Filed under: National Issues |


The youths of a nation where tomorrow is a mirage, what then lies ahead for her inheritance? Nigeria is my country but many a times, I wonder whether my citizenship is more of a curse than bliss. The unfortunate plight of battling to get the basic education had been a lifelong experience. From a home that is quantified to the limit of N1, 000 per month, for a family of six education was limited in supply. My primary education was like the war in Iraq I fought even without the fate of survival. I saw myself through the classes with the accumulated pains of the labour of the previous night’s hawking. Yet I was the best in the class because courage was my mentor. By the time I got to Form-6, my headmaster was restless because he had the feeling that his best student will not have the funding needed to seat as a candidate, for Entrance Examination. ‘Courage my son, there must be a way out of this challenge’ mr Ochai said to me in pensive mood. At the thought that school has ended for me, I ran out of sight, caged in the fences of the waste heap of the slum my neighborhood. I cried for hours like my heart should be ripped off my chest. Life was fading because, I gasp vainly for the air that was abundant around me but not enough to keep me alive for the next minute. It took a mad man’s scream to restore back my respiration to normalcy.

I quickly wiped the stream flowing down my eyes then headed for the public bore-hole in my district, to get water for my household. Before I could reach the house, I saw my younger sister Maila descending on me from the T-junction close to my house, ’Ita’ she shouted ‘your teacher wan see you’. In a mixed feeling, I began to wonder which of my teachers cared enough that I missed school for just a day. With the 25litres container on my head, I began to hoop my way horridly home. To cut the gist short, it was my head master who came with joy, to inform my parents that I will join the rest of the class for the entrance exams, as my fee has been settled by the NGO that came to access pupils with potentials last year. They did return only yesterday with a list, to pay the fees of some few selected brilliant chaps.

The story above which is an excerpt from my unpublished work, whose inspiration tends from the antecedents surrounding the pursuit for education by a majority of the friends I grew up with in my early days, is just a tip of the eyes berg of what a greater mass of Nigerians had to face. As far back as 1992, it takes quota to progress from primary schools into secondary schools in Nigeria yet, many persons scaled the huddle. Secondary schools from then on, began to experience heightened tuition which was above the reach of most Nigerian families. But, the fear of a life without education, spurned a resilient spirit even among the children of commoners. They had to engage in all kinds of odd jobs to get to the zenith of their educational pursuit. This dual life; working-schooling was not easy for many, as they had to fail at some critical points only for them to summon courage for re-seat. Most especially the crossover examination of secondary school, The Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) Examination that transmits one into the tertiary education.

As time went by, the burden of getting educated was becoming cumbersome and the quest for knowledge met with frustrating limitations. Some of these challenges, due to government’s negligence and others from the decay embedded in the educational system. Today many of such Nigerians with humble backgrounds, who paid through their veins to get a degree, are littered everywhere like ruins. The worst of their ordeal is the fact that they are called all manners of names to justify the errors of the society. Graduates are popularly referred to as half baked, educated illiterates and incompetent among others. Of course with the notch to meet up to the demands of society, many graduate are never relenting in their efforts to grab professional certificates, diplomas, special training, running exclusive courses as well as going for further studies to cut down the heaping blames. But all these efforts even from birth has not yielded any fruit, as more and more youths languish even in their efforts to survive the odds of the Nigerian reality…JOBLESSNESS.

