Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad

Ever since The Nation (Sunday) newspaper published a profile I did on a Nigerian promoting African culture in Hungary, Nigerians have been seeking advice or even urging me to get them necessary documents – especially invitation letter – so they could "check out". Reading them is insightful, for I have realised most of them are ignorant about the actual situation here. Majority have been the victims of a monumental swindle by fellow Nigerians who usually invite them to Hungary – usually to play football.

Yes, a Nigerian is so desperate to "check out" of her country to the extent she violently believes that whatever happens thereafter would be a bearable storm. In that moment of despair, she often mistakes foolhardiness for bravery. Anyone that opposes her plane or ship instantly becomes enemy – enemy of her progress. This Nigerian often beats her chest saying, "If I can weather bad patches in Nigeria, I am ready for any house of weathered shingles abroad".

So off she went to the land unknown. Her preparation was simply a policy of desperation. Otherwise why should any right thinking person believe such a jingle that the road of Budapest or Rome or London or New York is paved with dollars or euro? Why should my sister fall for such fable that money grows on the trees in Germany? The last time I checked, my sister had finished her first degree in sociology, yet she knew so little about the land of her new destination. It might surprise you that my sister thinks Hungary and Germany are in England. She doesn't even know that the official language of Austria, Sweden, and Switzerland is not English.

To start with, she has been brainwashed by her relatives who had embarked on similar journey some years back. They might have told her sweet stories ranging from "Omo, na here world end o". To support such claim, they might have sent some exotic photographs taken in front of an imposing house or car. And such materialistic spinning must have entered into my sister's head. She too must go yonder. She too must go to Oyinbo land go make her own money. If it favours Lagbaja, it must also favour Tamado.

Or it might have been her friend who after spending two or three years in 'Yankee' decided to come home – for Show time. Her friend had decided to buy New York City simply to show them in Nigeria that he has arrived. It doesn't matter where he works – McDonald's, pizza joint, mortuary – he just must show that he's coming from abroad. He may even have borrowed money in order to impress or oppress those in Nigeria.

Meanwhile those relatives who seem to be sincere about the nature of life they live abroad are often considered a no good person whose aim is simply to discourage others from being like them. They may ask, "If it's so hard why is he still living there?" This is no doubt a moving and honest question but it's much more than that. Living abroad is tough and I won't say more than that. I want you to see it for yourself because no amount of preaching would deter a determined or should I say a desperate mind from going to " London or 'Yankee' or even Asian countries".

I understand my sister's plight. She needs to get out of the system that seems to have forgotten her existence. She could not secure a reasonable job since she finished her education. Or it could be my brother who needs to save face by going abroad. I mean that such voyage is automatically a kind of status from Nigerians perspective. Whilst I understand such parochial thinking, I must say that I detest the situation whereby people respect me just because one is living in Europe or America or Asia. Of course this is ignorance on the part of those who have not been abroad, for many of them may even be better off.

Personally, I consider it an inferiority complex for those Africans living in Europe or America to feel important just because they live there. They are those the Yoruba referred to as Omo ai' jobe ri, ti n ja epo si aya. It is true that things seem to be working in these countries. For example, here in Hungary, there's no oil or other mineral resources, yet things do work. Constant electricity, adequate drinking water, health care system, compulsory education until the age of 16, good security system, good transportation system and roads etc. But this is not to infer that everything is well Tax is about 40% of your salary.

No matter the amount of one's exposure in Nigeria or Africa in general, one is bound to marvel at the way things work here. There is no need to bribe public officials in order to get documents. An international passport or other similar documents are your birthright, however you may need to pay an  administrative fee which is moderate according to the average salary. A birth certificate for instance, is issued free of charge and adequately documented immediately one is born, meaning it's nearly impossible to lie about one's age.

Furthermore, public officials here are not under pressure to steal. For example, government financial transactions are not by cash but through post office cheque.  Nearly everything is paid by cheque even private companies use this system. I do not object to ordinary Nigerians coming here - most of those in Nigerian government have their relatives here and there but would try to persuade Andrew from checking out. What I abhor is their lack of knowledge about their destination and temptation to engage in crimes in order to survive.

So my brother, think deeply before you decide to come to Europe. Remember that getting visa is just the very beginning and not the end. The hardest part is securing necessary papers to live here. This is frustrating and there's no other word for it. Some people are being swindled right from Nigeria. Obong (doesn't want his surname printed) was invited to Hungary to play football. "Nobody told me it's going to be like this," he says. "They told me to claim asylum when I reach here, but it's not as easy as they painted it. Now I am stranded and have to use someone's paper to work. I paid them a lot of money".

