity, Transportation, Healthcare and to a large extent Education. Underpinning our failures in all these basic amenities is the big bad ‘C’, CORRUPTION.

  10. Iyke

    February 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Friends, no stone left unturned…no one left behind…if we don’t lift NIGERIA up who will… And let it be said…everyone (RETURNEES AND THOSE AT HOME) matters…everyone deserves a chance to be what they can be…a working part of the whole…
    We (DIASPORANS, RETURNEES AND THOSE AT HOME) are as relevant…as significant…as essential…consequential and regarded as the weight…measure and breath of our bank of humanity… Check the balance in your account friends… may be time for a much needed deposit.
    Thank you.

  11. Product of public Education

    February 15, 2014 at 2:54 pm


  12. chikita

    February 15, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    GOD BELSS YOU SORAYA! Thank you o! diasporans this diasporans that.. AH AH Free them.. They are not the sole answer to our problems. Nigerians living iin Nigeria need to help the country as well, and from my experience it is the Diasporians that always seem to be making more of an effort to help Nigeria with fundraisers, going into villages to educate those that they can, boosting the creative sector in any way that they can. so please stop hating and encourage them.
    Nigerians should welcome ALL kinds of professions, We need ourselves many Oprahs- TV Presenter , many Beyonces/Jayz-a musician, Designers-Chanel, Oscar de la renta, Roberto Cavalli, Saint Laurent etc , everything! WE NEED EVERY PROFESSION IN NIGERIA.. IT is a free world! People underestimatehow much money these professions can bring into the country.
    It annoys me when Nigerians underrate these creative professions ah ah
    I believe we should all see ourselves as NIGERIANS regardless of our educational background, if you were educated in England. woopee good for you, or in University of Port Harcourt, woopee good for you, WHO CARES. All of us must do our bit to help make Nigeria a better place and let me tell you now, EDUCATION is our main priority. The amount of teachers in schools and universities that cannot speak english properly and pronounce words properly is AWFUL, PLEASE LET US MAKE A DIFFERENCE O

  13. Too

    February 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    This writer is highly ignorant. I also question the level of reasoning that he/she possesses. Why are foreign trained Nigerians not allowed to “profit” from their own country but local trained Nigerians have no obligation make impact while profiting? Please sit down and reason again. If your article talked about all Nigerian youth, YES! But don’t single out a group because of where they got their degree – like local trained Nigerians are not living large too.

  14. The Amaha Online

    February 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Le sigh.
    The more stories and especially comments I see the more disheartening it is. Ask anyone who stayed at home and if they are honest they wish they were in the shoes of their compatriots who studied or lived abroad. Focus less on the idea that this or that person is here to oppress you. This belief that someone else is blocking your shine/oppressing you with what they have/etc is quite frankly largely symptomatic of our nation’s inferiority complex syndrome (topic for another day). It is misplaced jealousy and if you are also honest part of this imposing construct that your rich relative’s pocket is your bank. You want to complain that they should come back and work in fields of energy, business (hello, Ladi Delano), politics (I laugh in 300+ languages) gbo-gwe gbo-gwe. They should worry about those living on less than a $1 a day. What are they Superman? If you that has the local know-how cannot do it, what will someone trained abroad in a FUNCTIONING society come and do?! Instead of you to be thinking of how you can partner your local knowledge and latent talent with their expertise and patriotism you are carrying belle for another person! There is this assumption that repatriates have it easy! Nobody talks about those who head home from abroad, are consumed and spit out and fail because of the bureaucratic, opaque space called Nigeria. Music, fashion, television are “top” choices because:

    a> You can be anyone, from anywhere, from any tribe and make it if you work hard, network well, have a good plan, and include God in everything.
    b> It can be started with minimal capital (compared to all the other looming, wide-reaching sectors like Power and co that require big whopping gobs of money AND governmental input).
    c>It requires fewer people to be lifted off the ground
    d> Your creativity which you might have to suppress abroad because it doesn’t necessarily translate because yes, we are very much Nigerian too – don’t get it twisted, and drink Gulder if you don’t like it – can immediately be expressed.
    e> These fields have products that people can immediately appreciate.
    f> The returns if you succeed are wonderful.

    There are many other reasons why the artistic fields are chosen. And regardless of what y’all say, the highest paid performers in music for example are people who stayed at home not necessarily the repatriates (P-Square, Tuface). Repatriates are however responsible for the step up in quality of Nigerian entertainment and fashion and it’s consumability abroad. A more productive discussion will be – how can we benefit from the know-how coming from abroad coupled with the patriotic spirit of these repatriates (because face it, some Nigerians back home are the most unpatriotic, self-serving, jaded people) and channel it into something positive.

    • Cat on a hot tin roof

      February 16, 2014 at 12:49 am

      Someone with some sense at last. I am filled with despair when I read these divisive articles. First of, the people who’ll develop Nigeria are individuals with true passion for the country and that is not determined by whether you are locally-based or foreign based. Like a poster already mentioned, what about the Nigerians at home who are also fixated on their own gains? It baffles me when people seem to place some special burden of responsibility on foreign based Nigerians for the development of Nigeria. Why? Additionally, articles like this tend to ignore the small percentage of foreign based Nigerians, like local based Nigerians, who have and are trying to bring about change in Nigeria. Instead we focus on our differences, magnify them and dwell on them – the exact attitude that is majorly responsible for the problems we have.