Joblessness in the Nigerian context has taken a very critical dimension that calls for real attention. The average Nigerian job environment seems to be for some secluded set of persons who earn their way to the vacant seat on the justification of whom they knew or what they paid. This is the real deal that has dissected the sanity of our nation to the extent of shattering the norms to pieces. We go to school for knowledge, the knowledge we acquired gave us better degrees but better degrees don’t sell no more in the Nigerian market. Even with exceedingly excellent marks in aptitude tests for jobs, the brains are tested for the fun of the exercise. Only a microscopic few firms and agencies give excellence in job test a benefit of doubt. So the big question is, where are we heading to?, with this adverse system in place. Can we survive this for long? The country has been bedeviled with insecurity since the past five years. The upsurge of insurgence, the proliferation of small and light arms, the rampart rape and theft cases are not without a link to the jobless-fated-youths swarming the nooks and crannies of our streets looking for where to converge their efforts. I fear for tomorrow because I am not seeing a slight change in the trend. Who will bale the cat? Do we as a nation really have the youths at heart? A stitch in time will savage this country from the terror looming potential in the not too distant future.

Because when you ask the government what the problem of youths is? Joblessness comes handy among other issues they would raise. But, what I see are persons who can become potential tool for wreckage. The government has been given a sign by the recent joblessness census conducted though indirectly by the recent 2014 Immigration recruitment exercise conducted nation-wide. Abuja alone had 87,000 candidates with the later casualties’ story that accompanied the exercise, buttressing further the desperations of these aspiring Nigerians. If only the spirit of excellence can be entrenched in the job recruitment process to absorb only the best among equals then, we shall secure a country where handwork pays and development will be evident. Also, it is high time the government began to think of Unemployed Graduates Endowment Funds (UGEF) that will cushion their plights. At least N20, 000 a month will go a long way in stemming down their frustration, which will curb the potential aggression that can lead to picking up illicit contracts in order to make ends meet.

If we must become a safe nation, the youths are the first leverage to attaining this feat. The long period of ignorance has elapse, so we cannot claim not knowing. There is the very need for perpetrators of ‘god fatherism’ in job allocation and money mongers in recruitment process to note that their action will come back at them when they least expect. For those that have become notorious with making a mess out of job tests; the best are abandoned and those with worst performances are awarded appointment letters. The fate of these industrious youths will haunt both your present and future if you don’t see the need to mend your excesses. The fact still remains that more and more failures is anticipated in future exams in Nigerian in the secondary and tertiary education because the need to be exceptional is losing the potential to better ones life. So many young chaps ask why they should study hard, when they can buy their future through connections. The beginning of the end is near but that is what we must avert.

My plea goes to the government of Nigeria under the leadership of Mr. President as well as the other distinguished Nigerians whom God has given the mantle to be in the navigation crew, to please sail the country with the youths in mind. There is every need to reduce the gap of poverty that is alarmingly wide and has its roots embedded in the fact that, many families had invested in the education of their wards but yet to receive the returns. They have produced dozens of graduates who have become apologies due to their over stay in the unemployed market. The Gross Domestic Poverty is the product of so many non-workable schemes running in the Nigeria system. If the wealth of even the looters will be safe tomorrow then, they must begin to seek for solution to the problem of joblessness among the teaming youths. All I am saying is simple, let the best man win, allow the system to select the capable persons that will run the various sectors, no need for sentiments or influence because we’ve been using it till now to no avail. I did pray for Nigeria to be a country where the following things will begin to manifest:

No more federal character allocations let the best be selected

A country where someone with potential has the chance to showcase it

Where the intellectuals are not suppressed so the educationally weak can meet up (low benchmark)

Hard-work rather than recommendation pushes one to the next level

Politicians will not be poly-looters

Our court rooms can be trusted to dispense justice

Military will fight for our unity

God will make Nigerians value its agricultural potentials

Nigerians will put premium on superior country made goods

The list of wishes goes on and on but, I know these wishes are more than achievable because the possibilities of their realization are innate. The government of our nation is popular with making so many speeches at the detriment of actions. We must rise above our words to fast tract the nations development. The government must not be tired of spinning new and better ways of tackling the challenges of the youths. Because, the future of this great nation lies in their action and inactions. The youths must never in any situation limit themselves to the grip of their frustration, I salute the courage of many who are still fighting the course of survival in coordinated state of body and mind. We shall get to the point where our fears shall be conquered and our needs shall give rise to providence.