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Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:29pm On Jul 12, 2020
It’s Sunday morning and a great day at that. Yeah, the world is going through a tough spell as we grapple with the hard realities of coronavirus; but this too shall pass.

Sunday five months ago, I wouldn’t have written this piece because I would have been in Church – indeed there is nothing as constant as change.

In setting the pace for this write-up, it is necessary to provide some context. I’m a young Nigerian who was brought up to believe in the “Nigerian dream”. I did and do believe in that dream. As a matter of fact, I did play my own part. I behaved well, studied hard, shunned crime except the usually expected deviations as is normal for a youth. As I grew older, I became a Christian – something I cherish and as life went on, I got married. In summary, I’ll say that I’ve had no major hiccups with my progression in life – NONE! Now, this here was my MAJOR problem in life – the simplistic assumption that folks in Nigeria were having hiccups in life because they didn’t do alright by themselves. You see, this mindset would have led me to destruction if God hadn’t allowed me experience life and living from some other perspectives.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:30pm On Jul 12, 2020
When I got selected to go over to England for postgraduate studies by one of the oil majors, I still harboured the belief that my hard work was finally paying off. It wasn’t uncommon to hear me say often to folks “study hard and make a first and the world would be your oyster”. Studies in England was an eye opener as that was the beginning of my transformation. At first, my meeting with fellow Nigerians further reinforced my perverse belief as most of them on scholarships had a first. The usual deviations were either females (mostly) or those who had been smuggled in via a politician’s influence (042 – Uche comes to mind). Others were self-sponsored and that in itself awoke my prejudice and bias – the reason I shall present shortly.

It is often said that the greatness of something is always determined by its weakest part. Nowhere was this more evident than in England and Europe and North America and South Africa (places I would later visit).

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:30pm On Jul 12, 2020
While serving as a youth corps member, I had the privilege of living in the NCCF family house. Mind you, I was the “Uncle” or general secretary for my local government and that office gave me some deep insight that has shaped my life going forward. Please try to keep up as I attempt to seamlessly integrate stochastic life experiences that have chronologically helped in shaping my ideals about life and living.

As an “Uncle” (“Unkulu” as the Bible study secretary would say), I took my role quite seriously. I interacted with a lot of the corps members in my LGA and visited the PPA/residence of all registered NCCF members in my LGA. However, my interaction and everyday living with these folks taught me some valuable lessons. I used to be a very ambitious person – I used to love challenges and conquests that were intellectual. I also loved this idea of group success and was always making that mistake of imposing my ideas and beliefs on those around me.

When corps members would talk about their passion for cake making or cloth sewing or farming – I was always aghast! Why would you have your degree and want to end up as a farmer or tailor or caterer? Have you considered the option of a masters? Have you thought about applying for a role in a famous organisation? Why is your thinking this mediocre? Aim high, be ambitious, aspire for the best and all that were my famous slogans. As I think back at those years, I smile as I finally see how life can indeed transform one when we allow it. To ‘assist’ these ‘simplistic’ fellows, I even organised empowerment sessions for NCCF corps members and tried to facilitate that environment of information exchange and knowledge sharing. I had a ‘good’ heart or so I thought. Years later, I know better.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:31pm On Jul 12, 2020
I come from what could be then termed a middle-income home. My parents are both university educated and hold professional qualifications. So, while they couldn’t afford me summer trips abroad or fancy clothes, they ensured I attended the topmost private schools in the state with lesson teachers/tutors. The support they provided me meant I could get into Nigeria’s premier university and study my desired course. Of course, I grew up with kids around the block who had access to things my parents couldn’t afford. Yes, I had Shakespeare and Dickens and Dante’s, however, I didn’t have access to coloured television to watch my favourite cartoons like Godzilla, Scooby Doo, the Smurfs etc. or local programmes like Village headmaster or Basi and Company. Yes, I visited the fair during Christmas and went to Mr Biggs growing up, but it wasn’t regular like my neighbours next door or around the corner. My parents tried – Lord knows they did, but their limitations and actions had unknowingly seeded a deep resentment for those who were well off than me. Unbeknown to me, I was daily cultivating a deep-seated hate for rich and comfortable folks. This here was the mindset that influenced my early days in England.

