I’m sure by now you have noticed that there is a mass exodus of Nigerians to Canada. You probably know a few people who have recently relocated or are planning to relocate. Perhaps as you are reading this article you also have one of your browser tabs open to www.canada.ca researching how to get a permanent residency permit. Got you!
Friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are selling all they own and packing up their entire lives to move to another country. What is alarming is that a large number of those relocating are amongst the ‘well to do’ middle class of the society. They work in banks, oil companies, well-read professionals. By the average Nigerian economic indicators, you can say that they have no cause to abandon their motherland. But they are absolutely done with Nigeria.
The quest is understandable. It is borne out of the desire to give their children a better shot at life. A chance to thrive in a society where things are not dysfunctional. This is admirable, it is what any good parent will do.
Of course, the fact that so many people are relocating is probably higher due to the fact that is now easier to get a permanent residency in Canada legally. One doesn’t have to patronize middlemen or shady people to get it done. You sit at your desk and complete the process yourself, just be able to afford the cost it comes with and you’ll be on your way out of this mess and confusion we call Nigeria.
It’s a good thing. I cannot lie.
But come, let us reason this matter together.
So, as Nigerians, we have discovered this amazing escape from all our troubles. It is definitely nice to move to a land where they have sense, respect for order, cleanliness and where things finally work the way they are meant to.
An article I read about Canada describes Canadians as ‘ peaceful, organized, polite and helpful people’ they say please and thank you a lot and they are very orderly.
Which brings me to my point.
As a Nigerian are you a peaceful, organized, polite and helpful person? But you will magically become one when you move overseas abi? So, bros you can be this peaceful and orderly? But I saw you driving one-way last month and you usually beat the red light when you think no one’s watching.
Sis, you are always pressing phone and ignoring customers when they come to buy stuff at the shop you work in? When customers talk to you, you respond so rudely. Is it because you don’t own the establishment and your madam only comes to check in once a week?
It’s always amazing when you see Nigerians abroad obeying rules and regulations of the country they are in. They have incredible work ethic and respect for other people. They say please and thank you without being coerced. They absolutely do not get to work late even in -20c weather. They get an A for punctuality. Nigerian time only applies in Nigeria, where it is ok not to respect other people’s time. Oh, and they drive well. They obey road traffic regulations and signs.
But how about here at home?
A country is only as good as its citizens and most of us Nigerians are far from being good citizens (myself included).
Part of the thrill of living in Nigeria is in the ability to game the system, to cheat each other, to disrespect law and order with arrogant impunity, Yorubas call ( Ta lo ma mu mi- Who will catch me). It is in the ability to say, do you know who I am? Who is your father? Who do you know?
The ‘anyhow ness’ that obtains in Nigeria is legendary. Entire books can be written about it.
But we are willing to permanently relocate to countries where you can’t try that nonsense. You like nice things but are you deserving of them? Canada is wonderful with wonderful citizens but are you a wonderful person?
It’s like people who don’t make their beds but when they see a freshly laid bed, that’s the one they want to sleep on.
It’s ok to blame our leaders but we are one and the same with them, no one wants to really make Nigeria work or take responsibility for the horrible state of things. Good countries have good systems and institutions which whip its citizens into shape. These institutions are made up of the countries citizens, not robots.
We are just as culpable as our leaders in creating this hot mess called Nigeria. We have all played our part in creating this monster we all want to run away from and what we reap today is what has been sowed in the past.
The solution still lies with us. We all need to play our part in the development of an orderly society. Teach others too, call out wrongdoings and show others the impact of their unruly behavior to the larger society.
Maybe one day we’ll be able to repair our country by our actions and become the kind of citizens from whom good leaders emerge.
The people of Canada did not import their leaders, they came from amongst them. They made their country work so people like you and I can desire to live and work there.
Anyway, since we can’t all move to Canada, I plead with you all as you move in droves, to be good ambassadors for those coming behind.
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