According to a Wall Street Journal article (2014) titled; ‘The Great Chinese Exodus’, a report was made about Chinese emigration. It said: ‘’Today, China’s borders are wide open. Almost anybody who wants a passport can get one. And Chinese nationals are leaving in vast waves. Last year, more than 100 million outbound travellers crossed the frontiers. Most are tourists who come home. But rapidly growing numbers are college students and the wealthy, and many of them stay away for good. A survey by the Shanghai research firm Hurun Report shows that 64% of China’s rich citizens defined as those with assets of more than $1.6 million are either emigrating or planning to.’’
The report above shows that people will always move from one place to another for job opportunities, education, health, security and so many other reasons. Migration is constant irrespective of the host country, whether developed or not.
Over the years, more Nigerians have departed the country in pursuit of their dreams abroad. The first memory that comes to mind of Nigerians massively relocating out of the country has to be in the 70s/80s when the country experienced uncertainty as a result of disturbing military operations and a volatile economy and ever since then, more Nigerians have found more reasons to relocate.
About 8,737 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria are currently practicing in the United Kingdom. According to the UK General Medical Council, 862 Nigerian doctors were licensed to practice in the country in 2020, while between June 2021 and September 2021, 353 more doctors were also registered to practice in the UK.
The big question now is; ‘How does this incessant export affect the Nigerian economy? Not only Doctors but also teachers, engineers and other professionals also relocate yearly outside Nigeria, and this means there is a serious drain of talent in the country, talents that would have added value and assets to the economy.
The ‘Japa syndrome’ is even more disturbing because the country might not have realized the adverse effect this would have on the economy in the long run; people make the economy of a country grow through everyday transactions, these transactions whether local or international in turn affect the strength of the currency and determine the place of the country on the global map, but in a situation where these people continually take their expertise to improve another man’s land, then one can only imagine a worrisome future for Nigeria’s economy.
On the other hand, some of these Diaspora Nigerians have distinguished themselves in different human enterprises and as of May 2022 according to The Nigerian Tribune, they constitute a reported financial remittance of about $19.2billion annually into the Nigerian economy. Whilst this remains a positive contribution, more could be achieved for the Nigerian economy with these experts conveniently practicing their professions back home.
Meanwhile, let us at this juncture state that every Nigerian still reserves the right to relocate if they so wish.
With one eye on the coming 2023 election in Nigeria, there is a bit of uncertainty about where the new leadership pendulum will swing and how that will affect the future of the citizens going forward. Do not be surprised at the number of Nigerians still on the sidelines waiting to relocate depending on the outcome of next year’s election, but whilst this is true, let us not forget that irrespective of wherever we go, we remain Nigerians, the best place to build with our talents and resources remains our own home and country, Nigeria.