By Chima Christian

Japa is a Yoruba word for “leave.” It has now become a street language that best captures the epidemic of mass emigration that broke out in Nigeria. Policymakers are scrambling for ideas even as the country buckles under the weight of depleting skilled labour.

While we are at this, India has now added itself to the shortlist of countries that cracked the code of migration. From taking a sizeable chunk of Silicon Valley to now taking a leadership spotlight in the UK. India is only following in the footsteps of Israel which could be said to have pioneered this in modern history.

It is important to note that it was painful for both countries as at the time their skilled labour decided to japa. Their mass emigration, just as we have in Nigeria today, was inspired by political instability, insecurity and/or economic meltdown.

As Nigeria continues to welcome ideas on how it could halt the brain drain and drag itself out of this “poto poto,” it should spare some time to contemplate the prospects ongoing emigration holds for us as a country.

Thankfully, there’s both a template and a promise. Consider diaspora remittances to Nigeria and then highfliers of Nigerian descent in various fields of human endeavour. Nigeria is beginning to have a sneak preview of the actual and representative impact it will enjoy from its diaspora in the future.

The night keeps getting darker. Yet, Africa’s morning will come.

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