I would have you remember that to avoid having to drink in the sight of others’ financial success and interact with them, I dedicated myself to study. Education as I presumed was going to be my ticket to limelight. By so doing, I ignorantly lost the early opportunity to learn how to build and preserve the most important and valuable treasure any human can have in life – NETWORK. Forget about your ideas about network and all those sessions you have attended where you had drinks and exchanged cards, NETWORK in its unsullied state would have afforded me early enough a bailout by influencing my reasoning and thinking capabilities to see the world differently. I had to leave Nigeria to know that.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:31pm On Jul 12, 2020
Back to England and masters had commenced in earnest. The three of us from the same sponsor decided there was a need to breakout of the norm. We weren’t going to chase grades and all that. We were going to put in the minimum effort and expend our time and efforts discovering life. Ah, you guessed right. First, we sailed off to Amsterdam via France and Belgium. We had the privilege of visiting the red-light district and the famous sex museum! It was a nice bonding time between us albeit limited to fellow Nigerians. Next, we visited the US (Chicago and Atlanta). Last, we visited Canada (Montreal) and that concluded masters for us with distinctions in all our course works including dissertation. Now here comes the kicker. While we were travelling and seeing new places and working on our coursework, there were other of our course mates who just had minimum scores and went about OTHER THINGS. They were Nigerians, Brits and Chinese and Kenyans and Ghanaians amongst other nationalities and while we had to return back to Nigeria, these guys were moving on into graduate positions in the UK.

Yes, it was easy to feel unbothered. Afterall, I had turned down PhD funding for a UK university to head to South Africa fully funded by the South African government. My other 2 course mates had gotten management trainee jobs in a major FMCG company in Nigeria and were headed back home to resume and earn ‘mega bucks’. Life seemed fair only if we knew. Not all of our colleagues had gotten trainee jobs. While most did get trainee jobs, a few others had explored the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. How could we have known – after all we thought intelligence trumps all. In addition to all these, we didn’t even bother to understand how employment worked in the UK neither was obtaining another citizenship on our minds. Our closeted mindset further reinforced by our self-conceited belief that were doing alright and blinded us to the enormous opportunities that were available beyond travelling. We unknowingly built a shield around us thus blocking our chances of redemption.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:31pm On Jul 12, 2020
You see, friends are like advisers and information source. The wider the diversity of your friends, the better informed you would be, and the better informed you are, the better the quality of decisions you will make and living you will have.

Why did travelling matter to us – because we were from Nigeria. We got our Schengen visa in less than 10 days. Our US visa interview lasted under 3 minutes and was out in 5 days. My Canada visa was out in less than 11 days. You don’t have such odds in Nigeria. Besides, we felt we needed to have some bit of travel history – now I know better. While my travelling out for masters was great, it was also viewed as some form of comeuppance especially at those who felt “we” would amount to nothing. “So, Sade went to Scotland for her masters last year, well my son is going to England for his next month”. There was that hidden conflict albeit contestation between the “haves and haves not”. Thinking back, I can’t even imagine how my trip abroad for studies could be a form of revenge against any sect – I have no idea how it could have bothered them or affected their finances. Unfortunately, I assumed as well as my folks and friends that such ‘tremendous feat’ created some sort of equalisation between the ‘haves and haves not’. Today, we know better.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:34pm On Jul 12, 2020
The Brits and Europeans I studied with during my masters made up less than 25% of my entire cohort. They didn’t need it. There were those among them whose parents were well-off and paid the fees of their wards effortlessly. For those from average homes, they had accessed student loans and scholarships and were cool. Those on loans made up for their living expenses by working 20 hours weekly at shops around school and in the city centre. They all used the latest MacBook and iPhone. They chatted together, built friendship among themselves, went clubbing together and went on to great jobs – the likes of Jaguar, BAE, HSBC, BoA, WSP, DfiD, Costain, Shell, Barclays, Esso, Eni, GIZ, Rolls Royce, Airbus, Boeing, SSE etc while the majority of us returned HOME. Those who were up for it got full funding for PhD and research associate positions (EPSRC, ESRC, CDT programs etc.). The system didn’t discriminate among them – it provided the weakest of them multiple opportunities to thrive and reserved the best jobs for them. It wasn’t about a first, no, it was about competence and minimum requirements. The top students were Africans in my cohort, heck, my 2 course mates and myself were the top 3 ranking students within our option (77% - 81% weighted average), yet we were only good enough for cleaning jobs and cutting vegetables in warehouses.

