Take arms against a sea of troubles and in doing so, end them. - Williams Shakespeare
Few days ago, a very close friend of mine called me into his office, to deliver the news he had frantically left me several BBM messages on. The news he termed extremely important and one that couldn't be done justice to, on the BBM platform.
I've had my mind racing for two weeks before we eventually saw each other, pondering on what exactly was the "very urgent and extremely important message" that we couldn't discuss on phone or BBM. My mind was playing the matrix, churning out possible scenarios, conspiracies and making out events. In short, I was looking forward to hearing the news of a lifetime.
He didn't disappoint me!
"Debo, why did you leave Lagos for more than three weeks without even trying to get back on time?" he queried upon seeing me.
"Business wasn't exactly as I planned when I got to Ado Ekiti, few other issues came up that had to be addressed. Here I am though, I'm all yours now." I replied. Same answer I gave when he asked the same question on phone, few days back.
Then, the bombshell!
"That travel stuff I told you about has materialized o! I should be jetting out of the country in less than two weeks time. Just working on the ticket now."
My countenance changed to that mood you'll always want to find me in, I congratulated him and went on to ask few more questions on the Visa, Process, Country and Time frame. The usual suspects.
"Its still Qatar right? How about the school fees and the other issue we discussed?" I asked, trying to get as much information as I could. I was genuinely happy for him, after all the hustle and bustle of computer village, Ikeja. I felt he deserved a break finally. Not that he hadn't traveled before; there were times he traveled to South Africa to relax and get phones across to Nigeria-thats the idea of relaxation I'm talking about-then coming back to hustle them on the "Floor" in Otigba.
So, I had my expectations.
"Ha! That one no go work jare. Na Cuba dey stamp for me o and na 2months stay sef. Its already reading and I have to go on time, not to miss out." He went on to explain how much was spent in obtaining that visa (my excitement dropped) and the cost of the ticket too, including how he sourced for funds to meet up, the stories he heard about Nigerians in Japan who are hitting it big working in poultries there.
Needless to say that this Cuba thing gulped real money, one that could help bring goods down to Nigeria, selling them off at huge profits.
In the course of our conversation, he told me he wasn't planning to come back to Nigeria anytime soon because there are routes from Cuba into the US and someone who left Nigeria three months ago had already made it to the US. He was interested in the success of that one person as against the several stories of the ones stranded in those countries, trapped between the devil and the extremely deep blue sea. He further said there is an option of staying with a 35-year old single mom in Cuba, who had made it clear to him that marriage must be part of the deal.
So many details that I can't share here, but I've made my point with the little I was able to divulge.
This case mirrors what goes on in an average Nigerian youth's mind. We thirst for better or supposedly better climates where we could earn money, engaging in several menial jobs, to get by. We crave stability-irrespective of what that means to us individually-that is better than what we experience in Nigeria. We leave our families, relatives, businesses, acquaintances etc here in search of greener pastures. This is how we think and I don't blame "US".
Out of all we discussed, one thing actually got me thinking, that "it is easier to travel as a South African citizen to several countries because they are not crazy about traveling like Nigerians. If you go to some embassies in SA, you won't even see a single soul and there are several places they could go without going through the rigours of visa procurement."
Read whatever you can into that statement and compare that to our situation in Nigeria! We flock the embassies day-in day-out in search of greener-or almost-green pastures, believing that what the other countries offer are far better than ours. I told my friend "anywhere is better than Nigeria" after thinking about it for a while and I meant it.
Why do I think so? The Leaders, The followers, The Politics , The Business Climate, The Public Institutions, Families, The Government, The Institutionalized lies, The Roads, The Air, The Civil Service........ YOU! Nothing seems to be working here and who am I to discourage someone from what lies beyond our shores? To run from this spiritually drugged and addicted generation of ours?
We run around in circles, doing nothing to salvage tomorrow.
The complexities of the Nigerian case is weird, if it can be classified simply. Our best-or not so best in many cases - brains migrate abroad in search of paradise. That paradise could be menial jobs for PhDs or better learned individuals, because something is better than the nothing we presently share among ourselves.
A former boss of mine, who was director of a big business here in Nigeria, migrated to the United Kingdom to work as a nanny. You can picture that and get back to Dangote, apologize to him and encourage more PhDs to apply for that awesome driving job of his.
In no distant future - if things continue this way - our PhDs would start hawking "gala" on the street corners. Who says a Doctor won't sell it better? The alternative could be for him to run to Niger republic and become a shoe cobbler.
As it stands now, our brothers and sisters are running out in droves to feel what lies beyond our borders. It is our way of taking arms against our sea of trouble, in order to end them. I will repeat those words carved out of my mouth like an ancient papyrus: "Anywhere is better than Nigeria". I stand by it.
After all, there is a saying that supports our hustle: No paeans without pain.
The clock keeps ticking on our bomb, it might explode sooner than we think!