Gist: The Story of a Dispora Returnee to Nigeria - Hmmm  (Read 2533 times)

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The Story of a Dispora Returnee to Nigeria - Hmmm
by flukky01 « on: November 12, 2019, 05:56:04 PM »

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Tèmítáyò Fábùnmi

I used to write a lot about Nigeria, the things that could be done better and the self-evident ills that plague the country. Then I moved back to Lagos. I stopped writing about a month before moving back.

This month makes it a year since I moved back and I have a lot of stories to tell. Some good. Some not so good. There have been few pleasant surprises and a raft of shocking ones.

So here are random bullet points.

1. The country is f**ked up. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I live in an oasis of contrived comfort, but I am painfully aware that I am a statistical outlier -an albino crocodile.

2. The chaos in the country creates some crazy opportunities - and I do not mean government contracts. If your downside bets are hedged and you don't mind a fair deal of risk to life and limb, Lagos is the place to be. Note, I said Lagos.

3. We are pretty much past the point of a negotiable rational solution to our social ills. Perhaps the only thing preventing the poor from ripping out the limbs of the already endangered middle class is the clergy class who preach the "e go soon better" message across all religious divides. Someday, that message will lose its potency and we could find a civil crisis starting from a Lagos traffic jam.

4. Talking about traffic jam. Lagos is one of the worst places to live on earth. I will place a bet that we are a few months from a 24-hour gridlock in Lagos. Urban planning is not known to the Lagos State government. Forget the mega-city title, it is a mega slum.

5. Move to Canada. Honestly, if you are under 30 and you are willing to fight for your place in a world that has no freebies, leave. Leave now. The Canadian exodus is reaching epidemic dimensions. I find it extremely difficult to find .NET developers because, they are all on the Canadian migrant trail. I am sorely tempted to move to Canada myself to find out what is attractive about the move.

6. If you are 40 and you don't mind the madness I have highlighted above, move back to Nigeria, but don't sell your house in America, Canada or wherever you are in Europe. Point 3 above may see you have a sudden need for it.

7. I think I stayed too long in Britain. I could have made this reverse migration about 4 years ago and tried to exploit the chaos in Point 2.

8. It's a trite point, but worth mentioning. I don't know anywhere else in my walkabout where mediocrity is celebrated and even encouraged in public governance. Try getting anything done with a government agency (excluding NIPC) before coming here to fight me.

9. That 200 million-strong market? It is a myth. If you are planning an upscale business in Nigeria, think hard about the numbers. The narrative of a sophisticated 200 million-strong market is a narco-induced fantasy.

The poverty level effectively shrinks the size of the market to less than 15 million. To paraphrase an article I read recently, the richest man in Nigeria sells sugar, salt, pasta and cement. If you want to hammer, find a scaleable way to sell garri, cheap jollof rice and suya.

The poverty is real.

10. School fees. This here is the strongest brand of contraceptives ever. Just pin your kids' school bill to your headboard and you will suffer spontaneous erectile dysfunction any time Madam rubs your back. If I move back to England, this will be the primary factor. This and point 3 above.

School fees be like acting in horror films where you are the haunted and every scratch and jab is real.

All said, I'm glad to be back. Back until school fees decide it's time to find a new home for the kids.


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