WHY DO WE HATE OUR YOUTHS?
Permit me a space in your widely read Newspaper to express my disappointment with Nigeria at the manner she treats her citizens especially the hapless and hopeless unemployed youth.
The joy of every graduate upon graduation, and at the completion of the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)is to be gainfully employed. Unfortunately in Nigeria today there is palpable fear among graduates; firstly of being mobilized for (NYSC) soon after graduating; secondly, of securing a job upon completion of service.
These fears are understandable because things aren't done the right way in this country. Every institution of state and agency of government is so terribly corrupt and fraudulent that their corporate name/image no longer matters to them.
This cankerworm has infested even our so called ivory towers so that University authorities feel no qualms that several years after graduation certificates are not issued. Yet, one is not indebted in any way to them. Nowadays, merit has been thrown to the dogs and people's consciences have taken flight.
To illustrate: I graduated from the University of Calabar with a second class upper in 2007 and successfully served the nation in 2008 but till date Unical has not been able to issue me my certificate even after several applications and visits to the institution, and this has unfortunately jeopardized my chances of securing a job. Severally, potential employers have refused to honour my Statement of Result at job interviews insisting that I produce my original certificate.
Recently, the same institution (Unical) conducted a job interview for Administrative and Academic cadres, and you won't believe it that the same institution that has not issued certificates to its graduates except to those mobilized for (NYSC) since last year insisted that without original certificates one can't be considered for employment even with our statement of results issued by them and with which we were mobilized for (NYSC). What a shame, Unical.
A friend whom I met during one of my numerous visits to the registry and faculty told me of his bitter experience of having to forfeit his Post Graduate admission in the University of Lagos (Unilag) last year because he couldn't(and still can't as at the time we met in April) produce his certificate and academic transcript.
It is now an open secret that there is a serious racketeering in the university of calabar registry so that you cannot get your certificate or transcript or both unless you part with some cash. Now, it is either the whole file has developed wings or some year(s) results are missing in the records unit of university.
On top of this mess, the authorities of uncial have shamelessly caused to be aired and published, on the state radio in some national dailies advertorial inviting graduates of the institution who are yet to get their certificates to come get them. But as at the 14th of September, 2010 when I went to get mine upon reading the advert, I was disappointed to learn that they have only printed up till 2004 academic year, this means that those who graduated from 2005 can't still have their certificate. Yet, people have been deceived into travelling from across the country with the attendant risk to get what rightly belongs to them. Haba, Unical!
Another disturbing trend in this country which is an indication that the country does not care for her future generation is the issue of scratch card, access code or whatever name it is called. This is another manifestation of hatred of the youth.
For instance, there is hardly any public institution recruiting today (genuinely or not) that does not make the purchase of scratch card/access code for mere accessing the application form. National Examinations Council(NECO) did it during its last recruitment exercise and there was public outrage. And since after then others have followed and because the authorities seem not to care or question the rationale behind this apparent fraud, the FRSC, NDLEA, the police, etc are currently swelling their bank accounts courtesy of hapless, hopeless and sometimes intimidated unemployed youth of this 'great' nation @50. What have we done to be so treated, or is it our 50th birthday gift from our visionless leaders?
Some organizations conduct job aptitude tests for applicants and that would be the end of the exercise yet they would go a head to issue appointment letters to others who may not have participated in the process in the first place but because they have 'long legs' and are well connected. Fiscal Responsibility Commission (responsible indeed) and News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) of all organizations did it. Now the question is, young men and women are looking for jobs yet, they are made to pay just to apply and are made to travel long distances for aptitude tests that may not really count?
Last march, I missed a job interview in Minna after i have scaled through the other stages including the aptitude test because I got the news through a friend on the morning of the interview after spending so much in the process including buying scratch card. I reside in calabar and the interview was to take place in Minna. Yet they asked for and got my phone number. Certainly, youths in this country have become endangered species!
Why do we hate our youth? What have they done to us that Nigeria hates her children so much that we ask them to pay to apply for jobs that they may end up not getting? We should stop deceiving ourselves about achieving the vision 20:2020 and meeting the MDGs. We certainly cannot achieve the feat by treating our future generation with contempt and disdain. For youth to any faith in the future of this country, government at all levels must show genuine interest in the youth and put an end to all forms of exploitation against them. Government must put an end to employment scratch card/access code fraud. This exploitation must stop.