Stampede At The NIS Examination Venues: Who Is To Be Blame?
Only few things in the few decades of my existence have disheartened my heart as much as the tragic news of those 18 young, energetic jobs seekers who lost their irretrievable lives yesterday, 15th March 2014 - a day that should, perhaps, be nationally acknowledged as unemployment day. It is indeed, to say the least, very unfortunate that eighteen graduate youths - not eighteen old cows - should lost their lives on a single day in the quest of seeking imaginary employment into the Nigeria Immigration Service, a body that, in my opinion, has been politicized, but is only conducting charade tests, to adopt a free and fair outlook.
Vanguard Newspaper puts the figure of applicants that wrote the exams in Lagos and Abuja at over 125,000. Similarly, Punch Newspaper puts the number of applicants that wrote the exams in Niger, Rivers, Kwara, Kano, Benue, Gombe, Bornu, Cross River, Oyo, Bayelsa, and Plateau State at over 169,300. Other sources put the overall number of
applicants that wrote the exams nationwide at over 500,000. These embarrassing number of applicants, it may interest you to know, are only jostling to fill about 4,500 openings. These absurdities, as well as several other untold stories, only shows the level of youth unemployment and underemployment (at least not all the applicants who wrote the exams are actually unemployed) in Nigeria today.
Considering all the facts that have been presented above, who should be blamed for the current situation we have found ourselves as a nation? Should we blame the eighteen youths that lost their lives for trying to get themselves out of the entangling net of unemployment?
Should we blame the Nigerian Immigration Service for openly inviting members of the public to jostle for its about 4,500 positions? Or should we blame God for not creating jobs in Nigeria? Who exactly should we blame the present mess Nigeria has plunged into?
In my view, all the parties mentioned above should be blamed for our woes except God, and I will tell you why. Most of the unemployed youths who littered the major cities across Nigeria yesterday have their own faults, big faults for that matter. They deserve to be blamed because they have allowed themselves to be tossed hither and thither like dice by the seemingly hopeless situation (unemployment) they have found themselves.
Many of the youths in present day Nigeria have lost focus, lost class, lost vision, lost everything - entangled in hopelessness. If this is not the case, why did over 500,000 youths applied to join the Immigration service? Are we saying that over 500,000 youths dream to become immigration officers? Ah, this, obviously, cannot be the case. Most of our youths, frustrated, jump at anything and everything that comes their way.
The same number of youths will apply for job vacancies in banks, vacancies in the NSCDC (that's why we have blunderers like Oga At the Top), visa lotteries, scholarships, Nigerian Army, oil companies, schools, and even mortuaries. This kind of actions will, very likely, result to more cases of stampede in the future. I am also a job-seeker but I know all the job openings in the newspapers are not for me. This is because I have a dream, which will not make every available job suitable for me.
Our youths must learn to develop a vision, a focus, a plan, and apply for only jobs that supports their passion and dreams. If it were only the youths that have dreamt to become immigration officers that applied for the job, the stampede incidence that occurred yesterday would have been averted. This is why I blame most of the candidates who wrote the examination yesterday.
The officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service also deserve to be virulently criticized for their lack of organizational skills. A media report from Vanguard news has it that NIS allegedly realized over 6billion naira from the exercise. With that huge amount of money, the NIS could have collaborated with respectable examination bodies like WAEC and JAMB to help them with the conduct of the examinations. They could have also scheduled the examinations to be written in batches, perhaps over a period of three consecutive Saturdays, across the 36 states in Nigeria including the FCT; that way, the crowd would not have overwhelmed the NIS officials, and the examination would have been conducted in an orderly manner, preventing the occurrence of stampede.
This is why NIS owes Nigerian citizens, home and abroad, an apology for the lives they wasted yesterday due to porous planning. Stadium are places where football matches should be played and watched, not where entrance examinations into a dignifying job should be written. They must have learnt their lessons by now, I believe.
Lastly, God should not be blamed for the stampede that claimed eighteen lives yesterday. This is because God is not the cause of the unemployment we are facing in Nigeria presently. In America and Europe where the unemployment rate is relatively low it was the government and the people that created the employments, not God. So, in Nigeria, too, the government and the people - you and I, deserve to be blamed for the high rate of unemployment we are experiencing today. In this article, I will not blame the government for not creating jobs, the reason being that the government has been criticized enough; rather, I will blame job-seekers, including myself, for not creating jobs, rather than seeking jobs. If you and I had created some jobs, we will have saved several persons from unemployment and, perhaps, saved the lives of those that were stampeded yesterday.
In conclusion, the government, you and I, deserve to be blamed for the lives of those that got stampeded yesterday. We must all rise up to the occasion before it is too late.
Ademule David, a young Sociology graduate, writes from Lagos. [email protected]