Escape Nigeria? How please? – Viola Okolie

Escape Nigeria? How please? – Viola Okolie


Whenever I read any well intentioned treatise from a Nigerian elder, pleading with the youth to abandon the sinking ship that is Nigeria, I die a little inside. Not because I think that the advice should not be given. But because I feel it increases the weight of the burden these poor youths have to bear. Indeed, being a Nigerian is never an easy task at any time of the day.


But wait, before you put pen to paper to wail about the hopelessness of the “leaders of tomorrow” mantra. I have a few questions to ask of you.


Have YOU ever tried to get a visa out of Nigeria to go lounge around and spend your hard-earned money playing tourist in a foreign country? You who is probably considered “comfortable” by Nigerian standards and has the cushy bank job and well-lubricated bank account to go with it. How easy was the process of getting a visa?


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The mere thought of appearing before the consular officer who may or may not have woken up on the wrong side of the bed and is trained to suspect you of having migrant intents whatever else the form you have submitted says, is even enough to give the most prepared of humans the chills.


Then here we have our youth. The categories of youth to whom those “abandon ship” epistles are usually directed at. Some of whom may have just finished suffering in some remote local government under the guise of serving the fatherland. Further, who may be wondering how to get the bus fare to their next job interview appointment, being bombarded further with “leave while you can” epistles? Because you and I both know that these are the demographics these epistles are directed to.




Escape Nigeria? How please? - Viola Okolie



The ones who stampeded themselves trying to get into the venue of the BBN audition. In addition, those who played monkey in a bid to get noticed by the judges and a shot at the millions of naira prize money. Only to wake up and discover the current housemates were all headhunted in the abroading and shipped in to regale us with their half bred fohneh!


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The same ones whom we saw pictures of, sleeping in open spaces at polling booths during the last concluded elections. Only to hear that the foolish country that enjoys risking the life of young graduates every election cycle had postponed the elections without notice. Most were stranded. Most made their homes on those open spaces and fields in remote communities where they were posted. This was because they couldn’t afford to go back to their bases and return at the new date.


These same youths who struggle to showcase their king of extreme poverty trophies, when they gather to brag about how they made a pot of soup with N100.


Okro – N30

Pepper – N10

Ponmo – N50

Maggi – N10

Crayfish – N10


“I plucked shoko leaves from my neighbor’s backyard. I already have salt, oil and water at home. Who says you cannot make a good and delicious meal with N100? My wife material is 6 yards complete Dutch wax.”


N100 is not up to a dollar.


Not even up to 50 cents.


This is what Fela called “shuffering and shmiling”. Highing your own morale all by yourself because the only other option, may be a quick swig from the easily accessible bottle of Sniper.


These same youths who jump unto every Ponzi bandwagon, and come on social media to sell it as the next best thing since sliced bread. A poverty alleviation system meant to force the wicked banking system to yada yada yada. All in the hopes of convincing the next layer of the pyramid from whom they hope to recoup their own “investment” plus “profit” to bite and part with their money. Then start looking for who will prevent them from drinking Sniper when the pyramid crumbles with their money un-recouped, as it was wont to?


These same youths who watch in awe as the crop of politicians who have looted and plundered Nigeria since democracy, continue to ply their games and flaunt their stolen wealth shamelessly at them? The same youth who out of desperation began to brown-nose their oppressors for a few crumbs? Same ones who are snapped up by irresponsible corporate organizations like Channels TV because they are seen as cheap labor, and then sent out to cover a potentially violent demonstration without the courtesy of at least protective clothing?


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Please my people, consider the burdens that the beleaguered Nigerian youth already have to bear. Then put down your pens whenever you think of writing another “abandon ship” epistle. Your intentions are noble. But imagine telling a starving man that turkey is sweeter than chicken, when he would give an arm and leg to have a crawfish to suck on.


Think about it.


The burden is too much.


The ones we are preaching for are trapped in the matrix through no fault of theirs. Just a series of unfortunate events that saw them born in a shithole country. To parents who themselves are just managing to stay afloat.


They can barely afford their next meals much less scrape together the visa application fees, which they would more often than not, lose to the stupendously rich countries they apply to. This is for the simple reason that the visa applications would be denied.


Your well-intentioned memo may further increase their despondency and push them to depression.


Tone it down, please.


They are stuck in the matrix and see their mates fall helplessly daily either to the hands of those supposed to protect them (SARS). Or to hunger and hopelessness. To suicide; to careless bullets and senseless accidents; to mention a few.


Surviving daily is already a task for them.


Don’t make it any worse by pointing out the obvious, Captain Obvious.


They already know escaping Nigeria may be their only hope of survival. But while they wait, they will make do with escaping hunger. That’s if they can find the N100 for a quick bowl of rice – without.


Help them out here please, and keep the epistles unwritten.


Thank you.


Lilian Osigwe

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer.
Lilian Osigwe

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