Obong represents thousands of African immigrants leaping in the dark. This is not a good idea although one may be lucky and eventually get the necessary papers to reside; one must be prepared psychologically because the task would turn you into something else - mostly negative. Perhaps this explains why most engage in illegality like pushing drugs, prostitution, and other crimes. Another social problem one may encounter as a result of leaping without listening and looking is, marrying for papers. This seems to be the in-thing because EU respects family. However, this is also becoming complicated as it may take years, making you live at the whim of your "wife".

It is not advisable to come to Europe with a tourist or visitor's visa with the intention to live, especially if you are a professional at home. Gone are the days when you could do this but not any more. Certainly those who make money out of your ignorance would not tell you this fact. If you are earning over 50,000 naira a month and you have job security, then you might be wasting your time paying a fortune to reside in Hungary for example. Believe it or not, over staying your visa is a bad omen.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule. However, you may be deceiving yourself or living a fool's paradise should you think coming abroad means richness. Do you think I am limiting your limit? Whatever you think, just be careful – be very careful. This is because you are indirectly blocking your compatriots' chance with every lie that comes from your mouth. If you care to know, your ignorance or inconsiderate attitude has worsened Nigeria's bad image here. Virtually every Embassy believes a Nigerian tourist or visitor is a potential immigrant, hence genuine Nigerian visitors have been refused visas. This is painful.

The bottom line is this: don't come here anyhow. For instance, you may want to come here first, observe and go back, then apply for a longer term visa. Or you may want to come as a student and then take it from there. This is not only the right thing to do, it earns you respect as well. Sure it is expensive but you will have preserved your dignity and that of Nigeria. You should realise that countries all over the world frown at what they call illegal immigration. Many of our brothers and sisters have perished during such arduous journeys. Europe or America are not like they were before. But my people are right when they say, Bi a gun iyan si inu ewe, bi a se obe si inu epo epa, e ni ma yo a kuku yo.

mysmallvoice@yahoo.com




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Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
Chief Kalu posted on 10-03-2007, 05:46:21 AM
If you had given us this information earlier, maybe I would't have lost my former fiacee to oyibo land. Am not even sure if She is settled now. Poor her!
Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
Oghre posted on 10-03-2007, 06:42:52 AM
Some valid point but most of all right crap talk from someone who already took the same chance and probably succeeded

Hakeem,

On a serious note what advice do you have for people who live on 1 dollar a day and sleep in cramped dilapidated houses filled with bad sanitation and disease or those who fear armed robber attack any day?

If Nigerians are to scared to revolt for major change and demand freedom from political gangsters then surely the main option available is to migrate to the next best thing. From where I'm standing anywhere in Europe is better than Nigeria, that includes Albania mate!

Do you not think the psychological issues you expect them to undergo are small fry compared to what entails back home? After all I have been to Hungary 3 times and note that it may be east European filled with poor people, a bad economy, pornstars, prostitutes, desperate immigrants and the like but it is definitely not the same as Shomolu or Iraq.

They may be treated bad and face racism, discrimination, lack of jobs and be at the beck and call of some partner but do they not face racism in Nigeria? How many southerners were murdered in the North recently? Were they not killed because of their tribal and religious affiliations? Please compare that with the number of Nigerians killed in Europe in 10 years for example.

I will encourage anyone with no hope of a job, career or future in Nigeria to take the chance, there is a failure rate but it is less than the success rate so far.

I want black people to fill up these countries and make them multicultural, it is the only way we can get ours back.

Western Europe has been colonised, next east. They can try but at the end of the day we always prevail, there will come a time when even people like Hakeem may become mayor in Hungary. I am looking forward to that day.
Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
Toshmann posted on 10-03-2007, 06:48:50 AM
heheheheheeee ala bekee . . . . . problem is, there is no amount of preaching that you give that will open the eyes of desperate nigerians to the harsh reality of "ala bekee" solution: tell them it's hard without being persuasive and let them come. when the bubble bursts, they cant say "why you no tell me"

hahahaha ala bekee
Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
Dele26 posted on 10-03-2007, 07:47:14 AM
Hakeem: "Otherwise why should any right thinking person believe such a jingle that the road of Budapest or Rome or London or New York is paved with dollars or euro? Why should my sister fall for such fable that money grows on the trees in Germany?"
- Dele: Did you know everything about hungry-land before applying for their visa?


Hakeem: "She doesn’t even know that the official language of Austria, Sweden, and Switzerland is not English".
- Dele: No problem, as long as she can recognise Dollar, Euro, and pounds

Hakeem: "If it favours Lagbaja, it must also favour Tamado"
- Dele: Tamedu?

Hakeem: "he just must show that he’s coming from abroad. He may even have borrowed money in order to impress or oppress those in Nigeria".
- Dele: Can you swear before ‘Obataala’ or shongo that you do not have credit card(s), mortgage, or hire purchase car?

