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October 25, 2010

Who wants to be a Nigerian?

“Nigeria that I know is one of the most hegemonic and possibly stagnant ethnic and racial group in the world today. possibly very comparable to some very northern and icy parts of Siberia”

What is the purpose of the American DV lottery? Is it to bring a more ethnically and racially diverse America? Do you think it is even a “lottery”? Do you think they put all the entries in a box and make lucky drawings? No, sir! DV lottery is a calculated attempt to fill a gap in American economic skill pool as well. Check the profession, qualification and background of those that win the lottery and you will have a revelation. Why do you think that the British Council is awarding bursaries, scholarships etc to Nigerians, what do they want Nigerians for, skilled Nigerians? Why do you think the South African government releases skills quota annually of areas that need resources and issue permanent residences and citizenships based on those quotas? Why are they deliberately “importing” Doctors  from and Engineers etc from India? How about Nigeria? Has the government any immigration policy? No! Instead they are busy with a re-branding initiative. How can you sell a country no one is allowed to buy into? How would you invest in a product you have no reasonable hope of owning or becoming part of the ownership? why do you think it is easier for an ordinary investor to invest in, say, South Africa than in Nigeria? Simple the investor can conveniently retire to South Africa, take up citizenship and build his dream there just like he could in Dubai, the US, UK or elsewhere. In Nigeria he is restricted, in fact prevented by legislation. I know of a few investors that have built thriving businesses that would easily have become local champions now. Businesses that would have created work and wellbeing for millions but they were short changed and thrown out of the country by greedy partners. And because they had no recourse as citizens they were easily blackmailed. Why would anyone want to invest in a country he can never call his own? Many come only to exploit. Which is why the oil industry is the only thriving area for foreign direct investment. And which was why MTN, at its initial launch in Nigeria priced its services very high. Simple, to quickly breakeven and if conditions are not right or become sore liquidate and runaway. The existing Immigration Act (see Immigration Act) is simply an entry and exit control document, in other words a custom control and administration document, it contemplates no citizenship and permanent residency. Other countries are tapping honey from under our noses and we are letting it drip and only cover our faces with handkerchief of self doubt and legislative stupidity. Discussion board on Facebook

Who wants to be a Nigerian anyway? That should be a fairly easy question except that if you really wanted to acquire citizenship of this country you will find that it is next to impossible. For a country with the reputation as Nigeria, that practically should be begging skilled professionals, investors and entrepreneurs to come and live here, you will find that citizenship for anyone else is an impossible dream; many have been far too pleased to return to their native countries and give up on it. Do you really believe that an European, Indian, South American or Asian would really want to live here for a long time and make a stake here? You can bet. The fact is the government should be encouraging and sponsoring legislations that make that possible but instead the contrary is what happens. You would hear from every where that Nigeria is a diverse country already. But this is a gross misunderstanding. Nigeria that I know is one of the most hegemonic and possibly stagnant ethnic and racial group in the world today. possibly very comparable to some very northern and icy parts of Siberia. Nearly 100% of the people in Nigeria today are the self same people (ethnic, racial and tribal group) that have been there since history? There have been just a movement in one direction; emigration. The country is still steeped in the cultures of the 1600 century. In other countries those eras are the stuff seen and celebrated in museums, theatres, cinemas and movies. In Nigeria life is the cinema. All the stuff of movies is seen and living realities on the ground. And why is this? There has been no cross migration. every Nigerian is busy dropping his citizenship and his people, and others are not coming in. Those who want to come in are prevented by provisions in the constitution and absence of a enabling regulations. Recently the government gave citizenship to a few select individuals and made a show of it? Consider how many Nigerians who take up citizenships in other countries daily. Lets look at some statistics from DV lottery. DV-2010. Nigeria (6000 selected), Ethiopia (5200), Ghana (6002) on the whole African countries got over 52% of the places. Think about it in this way. About 6000 Nigerian families get issued a citizenship every year by the US alone. Now this excludes the thousands that emigrate daily on their own, skilled doctors, nurses engineers etc and all of them trained in one of the several Federal Universities on free tuition by Government funding. The cream of Africa at their must productive economic age. That sounds like what happened during the slave trade. African and Indian slaves once again building the Western world economies. What is the contribution of these people to the US economy? Will these number have made no contribution to Nigeria’s development? One thing for sure 100% of these people have vital skills, are able to quickly integrate into the America system? and they are more than happy to leave. And very importantly many of these people, because of how they left, are the very brand called Nigeria. They are the ones that tell the world what it means to be a Nigerian. Believe me, many of them have very bad things and almost always say the worst things about Nigeria. The point is not to stop then from leaving, the point is does Nigeria also have a measure to counterbalance and provide for gaps in our own system? Make no mistake DV is no lottery. I know someone that have been selected the 6th time. Either the lottery has a bug that cracks at his name or he is unbelievably lucky. This is one other area Governments’ Re-branding, our constitution and legislators are failing us. Many of them give no thought to guidelines, policies, and regulations that would make the future better, only in power broking and their fat salaries.

Consider what our constitution says on citizenship. The Nigeria constitution. The aim of the Nigerian constitution in the section on citizenship is totally ambiguous as to its intent. In one phrase it seems to be geared towards attracting quality skilled people viz: the applicant for citizenship shall be “a person who has made or is capable of making useful contribution to the advancement; progress and well-being of Nigeria”. The problem is the same section also states the applicant must have lived in Nigeria for 15 years! At the productive age of 30-40years who wants to wait 15years before gaining a citizenship of a country he or she would rather not have? Who? Whoever wrote that section did not think about it or possibly copied it from some apartheid or communist law archive. The other provision in the constitution is that which requires the President himself to authorize issues of citizenships. That should ordinarily make it more difficult for the applicants. Citizenship by naturalization should be view as a legal matter and should be handled at the appropriate Judicial level. The application and issue of the permit or certificate of naturalization should be done at the that level, precisely at the court in the region and among the people the applicant intends to reside in. Possibly by a local Magistrate court on application to the Attorney General of the Federation or Chief Judge. A powerful plank in the re-branding of the country must include efforts to attract suitable people to live, work and play in Nigeria. The country needs a lot of migrants to dilute its volatile ethnic and regional mixtures. Everyone should be reasonably free to live and work wherever he/she pleases as long as he/she is not malicious and that must include both Nigerians in Nigeria and deserving foreigners in Nigeria. That must be the most important regulation that is needed for the re-branding of Nigeria. (What is your opinion on this? Add your voice on The Discussion board)

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