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“JAPA” and “House Negro” syndrome

The current trend amongst Nigerian youths is to do everything possible to travel to supposedly “greener pastures”. The new term for this exodus is “Japa”,…

The current trend amongst Nigerian youths is to do everything possible to travel to supposedly “greener pastures”. The new term for this exodus is “Japa”, a Yoruba slang, which means to run, flee or escape.  

Today’s youths will not remember Andrew “checking out” in 1984. “Andrew” was a fictitious TV character who decided to leave Nigeria because he was “tired of no water, no light and no good roads”. Although he was derided as being unpatriotic, the truth is that any government, which fails to protect citizens from poverty, insecurity, ignorance, environmental degradation and poor health facilities should neither expect nor demand patriotism.  

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Almost 40 years after Andrew, the same failures of government, which he mentioned, are still driving Nigerians to “check out”. Numerous social media posts by Nigerians overseas disparage their country. They show off the pristine environment, palliative money and foodstuffs enabled by good governance in their new home country as opposed to an environmentally degraded Nigeria where politicians and civil servants loot the treasury, and care less about the less fortunate in the society.  

In their euphoria of abandoning Nigeria, they forget to mention that their black skins make them unwelcome strangers. Worldwide disrespect of Nigerians is a natural consequence of a well-earned reputation for lawlessness, socioeconomic backwardness and poor political leadership. A nation so blessed with health professionals who are sought after for employment throughout the world cannot be respected when all their top political officeholders travel overseas for medical treatment instead of tackling the issues in the health sector at home.  

Doctors and nurses from Nigeria, increasingly man the British National Health Service (NHS) and private hospitals, and even more tormenting is that when granted work permits or citizenship, they forget themselves and disown their blackness.  

The term “House Negroes” defines black people who reject their cultural identity to please the “white” man. Originally, they were slaves who loved their master more than their fellow slaves. These days, they are known as “Diaspora Africans” who ape the white man’s lifestyle, speech and style of dressing, while using every opportunity to disparage and ridicule their country and race. In order to pretend not to be racist, every circle of white people adopts a Negro friend.  

Before young Nigerians run to Europe to seek refuge from atrocious governance at home, they should be warned that they are not really accepted. For example, the term “Black British” is self-contradictory. A black person cannot be British. They can be born or reside in Britain, marry a Briton or have a British passport but as long as they are black, their nationality is always in question, which is why black Europeans are always asked “where are you from originally?” Although normally limited to menial jobs, some of them do succeed in life.  

Kwasi Kwarteng is one such Diaspora African. His parents were born in Ghana and travelled to Britain as students in the 1960s. Born in London, Kwasi was educated at elite institutions such as Eton College, Trinity College, Cambridge University and Harvard. Intelligent and gifted, he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister for Finance) on September 7, 2022. His humiliation was that on  October 13, when under pressure he went on television to say: “I’m not going anywhere”, only to be sacked a day later on October 14! Very few black people rejoiced when he was announced as Britain’s first-ever black Chancellor of the Exchequer, and very few black people wept at his downfall. In his dual role as the black face of the Conservative Party and the “Head Negro”, he denied his roots.  

Politicians of African descent are renowned for their egocentricity and having little compassion towards the poor and instead of being a modern Moses helping to deliver his people from the racial bondage in the UK, Kwasi followed in their footsteps and instead chose to be an “Honorary White” using his privilege to deny his blackness. His travails should serve as a wake-up call to all black people in Diaspora who readily sell their racial birthright for social, economic and political capital. In denying his roots, Kwasi went as far as saying that there is no reason why Members of Parliament from ethnic minorities such as himself should engage with “black issues!” There is little doubt that he would have been an asset to Ghana or even a future president if he had chosen to play politics there. Instead of choosing the path to honour, he chose the path to dishonour. His misfortune will hopefully advise those running away to live overseas to revise their thinking as to whether truly they can ever be accepted as equals in foreign lands.  

Diaspora Africans are merely economic refugees who despite their noise-making and remittance of money should not be considered patriotic. Quite happy to be “House Negroes” they can accumulate all the international accolades they want, but are doing a disservice to Africa. Regrettably in Nigeria, their lack of true patriotism has been rewarded through the ill-conceived, unnecessary and wasteful Diaspora Commission, which should simply be a desk in all Nigerian Embassies or High Commissions. Truly patriotic Nigerians understand that if all those who are able to flee the country run away to become “House Negroes” do so, then nobody with the capacity to govern properly, bring about real change and uplift the nation will be left! 


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