The unemployed Nigerian youth is perhaps the most optimistic person in the whole wide world! Every morning as the day breaks, s/he is full of hopes that it is finally time when that long-awaited email/phone call will come in; an invitation to that job interview that would change their lives. The unemployed youth imagines a future that is bright and luxurious, with a steady flow of monthly salary and an annual bonus. He or she is hopeful that all will be well with their souls once [they] receive that letter of employment. It does not matter that every end of the month comes with those disappointing stockpiles of rejection emails; or outright silence. They remain optimistic, because that is all they can ever be.
Every unemployed Nigerian youth believes that all their family members and friends who already have jobs of their own, automatically have the wherewithal to help them become employed as well. Consequently, they send out their emails to such employed relations, disturbing them continuously to help with any type of job. They don’t even care whether their employed friend’s professional backgrounds are completely unrelated to theirs. All they want is to get employed. They can do any job, they say. And perhaps they truly can do anything because such is the level of their desperation.
There is no gainsaying the fact that unemployment is one of Nigeria’s greatest problems. Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of fresh graduates being pushed into the Nigerian labour market every year, there is hardly any guarantee ten percent of them will ever get jobs. Sadly enough, the authorities do not see this as the issue of national concern that it is. Little wonder year in year out, no reasonable legislation/policies are put in place to tackle the issue. Yet, we wonder why the crime rate in the country is so high, and why so many young people are desperate to flee the shores of Nigeria, even if that means them having to sweep the streets of London to survive.
Life is indeed difficult for the unemployed Nigerian youth! Where can I even begin?! Is it the psychological trauma of watching their lucky mates flaunt their fancy lives across Social Media, or the despair of being unable to afford the basic things of life? Should I talk about the disgraceful things often told them by society, or how sad and worthless that makes them feel? Is it the regret they feel for “wasting” all those years in school acquiring certificates that can’t get them jobs? Or maybe I should just talk about the disappointment they feel every day for being Nigerians!
Mind you, it is easy to tell an unemployed Nigerian graduate to get something doing by all means. But it is hardly quite as easy to actually help them get something to do! Truth is, no graduate wants to be jobless; at least not the ones that I know. Unfortunately, there are just too many factors working against them on a daily basis. Knowing these factors will help those critical of the unemployed to better understand their plight. First of all, every unemployed person in Nigerian cannot become an entrepreneur. And even if they all can, who is willing to finance them? Are the available infrastructures favourably-disposed to them? Just take a look at NEPA and how completely undependable it is! Now juxtapose the NEPA situation with the many unemployed and even employed graduates) who do freelance writing jobs and yet can’t meet their deadlines because they have no light in their neighbourhoods to charge their laptops. Wait…what? They should go buy generators? With which money please? Listen let me tell you something- if established conglomerates in Lagos can complain about the difficulties of doing business in Nigeria, then imagine the plight of the struggling, (often penniless) unemployed Nigerian youth!
The system has failed the Nigerian youth. Sadly enough, the Nigerian youth do not have access to the system in order to correct the systemic failure. In the meantime however, the unemployed Nigerian youths must continue to be optimistic. And while they do just that, those in charge of administering the affairs of this nation should make altruism their watchword and work towards fixing this national shame called unemployment!