‘I wanted to bring up my children in my home country’
Efe Adefulu, a Nigerian professional, returned home from the United States with her young family. This is her homecomer story.
What inspired you to return home?
I had three main inspirations for returning to Nigeria, firstly, I wanted to bring up my children in my home country, I truly cherished my upbringing and I desired a similar experience for my children to know where they are from. The truth is that Nigerians fit in anywhere in the world, so I am certain that they will adjust to wherever they choose to spend their adult lives. Secondly, my husband and I had gotten to a point in our individual careers where we knew that we needed to make a change to get to the next level, I wanted to move into a new industry from the corporate world to the Not-For-Profit sector which was a little tough to get into in America due to the market situations, and my husband, a Film Director wanted to tap into the growing Film and Television industry in Nigeria. Lastly, we have a mission statement as a family to influence and change lives and for a long time Nigeria has been the location that our hearts were strongly drawn to for this goal. There are many ways we plan to accomplish this mission, through our careers, our relationships with people etc. Essentially, this last inspiration was about pursing and fulfilling our life goals.
What would you say is the best part of relocating and working in Africa so far?
One thing I can say for sure is that I am very happy doing what I do as a career, it’s been a dream of mine and somehow I did not have this same happiness in America. To get to the point, I had to take a huge risk by moving with my family and it has been tough, no doubt but very rewarding. I work within the NFP industry with an organization called Junior Achievement Nigeria; it is under the umbrella of Junior Achievement Worldwide. I am responsible for overseeing all the programmes in Nigeria which is in 14 locations around the county as well as managing the operations of the organization. In addition, I am exploring a couple of entrepreneurial ideas that I have and hope to kick-off in 2014, with a potential to become a major business opportunity.
What would you say is the hardest part of relocating/working and living in Africa?
A couple of challenges are not knowing how things function in Nigeria, it is often unpredictable and easy tasks are never easy, things like opening a bank account, getting a driver’s license, getting around town etc. Another challenge is the attitude to work is different from what I am used to, coming from Corporate America, I had certain expectations that everyone was at work to do their very best and exceed expectations and in my experience that is not the case here. It makes it hard to get work done especially when managing a number of individuals.
Why would you recommend that other young African professionals think of coming back to Nigeria to work?
I would recommend that young African professionals return home only if they actually have some sort of plan of what they want to do here. Is it to work here indefinitely, 1 year, 5 years? Is to be part of the growing economy in Africa? Open up a business? Definitely don’t do it out of coercion from family and friends. Before we moved to Nigeria, we took a short vacation visit to “survey the land”. Asked tons of questions about what it’s like to work here, saw properties for rent/buy with a real estate agent, asked about schools for the kids etc. Our questions were asked to people like us who recently relocated as well as seasoned local residents.
What are the benefits or negatives of raising your kids back home?
Benefits all the way! They get to learn their culture and language, they get to be closer to extended family – grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts, I believe they learn more respect for elders and discipline in Africa, just to name a few.
Source: African Expatriate