WEF: Rising youth unemployment puts Nigeria on ‘time bomb’.

Nigeria’s rising youth unemployment is now a major source of worry with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Lagos Business School saying the country sits on a ‘time bomb.’

Government says the situation is under control and efforts to curb joblessness will pay off in 2017. The country’s unemployment rate rose from 13.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2016 to 13.9 per cent in third quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics’ Unemployment/Under-employment Report released in October last year.

The rising rate of unemployment will enlarge existing risk of insecurity and militancy in major parts of the country and undermine government’s efforts at fighting insurgency in the Northeast, uprisings in the Southeast and other serious crimes in parts of the country. Past President of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, in agreeing with the WEF/LBS’ report, said Nigeria is experiencing insecurity largely due to joblessness and perceived marginalization. He added that unemployment rate has been rising consistently since 2014.

“The impact of unemployment is already evident, as we look at general levels of militancy in the South South, the problems with the Boko Haram and even some of the eruptions in other parts of the country, especially the IPOB and the MASSOB,” says Ohuabunwa who still sits in the NECA council. He argues that the country’s misery index has reached 50 per cent, meaning that more than half of Nigeria’s more than 180 million people “are miserable.” The Misery Index is a measure of unemployment in line with inflation rate — the average rate of increase in prices of good and services. Ohuabunwa explains that gross unemployment rate when factored with under-employment rate in the third quarter of last year for example, puts the unemployment rate at 50 per cent. “We are the third highest country with misery index, only behind Venezuela and Iraq. Recession has worsened our condition. Therefore, social stability and job creation should be at the core of our economic policy.”

But there is always the good side. Abiola Rasaq, an investment analyst with the UBA Capital, sees the challenge posed by youth unemployment differently. “It can either be positive or negative for the country,” he submits. “The rising youth unemployment reinforces the fact that Nigeria can become a manufacturing giant given the repository of labour force,” says Rasaq as he cites the productive activities of the Asian Tigers — China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, among others — with relatively cheap labour. “If we can harness and drive productivity, then it will be a win-win.”

Rasaq agrees that failure to harness “this rich human capital resource can create social menace for us. There is potential that unemployed youths can become a social force for civil unrest; we need to ensure that we make our youths productive,” said Rasaq who cited the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Dangote Foundation as exemplary initiatives driving entrepreneurship and job creation.

The Federal Government yesterday responded to The Guardian enquiry on the WEF/LBS report as Festus Akanbi, the media aide to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said “government already has a lot of programmes to address unemployment this year.”

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity in the office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, also said government’s N-Power programme is already targeting unemployed graduates.

“Half a million people are being targeted but we have done 200,000. It is just for unemployed graduates. And we have already reached another 100,000 non-graduates as micro credit is being made available to young people who want to develop their businesses.”

Akande explained that the scheme is not limited to youths but they could get as much as N100, 000 business grant as part of government’s Social Investment Scheme. He also hinted of plans to create technology hubs in eight strategic centres across the country — one each in Lagos and Abuja, and the rest in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

The number of unemployed in the labour force, the NBS said, increased by 555,311 persons just as the underemployment rate rose from 19.3 per cent in second quarter to 19.7 in the third quarter.

Nigerians aged 15 to 64, who during the reference period were available and actively seeking work but were without work were categorised ‘unemployed,’ while underemployment occurs when a person works less than 40 hours, but works at least 20 hours a week. The NBS also explained that underemployment could occur when a person works full time but is engaged in an activity that underutilises his skills, time and educational qualifications.

The report stressed that addressing the “youth unemployment is not only important, but also most urgent given the link between unemployment and other social problems such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, which are unfortunately becoming more common in Nigeria.”

Joe Ajero, who leads one of the factions of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday told The Guardian that the unemployment situation was a national emergency. “No one needs to tell us that this is a problem that will explode any moment from now, especially as those who are leaving school are not getting jobs,” he said. “Those who are working are not being paid salaries and those who had worked and are retired are not being paid their pensions.” Ajero called for urgent action to avert what he said could lead to civil unrest.

Over 4.5m Nigerians Jobless Since 2015 – KADCCIMA

Over 4.5 million Nigerians have become jobless since last year, adding 2.6 million to unemployment figures of 1.46 million recorded in the ?third quarter of 2015 and 518.102 in the fourth quarter of 2015, Kaduna Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) has disclosed.

