Getting a job in Nigeria over the years has become a near impossible task for the teeming youths produced from the many tertiary institutions scattered around our country. So bad is the trend that it has become ‘common'(and maybe ‘normal’) to see people sit at home for over five years after graduation doing nothing.
A lot of reasons have been given for this pathetic situation which we find ourselves,some of which are empty rumblings from a failed system always eager to trade blames instead of accepting responsibilities. For instance, many employers keep saying that “most Nigerian graduates are unemployable”; is the student/graduate to be blamed for the failure of our educational system? How can a sixteen(16) year old undergraduate be blamed for the failures of a system that crumbled long before he/she was born. If our system is so bad that more than half of graduates of each academic year can’t find jobs, how about the ‘not so rich’ students who sojourn various countries in europe(with better educational systems) and yet still can’t find jobs when they return?
Most motivational speakers these days constantly encourage their audience to be self reliant and set up personal businesses. Personally,I believe it pays more to be self employed but in reality not everybody is business inclined. Forcing such persons into the uncertainty of the business world,would only result in a disaster. Not all graduates would become astute business men,some are just meant to be in the cooperate world,civil service etc and these persons SHOULD GET JOBS. For those willing to set up private businesses,there’s no fillip from the government to encourage such business ventures.
Recently labour unions have been agitating for a shift in retirement age of civil servants from 60 to 65/70. Reasons have been given which to me are flimsy. Falsification of age is very common among Nigerian workers. A person whose records states that he’s 60 might actually be between 65-70,if more years are added he/she will end up retiring at 75- plus. In all sincerity what will be the productivity level of such an individual? If grand/great-grand parents are still in active service,will their ‘children’ ever be able to get jobs.
Until the government at all levels stop to see job creation as Ex gratia to citizens, the problem of unemployment will persist and probably get worst. It may not be possible to employ every Nigerian that graduates each year but a significant number should be able to get a source of livelihood. The present situation by all standards is unacceptable. Genuine efforts aimed at empowering those willing to go into business should be embarked upon(not the wheelbarrow and five thousand naira distribution we see on our tv screens everyday).
A country seeking to grow on all fronts would definitely do better than leaving its youthful population idle with no hope whatsoever of better days.
If nothing is done beyond lip service of creating jobs(which can neither be seen nor its impact felt) we’ll end up having millions of ratty youths who someday would terrorize others and bring the entire house on its knees.
The writer Enenim Ubon, on twitter @enenimubon