There was a time, not too long ago, in Nigeria when school certificate holders got employed even before they graduated! There were stable employment chances when students left schools. This is no longer the case, university graduates roam the streets in search of employment these days.

It is also lamentable, nowadays, that those employed are often denied their wages. This has led to graduates leaving the country in search of greener pastures having reportedly resigned owing to unpaid salaries.

We are all aware of the great number of jobless people in Nigeria, particularly graduates. There is a considerable danger  if the present trend is not checked. We are aware too that unemployment exists mainly in the capital cities of each state and in large towns where the youth flock into in search of an Eldorado of their dreams.

No one can excuse any government in Nigeria of being unaware of this problem. The only complaint in this regard is that the effort being made to cater for the jobless has not made  any meaningful impact.

It is necessary indeed to cater for the job seekers in our towns by attracting industries to the cities.

It would seem natural to try to cater for rural areas by trying to attract youngsters back to the land through farm settlement schemes and similar projects.

The truth is that such projects can only cater for a fraction of the rural population while the glitter of the great centres will continue to draw the majority of rural youth away.

It must be admitted, however, that there are but few countries in the world that have managed to achieve a standard of full employment, but it is towards that standard that all ought to strive.

The necessity of work is an inherent part of human life. In most cases, work is necessary to provide the means of sustaining life itself. But even if a man were to be so wealthy that he needs no job, such a man ought to occupy himself in some worthwhile activity that his character may develop and that he may appear a man among men. Idleness is the father of sloth and even of debasement.

If work is such an essential aspect of human life, then every man has the right to work. For we are so made that the work or vocation of one man may differ considerably from that of his fellows and each will only work sufficiently in the occupation that best appeals to him.

The only aspect of job that is open for many people these days is the menial job; the job that is not in line with one’s training. Tailors or mechanics that abandon their vocation for lack of wherewithal to procure the instrument with which to operate often abandon their true vocation only to take up whatever else is available. Many youngsters have taken to riding okada (motorcycles) as a means to earn a living.

No government can be worth its salt if it does not provide sufficient employment opportunities for its citizens and thus enable them have a worthwhile means of subsistence. Apart from hunger and poverty, unemployment is the harbinger of criminality as an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. Young people sometimes take to violence and  crime as a result of unproductive engagement.

State and local governments should make provision of employment a priority in their programmes otherwise, they labour in vain in other areas without jobs for the teeming youths because unemployed youths would lay waste whatever the efforts made in other areas.

Also key to the provision of jobs is the prompt payment of workers’ salaries without which life would be meaningless for the workers. It is not enough providing the so-called empowerment by giving bags of rice, beans and other materials for party supporters because only a handful benefit from such largesse. Employment opportunities should be open to all.


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