Dangote’s PhD drivers – Abimbola Adelakun

Published:8 Nov, 2012

Dangote’s PhD drivers – Abimbola Adelakun

The news that six PhD holders applied for positions of truck drivers in one of Dangote Group’s companies is shocking because it is Nigeria. We are a people who make a big deal out of a PhD no matter how empty-headed the carrier might be and so we think the title infuses one with anything special. A PhD is not special in any way and the fact somebody applied to be a driver with it is an indication that it is more hype than substance. Nigeria is a place where we premise the flash of title over substance.

Ours is a society and culture of people who love titles. I have met Nigerians who get offended when one addresses them as “Mr.” when they are “Chief”. You find people in Nigeria who combine titles like “Alhaji Chief Dr.” and God help you if you do not pronounce the string of their titles fully. Yet, I have met highly decorated professors in the United States who insist you call them by their first name. They don’t even want to be addressed as “professor”. But an average Nigerian professor will go ballistic if you don’t recognise his title. In fact, there is a well-known businessman in Lagos who has an honorary doctorate from a third-rate university in the US who, his staff say, could sack you if you don’t address him as “Dr”.

But the reality is, the PhD is not so special. The US produces an average of 50,000 PhD holders every year. Even when their economy was not down, it is difficult for most of them to get a job and so you could get to a bar and find that the barman has a PhD. You could find that the strip dancer, titillating all the males in the club, is a PhD student and would soon be defending her thesis. I have been in taxis a few times, struck a conversation with taxi drivers and found they have a PhD. It is not all due to a bad economy; a friend and colleague told me that his after-school plan is to open a food truck downtown as soon as he gets his PhD. In fact, in certain countries, a PhD is a disadvantage. Some employers would view you as overqualified and that your intelligence and creativity will be stifled by too many theoretical assumptions. There are many first degree holders abroad who earn more than PhD holders. Their own system does not pay for certificates, it pays for the market demand and relevance of your knowledge. If a PhD holder cannot find a relevant market, too bad for him/her. How many people in the world who are billionaires actually have a college degree, let alone a PhD? No offence meant, but how many degrees does Aliko Dangote himself have? Yet, he’s the richest black man. He probably enjoys watching them pore over textbooks searching for one Keynesian theory or the other to understand and conceptualise an idea while he takes his business decision on instinct.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not merely badmouthing the degree. If it were not worthwhile, I would not have devoted my life to getting one. For one, I acknowledge that it is the highest certificated academic degree. It is the highest intellectual attainment and anyone who needs proof of this only needs to witness a PhD graduation. It is a big deal in many respects. It is a worthwhile achievement for those who are so inclined. A PhD means a lot and means, sincerely, nothing. If you are a fool, a PhD will neither erase that or improve you. In fact, you could get a PhD for your folly and wear the title with pride. The idea of a PhD is to be able to generate original knowledge and if someone goes through the process, manages to get the degree and his knowledge is so irrelevant and cannot guarantee him a place within the society, then let’s not rush to blame the system; blame the individual (after listening to his story, anyway). With the way universities are springing up here and there in the country, it is shocking that the system has not lapped them up. Beyond the shock value of such reporting, we should probe the sociology behind the figures. How come so many Master’s degree and MBA holders are applying as truck drivers? And if things are this bad for certificate-wielding graduates, then what will happen to those who cannot get an education in the first place?

While we are rightly scandalised by the fact that PhD holders are applying to be truck drivers, I think the bigger scandal is the number of first degree holders in the mix. If more than 8,000 people with first degree are applying to be drivers, then Nigeria is in a terrible mess. By any standards, that is a high figure to apply for a job that needs only 100 places. It is pretty scary and worrying. Was it not this time last year that the Ministry of Science and Technology was swearing it would create two million jobs through its “cluster concept”? Where are those jobs? Some five months ago, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said his ministry had created 1.4 million jobs in 12 months? Who are those taking up these jobs? I believe this Dangote case is just one of the many stories of the angst and frustration of unemployment and underemployment in Nigeria and which get progressively worse, with concomitant effects all over the place.

Today, we have politicians who lie that they are employing so and so thousands of graduates through various schemes that neither pays living wages nor promises a future for these youths. They have simply turned poor young men into glorified thugs who do their bidding. How long will that last? Nigeria’s unemployment problem is real and who best should articulate it than a man who sits on the president’s economic team and who’s been adorned with medals about how much jobs he has provided for Nigerians. But then, that should tell him that the road ahead is long.

 

Abimbola Adelakun (aa_adelakun@utexas.edu)

  • hilary

    Nicely written article.All this govt does is to lie that they will create 2 million jobs…bla bla bla. We are headed to nowhere fast as a country.

  • Alex Onyeonwu

    God bless you for this article. Its very appalling that people still face job uncertainty after spending all the time ,effort, and money in other to get a PhD degree. I’m a BSc holder and I’ve been in conflict with myself on whether to go for my masters abroad or stay back home and focus on my work here which I’m being paid well. This article has really helped a lot in aiding me make a decision.

