UNILAG to award first class degrees to 231 graduates

No fewer than 231 out of 12,617 graduating students of the University of Lagos (Unilag) will be awarded first class division during its 49th convocation scheduled for Jan. 24.

Its Vice-Chancellor, Rahmon Bello, who said this at a news conference on Wednesday in Lagos, added that 46 of them would be from the Faculty of Engineering.

According to him, 6, 900 out of the 12,617 students that would be graduating, representing 54.7 per cent, would receive first degrees and diploma certificates.

He said 5,717 others, representing 45.3 per cent, would receive postgraduate degrees.

“With this output, the institution is maintaining its stance of gradually becoming a postgraduate institution,’’ the V-C said.

Mr. Bello, giving a further breakdown of the categories of the graduating students, said that 1,705 of the students would be passing out in Second Class Upper division.

“We will also be graduating 2,972 students in the Second Class lower division, while 1,372 others will be graduating in the Third Class division.

“Also, 103 students will graduate with ordinary pass degrees, while 517 others will have degrees or diplomas that are not classified,’’ Professor Bello said.

According to him, 5,420 postgraduate students will receive their Masters Degree certificates in various fields during the convocation,

He also said that 95 others would be conferred with the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degrees in various disciplines.

Mr. Bello said the university produced two female students, who came top in the first class category with “perfect scores” Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5.00 point in the 2015/2016 academic session.

They are Taiwo Bankole from the Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Science and Ajoke Omotuyi from the Department of Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering.

 

Source: NAN

Dashed hopes: Returnee graduates struggle as employers snub foreign degrees.

TOLUWANI ENIOLA writes that with the current economic recession, overseas-trained Nigerians who spent millions of naira on foreign degrees, are finding it difficult to secure jobs after returning home

After spending over £15000 (over N4m) and more than a year of rigorous studies at the Birmingham City University, United Kingdom, Titus Agu’s joy knew no bounds in 2014 when he successfully completed a master’s degree programme in Environmental Sustainability.

Brandishing his certificate with smiles, Agu posed in his convocation robe as the photographer took turns to capture the moment. He believed that with his second degree, his dream to be gainfully employed in one of Nigeria’s multinational companies was about to come to reality.

Agu’s expectation was that upon arrival in Nigeria, he would be gainfully employed to compensate for the huge cost of his education in the UK. This is because, in the nation’s labour market, those who study abroad often get better recognition than their counterparts from varsities in the country.

The same degree could be obtained for less than £2000 (N500, 000) in Nigerian universities. But the prestige attached to a UK education and the prospects of getting a good job in the country often makes Britain and other foreign countries a desirable option.

According to a 2016 ranking of universities across the world released by the Centre for World University, no Nigerian university is ranked among the world’s top 1000 varsities.

Things started to fall apart for Agu when he could not get a job months after returning to the country. Applying to relevant companies suddenly became a frustrating routine. He got no response from the scores of places he submitted his curriculum vitae to and the only interview he attended was not successful.

Sharing his experience with SUNDAY PUNCH, Agu said, “I left for the UK in 2012 for further studies because of the prestige and quality of education in Birmingham City University.

“I expected that I would have a better chance of securing a job in top-ranked companies in Nigeria. I chose the UK because the mode of learning there is better compared to Nigerian varsities.

“When I returned home, I applied to many companies but got no response. It’s very unfortunate that my master’s degree certificate could not fetch me a job in the country, especially when one considers the investment put into getting an elite education.”

Agu noticed that he was getting frustrated and humbly became an apprentice to a local cobbler to learn shoemaking, after sitting idle at home for months.

According to him, becoming a cobbler, despite having two degrees, is akin to a curse. But he has been able turn the ‘curse’ into a blessing.