Fast forward to my first job post PhD in the UK – I still hadn’t learned fully. While I had some few external relationships outside, I concentrated my effort within the folks I felt comfortable with – Nigerians. Do I have issues with Nigerians, no. Do I have inferiority complex, no. Do non-Nigerians have a lot to offer me than Nigerians – YES. It took a physical confrontation with my line manager (a Nigerian) in that employment before I had my brain reset. Our confrontation clearly showed me why I had a lot to learn from non-Nigerians. Nigerians are great people, but many are unknowingly suffering from mental trauma. We have been brought up in Nigeria under inhuman conditions and mentally conditioned ourselves to believe that’s how it should be done. We have suffered abuses and bullying from our parents, seniors, teachers, lecturers, bosses at work, government officials, security personnel, clerics and even elected office holders that we have now come to mentally accept it as normal. I have worked with Nigerians who feel their being older gives them some authority over me. I have worked with Nigerians and for Nigerians who despite being older and ahead still feel threatened by subordinates – sincerely, I have worked with Nigerians who could be very petty.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:34pm On Jul 12, 2020
Do white folks have issues – plenty. What’s then so special: it’s simple and it has to do with upbringing. I am currently having my claim of being a Christian seriously questioned because I see acts daily that make me wonder if indeed, I am not a liar. My salary and entitlement here in the UK have been paid as at when due (it has never delayed). I can’t say the same for any company (multinational or ‘uninational’) or any arm of government in Nigeria that can boast of that record for consecutive 12 months. Everywhere I go, there are systems in place to make sure that they are accessible to the weakest – the disabled. In Nigeria, it is a crime being one. Terrorists can abduct students in Nigeria and the government would not be bothered, in the UK, the death of a child will reverberate through the system with attendant consequences. In Nigeria, healthcare is moribund as our leaders can easily access top notch healthcare abroad. In the UK, any legal resident can access free healthcare to ANY AMOUNT. The ‘meagre’ health insurance we pay as immigrants guarantees us access to free childbirth, access to free operations and check-ups in the same hospitals accessed by the MPs, government officials and ordinary citizens. Even Boris Johnson recently spent some time in one of them.

Another reason why I want to network with these other folks is to learn the arts of contentment and service to humanity. In the UK, people are very contented with their lives – they have a job, get a mortgage, have a partner and 1/2 kids and they are fine. They could be librarians, government workers, lecturers, sales rep, office supervisor/manager, cleaners, professionals etc. Irrespective of the nature of their jobs, they are guaranteed a minimum standard of living and they are very happy with that. The UK glorifies hard work by placing a high premium on it and people are always proud of their accomplishments no matter how little. I stroll to the parks and I see kids taking turns at the swing without the need for an adult. In Nigeria, the child is brought up to fight for it. I observe kids at gatherings sharing treats and I see them sharing it among themselves in order. In Nigeria, that kid wants to have it all. I’m in a queue and I see folks moving pregnant women, the elderly and children ahead. In Nigeria, you are on your own. I enter the bus or trains and I see seats specially marked for the elderly and disabled. In Nigeria, we have no respect for the weak – they can be cheated, abused and neglected. The UK has less churches/parishes than those in Lagos state but exudes more values, ideals and character worthy of emulation than Nigeria.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:35pm On Jul 12, 2020
I want to be friends with Mr McDowell and his beautiful wife Alice who live around the block. He tells me that he’s handed over an account of over £100K to his kid who just started uni. I want to learn how to build such wealth for my kids. Jane and her husband Greg who live down the road quip during a casual meeting at the park that they have now concluded purchase of a second house to rent out to tenants. They say rent from that house will cover its mortgage as well as their current mortgage. I want to build that network to understand how they could achieve that while maintaining other expenses. Charles and Zoe who are retirees and with whom I share fence with have recently informed me that they are moving to Asia to finance a charity drive that will teach children within a local area Mathematics and English. They want to spend their last days there as their gift to humanity. I want to be friends with them and understand better how I can shape my philanthropic activities based on their experiences.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by Chukwuka16: 2:35pm On Jul 12, 2020
I want to bring up my kids in a country that allows them grow and excel in their chosen endeavours. I do not want my kids to be defined by their grades in school. I want the basis for their achievements and receipt of any benefits in life to be simply because they are human beings. I want them to grow up in a society where they can learn how to promote others above themselves and join hands with others to fight for what they believe in. I want to bring up my kids to learn, see and practice love, care, understanding, compassion, empathy/sympathy, discretion and loyalty. I want my kids to grow up to be ambitious and also content fellows. Irrespective of what my kids decide to be in life, I want them to be happy about it and be fulfilled doing just that.

Unfortunately, Nigeria is not that place for it is at loss of its purpose.

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Re: Nigeria: A Nation At Loss Of Its Purpose by pastormrs: 2:29pm On Aug 11, 2020
Hi Chuckuka16.
please drop an email i can reach you on, i'll like to enquire about relocating to Uk from nigeria this year

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