  • ihanny

    Thank you for this write up. It amazes me that people are making noise about phd holders driving trucks. Like I have told a lot of people at least one is gainfully employed.
    A lot of degree and phd holders in Nigeria end up sitting under one tree or another. A lot become criminals, (i heard a story of an armed robber who quizzed the 16yrs old son of his victims in the subject of chemistry. The parents were amazed the armed robber was so learned), a lot of the degree and phd holders turn to drugs to drown their sorrows. Some end up committing suicide. Yet others go raving mad from frustration.
    That Dangote is employing phd holders should not be an issue.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Okorocha Reads Riot Act To Opposition Over Relocation Of Owerri Main Market

The Imo State government, yesterday read riot act to indigenes of Owerri Municipal council opposed to the proposed relocation of the Owerri main market popularly known as Eke-Ukwu Owere, stressing that there is no going back on the exercise.   Governor Rochas Okorocha who stated this in a chart with journalists highlighted that the relocation which would soon be effected would entail total demolition of all structures in the market in line with his urban renewal and Imo my pride programme,...

Dear Single Ladies! Try This 30-Day Challenge

Day 1: Follow a hot friend of a friend on Instagram. Day 2: Write down everything you want in a future partner. Day 3: Write down everything you don't want in a future partner. Day 4: Get glammed up for a bangin' shameless selfie. Day 5: Go out for drinks at a place you've never been to before; don't leave without meeting a...

IPOB Splinter Group Names New Leader, List Eminent Persons To Negotiate With FG

The leadership of the new pro Biafra group, the Reformed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has named a new leader for the organization and listed eminent personalities who are expected to dialogue with the Nigerian government over the agitation for an independent state of Biafra. In a statement signed by its National Director of Publicity, Ikemba Biafra, RE-IPOB described the new leader,Jonathan Kurubo from hails from Bayelsa state as a true son of Biafra who believes...

Calls For Buhari’s Resignation Is Condemnable – Group Tells BBOG

The Global Excellence Foundation has berated the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) campaigners over call that President Muhammadu Buhari should resign from office if he cannot rescue the Chibok Girls from the dreaded Boko haram insurgents.   Country Representative of the foundation, Prof Yemi Ola, while briefing journalists in Abuja said it is on record that securing the release of the girls from captivity has been a major priority of the President Buhari administration.   He said, “We understand that there is some measure of frustration...

Pastor Rapes 13 Year Old Boy To Cure Homosexuality

A pastor with the Jesus Miracle Ministries, Awka, Anambra State, Ekene Adaoji, has fled after allegedly raping a 13-year-old boy.  It was gathered that the pastor was told by a traditionalist that his homosexual habit would be cured if he slept with a male teenager. The victim, who hails from Ebonyi State, said the suspect tricked him by asking him to stay behind after a vigil. He said, “The pastor...

We’ll Make Lagos Uncomfortable For Criminals – Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday commissioned the newly rehabilitated fuel dump for the State Police Command, just as he reiterated his unwavering commitment to keep Lagos safe, secured and uncomfortable for criminal elements and their collaborators.   The facility, which has 33,000 litres capacity for both diesel and premium motor spirit (petrol), was rehabilitated by the State Government for the purpose of dispensing fuel to vehicles used for patrol and surveillance activities by the Police in the State.   Speaking...

Nigerian Army Ends ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ Exercise In Niger Delta

The Commander, “Operation Crocodile Smile’’ of the Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Benbella Raji, has reassured residents in the Niger Delta assurance of their safety. Raji gave the assurance during a training to enhance the operations of the military. The Commander, who is from the 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army in Edo, also said that the training would help to improve the security situation in the Niger Delta. “This exercise was launched by the Chief of Army Staff a few days ago. “Today, we move round...

Dubai Ruler Makes Surprise Visit To Government Offices – And Finds Nobody At Work

This is the awkward moment the ruler of Dubai walks into civil service offices for an unannounced spot check - and finds nobody doing any work.  Sheik Mohammed visited several government departments on Sunday morning - a normal working day in United Arab Emirates - and found several unoccupied desks that should have been populated by senior officers. Video 

Pastor In Court For Allegedly Marrying Mother, Daughter

A pastor, Timothy Ngwu, was on Monday docked at an Enugu North Magistrates’ Court for allegedly marrying another man’s wife, daughter as well as another woman. The pastor’s wife, Veronica Ngwu, was said to have petitioned the court over the development. The victims whom Mr. Ngwu converted to his “wives” were said to be members of his church: Gods’ Favour Ministry, Nsukka. One of the victims, Calista Omeye, however, told the court that her...