Narrating his experience, he said, “Learning shoemaking didn’t go down well with many who felt that I was demeaning myself making shoes because I hold a master’s degree from the UK. Becoming a cobbler despite my education was a foolish decision to some people. They felt that with a foreign degree, I shouldn’t be doing what is considered a job for uneducated folks in the country. Joblessness spurred me to consider entrepreneurship.”

Pains of foreign degrees

Agu’s fruitless search for job is the same fate many Nigerians who spent millions of dollars and pounds to study in the UK, US, Canada and other countries suffer.

Every year, owing to the low quality of education in some Nigerian varsities, job prospects and better opportunities, many Nigerian students opt for overseas education.

The 2016 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange indicated that 10,674 Nigerians were studying in the United States during the 2015-16 academic year.

The report, published annually by the Institute of International Education, in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, stated that the figure marked the highest number of Nigerians studying in the United States since 1986. There are millions of Nigerians studying in the UK, Canada, Russia, Ghana among others.

The upsurge of interest in foreign universities’ degrees is fuelled by the perception that such degrees command prestige back home and gives the holders an edge over other job seekers who studied in Nigerian universities.

But with the biting hardship caused by the economic recession, these returnee graduates are no longer as popular as they used to be.

Some of them, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH, said their failure to get jobs at home made them feel that their acquisition of education abroad was a waste of resources.

Ada Ihuoma, a 24-year-old MBA graduate of the University of Huddersfield, UK, has been searching for jobs to no avail since she returned home from the UK a year ago.

Ihuoma, who obtained a BSc degree in Nigeria before travelling to the UK, said she was beginning to regret spending over N6m, the estimated cost of her MBA in the UK, because of her inability to get a job.

“My job search has been fruitless since I returned to Nigeria. After earning a degree in Computer Science, I couldn’t get a job. So, rather than wait for a job, I reasoned that an MBA would not only increase my chances of securing a job but also boost my education profile.

“Some days ago, after ruminating on my inability to secure a job in Nigeria, I wished I had the N6m I used in obtaining the MBA. There are so many lucrative business ideas I would like to prosecute now. Although I do not regret going abroad to study, I don’t find it funny that I am jobless,” she told SUNDAY PUNCH.

Also, Yewande Osamein, a graduate of Advertising at the University of West-London, is facing a similar challenge. Since she returned to Nigeria last year, Osamein said employers have not been forthcoming with responses on her series of applications for jobs.

Osamein said she spent up to N20m on her degree, adding that the hope of getting quality education and better job chances also made her consider travelling to the UK.

“Getting a job, even with a UK-degree in Nigeria is daunting. Inability to get a job after investing much in education is frustrating. It is high time the governments raised the bar of the country’s educational system for an enabling environment for the youth to get jobs,” she told our correspondent.

Big loss for Nigeria

Recent statistics released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics showed that the economic recession has led to 1.5 million job losses. In the 2016 report on underemployment and unemployment in Nigeria, the NBS stated that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 10.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2015 to 12.1 per cent. The fear of unemployment has led to an increase in the proportion of Nigerians who stay in their countries of study after graduation.

Since he graduated three years ago from a Russian university, Bode Ngochindo, told our correspondent that the frightening unemployment situation in Nigeria had made him stay back in Russia. Ngochindo said unemployment was scaring many Nigerian graduates from returning home.

He added that many Nigerian students with brilliant ideas considered it unwise to return home because of the low chances of achieving their visions in the country.

Just like Ngochindo, Fadekemi Adetosoye, a Political Science bachelor’s degree holder from the University of Pittsburgh, US, is not finding it easy getting a job with her degree which she spent about N55m to obtain.

She is employed in the United States but would not risk coming back home because her applications for job in Nigeria have not been fruitful.

Adetosoye, who shared her story with SUNDAY PUNCH, said, “I currently work as a consultant in the US. I am hoping to apply the experience in the Nigerian market. I have had difficulty applying on the websites of a few multinational companies, and it has also been a challenge to reach out to their HR contacts as well.