Hakeem: "He may even have borrowed money in order to impress or oppress those in Nigeria"
- Dele: Borrowing is not a crime stealing is

Hakeem: "I must say that I detest the situation whereby people respect me just because one is living in Europe or America or Asia"
- Dele: are you sure? My brother, an average Nigerian has pride mixed with blood in his veins

Hakeem: "Personally, I consider it an inferiority complex for those Africans living in Europe or America to feel important just because they live there. They are those the Yoruba referred to as Omo ai’ jobe ri, ti n ja epo si aya".
- Dele: will you accept an offer to return home from hungry-land? ‘Ti won ko ba ja epo saya bawo ni won se fe mo won?’

Hakeem: "So my brother, think deeply before you decide to come to Europe. Remember that getting visa is just the very beginning and not the end. The hardest part is securing necessary papers to live here".
- Dele: Bros go admonish jobless graduate for Ajegunle and not the NVS
Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
Bob posted on 10-03-2007, 10:36:43 AM
yeah, the advice is not for those who are so desperate they would risk their lives to go abroad. it is for those who have a secure job that pays well.
i visited the states for about 6 weeks last year and when i went back to naija my office colleagues came to me to give a situation report. they know i will not lie to them, good or bad.
i told them if u earn 100k/month in naija, u better stay put and rough it out with pdp.
oyinbo land is not much better than a place where the garbarge is cleared and the potholes are fixed in time. i was not born with a/c so once nepa can provide power with which people can work, the situation in naija (for the 50-100k/month worker), except police come arrest you, is tolerable.
Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
JAGA-JAGA posted on 10-03-2007, 12:35:05 PM
QUOTE:
Some valid point but most of all right crap talk from someone who already took the same chance and probably succeeded

Hakeem,

On a serious note what advice do you have for people who live on 1 dollar a day and sleep in cramped dilapidated houses filled with bad sanitation and disease or those who fear armed robber attack any day?

If Nigerians are to scared to revolt for major change and demand freedom from political gangsters then surely the main option available is to migrate to the next best thing. From where I'm standing anywhere in Europe is better than Nigeria, that includes Albania mate!

Do you not think the psychological issues you expect them to undergo are small fry compared to what entails back home? After all I have been to Hungary 3 times and note that it may be east European filled with poor people, a bad economy, pornstars, prostitutes, desperate immigrants and the like but it is definitely not the same as Shomolu or Iraq.

They may be treated bad and face racism, discrimination, lack of jobs and be at the beck and call of some partner but do they not face racism in Nigeria? How many southerners were murdered in the North recently? Were they not killed because of their tribal and religious affiliations? Please compare that with the number of Nigerians killed in Europe in 10 years for example.

I will encourage anyone with no hope of a job, career or future in Nigeria to take the chance, there is a failure rate but it is less than the success rate so far.

I want black people to fill up these countries and make them multicultural, it is the only way we can get ours back.

Western Europe has been colonised, next east. They can try but at the end of the day we always prevail, there will come a time when even people like Hakeem may become mayor in Hungary. I am looking forward to that day.


Oghre,

Well said. As the saying goes "shall we because of death no longer go to war if attacked? That is the million dollar queston for those concerned to weigh the options prior to departure.
Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
Surulere007 posted on 10-03-2007, 13:09:35 PM
Is it suppose to be a folklore or reality information?

The worst of Europe might still be better than the good of Nigeria.

My medicare is free, transportation is nothing compared to (transit runs 24/7), security and safety can be relied on, education is great, yeahhh taxes... I pay close to 50% in Toronto (if I factor in the gst/pst) compared to what happened to taxes in obodo Nigeria.

The ills are there but when compared and weighted, I'll choose the lesser evil which is living in abroad.

Wisdom is profitable to apply. This is called survival instinct.
Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
Chief Kalu posted on 10-04-2007, 06:27:45 AM
So, its neither here nor there! Follow your heart! If I believe things will definitely change for the better in naija and I can see a future here, I stay. But If i believe there will pay better, I move. Period! Nevertheless, some of us have decided to rough it out here. No running away. East or west, no place like home, feeling like a stranger in a foreign land is not part of my goal.
Re: Learn and Look Before Leaping Abroad
Pappilo posted on 10-04-2007, 08:15:19 AM
When will all these people stop peddling these stories about people going abroad? Why do you people care so much about people you do not even know enough to want to prevent them from ending up as failures abroad???? If we really cared about ourselves the way writers on this subject make it out to be, I think Nigeria would have been a better place.

Let grown men and women make decisions for themselves. Do you guys writing all these dont go abroad shyte really think your advice In cyberspace will change anybody's mind?
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