The Agony Of An Unemployed Youth In Nigeria
There is this acronym or three letter words you find in most catholic churches. IHS. Most of us take the meaning to be: I have suffered. Which of course is referring to the suffering of Jesus but the true meaning is quite different from what we take it to be.
However the whole point here is to tell the readers that just as Jesus have suffered, the Nigerian youth bears another type of suffering today.
Where does one begin when one wants to talk about the ordeal of the ordinary Nigerian youth? How does one start telling the story that the supposed elders or rulers that were supposed to make the lives of the youths better are the ones that have eaten the food that was supposed to be eaten tomorrow, today. And when today finally arrive, we find out that there is nothing in store for us - except for empty promises.
It amazes me that some of the old folks when reminiscing about the good days will quickly point out how the standard of education was high and free, teachers were respected, graduates gets job even before they finish school and the naira or sorry it used to be pence and shillings had a lot of value.
It was WOLE Soyinka that once said that “the Nigerian youth is dead at birth”. And truly that seems to be the case. From the moment he or she enters the university, there is a cocktail of problems that awaits him or her. It is certain that there will be ASUU strike. It is as constant as the northern star. An undergraduate in any Nigerian institution, cannot spend four uninterrupted years in school without one strike or the other. If it is not ASUU, it will be the non academic staff.
Then, after the school wahala, he graduates and he is called for the compulsory youth service. Just recently, they have introduced a “financial Clause” for potential corps member that wants to avoid the hectic nature of collecting the call-up-letter and doing the registration in the camp. To make it easy for them, they pay certain amount of money and they are registered online. Those who are cannot pay, go through the usual normal process of registering. That was very brilliant of NYSC. They have reasoned that all fingers are not equal. So the fingers that are up to the task should follow the new process.
During the service year, youth corps members belongs and participates in writing some professional exams like NIM, CIPRM and others I can't remember now. The reason for this is to get a job after the service. The little money they get is sacrifice to become a member of one or two of these professional bodies. Just for a better tomorrow.
And what is the case after the completion of NYSC? Both the university degree and the professional certificates are not enough to secure them a job. They are told again that it is just a first degree, that employers prefer those with masters or PH.D for the jobs available.
It is even more disheartening to see people creating offices to become agents to give jobs to young people. Jobs they will never get but they would have paid huge sums of money to register and wait and wait only to realize that they have been swindled. There are also those that will organize seminars or workshop or whatever name they may choose to call it for three or four month's time and to lure people, they promise jobs at the expiration of the campaign. People will apply and pay the financial requirement. The workshop will commence and eventually end. And there will be no jobs. The average Nigerian graduate has suffered. Newspaper's adverts too, does not help matters when there is this huge premium on years of experience expected of the applicant.
The government as it has always done will quickly exonerate itself from this problem by stressing that: “government cannot provide jobs for everybody”. How true is that? But government can afford to get as many youths as possible for political thuggery and other devilish electioneering purposes.
Our ears are constantly filled with lies about how millions of jobs were created and one begins to wonder: “When did they call for screening and I did not attend?” where was I when they asked people to submit their C.Vs. we all know that Boko haram, kidnapping, armed robbery and other problems that plagued us are the by-product of unemployment. We do not need someone from outer space to tell us that.
However, since we all know where our problems are coming from, why can't we just solve it and move on. Now we are in the season of another election, what are the political parties saying about unemployment? How do they intend to tackle it? These are some of the things the youths particularly the unemployed should be looking at. The APC has said that it will create 3000 jobs in one year but they have refuse to tell us how and the kind of jobs that will be created. Facts are not followed with figures to make this campaign promises valid. At the end of the day, they become mere wish list. Unfortunately, we will not be able to hear much from them about the issue, since they have chosen to boycott the debates for reason best know to them.
The Jonathan administration also claims that there were lots of jobs created through sure-p. In all fairness to Jonathan, I do not know how many persons got their jobs through SURE-P but I know one or two people that were wounded in the immigration job that never happen. Till today, the money was never refunded to them. A government that is supposed to assist his people now extorts money from them. Oma se o.
However, President Jonathan was recently quoted as saying that most governments perform better in their second term than in their first term. Maybe, most Nigerian youths will get their dream jobs during the second term of President Jonathan. Only time will tell.
Also, the religious leaders, I mean the reverend fathers, the pastors and imams, they also have a role to play in this issue of unemployment. They cannot be busy making political statements on the pulpits when they cannot contribute their own quota towards the development of the society apart from quoting scriptures. Man must not live on scriptures alone. The catholic bishop conference of Nigeria made a visit to the president sometime ago, telling the president that Nigeria is sick. If the bishops could try their best in assisting the unemployed in their diocese a little, the figures of jobless youth will reduce a bit. Jesus Christ also helped humanity, didn't he? I am not saying that all of them are not doing anything, but there is a big room for improvement.
Every group must join hands with the government to make the lives of the youths an ideal one at least. Let the youths be proud of its government. Agencies and organizations that extort money from people in the hope of giving them inexistent jobs should be hounded by law enforcement agencies.
The youth as it is claim are the future of tomorrow. There progress is the progress of the nation. (Just as the president is attributing the success of Nollywood, to his administration)There suffering and there pains should also be the pains of the nation. That is if the rulers have them at heart. God bless our country.