“It usually involves knowing someone who can help link one in the right direction to get things going. It’s tough, but that’s the nature of things. I guess, and I’ve learned to accept it and adapt as needed.”

Apart from the fact that Nigeria is losing some of its best brains to other countries, the nation is losing millions of dollars yearly due the rush for overseas education.

Experts say the rush to foreign varsities by Nigerian students underscored the importance of an urgent overhaul of the country’s university system.

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Exam Ethics International, estimated that Nigeria lost N1.5tr as capital flight to overseas education. The estimated loss figure of N1.5tr is more than one-sixth of the country’s 2016 budget.

Stakeholders say the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Ghana and other the countries are inadvertently profiting from the failure of Nigeria to revamp its university education.

The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the rush for overseas education was unfortunate, noting that if the Federal Government could invest in the education sector, Nigerians would be encouraged to study at home.

Ogunyemi, who lamented the loss to overseas education, said he envisioned a new Nigeria typical of the 1950s and 1960s when citizens of other African countries came to study in Nigerian varsities.

He said, “I think we should first ask why Nigerian students are going out to study abroad. If we fix our educational system, we will stop this exodus and education tourism. Considering the amount of money we are losing, it calls for concern.

“Ultimately, we have to address the issue of why our youths are going abroad for education in places that ordinarily would not have been of interest to them. Many of them are also taking risks by going to volatile areas.”

Also, a financial expert, Yemi Soladoye, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, maintained that the country was losing too much to overseas education in foreign exchange.

Soladoye asked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to revamp universities in each region of the country so that Nigerians would be encouraged to study in the country.

“I cannot blame parents and guardians who prefer their wards to study abroad. These parents are not necessarily rich but they believe that quality education is the greatest legacy they can give their children.

“But this rush for overseas education calls for concern. It is an opportunity for the government to invest in education because we are losing much in foreign exchange. I will encourage the government to build world-class universities. This is achievable if we put resources into this.”

Returnee graduates losing relevance

A human resources manager at a job recruitment firm in Lagos, Toju Ashogbon, told our correspondent that his firm has over 2,000 CVs of Nigerian with foreign degrees in its inventory looking for jobs.

Ashogbon said the applicants are no longer as attractive as they used to be as employers now prefer hiring graduates from the country’s private varsities because they could offer them less renumeration than overseas graduates.

The HR expert noted that its firm had secured employments for over 500 graduates, including those who studied in the UK, the US and other top destinations, with the average starting salaries ranging from N80,000 to N120,000 monthly.

“Graduates from private universities in Nigeria have a competitive edge over those returning from the UK, US and others. Clients now prefer hiring graduates of private universities because they can offer them a little less than the foreign graduates and still get the same quality of job delivery and performance.

“Owing to the recession, a candidate who is good and can take less is preferred to one who studied abroad, who usually have higher expectations in terms of salaries,” he told SUNDAY PUNCH.

Another HR expert, Afolabi Akindele, buttressed Ashogbo’s views. He maintained that graduates who studied abroad have lost their advantage in the local market because they often lack the skills needed in organisations.

He stressed that skills acquisition was as important as the quality of education.

Speaking on ways to be successful in the crowded labour market, Akindele said, “Graduates, who studied either in Nigeria or abroad, should focus on skills acquisition rather than mere paper qualifications. It is a big problem for us in Nigeria because we tend to celebrate paper qualification than skills.

“That’s why some people claim to have studied abroad and when you give them the job, they cannot do it. The graduates need to invest in skills acquisition, developing problem-solving competencies and leadership qualities. These are what organisations are looking out for in any candidates. An organisation wants to solve problems. If you don’t have the required skills to solve the organisation’s problems, your paper qualification, irrespective of how prestigious the university which issued it, it is useless.”

Ashogbon advised the returnee graduates to consider entrepreneurship, noting that their frustration in getting jobs back home points to the fact that Nigeria needs more of job creators than job seekers.