The immediate past president of the KADCCIMA, Dr Abdul-Alimi Bello?, stated this in his welcome address delivered at the weekend on the occasion of the combined 41st and 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) and presentation of award of excellence to organizations and individuals.

The ceremony which took place at the Hamdala Hotel Kaduna also saw to the emergence of new leadership? with Dr. Muheeba H. Dankaka as the new President.?

Others are Dr. Aliyu Dikko, Alh. Suleiman Aliyu as first and second deputy President respectively while othe?r council members are Hon. Ishaya Idi?, Hajiya Rakiya Musa, Dr. Segun Falope, Alh. Tijjani Musa, Dr. David Obiora, Alh. Lawal Umar Mayere, Alh. Farouk Suleiman, Hajiya Fati Usman, Engr. Sunday G. Mshelia, Alh. Shehu M. Shitu, Mal. Gimba H. Ibrahim, Aliyu Mamman, KIFC Representative, BOA Representative, PAN Representative, Textiles Representative, Unity Bank Representative and NNDC Representative? who are to serve for two years term.

?Dr Bello further disclosed in his address that, “according to reports during the reference period, the unemployment in the labour market increased. By. 1,158,700. Persons resulting in an increase in the national unemployment rate to 13.3 percent in second quarter of 2016 from 12.1 percent in 2016, 10.4. Percent in 2015 from 9.9 percent in third quarter 2015 and from. 8.2 percent in 2015.

“The value of capital imported into Nigeria in the second quarter of 2016 was estimated. At. $647.1 million which represents a fall of 75.73 percent relative to the second quarter in 2015. This provisional figure would. Be the lowest level of capital imported into. Economy on record and. Would also represent the largest year on year decrease.

“During the period under review, there have been unprecedented job losses in most sectors of the economy. A challenging period from the oil sectors where companies have recorded inability to service debts and have embarked on mass retrenchment to the manufacturing sector where companies have embarked on. Job termination to reduce non business critical costs to banking where institutions have terminated the employment of over 5,000 workers this year alone in a. Bid to optimize operations.

“The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) reported that 58 members of the association had closed down due to the. Unavailability of raw materials, a fall out of forex restrictions from the federal government. The closures resulted in over 4.5 milliom workers being forced into redundancy.”

As a way forward, he suggested that the federal government must ensure that there is timely and transparent allocation of allocation of forex to manufacturers? to import spare parts and raw materials for production activities.

“Ensure effective patronage of locally manufactured goods as well as domestic service providers in all ramifications.

“Ensure prompt payment for goods. And services supplied to all MDAs? so as to speed up the deflation process in the economy and

“Ensure active promotion of PPP? for the. Envisaged infrastructure development by federal and state government.”

Senate Summons Labour Minister Over Unemployment

The senate yesterday summoned the minister of Labour and productivity, Dr Chris Ngige to appear before it  to provide insight into government’s road map towards tackling the alarming unemployment rate in the country and consequently review and reinforcing the blueprint.

This followed a motion by Sen Duro Faseyi (PDP Ekiti North) on the intolerable upswing of unemployment in Nigeria.

The senate said that it was worried that the economic recession which has hit the country would multiply the level of unemployment in the country as more companies have already started downsizing in order to cut cost , which according to them would compound the unemployment situation in the country.

It urged government to declare a state of emergency on unemployment with a view to confronting the challenge squarely.

The senate also directed government ministries and agencies and parastaltals , particularly the security outfits to enlist more Nigerian youths as s measure towards enhancing security around the country as well as ease unemployment.

It further directed the senate committee on labour and productivity to organise a one day retreat to dicuss the issue of unemployment with a view of addressing the challenge.

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Tony Ademiluyi: From Bus Drivers To Conductors

When I did my National Youth Service Corps in a foreign multinational in the bustling city of Warri a few years ago, I had an interesting conversation with one of the egg heads in the Information Technology Department. I recall his telling me that up till 1999 one could get a job there as a member of staff on a permanent basis. The only downside was if you joined with your secondary school certificate, you could never rise to become a manager or get to work abroad. Fast forward to when I served, some Ph.d holders were seriously lobbying to get a foot in the door as contract members of staff with the hope of a permanent conversion. For some, it could take a grueling ten years, for others it remained a pie in the sky. A contract member of staff in the department I served was always full of bitterness and regrets that he turned down a job offer in the 1980’s because he thought a university degree would make him rise to the zenith. Unfortunately, by the time he had the degree, it had become so worthless that he got the contract job there ten years after his Nysc. ‘If only I knew’ he always muttered and cursed whenever the month ended and no alert came in as some of them were at the mercy of contract holders who refused to remit their salaries to them. He had to augment his irregular income through part-time bus driving as he was notorious for frequently taking time off work to attend to the needs of his stomach.

When Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote announced his graduate bus drivers’ scheme some years ago, there were mixed reactions. Some pilloried him for making a mockery of the many years of toil that graduates were subjected to and blasted him for rubbing their poverty in their faces. Others opined that there was no big deal. He had the right to do as he’s pleased with his money and moreover some graduates – not economic refugees but natives did odd jobs to survive abroad. There was, therefore, no justification for his critics bringing down the roof since there was even a scheme in place to transfer ownership of the vehicles to them after a period of time.

When I had a Facebook conversation with a former Student Union activist in a first generation university, he revealed that he initially bought into the ‘Andrew don’t check out’ propaganda with the late Enebeli Elebuwa as the poster boy. However, when the late Admiral Mike Akhigbe was the military governor of Lagos State, he instituted a Graduate Drivers Scheme in the late 1980’s. The unemployment situation was not this bad but it was clear that there was a subtle contempt for the intelligentsia as the wave of intellectual exile had already begun. Some analysts perceived the scheme as a surreptitious message signal of the impotence of the once revered educated elite. The scheme didn’t last a year and the activist then put his thinking cap on as he predicted that human capital development was never going to be on the front burner in the so-called ‘Giant of Africa’ for the next century. When an opportunity presented itself to ‘port’ (a slang popularized by Hafeez Oyetoro of Saka fame) to Canada, he didn’t think twice.

Last week Friday, the National President of the Bus Conductors Association of Nigeria, Comrade Israel Ade Adeshola (note the subtle abuse of the word comrade) disclosed that through the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, one thousand graduate conductors would be employed with a monthly salary of 50,000 naira to give the ‘profession’ a new facelift.

The times are indeed strange. We recall with fanfare the August visit of Mark Zuckerberg to Nigeria which pointed out the immense benefits in young Nigerians plugging into the global digital economy. Without sounding offensive to the conductors who are forced by cruel circumstances beyond their control to do the job, they ought not to exist in this technologically driven economy. Their existence is a sad reminder of the failure of the government to leapfrog the pivoting of the economy into a digital one. With cashless payment solutions, a passenger could pay for his or her fare with the aid of a card. Conductors won’t have to risk their lives to merely eke out a threadbare living as they would live a more dignified existence as transport card sellers or agents for instance.

It is bad enough that public policy is now being influenced by a so-called Comrade who is ignorant of the workings of how technology should create boundless opportunities for all.

Human capital development is the reality as countries like Singapore, Malaysia, China and the rest of the Asian Tigers rose from grass to grace by simply investing heavily in the intellectual capital of their citizens. It is sad that we have analog thinkers who are hell bent on keeping our youths under the threshold of mediocrity and slavery. Is this backward thinking scheme a sustainable wealth creation strategy? The level of organized waste of resources especially human is mind boggling.

So far there has been no official statement by any Lagos State government official which implies a tacit endorsement of it. Rather than create a policy to make youths solvers of recurring challenges through the use of technology, the government has decided to be a collaborator in suppressing the already impoverished youths in their prime. How tragic! I can place a bet that the so-called Comrade won’t groom any of his sons – pardon the gender bias for I have never seen a female conductor tow this line. The victims are definitely those whose fathers were not visionary enough to be ‘comrades.’

The mega city agenda of Lagos will have the presence of conductors as a sore thumb. It is an antithesis of what a mega city ought to be and will end up as one more unrealistic slogan like the Vision 2020 which is fast becoming worse than a nightmare.

It is a well-known fact that the street terrorists popularly known as agberos have now been organized into a union under the umbrella of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. They even wear two sets of uniforms. One won’t be surprised if the Head of the gang in Lagos, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya a.k.a Mc Oluomo makes a suggestion to the government that a scheme to attract graduates into the group should be implemented to ease the mind-boggling unemployment situation.

So much for a ‘Centre of Excellence!’

