27 March 2008

Moving to Nigeria? What to know and do (Part 1)

Returning to settle in Nigeria is a brave decision. Once it has been made, there are a few things to put in place to make your homecoming experience a successful one.

1. First, you have to be determined with a capital 'D' for your plan to happen as many homecoming aspirants are simply that - 'homecoming aspirants'. Many change their minds even before embarking on the journey. Some came and changed their minds because of the heat, traffic, electricity problems, or just because of their inability to cope with the ways of the people. So you just have to be determined for your plan not to be short-circuited.

2. There is a good argument for testing the waters for a period of time to avoid the problem enunciated above. Visiting home once or twice a year before taking the plunge will prepare you for the culture shock and all other shocks.

3. Visiting on holiday is a different ball game from settling in Nigeria. So prepare! prepare! and prepare! Don't assume that things are as easy as they look. In any case, wherever your holiday destination may be, visiting a place is different from living in a place.

4. You have to give serious thought to what to do business wise. Don't be fooled, Nigeria is becoming sophisticated daily and Nigerians are not dazzled by anything just because it comes from the West. Having said that, there are huge potentials practically in every aspect of the nation given that we are a developing country. These include property development, civil-structural engineering, medicine, human resource, large scale farming, telecommunications, teaching, food technology and of course information technology. Money is not free in Nigeria. Not everything sells. But whatever does will catch like wildfire. However be ready to be one step ahead as anything you do will be quickly copied.

5. Even with a very good business plan, you have to be patient and determined. There are many things that may conspire to stifle your plans. So be patient with the way people do business. You may be kept waiting, be patient. You may encounter missed appointments, be patient. Be patient but determined.

6. You need a good car. Apart from the fact that a car is a practical necessity; in Nigeria, a good car is a business necessity. My mother in law once told me that when your business host decides to see you to the door, it is possible that he wants to have a glimpse of your car. This may sway his decision on whether to do business with you or not.

What I have experienced is that a good car literally opens the gate to company premises and can secure a good car parking space. Even the police put themselves in check when they see a good car.

In the early days, I often went around in hired taxis. I once went for an important meeting at the premises of a large organisation. On that occasion, I hired this very old red golf taxi. The driver lived locally and I use him often. Although he charges an arm and a leg, he was full of humour and has a positive outlook on life.

I arrived for my appointment with less than five minutes to spare but on the other side of the road. I decided to come out of the car and cross the road whilst he navigates the traffic and turn to wait for me. I informed the security guard that the car that brought me was on its way and should be allowed to park, to which he obliged. As I was about to enter the building, I noticed the driver had somehow managed to turn and was approaching the gate, I quickly dashed back to inform the guard. He did a head-to-toe survey of me, looked at the car and politely informed me that they do not allow this type of car in their premises.

7. You need settling mentors. You may need a friend or family mentor to help smoothen your settling in Nigeria. A very good friend provided a vehicle for us when available, shared hers with us, sometimes to her hurt and often drove us home late at night. Their house was a place to chill, eat and plan. We are hugely indebted to her and her family.

We also had other people like my uncle and his wife who generously allowed us the exclusive use of their exquisitely furnished home. We felt we were living in London half the time. And also to a fantastic gentleman who repeatedly gave us work and office premises. These people cushioned the impact of our homecoming experience and we are grateful to them. Got the gist, you need a mentor.

Next edition - where to live, good Internet Service Provider, which newspapers to read and more. Don't miss it. PostCardfromLagos


Anonymous said...

Wonderful, Mr Badejo, this is very useful information. So it is a case of show me your car and I will tell you who you are in Naija!

Anonymous said...

Nice plans to have when deciding to move to Nigeria finally.

However, I still think there are some areas to fine tune this move.

One is in the area of business: I always tell people, if you want to be successful business-wise in Nigeria, be sure your business adds VALUE to people's lives. Its one of the MOST RELIABLE ways to be successful in Nigeria. Ask Mike Adenuga Jnr. or Aliko Dangote!

Secondly, the issue of getting a good car and a good (and safe) place to live cannot be over-emphasized.

You need to be obvious of the fact that to have a good car and get a good place to live, you need a good amount of cash-planning! These 2 things involve a fair bit of cash as with Nigeria, you need a good cash base to live above average and be comfortable, not with the erratic light situation and heavy traffic! I'm not saying you need a huge amount but realistically, a N1.3-2Million car (that has an A/C!) and an accomodation that cost around N400-N500k/year would be ideal in an enclosed estate. You don't want to go to those appointments looking like you ran there!

If you're lucky enough to get a reliable generator, not anything big but at least with 3KVA capacity that can give you light for some hours in the evening or in the morning before stepping out whenever the light-takers do their thing, then good.

Its good to at least ensure that wherever you live has mosquitto netting all round as well. The last thing you want is to be bitten my malaria-infested mosquitoes and you're wondering what is wrong with you when the fever starts.

Believe you me, I've been to Nigeria too often and I know what it takes to want to move back home..
Any further comments from me, and I'll provide later. Peace!

Anonymous said...

Bro Gbenga this is useful information and I agree with most of your points. I think you will be a wonderful mentor when my husband and I embark on the sojourn journey back home in about 10 years time. That is my plan.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of you talking about returning to nigeria , I do not agree that it is a necessary plan. the world is global , and people need to realise that God gave us the land , the bible says that the earth is the lords and all that is in belongs to us.

If you have found yourself abroad and you can add value to someones life, why not do it there.

Also the article is not encouraging those who have not amassed wealth abroad to return home, some people live on foriegn countries illegally not being able to fulfill their potentials for this reason and for some if they returned to nigeria and can have a mentor to guide them they may be better off, but articles like this is saying dont come back until you have amassed enough wealth , it is politically and spritually wrong. people live in nigeria and make it in life without foriegn money.

I believe if you have found youself somewhere , discover who you are in christ and start to better where you are , there is nothing you can do in nigeria that you cant do in london.

maybe no suya in dec , ha ha .

Mrs Raas

Postcard from Lagos said...

Mrs Raas arguments are well expressed and noted and a few adjustments have been made.

However, apart from the issue of needing a good car - (a neccessity in any country) there is no suggestion whatsoever that you need ammass wealth before you move home although this may help.

The aim of the blog is to provide accurate, eye-witness experience of life in Nigeria from the perspective of a returnee. This particular edition is further aimed at encouraging and cushioning the impact of resettling for indigenes planning to return to Nigeria and for foreigners who want to do business in Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

Mrs Raas, Returning to Nigeria is not for everybody and let's bear it in mind that Revd Badejo's article is only addressed to those who have CHOSEN by themselves to return to Nigeria or those contemplating to take the step. For those who have settled in the land of sojourn, God will bless us all the same but let's not discourage the dissemination of factual information about what it takes to return to Nigeria from an experienced person.

Thirty + said...


I don't think this article is targeted to folks who are hard up or desperate enough to be living illegally in Diaspora.

It would also be spiritually and morally wrong for Mr Badejo to paint a picture that you should not amass wealth before you return to Nigeria, most likely that is the reason they left their Country in the first place :)

@Postcard from Lagos
Please let's have more info like this, so we can make informed decision.

Thirty + said...

I forgot to add that you and your wife will be a mentor to me as well. So get ready will let you know when I am ready.

Anonymous said...

Even though i live in NIgeria, i can totally identify with everything you have said...