Agu called on graduates who are finding it difficult to get jobs to embrace entrepreneurship.  According to him, he now lives a better life after he made the decision to learn a trade.

He said, “Being a cobbler has become very rewarding for me although there are many challenges. The beauty of it is that I now have my shoemaking business which I have been running for over one year. I make more money than most companies would have paid me monthly and I am happy.

“I engage about 10 workers who are also learning the trade under my supervision. Creating shoe factories in all cities of Nigeria is my goal. The same people who jeered at me for becoming a cobbler despite my UK degree now patronise me for footwear.”

Why I Rejected Bill Gates’ Job Offer – Nigerian Young Entrepreneur, Chris Kwekowe

Chris Kwekowe, a young Nigerian entrepreneur reportedly turn down a job offer be a software engineer at Microsoft, owned by the richest man in the world, Bill Gates to begin his own start-up in Lagos.

The twenty-three years old Lagos university graduate proudly revealed this to Bill Gates during a television interview for Africa’s brightest young entrepreneurs in August 2016.

He said he did so to build up his own website called Slatecube– a website aimed at curbing Nigeria`s unemployment problem.

“When I told him, Gates was intrigued and he smiled. After the programme, all the directors were like, ‘Dude, you mean you actually turned down a job at Microsoft and had the guts to tell Bill Gates?’”

According to reports, a survey of 90,000 young Nigerians which was done in January 2016 discovered that 45% of college graduates didn’t have jobs with key reason on lack of professional skills such as: critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and decision-making.

He noted that Slatecube seeks to solve that problem by nurturing the graduates through digital internships and so far, Slatecube has an 80% employment rate for its users.

How we’ll deal with fraudulent claims in N-Power jobs – Presidency

Over 90% of the 200,000 unemployed Nigerian graduates selected in the first batch of the N-Power Volunteer Corps, NPVC, have been verified using the Bank Verification Number, and any untrue information submitted in the process of application is a ground for disqualification.

This clarification was given Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, while giving an update on the N-Power Volunteer Corps which is now advancing with assignment of beneficiaries to their places of deployments in their states of residence.

Mr. Akande, who referred to a BBC report last week regarding the testimonials of some of the selected Nigerian graduates noted that “it is most gladdening that those who were selected are now telling the stories of how they have not been employed for years, but now grateful to the President for this initiative.”

Some of them, he added, expressed satisfaction that even though they knew no one in government, they were selected for the paid volunteer job program, attesting to the transparency of the selection process.

Mr. Akande said that all the states and the FCT, through the focal persons they appointed, have since received the list of the 200,000, and now working on deploying the beneficiaries to their places of assignment.

He also explained that by using the BVN, which is one of the most viable means of identification in the country today, there is hardly any way anything fraudulent can sail through in the process.

“We are confident that the selection process, all the way through with BVN, and physical verification at the points of deployment in the states and the local government areas, are both transparent and impossible to abhor ghost beneficiaries, or any kind of fraud,” he said.

Mr. Akande said already 93% of those selected have been screened through the BVN, with the commendable assistance of the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc, NIBSS, and only authentic and verifiable beneficiaries will be paid the N30,000 monthly stipends starting December.

Responding to reports about random searches conducted on social media platforms, the SSA dismissed them, saying such cannot be better than “biometric identification we have secured through the BVN.”

“Besides the BVN, there is going to be physical verification, through an in-built component in our selection system that requires that information submitted online during the application would have to be authenticated at the point of deployment across the country, including verification of academic credentials and residence status.”

According to him, just as is normal when someone gets a job or even admission to school, he or she would proceed to present papers that have been submitted during application for verification. “This is also going to be like that, so claims about some applicants claiming to be residents of states would be dealt with if it turns out such claims are false. If an applicant cannot supply proof of residence, the selection is terminated.”

