Oladele, was a young guy with a bright future; as a teenager, he had always imagined the great things he will achieve when he grows up. Even though he was not born with a silver spoon, he vowed to make his parents proud. He was one of the best students in school, from Primary school to the Higher Institution and had visualized the kind of life he wanted to live (the company he will work with, when to buy his first car, when to get married etc.). However, life did not happen as he expected because two years after his NYSC (National Youth Service Corp), he was still at home. He had written many exams for a graduate role in different companies; he passed some of the exams with flying colors but there was always an excuse why he didn’t get the job.
Life became the opposite of what he had expected. The less intelligent course mates in school were either working in blue chip firms or doing very well in their businesses. Most nights, he will gaze at the sky while strolling down the streets of Lagos, wandering what he has done wrong to warrant the predicament he was currently facing. On one of those days, while flipping through an old Tuesday Guardian newspaper, he saw a vacancy for a job in Brussels, Belgium that needed skilled individuals from Africa. It appeared so real that he borrowed some money from his mum just to buy airtime to call the number in the job advert; he spoke to the agents and made inquiries about this job. He indicated interest and was invited for an interview in Lagos. To Oladele’s greatest surprise, he was given a job offer to work in Brussels but only on one condition – he has to pay the agency their accrued fees for helping him get the job and he also has to bear the cost of his travel to Brussels to start the job. He was stunned, happy and sad at the same time. This was an opportunity he had prayed and hoped for all these years but he could not afford the money; even his mother’s little sale of Garri cannot provide the money required to fund his trip? He informed his parents about this new job offer and just like every parent who wants to see the child succeed; some plots of lands were sold just to make sure he travels to Brussels to pursue his dreams. He left Lagos to Brussels only to find himself on the cold street of Tripoli, a suburb in Libya and there he was dumped by the so-called agents that ensure him that his final destination was Brussels.
Yearly, millions of youths build different beautiful pictures of the western countries from movies, musical videos without understanding that these videos only magnify the beautiful areas of these countries. Life they say is sweeter from the outside and the grass is greener where you water it. Just like Oladele, many young Nigerians fell victims of human trafficking in Libya in 2017; some of them had the intention of travelling out of the country for greener pastures without realizing that we can make our own grasses green if we decide to water it. The bible says in Hosea 4:6, “my people perish due to lack of knowledge”. We need to re-orientate our minds to understand that running away from the country will never solve our problems either as an individual or as a nation. This does not mean that there are no vital opportunities abroad and does not discourage young people from pursuing good opportunities abroad. However, we need to verify the accuracy of these promises made by agents; do your own personal checks of the company abroad – conduct a research online about the authenticity of the role. If an international company wants to recruit staff; there are professional recruitment procedures and the company will usually bear the cost of relocating you from your home country to resume in the new role.
Also, we need to start looking inwards on how to make our nation a better place instead of running away from it. Each of us have unique talents in us and until we begin to use them to their fullest, we will not find greener pastures. Are we willing to make sacrifices? Are we willing to put the candidate with the best skill-set (academically and professionally) in positions where they are meant to thrive better whether they are from our ethnic group or not? There’s no place like home and Nigeria is our home; a peculiar nation that God has endowed with bountiful resources that everyone can harness and prosper. When we recognise the potentials that lies within us, we will be able to nurture it and see that it blossoms into something very beautiful that we will proud of.
Written by Chiedozie Agulefo