“Japa syndrome” affecting Nigeria’s transformative economy, says Don

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Prof. Dapo Asaju, a former Vice-Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo State, says brain drain as a result of the “Japa Syndrome” is affecting the transformative economy of the country.

Asaju, a professor of theology in Lagos State University (LASU), said this while delivering the 15th convocation lecture of Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun, on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture has as its theme, “Transformative Economy And The Japa Syndrome In Nigeria”.

NAN also reports that “Japa” is a Nigerian buzzword for emigration.

The word takes firm root in the aspiration that young Nigerians have to leave the country for good.

The don, who noted that the  number of graduates and professionals who had left the  country over the years was alarming, said that transformative economy would only happen when the brain drain stops.

Asaju noted that it was pathetic that government had not shown any concern nor worry about the implications of the Japa Syndrome on the future of the country.

 He said that the frustration which many young professionals were facing in the country was responsible for their preference to emigrate to foreign countries to achieve greener pastures.

“The future leadership of Nigeria rests on the youthful generation. If potential leaders desert the country for selfish reasons, they will deny the country of their leadership and expertise.

“Nobody will repair Nigeria other than Nigerians. We either salvage the African continent by selfless service and innovative development or we allow it deteriorate and slide into coma, as it tends to do,” he said.

Asaju, who is also the Bishop of Diocese of Ilesa and Theological of Anglican Church of Nigeria,  said that the huge amount of money Nigerians were investing to obtain a masters degree programme abroad was worrisome.

 “Imagine a Nigerian graduates and postgraduate certificate holders opting to travel to UK for Masters Degree programme at the cost of 15,000 pounds (N16 million per year) just because they want to live abroad.

“This is apart from cost of living, accommodation, among others. Many Nigerians who “Japa” have realised that in many cases, their dreams are a mirage.

“The same Masters Degree that is obtainable in Nigeria for less than 500 pound fees. Africa is still in slavery,” he said.

Asaju also said that the immigration policies of the western world through visa lotteries, relaxed visa applications, among others were deceptive and self serving.

“They invite immigrants, not because they love or accept them, but because their communities and societies are really in trouble, and in need of cheap labour to take care of their sick people and to run their industries,” he said.

In his remarks, Prof. Anthony Akinlo, the Vice-Chancellor of the university,  said that the Japa syndrome would continue to affect the country’s economy, if not  checked.

Akinlo, who noted that young Nigerians migrate for a greener pastures, said while some did so  legally, others went through illegal means.

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