Much Ado About the DV Visa Lottery Loss – Sola Ademiluyi

 Former United States President, Bill Clinton is unarguably one of the most black friendly presidents that have ever sat in the Oval Office. His policies led to the astronomical increase in the number of Afro-American millionaires. One of his greatest ‘legacies’ was the inauguration of the DV Visa Lottery scheme where lucky winners were given the much prized Green Card or Permanent Resident Permit which was akin to an automatic passport to the good things of life. Fifty thousand random permits were allocated annually and Africa was a great beneficiary of the scheme which saw a lot of her sons and daughters migrate to God’s own country.

I am an advocate of global citizenship and do not have anything against one wanting to take up residence in any country. Aren’t there Americans living outside America – the World’s most powerful country for a panoply of reasons? The choice of immigration or emigration is wholly a personal one and it is on this basis that I disagree with the popular ‘Andrew Check Out’ advert which featured the late actor Enebeli Elebuwa. The message behind the popular ad was to discourage Nigerians from emigrating en masse as a result of the anti people policies of the Ibrahim Babangida led regime.

It is foolhardy for a talented footballer to want to remain in Africa in the name of nationalism when the opportunities to get to the acme of the profession lay in Europe. It is a different ballgame if he decides to invest in Africa after a successful European sojourn. He will be of more use to the continent this way.

The choice of an African wanting to check out of the continent should be fuelled by what he has to offer the global market as opposed to the pathetic illusion that the lands of America and Europe is the earthly reincarnation of Paradise. This is the heart of the problem – the subjugation of the minds of young Africans that the solution to their problems is in merely exchanging continental residence. For this reason, some are willing to suffer the indignities of illegal immigration, some are ready to migrate through the deserts amidst the heat and cold, some are willing to stow away via ships and aeroplanes – a Nigerian was found dead in an American air bound plane a few years ago. This is what is highly condemnable! It is tragic that in the 21st Century which is characterised by globalisation and the free flow of information via the World Wide Web, there is really no excuse for such indignities!

I do not agree that the idea behind the Visa Lottery was a perpetuation of slavery as the choice of liberty or serfdom is a personal one as it has to do with the freewill which cannot be handed over without the personal consent of the giver. The slave mentality behind this is the erroneous belief that America is paved with gold!

It was Dooms Day for such category of people when the Republican Party controlled House of Representatives – the lower house of Congress decided to throw spanner in the works in the minds of these people. How Tragic! A woman in Ethiopia captures this succinctly “In my country, whole cities wait to hear the results of this lottery. I can’t believe they will take it away.”

The advocates of this control did not scrap the idea of immigration as America is the largest hub of migrants in the world. It merely did a critique of the whole scheme and decided it was not in the Nation’s best interests. Rather, they favour the influx of highly skilled immigrants as opposed to those with a diploma and two years of work experience which was the pre-requisite. With the present economic meltdown coupled with the recent shut down of the government, common sense dictates that the former order was clearly not sustainable.

The world has moved to where the monetisation of one’s talents, skills, passions is now King. The new Kings in the current order are those who have keyed in to the novel reality and it is high time Africa cashed in on this current trend so as not to be left behind. Africans should be thinking of what to sell to the world and those with the intention of migrating– which is not a bad idea, should be thinking of value to add rather than having a Don Quixote mindset that foreign lands is akin to an economic Eldorado. An example of the new world order will suffice: It is a well known fact that lecturing opportunities for even for non tenure track positions is vanishing in America and Europe as a result of the global crisis. A doctorate degree in today’s world doesn’t guarantee a place in the academia. Wise Africans like Sam Omatseye who lectured Journalism at the Colorado State University amongst many others were smart enough to key into the current global trend to escape being caught in the web of the conventional path. These Africans don’t even possess Masters Degrees. It is high time Africans woke up and moved beyond begging for affirmative action and pittances to creating structures that will enable her sons and daughters have greater if not an equal bargaining power to possess a better place in world affairs!

The example of Singapore and China should be enough inspiration to bring the wise words to live that ‘Life does not give you what you deserve, it only gives you what you demand!’ The scrapping of the visa lottery should be enough food for thought for Africans to take their destiny in their hands rather than entrusting their future in the hands of mother luck which could bear her cruel fangs!

Sola is @ademiluyitony on twitter

Sola says Africans should be thinking of what to sell to the world