(By Ajibola Bakare)
“Unemployment has suddenly become part of our daily lives. It is now a ‘normal’ thing for people to be unemployed. Most unfortunate is the fact that those that are saddled with the responsibility of providing jobs are less concerned. If everybody or a large chunk of graduates are employed, who will snatch the ballot boxes, who will paste posters and who are those that will be mobilised as crowds? Those that are supposed to be more concerned are less troubled.“
Year in year out, thousands of graduates, not only from the universities, but from all higher institutions are produced. As if the struggle of graduating isn’t enough a tug of war to fight, graduates are even faced with a bigger challenge of getting employed, not underemployed. Thousands of Nigerian graduates are seemingly underemployed. Underemployment is a byproduct of unemployment, a crisis that’s yet to be tackled effectively.
Think about it. In Nigeria today, graduates, I mean graduates with professional degrees now take up teaching jobs and other menial jobs. Not that the teaching profession isn’t lucrative, but they wouldn’t mind anything that can put food on their table. Imagine a pharmacist working as a front desk officer in an hotel. Of course, those in that category are not unemployed, but they’re underemployed. In essence, they aren’t living up their dreams.
Unemployment has suddenly become part of our daily lives. It is now a ‘normal’ thing for people to be unemployed. Most unfortunate is the fact that those that are saddled with the responsibility of providing jobs are less concerned. If everybody or a large chunk of graduates are employed, who will snatch the ballot boxes, who will paste posters and who are those that will be mobilised as crowds? Those that are supposed to be more concerned are less troubled.
Today, over 52% of Nigerian youths are unemployed. The totality of the Nigerian youths between ages 18-35 is over 70million. What this mean is that the population of youths in Nigeria is twice the entire population of Ghana, larger than that of South Africa and bigger than that of United Kingdom. If it were to be a country, it will be the 19th largest country in the world. Those who occupy top of the demographic ladder are reduced to mere crowds at political rallies and feeds from crumbs that fall from those in power. What a shame!
We have a major agent of change in our hands – our demographic strength. If properly harnessed and utilised, youth unemployment and other social vices would be eradicated. We’ve been embarrassed enough among the comity of nations by mediocres who hold leadership positions. Nigeria has become a laughing stock. The achievements of our forefathers and heroes have been washed off. Nigeria has suddenly become a big joke because the thing people call corruption is just ‘stealing’.
My heart bled the day I read that the population of the continent of Africa will likely overtake that of the US in 2050, a year that looks far but near. If the reality on ground is anything to go by, then the demographic shoot will only spell doom. More unemployed and underemployed graduates will be produced who will turn out as societal misfits and threats to our peaceful existence. Where are the jobs that will contain such geometric increase?
It has been thoroughly argued that government have no business creating jobs. Yes they don’t but they’ve the business of creating infrastructures, a serene and an enabling environment where jobs will thrive and survive. Should all these be in place, more companies and organisations will sprout up. In Nigeria for example, businesses and companies, especially those in the manufacturing sector, are on a daily basis relocating to countries where their expenditure on gas and fuel alone, won’t exceed their total annual turnover. Organisations are laying off staffs and more people are unemployed.
Being an entrepreneur is good. But owing your own business is better. But nothing can be compared to being an investor. All of a sudden, entrepreneurs are emerging from all spheres. An excellent idea in that it positively affects any economy’s GDP, but how many of such home based businesses survive the test of time in Nigeria?
Let this be a wake up call to all sleeping Nigerian youths. What we have is the resultant effect of refusing to participate in the election and ‘selection’ process. When the right people decide to stay away from governance and politics, then the are governed by clowns and mediocres. Enough of sitting on the fence. Enough of the ‘I don’t care attitude’. Enough of talking without actions.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”