In spite of regular promises of providing gainful employment for Nigeria graduates, the growing number of disillusioned young men and women roaming the streets are multiplying. After spending several years in the university, polytechnic or college of education, the reality of not earning a living can be as damaging as it is frustrating.
Searching for jobs in an uncertain economic terrain, without hope, has left million of our youths distraught. Everywhere you turn, lamentations rent the air.
This week, ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some unemployed graduates about their frustrations and hope…
‘After spending five years or more plus all the money spent, you don’t get a well paid job’
– NATHALIE EZEONU
There is nothing dignifying about going to school; and after spending five years or more plus all the money spent, you don’t get a well paid job. Not this menial job that one manages just not to be idle. You can’t even tell young kids to go to school and they’ll listen to you.
The other day, I overheard some of my neighbour’s teenagers arguing about the richest young people in Nigeria and they were mentioning Wizkid and the likes. So, one of them shouted, ‘All these people that did not go to school’.
Guess what the response of the others was, Shey dem they chop university? That brother wey sabi book don finish university him never see work’. They were referring to one very brilliant guy in my neighbourhood. So, you can imagine even children have made up their minds.
‘I can’t exactly find the words to describe the job market in Nigeria’
– ALICE ABBA, Ahmadu Bello University, 2011
I can’t exactly find the words to describe the job market in Nigeria, it’s like everything is set up to make it hard for young graduates. I don’t know if it’s like that in other parts of the world but one thing I find very baffling with the employment system in this country is that companies expect you to have some ridiculous number of years experience when you apply for a vacant position, yet they want you to be, as they always put it “young and upwardly mobile”.
To keep busy and make some money, I have been doing some volunteering since my youth service which exposed me to a lot of things. I have also taken some classes to acquire skill. What I do now is I bake small chops for occasions.
‘I am working but I don’t feel I am where I should be’
– TONY ENUKORAH, Mathematics and Statistics, Federal Polytechnic, 2012
I am working but I don’t feel I am where I should be. That’s because of my passion and what I really want for myself. And I don’t feel my ability is being utilized where I work now. I had to learn graphic designing when I couldn’t secure any meaningful job after my service year. But we thank God for where we are, it’s better than nothing or roaming the streets with certificates looking for one big job.
‘I have not got a job since I graduated’
– OLUSOLA ONI
I studied Mass Communication at The Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State. I came out with Upper credit. Since I finished my National Youth Service Scheme in 2011, I have not got a job. I have applied to many places, yet nothing has come out of my efforts.
That’s why I learnt barbing in the interim. And since I have been working with a friend of mine who has a barbing salon in our area. I am also planning to open mine soon. I can’t wait for any white collar job any longer.
‘With my certificate, I’ve not gotten any meaningful job’
– MIKE FAWIBE
I attended Adeyemi College of Education where I obtained a degree in Agriculture Education. I made a 2.2, but nothing to do with the certificate since about three years I finished my National Youth Service Scheme. When I couldn’t get any meaningful job, I started trading in farm produce which I learnt from my dad.
I thank God, it has been fetching me some money with which I make ends meet. Although, as a graduate, it has not been easy, there is nothing one can do. I only believe when there is life, there is hope.
‘I have applied to a number of places but nothing yet’
– TEMITOPE OLABISI
I graduated 2014,I studied Mass Communication at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
I have been waiting for a year now. I have applied to a number of places, some said they will call me back.
Some said I didn’t perform well. One got back, but the pay was too small. By the time I remove the cost of transportation, I am left with only N3,000. I had to stop out of frustration. It has not been easy. I stay with my aunt, she is the one who gives me money. I worked with my Aunt’s husband for a while, when one of their staff went on leave. I couldn’t continue with them because they were over staffed. I must say, it has not been easy. I have started business now, I can’t wait again, I sell female wears.
‘I finished in 2011, I have been waiting for three years now’
– EMMANUEL OPEYEMI
I am a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Minna, I studied Geography and Remote Sensor. I finished in 2011, I have been waiting for three years now. I am staying with my uncle. I am working with my uncle as his PA. I have lost count of the number of places I have written to. I was called in some places, I passed, got to the final stage but waited endlessly for an appointment letter. My uncle and his wife have been there for me. He even gave me money to start my Masters when nothing was forthcoming; at least that has been keeping me busy. My siblings also give me money.
‘The thought of staying at home jobless is scary’
– TINUOLA BELLO
I am a graduate from LASU, I studied Mass Communication. I just finished service. The thought of staying at home jobless is scary. I have been living on what I saved while serving. I finished school three years ago but, my name didn’t come out until after two years. While waiting, I was selling bags, now that service is over, I have started business. I have been applying to different places. My brothers send me money once in a while.
‘I had done series of test and interviews…’
– KUBURAT IBRAHIM
I graduated four years ago from Federal Polytechnic, Offa. I studied Business Administration. I stopped applying last year. Before then, I had done series of tests and interviews. It was always as if my search has ended, one way or the other, I still find myself searching. My fiancé has been a source of encouragement, he gives me money and advised me to start learning a skill, I am almost through where I am learning hair dressing, he promised to help me start up. If it works, I will forget taking a white collar job.
‘There is nothing like getting a good job’
– BUSAYO KAMAL
I am a graduate from UNILAG, I studied Philosophy. I finished five years ago. I have been doing one business or the other. I learnt how to make liquid soap, I can make beads too. That has been helping financially, though, there is nothing like getting a good job.
I have applied to countless places, I have a vendor close to my house who gives me newspapers to read and I pay a token. I make sure I send at least four applications per week, whether I am qualified for it or not. I have written tests and attended interviews. I was called twice but, the pay was very bad, I could hardly cater for the needs I used to meet from the profit I make from my business. So, I had to stop. I am thinking of learning other skills, designing for example. I also pray to get a job before then, anyway.