Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Trailblazers, the Fantasizers and the Quitters: where do you belong?

There are millions of Nigerians in the Diaspora. The vast majority of this cohort will one day make the transition back home, hopefully. However, if the socioeconomic and political situations in Nigeria remain and persist long enough, many may be become "stuck" and will never make it home. For some, this is not as bad as it sounds; life continues. For others, including me, home is where the heart is, and that is in Nigeria. And that is the primary purpose of Grandiose Parlor and particularly this post (and subsequent ones); we have to be "pumped up" mentally before we can engage the physical and emotional challenges that lay ahead.

These are just my thoughts- simple and down to earth, and should not be seen a literary excursion, and perhaps you will find some sense in the verbiage. Whatever your stance, your comments are most welcomed.

Only a minority of Nigerian expatriates have actually found ways to survive the harsh realities of life upon their return home. For these lucky one, there is no place like home, and there is no looking back. These are the "Trailblazers". I belong to the group of “Fantasizers”, who fantasizes about returning home some time in the future. My affiliation with this group is borne out of necessity; I do not have the resources to ensure a smooth transition yet, and identifying an economically viable niche to occupy back home is forever an elusive mind game, and I’m sure this is the case for the majority of fantasizers too. Unfortunately, many Nigerians in the Diaspora have given up on Nigeria, for these group, the "Quitters", and the issue of ever returning is irrelevant and no longer a priority, and I can’t blame them.

I wonder if the Quitters are conscious of, and comfortable with, the realities that await them later in life: a desolate and depressing life at the nursing homes. Because of loneliness and social isolation, many will die from depression-facilitated conditions shortly after their incarceration in nursing home; the concept of nursing home is an unfamiliar concept to many first generation Nigerian immigrants, and only very few will be able to cope. To the entrepreneurs and the business savvy, there is a guaranteed business opportunity for you; a pool of potential Nigerian nursing home residents, so start writing your business plans. My advice to the potential nursing home residents: get yourself a comprehensive long-term healthcare insurance and do not bank on social security!

Fellow fantasizers, we have work to do. If we really want to transit, we can’t limit our efforts to the usual yaps and rants on the “Nigerian-issue” (if you are like me) because these are mere intellectual exercises. My suggestion is that we need to start thinking beyond our yap and rant routine, and fashion out how we can CREATIVELY use our RESOURCES in the Diaspora, INDIVIDUALLY and COLLECTIVELY, to EFFECT A PARADIGM-SHIFT in NIGERIA. Only our willingness to explore and seize existing windows of opportunity, collaborate, and serve as catalyst of change will expedite our transition back to the motherland.

The good thing is that many of us have been doing this quietly. They have been able to manage their resources and leverage their connections to initiate, albeit a slow but steady process, that if continued and replicated by others will bring about a profound change in the socioeconomic status and political orientation of our brethrens back home. Hopefully, the cumulative effects of these actions will facilitate our return sooner than expected. (To be continued)