Japa: Bishop Kukah’s advice to Nigerian youths sparks debate

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Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Revd. Matthew Kukah’s advice to Nigerian youths to consider relocating abroad, a phenomenon known in local parlance as japa, is dividing the internet.

Kukah, the Chairman of Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja, gave advice while addressing the Catholic university graduands on Saturday.

“I encourage young people who want to leave Nigeria to please, feel free to leave. The country is big enough. We can assure you that by the time you settle down in the United States of America or wherever you have gone, you will discover that Nigeria needs you.

“And for those you left behind, our hope and prayer is that they will be competing at the same level with you. We have everything that it takes to turn the corner,” Kukah, who holds a PhD from University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), said.

Meanwhile, Kukah’s advice has sparked a debate on the internet, especially over the effect of japa on Nigeria’s socio-economic life.

Former Kaduna Central Senator, Shehu Sani said, “Bishop Kukah told the youth to feel free to leave the country. The president told the youth not to leave the country. If they listen to Kukah, they have taken the spiritual road. If they listen to the president, they have taken the political road. Choose between the man of God and man of hope.”

Also reacting to the cleric’s remark, one Akin Adejola said, “A very sensible young person should ask this man why he didn’t leave Nigeria then ( while he was younger) or now. I presume here is where he was and still able to easily butter his bread despite the hardship every Nigerian complains of.”

Casmir Ajems said, “Imagine. They are all scared of a possible revolution from the rising population of the youths. They know the time is near and they have no solution. These clerics are another problem Nigeria has.”

Augustine Maduba said, “Among the government officials of pass administration, minus those that are still in government. How many of them are still in Nigeria?. Nigeria is not a place to live. If you live all your life in Nigeria, you never live a life.”

Charles Ola said, “As a Catholic, I get confused when I hear my priests say things like this. Now I get why so many Catholic young priests too has japa in the guise of furthering their studies…”

@Chu_Odoemson said, “This is exactly what I tell people who sought my advice. Those who want to leave should leave. Those who want to stay should stay. But whatever your choice is, ensure you improve and adequately equip yourself for whatever situations the future will throw at you.”

@HMasanawa said, “Will you join them Bishop or everything is going well with you in the country?”

@olufax said, “To where if I may ask? This is the best time for everyone to get involved. Instead of JP, join a local political group and kick start the desired changes we all wish from our small locality. It’s not a must that change starts from the top!”

 

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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