Should I Japa or not?

Mojolaoluwa Akintoye
5 min readAug 11, 2022

Talented, young Nigerians are now leaving the country in droves. You could speak to someone today, and by the next day, they will call you with a foreign number that they have moved; without prior notice. They can’t be blamed though; it does not mean they are unpatriotic or don’t want a better Nigeria. Life in Nigeria can be challenging, with unfavorable government policies, Asuu strikes, insecurity, poor electricity, and terrible road networks.

Black person with a large rafia bag
Photo by RF._.studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/anonymous-black-person-with-large-plaid-bag-standing-by-blue-wall-4177747/

Japa is a Yoruba word that means to run away. However, in today’s Nigerian slang, Japa means to emigrate, to leave the country, or to escape the country in search of a better life. Emigration is not inherently negative; it has been happening for a long time. And it may even help the country when residents who have left return with newly developed skills to strengthen various areas of the economy. In reality, most Nigerian CEOs with organizations that have expanded outside Nigeria’s borders have some international schooling or training.

Recently a Nigerian named; Doctor Philip Ozuah stunned everyone with his 1 million dollar donation to his alma mater, the University of Ibadan. The school called for assistance from its alumni to help their deteriorating infrastructure. The range of contributions from other alumni was between two hundred to a million naira, but everyone was shocked when Dr. Philip announced his donation, and no one could donate again. Dr. Phillip is the President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine in New York. Do you think he would have been able to grant such a whooping amount If he never left the country?

Dr. Philip is just one example of the many Nigerians who left the country and became immensely successful; migration definitely has its benefits. You can even trace migration back to the Bible. In Genesis, Chapter 12, God commanded Abraham to leave his country and go to a new place.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12: 1–3

Aside from Abraham, many people left their homes or nations for a new place, either at the direction of God or by choice. When Baby Jesus’ life was threatened, Mary and Joseph moved to Egypt. Moses fled Egypt to Midan after killing an Egyptian. Samson, David, Lot, and Naomi are all examples of people in the Bible who left their homes. Migration did not begin today and will not end anytime near. However, Japa is not for everyone, and not everyone can Japa. Nigeria has almost 190 million people, and the countries worldwide cannot accommodate us.

If you are unsure whether leaving the country is right for you, this article can assist you. Below I have written five things you need to consider if you are wondering; should I Japa or not?

Follow God’s guidance.
The importance of this one cannot be overstated, especially if you identify as a Christian. We are not here by accident; God has a purpose for every one of us. The plans of God for us are for good and not for evil; they are to give us hope and a future. God is a great designer; he is aware of our best interests. He has prepared us for something great even before we were conceived in our mother’s womb. Deviating from God’s plan for you is the worst thing you can do. This can result in an unfortunate and catastrophic outcome.

God had tremendous plans for Samson, but he disrupted them by marrying a foreigner. On the other hand, Abraham is a case of a person who left his home and prospered; God favored him. Another individual who achieved great success outside their nation is Joseph; he would never have done so in his country. Make sure it is God’s intention for you by praying. Don’t rely on your human wisdom.

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalm 127:1

Be sure of your why

The next thing to consider is your why; you must be absolutely sure why you want to go. Do you desire a higher standard of living, a better education, and more travel chances for yourself and your children? Better health care or more prospects in your chosen career abroad? You must be sure of the reasons you want to go; these are the reasons you will hold on to when you face setbacks along the way.

On the other hand, if you wish to remain in Nigeria, consider why. It may be that Nigeria has a rich culture, family, fun events, and parties, or perhaps Nigeria is the best location for your business to succeed. These reasons are what you will hold to when you start feeling pressured by those who are traveling. People only post the positive parts of their lives on social media; you don’t see the hardships, challenges, or tears behind closed doors. Know yourself and do what is best for you.

Recognize that life is never a bed of Roses

Life is never a bed of roses, whether you live in Nigeria or opt to leave. Hard work is essential for success, whether in Nigeria or elsewhere. There are numerous obstacles in Nigeria, such as tribalism, nepotism, and unemployment, to name a few.

However, as a foreigner in another nation, you may encounter another set of problems, such as seclusion and racism, from time to time. If you were unaware that you were black in Nigeria, you would be fully aware of it overseas. The weather and cultural shock may also be challenging to deal with. Whatever decision you pick, know that it will not be simple, but with God on your side, you have no reason to fear.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40: 31

Have a solid plan

If you are considering leaving the country, have a solid plan. Are you going through a work visa or a student visa? Where are you going to stay? It is important to consider all this to avoid being stranded in a foreign land. Strategize to make it as seamless as possible for you.

Be open to different options.

If leaving the country does not work out, keep your alternatives open. Never be so desperate to go that you end up doing anything dishonest or dubious. Remember, you are God’s child, and if it is God’s purpose for you, it will undoubtedly work out.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it; whether you decide to leave the country or not, I know I will see you at the top. God bless you!

--

--

Mojolaoluwa Akintoye

Health Educator, Christian, passionate about politics, books, health and technology.