Tuesday, 5 January 2010

THE RETURNEE ILLUSION


WANA UDOBANG
The last six decades saw the mass migration of our Nigerian folk to the Americas and British Isles. Fast forward to 2009, then came the new great depression, right behind it followed the default in mortgage payments, default in council tax, default in television license, and every kind of payment defaulted. Then it happened. All "Oreo cookies" and “Uncle Toms” ran back like repatriated slaves to rediscover their roots. In our case we hid under the umbrella of national service in a bid to find some kind of solace in the land we once rejected.

On Independence Day, I was invited to the beach with a returnee friend of mine. Of course all his other acquaintances were repatriates as well. I got chatting to one of them. We went over the whole cordial greetings and then, that all important question sufficed from somewhere. “so what do you do”. She told me she had just finished her very expensive MBA in the states and was weighing her options since she got back. She added that it wasn’t that she was not getting job interviews, but she didn’t really have much interest in the areas of finance they were offering. Then I had to ask “How much exactly are you looking for because that could be a bit of a problem”. She said she wasn’t going to collect anything less than half a million naira a month. I wanted to say to her that “Look my dear jand and yankee is pure water so I suggest you better settle for the hundred thousand or maybe hundred and fifty thousand, cos an MBA don’t make you so special”. These days the average twenty three year old already has a PHD. I remember when you had to have a minimum of three years working experience before you could be accepted for an MBA, but now it’s different. Foreign universities are heavily dependent on international fees to stay afloat, so every child who graduated from high school in 2005 can boast of two first degrees, a masters and a doctorate.
The thing was that she wasn’t the only one living the returnee illusion. I remember being coaxed up before I got here, “babes you, shouldn’t collect anything less than five million naira a year with car and driver…meen you have a British degree”.

Some of us fail to understand that the dawn of globalization came with it the demon of exploitation and slave labor. In Nigeria paying peanuts for mediocrity takes precedence any day. If brands like Nike and Primark can use Asian child laborers for less than a dollar a day, who are you, to think that you get automatic rights to be a star in this show.

3 comments:

Tariere said...

'...jand and Yankee is pure water...' LOL. Everyone's in on the hustle jo!! Good thing for Nigeria anyway, cos the markets have become more competitive ,excellence has to be the acceptable landmark!!

Ugo said...

studying in jand or yankee can guarantee competence at ur job but pay package? e no sure. But then the "hiyaj" works sometimes though...lol

Ladi said...

I needed to read something like this. I'm on the repatriation bandwagon and getting ready to come home in a few months for NYSC.

I think people want FAT paychecks as compensation for even considering coming home instead of staying and improving oyibo man's land. This topic inspired my thesis even.

Yankee and Jand degrees are really becoming purewater so I'm scared. Fours years of $45k per year school fees better pay off (even though my parents didn't pay, still).

How do I reap the seeds of GOOD education?