“Have you ever considered leaving Nigeria? Not for a vacation or anything like that but relocating for a long period of time” – Tope inquired. 21 year old me was quite confident about my response. The country was bleeding, Lagos traffic had already stolen several hours of my life, and I was clearly not looking forward to joining the national youth service program for the next one year. For someone who studied geology and graduated with a First-Class, you would expect a rather seamless transition into a very lucrative career in Nigeria’s prestigious oil industry. However, this was often not the case for those who tried before me so I did not live with the illusion that it would be any different for me. The future was blurry, in every sense of the word.
“There’s no way I’m leaving” – I responded almost immediately as this was something I had thought very deeply about over the preceding months. “I have so many business ideas in mind and there’s way too much potential in Nigeria for me to simply overlook and walk away” – I continued.
Tope was surprised. In a time when developed countries were sieving out skilled young people from developing countries, it was almost impossible to find anyone willing to stay but there I was, fully plugged into building Nigeria, and making the very best of my home; how patriotic!
A few months later, my big business plan was ready. I was already working remotely with a startup in the US so I gained a few insights about growth hacking and digital marketing. I spent most of my nights on online courses, YouTube videos, and blog articles. Basically, anything that had the keyword ‘startup’, caught all of my attention. This young girl was trying to build a tech company with zero programming knowledge and technically no fully dedicated cofounder. You don’t have to think too far to imagine that no one bought into my idea. Well, to be honest, I was neither confident nor experienced enough to sell the idea to anyone so there was almost no chance I could have gotten any good form of support. One thing was certain for me; whatever path I chose would define the rest of my life or at least the next decade. This was a lifetime decision, like marriage, so there was no messing around. I decided to sit with God on the matter, as I should have done from the very beginning. Honestly, at this point, seeds of frustration were beginning to get planted into my life but God had big plans, really big ones.
I included my big business plan among the hundreds of thousands of plans that made their way into the Tony Elumelu Foundation application from all over Africa. The goal was simple and clear; if I received the $5000 grant, I would stay home and pursue my dreams; if I didn’t, I’d drop my fantasies and leave the country.
I’m not a big fan of lengthy blog articles so I’ll have to continue this story in my next post. Subscribe to my newsletters so you’ll be the first to know when the next post is up but before then, tell me what you think happened next in the comment section below.
PS: I started this blog series to share insights and FREE tips for relocating to Germany. Take it from me, leaving the country legally is cheaper and easier than most people think. Beyond sharing my story (and those of my friends) so you can learn from real experiences, I’ll also be sharing useful resources in all subsequent newsletters during this series. The resources would all be FREE and trust me, you’ll need them. All you have to do is subscribe to my newsletters so you won’t miss any of them.