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Japa: Like Bill Gates, I support Nigerians fleeing abroad; brain drain will become ‘brain gain’, says Obi



Former Governor Peter Obi has endorsed the ‘japa’ syndrome, the fleeing of Nigerians in droves abroad for greener pastures, claiming it will be in Nigeria’s favour in the future, stressing that the current “brain drain” will be the country’s “brain gain.”

Mr Obi, a candidate of the opposition Labour Party in the February 25 presidential poll, has often portrayed himself as a bona fide economic strategist and frugal entrepreneur.

“I read and agree with Bill Gates’s recent comment on the ‘japa syndrome, where, according to reports, he stated that the recent surge of Nigerian professionals leaving the country for greener pastures is good and healthy for our country,” Mr Obi stated in a thread of tweets on Thursday, seconding Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder’s stance on prevailing migration wave in Nigeria.

The former Anambra governor pointed out that “I have always preached and maintained this same position that ‘Our brain drain today will be our brain gain tomorrow’.”

He added, “Nigerians leaving the country may look like a loss today, but when we start doing the right things and taking the governance of our nation more seriously, the knowledge and resources from them will be critical in the building of the New Nigeria, as it happened in China, India, Ireland and other developing countries.”

Increasing hardships wrought by the rising cost of living, unemployment and attendant poverty have forced many in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, to flee across the globe by hook or by crook, seeking relief from economic anguish and hopelessness.

Mr Obi’s comments came shortly after the International College of Surgeons, Nigerian Section, raised the alarm over the massive exodus of Nigerian doctors to the UK for greener pastures.

It estimated the number of Nigerian doctors who left the country for the UK in the last six years to be around 6,221, adding that Nigeria now has a ratio of one doctor to over 4,000 patients, contrary to the World Health Organisation’s standard of one doctor to 600 patients.

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