By Evelyn Okakwu
According to the National population commission, about half of Nigeria’s 167 million people are youth; most of who are unemployed.
Similarly, the National Institute of Science Education and Research, (NISER), in its 2013 report, stated that 20 per cent of unemployed youth in the country, are graduates. These excludes the number of under-employed graduates in the country.
Previous reports have attributed the cause of unemployment to the effects of efficient government policies, such as the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) on the economy saying it was solely esponsible for the closure of industries in the 1980s.
Others have further stated that the protracted effects of unemployment in the economy have been due to the inability of statutory agencies to evolve a measurable data for accessing the level of unemployment in the country.
Yet still, although the present administration has reportedly attempted to address the problem through programs like the Subsidy Investment and empowerment Program (SURE P); practical analyses have proven, however, that the effects of unemployment still loom especially among youths.
As explained by observers, the reason for this is that the reported programs for employment generation by government are either inconsistent or not accessible to the masses.
Recently, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), published a list of openings for youths across the country. Fielding questions on the nature of the program, the head of the voter’s education unit, FCT chapter of the commission, Mr Okesie Nwankwo stated that the programs are temporary in nature.
What this means is that while this short term employment programs will provide empowerment for youth across the country, the programs will only last a given period, after which the youth will be made to go
back to the state of unemployment, once again.
In this chart with some participants of the training exercise, who are also NYSC corps members serving with the one division, Nigerian army, Kaduna; they shared their views on the training program and other such jobs for youths in Nigeria.
According to Rahman Olamilekan; the call to serve the nation in the ongoing exercise, is good, but comes with its own risk. How did you feel when you were picked for the training exercise by INEC?
“I would not say that I feel happy or sad. I was glad I had a chance, of government in serving the nation, but the job comes with its own risk”.
His counterpart Obriki Godswill shares a similar opinion: “Well, the question of been happy about INEC work cannot be answered with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ reply. But as a corps member it’s just a clarion call and indeed the stipends attached to it will be very beneficial. But it’s risky, considering the present state of the nation”. “Also we were not told the amount we would be paid, not even the cost of labour has been made known to us, let alone the cost of damages or any form of insurance, in the event of an unforeseen occurrence. So the risk is not really worth the trouble”.
And how do they feel about the fact that the job is not permanent? “Godswill had this to say; “With the rate of violence currently in the country, I think I would prefer a job with INEC as an alternative, not a permanent or first choice job.
Besides if the job opportunities were to be for permanent places, we would not easily be contacted. In fact I can bet that we would not be told”.
As explained by the respondents, a major feature of short term jobs in Nigeria is that they are vast, tedious, and mostly insecure, exposing the youths to unwarranted danger”.
Yet; since these youths remain the only future for Nigeria, it is necessary to reiterate the urgent need for proactive measures towards ensuring permanent, and accessible employment opportunities for them,
as the first major step towards actualising the dream of a better and brighter Nigeria.