Besides, he explained that in a local government such as Abadam in Borno State, where there have been claims that nonresidents applied and were selected, Akande assured that there is no cause for alarm because such people would have to show up for verification on the spot.

He added that there was also a likelihood that a number of applicants may have input Abadam inadvertently considering that Abadam LGA is number one on the list of LGAs under the list as posted on the N-Power portal. “There is a good chance,” he continued, “that some applicants may have failed to complete the forms online accurately.”

Such errors are being reviewed and anyone found not to be resident in the LGA would be removed and replaced using the waiting list of applicants.

Said he: “an important aspect of the application was that applicants were told in clear terms that any false information would be grounds for disqualification.”

On how the 200,000 people were selected, the SSA Media explained that the selection was not only fair and done transparently, but also with adequate care.

Firstly, 40% of those who applied for the N-Power Teach and Agric were selected, and 50% of those who applied for the Health category, all based on an assessment test.

Then to mitigate the adverse socio-economic circumstances in the North- East an additional 4800 applicants from the region were selected with Borno State getting 1200 and Adamawa, Yobe, Taraba 800 each and Bauchi and Gombe 600 each.

Also to bolster states with low application numbers, an additional 4208 was selected and shared between Bayelsa, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States. The Federal Ministry of Agric also additionally allocated 6799 applicants in the Agric category to all states across specific crop, fish and livestock targets in order to support government’s self-sufficiency target in Agric produce.

Gender and disability factor were also key in the selection. 46% of those selected, Mr. Akande disclosed, are females, while a total of 1126 were successful applicants with disabilities.

Mr. Akande then assured that those not selected in the first batch are now in the waiting list until the subsequent batches when they would be considered again, since there are still 300,000 to be selected under this budget cycle.

On why the selection process was based on states of residence rather than states of origin, Mr. Akande simply noted that for example, over 42,000 Nigerians applied for the N-Power from Lagos but only 3568 of them originate from Lagos. “Would it then be tenable to say almost 40,000 Bona fide Nigerians who are applicants resident in Lagos should just forget it since they are resident but not origins of the Lagos State?

FG To Employ 200,000 Graduates In October

The Federal Government has announced on Tuesday that the implementation of its Social Investment Programmes would commence before the end of this month.

This, according to a statement issued in Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, is in fulfilment of the government’s campaign promises.

Mr Akande noted that the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, confirmed that implementation plans for the effective commencement of a number of the Social Investment programmes of the Buhari presidency has reached advanced stages as the selection of the first 200,000 unemployed graduates to get jobs is now being completed.

According to the statement, Mr Osinbajo made this known while fielding questions in an interview with a small group of radio journalists and producers at the Presidential Villa.

“We expect that before the end of the month, we will engage 200,000 out of the 500,000 unemployed graduates the Buhari administration plans to hire in the N-Power jobs programme.

“The direct government jobs are meant to keep these young people occupied, pay them some amount of money and also give them a device, which will also help them to learn several skills that they can develop as time goes on.

“We expect that before the end of this month, we should have engaged 200,000 of them and we are hoping that before the end of the year we should have engaged more,” the statement quoted Mr Osinbajo as saying.

The Vice President explained that on the Home-Grown School Feeding programme, this will kick off in several states by the end of October.

“Definitely before the end of this month, we expect that several states would have come on stream with their Home-grown School Feeding Programmes.

“This will energise agriculture in the different states because it is what you plant that you feed the children with, we will be hiring caterers, cooks, etc in each state because it will be Federal Government funded from Primaries 1-3 and the state governments hopefully would be able to cater for the other classes,” Osinbajo was further quoted as saying.

UNILAG Student Graduates With CGPA Of 5.00

Mr Ayodele Daniel Dada, from the Department of Psychology, University of Lagos has emerged the best graduating student in the 2014/2015 sessions with a cumulative GPA of 5.00.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rahamon Bello who disclosed this on Wednesday during ?a pre-convocation press conference held at the institution’s Senate Chamber, described the 5.00 CGPA as a perfect score. He said that this means Ayodele scored As in all courses he took in the programme.

