Nigerian Youths and the Self-Employment Imperative

Filed under: Democracy & Governance,National Issues |

Nigerian Youths and the Self-Employment Imperative
According to the UN and ILO, unemployment is a global problem. It is no news that there are many young people in search of jobs in Nigeria today. Some say there are jobs; others say there are no jobs. It is however good to note that the unemployment problem is a recognised paradox in the Nigerian society today.

The Presidency and the Federal Government of Nigeria had assured Nigerians that they were putting structures in place to tackle especially youth unemployment with self-employment. They have today taken credit for the provision of millions of jobs; jobs that have not truly touched half of the youth populace except for some privileged few. No wonder, Olumhense, said Nigeria is a country where people now sell jobs. It is whom you know and not what you know that quickly gets job for a person.

The majority of the youth now left without much choice turn to self-employment. The statistics from the NBS and other factual sources says about 4.5 million graduates enter into the labour market for self-employment with no access no soft loans.
The World Bank puts youth unemployment rate in Nigeria as 38% out of the more than 100 million youths in the country. However, Nigerians and those that are the youth know this is far from the actual reality.

No doubt, the Federal Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo Iweala has boasted about a rebased GDP and millions of increased job openings for the youth. However, a research by Asaju et al. showed that since 2005 unemployment rate has increased from 9% to 37% in 2013.
In a country of natural gold, this state of unemployment is a paradox. All because those Nigerians have called leaders have failed to chart a positive and lasting solution and investment in programmes and policies that will help mentor, empower and develop the young ones in the end. It was a real shame when a former youth leader, Ibrahim Abdullahi declared, “No system in Nigeria empowers young people to be easily employed by companies or to be self-employed. Yes the government is trying what they call their best to introduce various means of vocational trainings, skill acquisitions, but it has not been well prioritised”

In order to get a proper description on unemployment, Abefe Balogun and Nwakpa say Unemployment is a situation in which people who can work by all qualifications on wage or self-employment cannot secure employment.
As Polly Toynbee said, “unemployment makes people unhappy like instability.” Therefore in order to give pure attention to job creation and employment opportunities for youths, it is imperative that traditional challenges facing job creation, self-employment openings and to some extent like inadequate funds, infrastructure and service failure, corruption, nepotism and lack of creativity and education without industrial investment must be reduced drastically to point zero. Guy Kawasaki wrote that it is easy to say entrepreneurs, self-employment will create employment opportunities but the complexity is actually, who will innovate them
From NBS statistics, 70% of the Nigerian population are youths. It is therefore common sense that Nigeria cannot achieve development if the youth are unproductive.

For the purpose of this essay, it is therefore just befitting for us to ponder if the much talked about self-employment in Nigeria is a personal or economic imperative. Self-employment is a me thing, something that drives the young like Francis Bacon said, young people are more fitter to invent. They have ideas, in our society today, this personal imperative is at the bottom of the general pyramid and only few are zealous to the extent of the success of their ideas, as many are now after money and not a combination of money with national development.
It is said in Nigeria, that if you do not go to school, you cannot make it. However many people have gone to this same school and have not made it.

Education in my own view should be the means prepare the youth for the rough terrain of the future. It is what should boost their ability to be entrepreneurial and opportunity to be empowered, which will in the end meet to provide employment opportunities for them.
How then can the government inspire young people to be this way?
They can start by formulating strategies, build institutions that will lead to positive ventures for the youth and the nation and discourage them from criminal employment openings and brain drain.

Education from the scratch must therefore involve the inner and exterior inquiry into the creative talents of youths and how they can develop and communicate to the nearest society and the society. As the African proverb says, “Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it.”
In order to answer the self-employment imperative, the Government have created impressive portfolios of the YOU WIN, SURE-P, NEEDS, PW/WYE, etc. However, what truly has to be done is for the government to put priority on theoretical and practical technological, industrial and economical youth based training focused on the long run, and policies to reduce poverty yearly. Instead, the fruits of the economic imperative that is seen in young Nigerian majority today are Frustration, Movie Pirates, Prostitutes, Kidnappers, Terrorists, Illegal goods manufacturers, peddlers of sub-standard goods, Yahoo-Yahoo Cyber Swindlers.

This is why I believe and say in one sentence that to expand successful and positive employment opportunities for the youth. The Nigerian government and its people at all levels must make sure self-employment becomes a personal imperative with the required infrastructure of education and long term oriented goals and policies towards national development than the economic imperative of “bling-bling” which is the vogue in today’s Nigeria.

Oluwasegun Somefun lives in Lagos and is a columnist at SamoluExpress.
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One Response to Nigerian Youths and the Self-Employment Imperative

  1. I feel your pain about the state of unemployment in the country. I believe that if some public officials are like the Minister of Finance, things would have changed greatly.

    September 30, 2014 at 6:32 pm