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Nigeria’s unemployment blues

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It is hard to overstate the wretchedness of those found in the unemployment market in Nigeria. The unemployed in this part of the world are saddled with a reputation they had never imagined and certainly are not enjoying.

It is indeed difficult to explain what the unemployed suffer on a daily basis as their unique story is so very pathetic and heart breaking. The unemployed encounter plenty of prejudice on account of their joblessness.

Among other dehumanising treatments, the unemployed are guilty as judged by the public court and blamed one way or the other for their deplorable situation and consequences they never created but found themselves. Their views among friends and family discussions do not hold sway in a land where money is the accepted standard for public respect. The assumption that the academic certificate with flying colours that cannot provide three square meals is seen as a waste of time is a regular insult that greets the unemployed. Therefore, being without a job is like living without a soul as today’s society hardly recognises anyone that cannot pick up the bills.

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Overtime, unemployment situation has taken to whipsawing between gloom and optimism. Despite the much talked about efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to create jobs for the teeming population of unemployed graduates and youth through different programmes, indications is that the worsening unemployment situation has assumed an alarming rate from a recent National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) findings. According to the NBS report titled: “Labour Force Statistics: Unemployment and underemployment, reveals that unemployment rate rose to 6.5 per cent higher compared to 21.77 million recorded in the second quarter of 2020. The report further shows an estimated number of persons in the Labour force within ages 15-64 that are able and willing to work at 69,675,468. No doubt, this is a set of catastrophic numbers of which, in sane climes, political leaders would resign from their appointment. Far from it, in this part of the world political leaders explain their poor leadership away by calling the youth lazy. It is worrisome that, with the above rising revelation in the unemployment market, uncertainty about the future remains the thought that fills job seekers minds. It is obvious from the above, that Nigeria is facing a grave unemployment challenges that requires quick attention.

The unemployed have been drifting apart for decades as they increasingly feels like living in a different world.

Many wake up every morning to curse the poor governance exhibited by our current breed of politicians who are full of scandalous activities. The country is currently obese by corruption that has reached a climax to shake the country’s foundation.

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There is no doubt that the unemployed youth are too numerous and far too important to be ignored. Hence, the House of Representatives chose to embark on a journey to discovering them. Indeed, not that they had been lost.

They were simply abandoned to their fate as no person of any consequence paid attention. Therefore, the House of Representatives proposed databank for unemployed youth to enhance their chances of obtaining empowerment and employment calls for celebration among the unemployed family. Indeed, it makes sense from a public policy perspective that a databank for the unemployed be established to make it easier to identify those seeking employment and help them to find one. But, believe it or not, the mystery behind such programme is simply to increase the frivolous spending priority of government and its officials, and perhaps to further stress and humiliate the already worn out job seekers in their travail. Just before the 2019 elections the current government spent elegantly in the name of a programme tagged: ‘Market moni’ or ‘Trader moni’ in its bid to alleviate poverty among the masses. In no time, the House of Representatives’ databank proposal for the unemployed may soon become the new baby in diapers to care for. Despite the so much talked about job creation that has surrounded the President Buhari administration agenda since inception, it has become easy to forget how and when the jobs would be available.

Good government policy can do enormous amount to improve prospects of the unemployed even as hope should be tempered by realism. Nigeria is blessed with a deeply entrenched workforce mainly in large number among its youth. But that is no shield against poor political decisions that has seen millions of Nigerians being unemployed for years as the country lurches from banditry, kidnapping and COVID-19 pandemic which has crippled many businesses. No doubt, the integrity of the political leadership of the present administration is at stake, for once and by far the most among previous governments that unemployment is at its highest percentage. One reason the unemployment rise does not surprise many is that this is a problem that has long been hiding in plain sight. Slowly, unemployment has become one of the nation’s challenges going down the long slide of history as a monster that fuels insecurity in the country.

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It is sad that political leaders are busy churning out imaginary figures in millions of jobs created and even more saddening that most of these jobs are created through provision of motorcycles, wheelbarrows, head-pans and shovels to the indigent masses. Not so long ago, a commissioner in Borno state established a human capacity development jobs for the youth in the state by providing a box of shoe polish kits and it was widely celebrated as an outstanding achievement. It is not clear to what extent these so called job creation lifts people out of poverty.

Hence, the inequality in the country is on the rise as the gap between the rich and poor keep on expanding. Curbing unemployment is not just a matter of good intentions that would gather all and sundry in a databank. Hence, the House of Representatives proposal is seen by well meaning Nigerians as job for the boys.

It is important to remind political leaders that the idle mind is the devils workshop, so says the age long adage. Therefore, the ruling government should endeavour to keep its promise on creating jobs for the teeming youthful population before they become prey as new recruits to join the insurgents or indulge in other frivolous activities.

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