According to him, a total of 10,907 students will graduate with degrees and diplomas ?during the convocation slated for 1st to 3rd of March, 2016. In the breakdown, he noted that 5472 students will be awarded with first degree certificates, while 5435 will receive postgraduate degrees.

He said: “Out of the first degree graduating students, a total of 178 passed in the first class division, while 1,617 passed in the second class upper division. “Also, 2,496 are in second class lower degree, 884 in third class, 274 in unclassified degrees in Medical Sciences and Pharmacy, just as 50 students had pass degree. Besides , the University will graduate a total of 71 students with the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in various disciplines.” According to the Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Engineering tops with the highest number of first class degrees, having 41 first class graduating students.

Credit: Vanguard

CBN Plans Soft Loans For One Million Graduates

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on Thursday announced that a low-interest loan scheme for one million young graduates would commence next year.

The governor said the special loan scheme, which would be managed by the central bank in collaboration with commercial banks, was part of the strategy of the Federal Government to boost the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sub-sector and curtail unemployment among the youth.

Emefiele made the disclosure in Lagos during the opening ceremony of the seventh Annual Bankers’ Committee Retreat.

The CBN governor said, “We need to get more and more people to be employed, and we will need the support of the banks to begin to see how we lower our risk acceptance criteria to give support to our young graduates.

“In the course of the next few weeks, we will be unfolding a plan of support of the CBN to create employment for at least one million young graduates in Nigeria in 2016. That will entail support from Nigerian banks and our development institutions to see how we will channel these concessionary loans to companies that are MSMEs.”

Emefiele said the plunge in commodity prices, especially crude oil, had led to sharp fall in the nation’s revenue, adding that Nigeria and other oil exporting countries were facing hard times, a situation that necessitated the need to diversify the economy away from oil.

Credit: Punch

NDE Trains 60 Unemployed Graduates In Zamfara

The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in Zamfara would train 60 unemployed graduates and secondary school leavers in solar installation, poultry farming and commercial gardening.

The State Coordinator, Alhaji Muhammad Alhassan disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gusau on Tuesday.

Alhassan said out of the number, 30 graduates of various science courses who completed their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) would be trained under a ”three months Solar Energy Training Scheme” introduced by the directorate.

”Under this program the participants would be trained on solar energy installation,management and maintenance and already, registration of such graduates have commenced yesterday while the training will start soon after,” he stated.

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Dencia Reveals She Never Graduated from College on Instagram

Beauty super star Dencia may have a certain level of success but in a society that preaches school and education as a base for becoming what you want in life, Dencia has definitely proved them not totally correct in her quest and achievements she is sitting on top today.

 According to her, this happened because she didn’t need graduation ‘cos at the end of the day, unless you are studying medicine, law or a licensed profession, your degree is almost worthless (as was in her case).

She shared her true story on instagram and i must say this should definitely inspire someone out there today.