Fayose Signs Bill To Try Herdsmen For Terrorism

Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose yesterday signed a bill to regulate grazing, into law, with a warning that any herdsman caught with arms will face charges of terrorism. The governor said the law would curtail activities of suspected herdsmen, who move about with firearms, unleashing terror on citizens. According to the new law, any offender arrested and convicted is liable to six months’ imprisonment without any option of fine. Grazing activities in designated places...

Ex-militants Call For Probe Of Amnesty Office

The Association of Third Phase Ex- Militants have called for an immediate probe of the operations of the Amnesty Office, over alleged breach of disarmament agreement by the federal government through the Amnesty office. National Chairman of the Association, Comrade Wisdom Rufus made the call on Saturday in Abuja, while briefing Newsmen on the challenges faced by the Group as a result of the breach. The Chairman said “ with the...

Soldiers Kill 20 Cattle Rustlers In Zamfara

At least 20 cattle rustlers were killed at the weekend in a military operation in Zamfara State.  The soldiers also recovered 200, 10 AK 47 rifles ammunition. The Commanding Officer, 223 Light Tank Battalion, Lt-Col Aliyu Adamu who disclosed that the rustlers’ den was also destroyed in Dansadau forest “We have succeeded in our battle with cattle rustlers, 20 of them were gunned down. We are also able to recover live ammunition, 10 AK 47 and 1 AK 49...

Reported Probe Of Sanusi, Soludo Untrue– Presidency

The Presidency has refuted social media reports that the tenures of Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II and Prof. Charles Soludo, as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governors, would soon be probed by the Federal Government. The reports alleged that the Federal Government had concluded arrangements to probe the tenures of the two former CBN governors over their views on the state of the economy. Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on...

Boko Haram Stalls Prisoner Swap With Abducted Chibok Girls

Fresh facts have emerged on why President Muhammadu Buhari has remained steadfast on his position that the federal government would only negotiate for the release of the abducted Chibok girls with those who are directly holding them. It has emerged that two recent attempts in recent weeks by the Federal Government for prisoners swap with the so called representative of the terror group may have reached a dead end as each time security officials arrive at...

Mobile Police Stray Bullet Kills Father Of Five In Lagos

Drivers of mass transit buses yesterday boycotted Okoko / CMS route to protest the alleged killing of their colleague Sunday evening by a Mobile policeman. The deceased, identified simply as Fatai was said to have been hit by a stray bullet from a Mobile policeman , at Doyin bus-stop in Orile area of Lagos. The policeman with an undisclosed identity, who was said to be escorting a jeep, reportedly fired some shots into the air apparently...

Ondo Governorship Primaries: I Have No Anointed Candidate – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated that he has no preferred candidate among the 24 governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State. Buhari said this through the Secretary to theGovernment of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal, during a meeting with all the aspirants in Abuja. The APC will on Saturday conduct its primary election to pick its candidate ahead of the governorship election in the state. Addressing reporters after the meeting, Lawal said: “The government of President Muhammadu...

Nigerians Are Hungry, Okogie Writes Buhari

Nigerians are hungry and they urgently need succour from President Muhammadu Buhari. They want him to fulfill his campaign promises by providing good leadership that will check hunger and poverty in the land. This was the message contained in a letter that Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, wrote to Buhari. Reminding the president that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) promised to change the country for the better but has not done...

Kuje Prison Riot: Boko Haram Prisoner Caught With 25 Phones

Sporadic gunfire caused pandemonium at Kuje Prison, Abuja, on Monday, following a riot by some inmates, who resisted the attempt by prison officials to search their cells for banned items. It was gathered that security operatives fired gunshots and tear gas canisters to restore law and order and control the rioters. This happened 11 days after a similar incident in Abakaliki Prison, Ebonyi State, that led to the death of six inmates and injuries to...

Real Reason We Charged Man Who Named Dog Buhari- Police

The police on Monday decried public comments linking President Muhammadu Buhari with the ongoing saga over a dog named “Buhari” in Ogun State. A 40-year old trader, Joe Chinakwe, was recently arrested and arraigned in court for allegedly naming his dog “Buhari.” He has since been granted bail. Some members of the public have however associated the president with the matter. The Ogun State Police Command and Zone 2 Police Command, in separate statements,...

Court Orders Evacuation Of Petroleum Products From Seized Tank Farm

Acquiescing to the prayers of an indigenous oil firm, Zone 4 Energy Limited, a Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered First Bank’s receiver manager, Emmanuel Oyebanji, to allow an oil marketing company, Chukelad Nigeria Limited, to evacuate its 2,804,735 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 1,927,727 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) stored in a tank farm belonging to Zone 4. The tank farm, which is within the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), is under...

Army Has No Right To Declare Civilians Wanted – Falana

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has said that the Nigerian Army has no right to declare civilians wanted. According to him, such action is usurpation of the statutory powers of both the police and the State Security Services (SSS). The Army had in the aftermath of the released video showing some of the abducted Chibok girls on Sunday, August 14, 2016 by the proscribed Boko Haram terrorist sect, declared three persons wanted over alleged...