To Tijani, many who return home do so for some selfish motives:
I quite agree with Prof Onwudiwe and Yemi Egbeleke. Yemi Egbeleke is right. We cannot compare the era of Azikiwe, Aggrey, or the colonial era with post-1990s. The situation, environment, and issues are totally different. Azikiwe, Nkrumah, and Aggrey would rather return given the opportunities, or prospects of opportunities (depending on whether we look at it from pre-World War II or post-World War II era). In fact, the likes of Azikiwe soon realized the urgency to tone down leftist or radical tendencies in order to partake in devolution process that was largely dictated by the imperial powers. What are the opportunities in the so called "home"? If I may paraphrase Dr. Fayemi "... it depends on the group one belongs..." back home. Why should I belong to a group in order to meaningfully utilize my skills? In recent time, folks that had returned are either politicians, or folks that had political appointments etc. The other day, a fellow went for an interview with Mobil/Exxon Oil Company in Nigeria. This young man was so delighted to go "home" and work for one of the leading oil companies. I asked him before departing for an interview with the management in Lagos whether he would consider similar offer from a Local School District. You all can see the reaction on his face. In the long run he was not offered a position despite his overwhelming qualifications. According to him, one of the officials told him he had a job already... being sarcastic. His job is being a permanent resident in God's own country - "You cannot come home to compete with the poor souls that had no opportunity to live in the United States". What a sad and dehumanizing story! Perhaps, Fayemi is right... it depends on your group. It seems to me that returning "home" is a matter of your profession, interest, purpose, and prospects. In my local area I have seen folks returning primarily because that wanted to contest for a political position, sponsor a candidate for political office, prospect of a political position, join in "defrauding the masses of the resources" (along with their so-called group).
A Bio-poem for HOME (the Nigerian context):
Ps: It was Ugbokwe that attempted the life of Mr. Foot (British colonial secretary, Lagos secretariat), not Agwuna as mistakenly stated.
Hakeem Ibikunle Tijani
Assistant Professor of History
Ellis College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Social Sciences
Henderson State University