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Member Representing Isoko Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jonathan Ukodhiko
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Greener Pastures Abroad: Ukodhiko Lists Causes of ‘Flight of Talents’ from Nigeria

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Member Representing Isoko Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jonathan Ukodhiko has said that economic hardship, lack of jobs, gross unavailability of power for production, inflation and galloping exchange rates were fueling flight of talents from Nigeria.

Rep. Ukodhiko who is Deputy Chairman House Committee on Science and Technology, stated this in his remarks as Chairman of the 2024 Edition of the Maris Annual Public Service Lecture held on Wednesday at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.

He said that the theme of the lecture ‘Flight of Talents: Navigating Nigeria’s Brain Drain Predicament,’ was apt considering the negative impact of brain drain on the economic development of the country.

Represented by the Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Onojaeme, the federal lawmaker lauded the organisers of the annual public service lecture for the choice of the topic, and urged relevant stakeholders to work towards reversing the trend.

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He said: “As an oil and gas professional, I have through my interests in the downstream and upstream sector, provided jobs for numerous Nigerians, however, the rate at which Nigerians are leaving the country in geometric proportion in search of greener pastures abroad is becoming worrisome.

“What is more pathetic about the situation which is now termed ‘japa syndrome’ is because the best skilled professionals from Nigeria are leaving the country thereby creating vacuums in several sectors of our economy.

“Perhaps what is fueling these ‘flight of talents’ from the country include economic hardship, lack of jobs, gross unavailability of power for production, inflation and galloping exchange rates, among other factors.

“The exodus of highly educated and skilled individuals not only deprives Nigeria of its human capital but also exacerbates the brain drain predicament.

“I trust that the erudite keynote speaker and the capable discussants would dissect the topic and proffer adequate solutions to this conundrum that is threatening the fabric of our existence as a nation.” Ukodhiko added.

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In her keynote address, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delta Agbor, Professor Stella Chiemeke, said the hemorrhaging of talents from Nigeria had reached alarming proportions threatening not only the nation’s present but it’s very future.

“Nigeria loses over 50,000 skilled professionals annually to emigration according to United Nations Development Programme UNDP estimates.

“A study by the Development Research and Project Centre reveals that over 5,000 Nigerian doctors migrated to the UK between 2015 and 2022 and approximately 8,737 medical professionals with degrees from Nigeria are currently working in the UK.

“The World Health Organisation WHO estimates a doctor-patient ratio in Nigeria is five times worse than recommended highlighting the devastating impact on healthcare.

“The brain drain is not limited to medicine; the exodus extends to diverse sectors like engineering, finance, IT, and academia, each experiencing a steady loss of their brightest.”

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Prof. Chiemeke further said Nigeria could reverse the trend by addressing internal challenges such as significant investments in critical infrastructure and services, basic needs such as power, education, transport, healthcare, combating corruption and insecurity and other utilities to improve business competitiveness.

The lecture which was moderated by Dr Kemi Emina had discussants including the State Commissioner for Technical Education, Hon. Joan Onyemaechi Ada-Anioma, Chief Economic Adviser to the Delta State Governor, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Special Adviser on Investments Chief Tony Amaechi, Chief Philomena Ededey and Barr. Freddie Toritseju Erelu-Ede.

In his vote of thanks, Secretary Maris Trust Council, Comrade Fidelis Egugbo said the annual public service lecture was in the 5th series instituted in memory of his late daughter, Stella-Maris Chukwufunimnenya Egugbo to address topical issues of concern to the nation.

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Comrade James Ezema is a veteran journalist and media consultant. He is a political strategist. He can be reached on +2348035823617 via call or WhatsApp.

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