By Oye Arikanki
Have you considered the risk of travelling to Europe through the desert? Or travelling to the United States of America to do menial jobs even when you hold a good degree which can fetch you a management-level job in Nigeria?
The truth is that any young man can make it in Nigeria without going abroad. Any serious-minded young Nigerian can make good money, build lovely houses and live comfortably in Nigeria without enduring the excruciating pains of passing through the desert to go to Europe.
It is not news that many Nigerians, given the opportunity, will jump on the next available flight out of the country because of the low standard of living, falling educational standard, erratic electricity supply, bad roads and disorderliness etc.
The truth is that life is not easy even in Germany, Asia, United Kingdom and the United States where people want to run to. For example, let’s consider the case of those who intend to travel to Europe through Libya. Many Nigerians have been repatriated from Libya in 2019 while many others have died. Some are in jail while others got drowned in Canary Island.
The US embassy in Nigeria has stopped the dropbox facility for visa renewal could only fill an application online without having to appear at the embassy. Presently, everyone has to appear before a visa officer. Even for a fresh application, it is a herculean task to collate documents and appear at the window. Many people rely on visa contractors while others sell off their houses or borrow to apply for a visa to travel abroad.
For the America Diversity visa lottery, people born in Nigeria are no longer eligible to participate. Nigerians are not eligible because over 50,000 immigrants have relocated to the US in the past five years. Therefore, the road to travel to the United States is gradually closing against most Nigerians.
How do you then make it in Nigeria without going abroad? In Nigeria, there are many legitimate opportunities to make good money. It should be clear to Nigerians, especially the youth that they should stay in the country and use their natural talents and energy to do something significant instead of going through the valley of the shadow of death just to go abroad.
You can start a fried/jollof rice mobile restaurant; engage in commercial snail farming, cassava, plantain and maize farming. Provide computer graphics services, assemble and repair phones and computers. You can start your ice cream, fruit and yoghurt business. Nothing should hold you from making soap, and engaging in chairs and table rentals. You can also become an author or a motivational speaker. You can start to think about fresh ideas which tally with your passion and do something in that regard. The opportunities are endless.
You can do business in Korea, Germany, United States, Sweden, China without leaving Nigeria or export products to Europe, Asia and the Americas.
It is true that times are hard in Nigeria, but it is also during difficult times that you can innovate and make money. This is the best time for those who can use their brains. You must be able to squeeze water out of stone and sell ice to the Eskimos. The sky is for those who can fly higher than others. While others are scheming to run away, stay back and make money in Nigeria. Find something of little value and make it valuable and take advantage of Nigeria’s huge population and make your products available to many people.
If you are a young man or woman, you can also acquire huge portions of land in a remote area to cultivate maize, cassava, palm fruit, Castrol oil, vegetables and nurture them. During harvesting, while others are complaining, you will be laughing all the way to the bank. Don’t wait for the government to offer you a job, do what you can do with your hands.
There are also foundations that can give you seed grants to propel your dream. Look for them online instead of using your data to browse inanities. Finally, Nigeria can bridge the gap of development with the developed world by massive investment in Information and Communications Technology. As a nation, technology, not crude oil, remains a lifesaver. Technology will solve the time bomb of massive unemployment staring us in the face.
I know that Nigerians, particularly boys and girls, are imbued with mind-blowing ICT ideas. Look at Rwanda that in May 2016 officially opened its fatlab where IT ideas can be incubated. Nigeria has no such thing. I think it is high time Nigeria established a Silicon Valley.
My heart cries for the development of this nation. How much have we made from solid minerals? How much money has the ministry of science and technology generated for the country? With a truly Nigerian Silicon Valley, we will use technology to tackle epileptic power supply, oil exploration, efficient health delivery and reform the nation’s dysfunctional educational system.
As it is today, Nigeria is nowhere to be found as far as ICT investment in the world is concerned. For example, money spent on ICT worldwide is estimated at $4trn and will double in the next 12 years. The United States of America budgets over $80bn annually on ICT. Let us engage our youths by providing incentives and enabling the environment. As we develop ICT and get our young people into farming even those who’d stayed abroad for many years will begin their journey back home.