The mass movement of Nigeria's young and brilliant population to western countries who had made their borders open with less herculean and stringent requirements as previous years has become a common trend.
The large percentage of the young working population moving in droves is likened to the Exodus of Israelites to be liberated from the Egyptians, but in the Nigerian context the bondage is the unfavorable living conditions, infrastructural decay, and escalating inflation as reported by Business Day. With increased insecurity, infrastructural deficit, massive youth unemployment and poverty where Nigeria is ranked the second poverty centre of the world after India, and has 53 percent of her population living below the United Nations estimated poverty line, the progressive emigrating increase witnessed from five years ago would not reduce.
Sadly, Nigeria continues to battle one of the worst situations of brain drain in her history and lose her young population emigrating for the purpose of experiencing better socioeconomic wellbeing, security, and quality education.
The country’s young and vibrant population are in continuous quest for a better thriving environment and in desire for the change they advocate for, with several of them being advocates for different development and humanitarian causes, there is the desire to be a part of the system and professionally advance, but the state of the country is a deterrence to their aspirations as they question, ‘what hope do we have as tomorrow’s leaders?’
Migration is a human right and predates human history, however the consequences of the continual loss of the vibrant young professional population who are key players in Nigeria's development for today and the future is a concern. More so, with the election season on board and the active youth participation witnessed, there is a need to reflect on the interplay of the mass emigration of the youths to governance and national development.
As part of the efforts to amplify the conversations around the brain drain in Nigeria, Open Mind Young Voices Cohort 5 Annual Forum, with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung engaged with key stakeholders cut across different spheres and fields in a dialogue discussing the theme: ‘Exodus of Nigerian Youths: Effects on Governance and National development”.
The keynote speaker for the forum was Mr. Charles, Country Director, Plan International, Nigeria. He spoke expressly about his own journey and the challenges faced in the quest for a better life as a life. He advised the youth and left them with reflections to value their time, build capacity and valuable skills, know the “why’’ and “how” they are running. In his words: “How you run determines where you will end up”.
These panelists were Ms. Olufunke Oloye representing Hon. Abike Dabiri, CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Dr. Azeezat Yishawu, the Honorable speaker of the Nigerian Youth Parliament, Ms. Wynfred Egbuson-Achu; CSO and Youth Engagement Manager of the European Union in Nigeria and Jaafar Abubakar representing the OMYV Network.
There was also a fireside chat with Dr. Ejiro Otive-Igbujor, Managing director, Emerald International Development Services, Francis Umendiego from UNODC and Mr. Adewale Adeduntan, Manager, Social Mobilisation at ActionAid Nigeria who spoke about their own journey into the development space and the hurdles as well as how they overcame them.
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