Tony Ademiluyi


Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates






Unemployment: Exercise Patience Till 2016 Budget Is passed, Dalung Urges Youths

The Federal Government has admonished Nigerian youths, who are yearning for employment and developmental programmes to exercise patience till the passage of the 2016 appropriation bill by the National Assembly.


The Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung also urged the young generation to engage their mind gainfully in order to actualize God-given potentials and make meaningful impact.


To assist them in realising their dreams, the minister disclosed the government’s readiness to partner the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Nigeria to train young people for leadership responsibility. Dalung, who stated this, when the delegation from the Duke of Edinburgh International Award for youths paid him a visit in Abuja, identified leadership problem as one of the challenges facing the country.


He decried lack of value orientation among youths and faulted previous leadership style that couldn’t bridge the gap of gainful transmission of core societal values, insisting that the collaboration became imperative as the government set standard for the development of leadership and ethics in the country.

FG Votes N500bn To Tackle Unemployment– Ngige

Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, said the Federal Government voted N500 billion to tackle unemployment and provide care for the vulnerable.

The minister said this during a courtesy visit by the Rwanda High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Stanislas Kamanzi in Abuja.

He said the Federal Government was determined to face the menace of unemployment squarely, especially among youths in the country.

Ngige said the government would fight spiritedly to solve the unemployment problem totally in the country.

Ngige said the government was also poised to engage the over 500,000 that graduate yearly from the nation’s institutions, adding that this would prevent them from engaging in untoward activities.

Credit: Nation

Olawale Rotimi: Unemployment And The Challenges Of Starting A Business In Nigeria

With a growing population of over 170 million people, unemployment remains on top of the list of social problems confronting Nigeria for several years. The inability of the government to provide employment opportunities for graduates or enabling environment for self-employment/business to strive, This has been subject of too many discourses about Nigeria, both at national and international levels, in fact, recent indication show that unemployment has risen in less than 200 days of the new government, more than 700, 000 Nigerians are reported to have joined the unemployed.

Job creation has been politicized in Nigeria. Tackling this menace has been cheapened to ordinary political statements and fire brigade approaches. It is a multifaceted problem, that the government has failed to provide employment opportunity is a phase, more also; the failure of the government to provide enabling infrastructures needed for small scale businesses to strive is another phase. Nigeria’s economy has been ranked the largest economy in Africa, yet there are tough challenges confronting business start up in Nigeria. It is disturbing that the economic ranking of the country continues to contradict the true situation of starting a business in Nigeria.

Since the emergence of the global economic crisis, unemployment has been a global issue, however, government investment into the private sector through funding of entrepreneurs have created millions of job opportunities in various countries. Nigeria’s entrepreneurial empowerment has been more theoretic than visible. The following challenges of starting a business in Nigeria: Infrastructural Deficit, Corruption and Lack of funding and Political Instability:

Infrastructural Deficit: Nigeria has failed in infrastructural development, the margin between infrastructural development and underdevelopment in Nigeria is hopeless. Across the globe, no government can provide sufficient employment opportunities for its populace, but government can create infrastructures that will enable businesses to strive, particularly small scale businesses. Many businesses have collapsed in Nigeria due to infrastructural deficit. For instance, since independence, Nigeria has never enjoyed uninterrupted power supply. However, power is a major infrastructural demand needed for businesses to flourish, businesses incur more cost on petrol/diesel in a bid to generate power. The shortfall in infrastructure in Nigeria has heightened unemployment because it unsettles the atmosphere that should allow businesses to strive.

Corruption and Lack of Funding: Corruption in the Nigerian society is as old as the country. This has affected all spheres of development in the country. Corruption in the area of job creation is vast, ranging from fraudulent activities in government employment schemes, to mismanagement of empowerment funds. As many as would have been self employed in the Nigerian society, inability to access fund has weakened their dreams. Most government fundings are theoretic than visible, large sum of money are usually earmarked for business empowerment but such funds have no traceable success record. More also, many government funding end up in hands of non targets. For instance, beneficiaries of many Agric loans are not even farmers. The alternative, which is the financial institutions also places huge embargoes on loans that discourage small scale business owners. More than 73% of Nigerians featuring the Gallup survey conceded access to finance was the single-most important hurdle in the way to setting up successful enterprises. 