The Plight And Story Of A Nigerian Graduate By Charles Obi

I have always wanted to visit the four ways of a university. Having written jamb and WAEC once, the thought of finally being free from their bondage was finally over. But most of all I wanted to experience the feeling of university life, independence and pursuit of academic excellence. That was why I enlisted the prestigious law into my jamb form with the hope of becoming a sound legal practitioner like Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana etc.
Well, my hopes were dashed as after the post Ume, my name was nowhere to be found in the law admission list. I was later informed that I had been granted political science to study as I didn’t meet the criteria to study my first choice of preference. Initially I had skepticisms about the course. I always wondered the opportunities the course presented in modern day Nigeria. I kept asking myself, will I be a politician after reading such a course? Politics wasn’t in any of my interest zone, but due to the desperation to seek admission, I accepted the course and decided to tread into the future blindfolded.
Now let’s fast forward to 6years after when I graduated from school with my B.sc degree (2.2). Am sure you are wondering why it took six years to read political science which originally should have been four years? Well the answer isn’t farfetched. Asuu strike did its havoc. So for two years and a missed NYSC batch, I could finally call myself a graduate. I was a young man ready to take on the challenges of the world. I could remember the day I finished my NYSC program I was beaming with smiles and eagerness to start fending for myself. I have often heard from other Corp members though that life was difficult on the outside, and there were no employment opportunities but that didn’t really faze me. I felt it couldn’t be that bad as the way these ‘lazy’ people were projecting it to be. I was in high spirit. I felt unconquerable, filled with burning energy to do exploit for my nation.
I decided to use my degree to seek employment in my field of study. I was shocked to learn that my course had absolutely no relevance in becoming or achieving any political appointment in this country. It was purely based on how much wealth and connection you had. I applied to virtually all governmental ministries but I wasn’t even called for an interview. Not a single one. I was bluntly told by recruitment agencies to bring the complementary cards or get my form endorsed by senior governmental figures in this country before I would even be considered. These were people I have never seen in reality but only on the pages of our dailies. Since it became obvious I couldn’t conjure such requirements I decided to re strategize.
I then decided to shift my attention to the military. At least the military would always appreciate a graduate right? I foolishly remember when my dad use to say back in his days the military do come begging for graduates to enlist. I had already wasted a year of my life applying for government administration jobs. Besides what other choice do I have? My family’s countenance had already started taking a different turn. I was being given the raised eyebrow look whenever I visited home. It was the behavior you would portray if you were expecting returns for your investments and you were not getting it. The heat was starting to burn me.
I first tried to enroll in the Navy. I wrote my test at Lagos Ojo barracks. When I got to the test centre, only the sight of applicants who also came to write the test just like me killed any hope I had in me. On investigations I found out we were about five thousand people who came for the recruitment exercise in Lagos alone. The recruitment was being zoned nationally with 10 people coming from each state. The shocker came when I overheard a naval officer telling his colleague that we were just wasting our time. In his words he said “see how dem just they do as if they wan die. Dem don choose who dem want for state government house. All this one na just formality.” With slouched shoulders and a shattered morale, I looked outside the examination hall and saw governmental convoys going into the naval quarters with fanciful car plate numbers. Anyway to cut the long story short, I didn’t make the supposed 10.
I decided to try the air force. The recruitment process was terrible. In fact it was the worse I have ever been to. The queue was so long It began to look as if we were about to be judged by our creator in heaven. We were exposed in the scorching sun for hours. Some of us were beaten and treated like animals during the exercise. Fragmented images still flash through my mind when I try to reminisce on that fateful day. I remember when my knees began to buckle. I could feel my intestines grabbing the four walls of my stomach in protest for food. I also remember the constant dodging of soldiers whip, the pushing and shoving, then off course how would I forget the multitudes of faces staring down at me with some holding on to pure water sachet. I was told I had fainted. Your guess is as good as mine. I didn’t make the list.
I shifted my gaze to the immigration service; still there was no luck in that. I was told in clear English language to get four hundred thousand naira as processing fee for my application to be considered. Did this people think I was stupid? If I had such an amount wouldn’t I start something of my own?