    • jegede

      February 16, 2014 at 3:41 am

      Three gbosas for you, dear. You said it all. Nothing to add.

    • Lara

      February 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Cat on a hot tin roof (ahn ahn, only one person wit all dis name) and the amaha online, twenty gbosas for una. You have hit the head on the nail.

    • Razy

      March 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Gbam!! Bellanaija…there needs to be a high five emoticon for liked comments. Couldnt have said this any better.

  15. SOOZIE

    February 15, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    this tab should be in your top stories and not at the bottom of d page that u fill wit lupita nyongo and the other irrelevant stories, i watch E…WE SHOULD FOCUS ON NIGERIA’S DEVELOPMENT! EVERYDAY!

    • Abi

      February 17, 2014 at 2:31 pm


  16. Chika

    February 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Anyone going home to fight corruption wouldn’t make to much noise about it. Going home to make money ? Even the corrupt leaders are making money out of the chaos called Nigeria so what’s the difference. Once you get in you learn the corrupt way of life and fit in. What’s commendable about that?. I don’t understand Bella’s going back to Nigeria series I don’t get it ? How do you build on a foundation that is rotten. I think the approach should be exposing the corruption and inciting people to want to fight the corruption , not this glossed over approach. That’s what I think anyway.

  17. Stephanie

    February 16, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Nice one bella

  18. Somebody

    February 16, 2014 at 7:54 am

    What of us at home already? What are we doing? Point a finger at those JGBs and the other four are pointed at you. They’re running back because they see you are making money, in the same vein I think if we participate in these great initiatives regardless of the odds stacked against us, they will see that it can be done. All I’m saying is look inward first

  19. Olayemi

    February 16, 2014 at 8:56 am

    So foreign trained graduates are better than Nigerian graduates. Well done o! I pity your mentality

    • TheRealist

      February 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Sadly, the REALITY is that for the most part they are. Since the 1990s or thereabouts, Nigerian tietiary education has become a joke for the most part (with a few islands of excellence).

  20. Ade O

    February 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    From the small small ‘activists’ activities I have participated in as a ‘passionate’ Nigerian, I came to the conclusion that Nigerians in Nigeria are NOT ready. My main focus has been forming a pressure group/political party as I am personally tired of the recycling of thiefs going on in the political scene. Then u look at what people like GenVoices are trying to do, it’s really nice but it’s not enough. We the young people in Nigeria need to rise up againt these old rogues. We should not be content with just being ‘Special Adviser’ to this and that. We can all come together to fight these guys. We should be actively involved in Nigerian politics. We should contest every political position where possible. By the grace of God, I can only hope my ‘strategy’ works out. But the sad reality is, we need the Nigerian youth BUT how ready/willing are they? Will they make a small sacrifice today for a better tomorrow? I genuinely hope we ALL come together and let go of this diaspora bashing. After all we are ALL nigerians. And nigerians at home love to famz successful Nigerian ‘blood’ abroad (e.g Wale, The Williams sisters), so why not embrace those who willingly came back home to impact knowledge.

    • SaveNaija!

      February 16, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      True talk. One thing that I have noticed about the average Nigerian citizen, at home, is the lack of passion for change. Please don’t equate beer parlour politcal insinuations, facebooking and tweeting as passion. Watching the event during GenVoices, after one of the guest speaker’s passionate speech about the desire for change, it was quite sad to see the reaction from the audience. It revealed a sense of apathy and lack of passion! The average Nigerian appears to jaded because of years of disappointment. But this should not be a reason NOT to fight for a change. Returnees coming home have a wealth of experience to contribute to Nigeria, and they also have a right to make profit where it is necessary. After all Indians, Chinese, Lebanese, Europeans are all coming to Nigeria to make money, therefore why should it be different for a Nigerian returnee? What we should be discussing is the exploitative motive of some people, whether it’s a foreigner or a returnee!

  21. averyhopefulNigerian

    February 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I agree with a lot of the points outlined in these comments. Most of these issues raised are very valid. But I like to ask so what next? After we all leave our comments and express our anger on this forum what do we all do? Do we return to our lives as if nothing has happened? Or what small change are you going to make today that your future nation will benefit from? Truth be told we all want to better our own individual life. It’s simple, human beings in general irrespective of where you are from are built like that. It is highly unfair to judge others based on that criteria. I however do believe that there’s so much to learn from those returning and those who stayed, there has to be a flow of knowledge for people to grow. But like a lot of others I found on my recent trip to Nigeria that a lot of people are hurt (some rightly so) and very jaded and have developed this take all you can when you can attitude without caring about who is getting hurt. (Even and probably especially the youth) which makes me very afraid of the kind of future we have as a nation. A lot of people have said 1 person can make a small difference yet some are saying providing food once a month to that poverty stricken village is not enough. So again it begs the question what do we do? Where do we start? Don’t just give an idea instead produce a plan and strategy because a goal is nothing without a well laid plan. Nigeria is ready! But are you?

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