Political Instability: Nigeria is a core heterogenous society which is unstable politically. Every government is accosted with strong opposition from various interest groups that ensure their activities unsettle and unfocus the government. Without stability, there cannot be progress. The more unstable the government is, the more vulnerable the society is. Nigeria has moved from one level of political instability to the other with varying degrees on intensity. Like others, this has inflated unemployment and made it more difficult for businesses to strive. More often, government substantial employment plans are marred by unhealthy political interests and strong ethnic and religious identities. In addition, every government digress totally from good reforms made by previous government. Sustainability is key in development, without a deep sense of sustainable development, growth will be impossible. It’s senseless for any government to ignore bright ideas of a previous administration for the sake of self sufficiency.

The current situation doesn’t not make it easy to develop a business in Nigeria. Infrastructural deficit , corruption and lack of funding, political instability inflates unemployment and complicates business start up in Nigeria. Beyond rhetorics, Government must think in the direction of infrastructural development to make the environment more enabling for businesses to strive. Corruption has to be tackled and funds have to be made available for entrepreneurs to access.

Olawale Rotimi
B.A, M.A Ilorin, DELF Paris.
T: @RotimiLawale

He can be contacted Via olawalerotty@gmail.com

“You don’t struggle to grow, grow the grass and the sheep will come, nurture it and they will never. Increase in quality not in quantity”

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates

Ekweremadu Reminds Buhari Of His Promise To Pay Unemployed Nigerians N5,000 Monthly

The Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has reminded President Muhammadu Buhari of his campaign promises to Nigerians.
“The ruling APC government must fulfill their campaign promise of paying unemployed Nigerians a sum of 5000 Naira monthly,” he said on the floor of the Senate Chambers during moves to consider the third motion for the day: Urgent Need to curb the soaring rate of Unemployment in Nigeria.

According to Ekweramadu, “construction industries in Nigeria are no longer working and this is an impending revolution in our hands.”
Senator Urhoghide (Edo South), in his reaction, says employment in Nigeria is a national problem and must be tackled as such.

He, therefore, urged the federal government to lift the ban on employment in its agencies and parastatals.


Credit : Informationng

Reps Ask FG To Declare Emergency On Unemployment

House of Representatives, yesterday, asked the Federal government to declare a state of emergency on unemployment in the country.

The lawmakers also asked the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, to move in immediately, and tighten the noose on foreigners to ensure they are not taking jobs meant for Nigerians in various organizations.

The motion, which was brought to the plenary by House Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, and 78 others, also sought legislative interventions in the ongoing unemployment crisis in Nigeria.

The lawmakers noted that the unemployment crisis in the country has reached such an alarming rate as to be of serious concern to all, as various reports put Nigeria’s unemployment rate now at 24 per cent.

They said apart from the reports, there were glaring evidence of joblessness in all states of the federation.

The Reps said there is an inextricable nexus between unemployment, corruption, crime, poverty and insecurity.

They expressed concern that if this tide is not arrested, it would portend great danger to the welfare of the citizenry as enshrined in sections 14 and 16 of the 1999 constitution.

Credit: NationalMirror

Immigration Employment Saga: Abba Moro Denies Alleged Substitution

The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, has denied claims that the Ministry substituted the genuine list of victims of the Immigration Recruitment Exercise stampede with strange names.

According to Mr Moro, the said list was compiled by the Presidential Committee that investigated the stampede and had nothing to do with the Ministry .

The Minister added that the names of victims who were not included in the first list are being collated, and they would be forwarded to the committee which is responsible for screening of the victims to ascertain the veracity of their claims.

Mr Moro also assured the victims of the stampede that all those that are proven to be genuine in their claims would be adequately compensated.

President Jonathan had given automatic employment to some unemployed relations of 15 job seekers who lost their lives during the stampede. He said the gesture was not a compensation for the lives lost, but simply to identify with the families of the deceased.

Credit – Channels news

Buhari Will Handle Security, Unemployment- Tinubu

National leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has said that the incoming administration of President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, will tackle the problem of insecurity, unemployment and other issues confronting the nation with the seriousness that they deserve.

Tinubu, who is also the Chancellor of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, said this at the 12th convocation of the university on Thursday.

The APC leader, whose speech was read by Akin Kekereekun, said that Nigerians made the right choice by voting Buhari during the presidential election, saying the President-elect would work hard to justify the confidence reposed in him by Nigerians. The APC leader also said that Nigerians would need a change of attitude towards nation building.

Credit: News24

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