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Why the turning point generation is turning to Canada

Why the turning point generation is turning to Canada
October 31
09:51 2018

My phone beeps, as usual, the notification bar flashes a few new WhatsApp messages from friends, family, colleagues and other contacts. In those few seconds, I gleaned from one of the messages, the following words: “I don Pass!”

I quickly unlocked the phone to jubilate with a friend of over a decade, one of the most ambitious and hardworking persons I have ever met. He just passed the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exams, with a band score of 8/9. The only requirement left in his exit skillset.  Now, he is going to Canada.

“I have N3.5 million in my account but I cannot touch it, and here I am looking for N20,000,” I overheard a young lanky man, likely to be in his late twenties or early thirties, telling a friend of his at the popular Ikeja City Mall. “How you go get N3m kon dey find 20k,” his friend replied. He went on to say it was the mandatory amount he must have in his account to be cleared by the Canadian immigration office for travel. He is going to Canada.

Two of my friends in the UK are engrossed in a conversation about Nigeria, no one wants to yield to the other, until one asked, “so what next after this masters?” Then we had calm after the storm; the silence was palpable. Everyone went silent, until someone said “na to find PhD. for Canada o”. He, also, is going to Canada.


Two weeks ago, another friend was jubilating. “Guy, what happened,” I asked. “Timothy is going to Canada and he wants to sell his house stuff at very cheap prices. He has all I need.” Timothy, a medical doctor and his wife, a brilliant software engineer — one of the very few we have in Nigeria, are also going to Canada!

Speaking at The Platform on October 1, 2018, Iyin Aboyeji, serial-entrepreneur, and co-founder of Andela and Flutterwave, said Nigerians now host Canada exit parties for some of our best minds leaving the country. Canada is becoming the new Nigeria!


The fastest and most common way being employed by Nigerians emigrating to Canada is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW). The programme is a surgical operation, specially designed by the Canadian government to harvest the best from other countries of the world — especially developing countries.


The FSW is a point based system that ensures the persons with the highest number of points gets admitted into the North American country. Points are granted based on age, education, language, work experience, arranged employment and adaptability. These six selection factors award more marks to young, energetic, skilled, and well-educated individuals, who would be definitely productive in whatever economy the live and work in.

All these people are the Nigerians Canada is harvesting from Nigeria in their prime. In the 1980s to 1990s, Nigeria experienced an exodus of her best minds, especially academics — it was called the brain drain. Today, we are losing the brain and skills to Canada.


To make things worse, the government of the day does not understand the crisis on our hands, and is definitely not working to control the situation. Speaking to members of his party and other Nigerians last week, President Muhammadu Buhari said those who have another country can go.

“You don’t have to be in uniform to be loyal. What I said long ago in 1984 is still valid today. We have no other country but Nigeria. Others who feel they have another country may choose to go,” the president said.


He went on to hail the loyalty of late major-general Tunde Idiagbon, who he said was offered asylum by the King of Saudi Arabia in 1985 after the coup, but he (Idiagbon) insisted on returning to Nigeria to suffer arrest, just like the president.

What the president always misses is the fact that Nigeria in 1985 is not Nigeria in 2018. In 1985, you could spend N20 on Oxford Street in the UK. In 2018, you can barely spend N20 on Broad Street, Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria in 1985 was loyal to the Nigerian; Nigeria in 2018, Mr. President, is loyal to the elite and the elite only.

Based on our dexterity, our drive, our passion, our education, our never-say-die attitude, the world, and indeed ourselves, had believed that we are the turning point generation; the generation that would change Nigeria. But we too are turning away, seeing the government and economic realities do not really care about us.

Mr. President, we are not Tunde Idiagbon, Nigeria has not been loyal to us; unlike Idiagbon, we did not enjoy free quality education. We were not sent to Pakistan by the Nigerian government for our bachelor’s degree at the age of 19, neither did we become second leitenants immediately after B.Sc — at 22. No, Nigeria has not been loyal to us.


Why the turning point generation is turning to Canada

So why is my generation, perceived as the turning point generation, turning to Canada?

Chude Jideonwo, co-founder of Red Media, in his book, Are we the turning point generation? came to admit that the turning point generation will not go far if it does not have the support of the government and the national policy environment.


“Focusing on inspiring a network of progress outside of government wasn’t a wrong message, however; it just wasn’t the complete message,” Chude admits. “Nigeria is not going to be changed by non-governmental organisations digging boreholes; it will not be changed by advocates pushing for probity in government. No matter how earnest and well-organised they are, their efforts will be thwarted because they are not in charge of hiring competent officials and firing corrupt aides”.

As long as the government remains nonchallant about us, as long as the business environment kills our ideas and SMEs in less than three years. As long as we are not gainfully employed despite our years of education and strike actions, as long as we do not feel safe and healthy in the arms of Nigeria, as long as we cannot afford to take ill for any reason at all, then we would keep moving.


We do not feel this country belongs to us, and as long as that remains, this exodus of skill is inevitable!

Follow ‘Mayowa on Twitter and other major social media platforms @OluwamayowaTJ.


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