The Nigerian “Japa” Dream is Not Unpatriotic

When a country’s situation gets “messier” or beyond redemption, citizens are forced to look outwardly; to spread their tentacles; to leave their comfort zone. Sorry, I mean distress zone! This feeling has given birth to the “Japa dream“. So, what is the “Japa dream” all about?

Japa is a Yoruba word which literally means “run”. The word has become quite popular today following its use on Twitter and it has become more popular for its connotative meaning — run away for Nigeria.

The Japa dream is a dream of an average Nigerian who has lost faith in the country. The Japa dream is a means of escape for the average Nigerian who has no access to opportunities; it is a means to help the average Nigerian have a good shot at life if the Nigerian system is not willing to avail such opportunity.

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Some years ago, the urge to to leave the country wasn’t as high as it is today. Today, the urge and desire to leave Nigeria has reached the crescendo. Think whatever or call it whatever, the Japa dream is fine; the Nigerian situation isn’t improving; it keeps deteriorating with each passing day. Initially, when my friends and colleagues told me about their Japa dreams or aspirations, I was quick to talk them out of it. I made them believe the system would work someday. I made them believe that the status quo would change someday. I tried to sound patriotic and optimistic. I realised in recent times that my blind optimism was out of sync with reality. I realised my friends Japa dreams were “valid“. For we children of commoners, we must go seek greener pastures elsewhere if it seems unattainable in their fatherland. Every action of the government seems to dampen the optimism I once used to exude when my friends told me about their Japa dreams. Me sef wan even Japa now!

Whether, it is through a graduate school program, work or marriage, your dreams are realistic and you can go on with it.

At the moment, trying to Japa is not unpatriotic; it’s about looking at a Plan B, especially if you are not from a privileged background. You had better start looking outwardly!

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