By now a year and six months had gone by. That was when I was introduced to insurance. I was told to sell different kinds of policies which would benefit our prospective clients. The job entails me to be placed on commission which means for every penny I bring into the company, I would be given a certain percentage. To get a good commission, I would walk round the city of Lagos begging strangers to invest in the scheme. It wasn’t a good form of business as people were acutely aware of the fraudulent nature of these insurance companies. Many of them don’t even pay claims as at when due. There were times I would go and see a very promising client only for me to get disappointed; I would become stranded without transport fare only for me to resort to agbero tactics just to get home. Eight months into the job and I had made nothing more than 40 thousand naira as commission fees. My brother I had to quit so as to save myself from serious health issues, insults and a degrading personality.
Now fast forward to four years after and here I am. As I write this piece I am a secondary school teacher. I earn fifteen thousand naira per month and still my employer feels she did me a favor. I am talked to and trampled upon at any time the management chooses. Most times I am not given my entitlements as I am always told “there are no physical chains binding you here. If you don’t like the system you can leave”. Did I hear you say leave? I can’t. My dilemma has been compounded with the fact I now have a beautiful baby girl who is a year and four months today. I need to play the fatherly role and also accept responsibility for my actions. It hasn’t been an easy ride because it is impossible to survive with that kind of pay so I resort to other forms of menial labor just to augment my peanut of a salary. So yes indeed, there is a physical chain binding me there. It is the chain of desperate survival and hopelessness.
To me it’s the psychological torture that I suffer the most. I am well over qualified but underpaid and disrespected which equally leads to frustration and lack of job satisfaction. I do the zombie walk every time I go to work in the morning. These days as a way to cool off, I transfer the aggression and frustration to the students on the slightest of provocation. The emptiness in me gets bigger everyday as I hear stories of my mates who are gainfully employed and doing well for themselves. To compound the problem, there is no dignity in the job these days. Many of us are given tasks that are belittling and degrading. Little wonder a parent called us ordinary WAEC holders during a PTA meeting.
I never imagined it would be this way. That I would be so irrelevant to my society and nation as a whole. Every single day that goes by I am faced with hopelessness and the future is looking bleak. I am already close to the non employable age bracket. These days I see outrageous job requirements e.g. not older than 25, master degrees with 8 years cognate experience etc. My hopes are waning. Desperate measures will soon be put into place.
So sitting here and looking back, I ask myself where did I get it all wrong? Was it a wrong idea to further my education in the university? Would I have been more successful if I had skipped university and done some form of apprenticeship? Who knows I might have been a proud owner of chains of businesses by now. What is the future of next generation of graduates? What if……..
Sadly I know I am not the only one in this predicament. There are others like me out there as well. I decided to write this as a way of raising serious questions about unemployment issues in Nigeria. Based on Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, 23.9 percent of Nigerians are currently unemployed. This means approximately more than 40million graduates (which is still rising as you read this piece) compared to Germany 7.8percent unemployment rate. I also read the US created 72,000 jobs only in December 2013. So why is ours different? Why is ours rising each year? And what is our government doing to tackle this menace?
The sooner government realizes this is a national threat the better as we have seen the concomitant effects of youth unemployment manifest itself in various forms across the country. Kidnapping, armed robbery and even militancy in the Niger delta and to some extent the Boko Haram menace could be identified as some of the negative outcome of unemployment.
Those that want to become entrepreneurs should be encouraged by the government. Readily accessible loans with reasonable interests should be given to graduates to enable them start up small scale businesses. Government should also set up skill acquisition programs right from our secondary schools so as to prepare the future generation to become independent. This acquired skill will open up a whole new innovative process whereby our graduates will begin to compete with the rest of the developed markets.
But most of all, jobs should be created whereby graduates can be placed into work environment where they can actually practicalize what they have learnt in school. The merit system should be re instated just like back in the days. This will enable successful applicants to carry themselves with pride, dignity and honor as remuneration wouldn’t be the core value for job seekers. It is often said if you do what you have a passion for, then you will effortlessly excel in it no matter the pay. This in turn will create maximum job satisfaction which leads to overall healthy and social life.
As for me, I have no choice but to keep my dreams alive. I must continue to tug and push until the doors of frustration finally breaks through. With continued determination, and prayers I can see the light at the end of the tunnel; or maybe it could also be the light of a train that would eventually crush me.

I am an aspiring writer. For comments and observations, I can be contacted via email- charlesobi13@ymail.com or via twitter handle @obicharles11

Views expressed are solely that of author and has no association with www.omojuwa.com nor its associates