It is to be expected that with Nigeria firmly stuck in the mire, no individual or group would want to take full responsibility for the many difficulties snapping at the heels of the Giant of Africa. Yet, as has been the case of many countries that have got it all right, admission is key to making amends.
Nigeria’s journey as a country has not been an easy one. Born on the feet of colonialism, independence in 1960 was only the calm before the storm that turned out to be the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970. It is fair to say that Nigeria has not remained the same ever since.
The country’s problems are multidimensional and multifactorial. There is corruption, there is poverty and there is insecurity among many others with these problems feeding off each other to leave Nigeria in a bind.
As the years have continued to trickle away, Nigerians have grown increasingly forlon at the situation at home. Thanks to technology, these days, even some of those Nigerians that have never been within the four walls of any classroom knowing that things can work in their own country. They know that this is possible with the right structures in place. They know this because things work in other countries. So, the sirens of greener pastures elsewhere call loudly to them.
In the last couple of years, Nigeria has been stunned into silence by the sheer number of its citizens leaving the country, many of them highly trained, and leaving with years of experience.
As Nigerians who have been left in no doubt that conditions are better elsewhere have continued to leave, Nigeria has been left to count the cost. Medical personnel have left in their droves as have lawyers and other persons who have been educated to advanced levels in Nigeria.
Nigeria has had to lament the situation that is far from ideal many times over. But that is what it has mostly been, a lamentation with little else. There has been no commitment to fixing the problem from the source.
For former Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, the problem of brain drain has been one eating away at his peace of mind. In an extraordinary rant that has since gone viral, the senator representing Ogun Central in the National Assembly described as wicked the countries who open their doors to Nigerians leaving the country.
According to him, the countries granting visas to Nigerian youths fleeing the country are wicked because they are not considering Nigeria from which their prospective labor force is coming from.
On another day, on another topic, Senator Amosun may have a point, but on this, he completely missed it. He may have set out to accuse countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada of poaching talent from Nigeria, but he conveniently had nothing to say about the fact that they offer a higher quality of life and better opportunities.
As a former governor of Ogun State and a two-term senator currently at the National Assembly, he must have had the benefit of traveling out of the country many times. What did he see for himself? How much was he able to do to replicate the ideal conditions in other countries in Ogun State while he was governor?
On a moral level, there may be something reprehensible about countries who go out of their way to get top Nigerian talents to come over, but there is hardly anything immoral about a country looking out for itself and its citizens and doing everything within its power to build for its present and future.
The world is a far better place being competitive. The response to increased competition is to do everything within one’s power to outmaneuver the competition.
If this is the case, what has Nigeria been doing? Why can’t Nigeria become so attractive as to allure top performing foreigners to come and compete for opportunities in the country?
Instead, what obtains is a country ravaged by insecurity and poverty. If Senator Amosun must accuse anyone of wickedness, he should start from Nigeria`s political class, to which he belongs, which has conspired over the years to leave Nigeria knee-deep in the mire of underdevelopment.