“The unexpected happened just when I was the least prepared for it. I lost my only sponsor to a small ailment that became a herculean task for health workers to manage. What we learnt later was that there were no drugs at the pharmaceutical unit in the entire facility at the time, as government had yet to provide them. After losing her husband and my father, she had been shouldering the whole responsibilities with earnings from her petty trade, hoping I would take care of her upon my graduation”, this was the pathetic situation of a young man at the venue of what was supposed to be his happiest — convocation day.
As he sobbed narrating his ordeal, emotions drew in and those around joined in the consolations. While weeping uncontrollably, I hurriedly pictured in my mind, what an average Nigerian student goes through studying at that level of academic pursuit. Optimism in futuristic events is the propeller that keeps him going through thick and thin. The Nigerian student never minds passing through any tough times that may want to come his way, all he envisages is an assuring future that awaits him. The end would justify the means, so average Nigerian student thinks.
Conversely, it seems all hopes may have been dashed when juxtaposing the brave reality on ground with the expectations that keep fading daily. Like a dream of a dreaming Joseph who was, seconds away living in affluence suddenly wakes to find himself sharing the same bed with another hustling graduate in a room packed with few guys of like minds; he sees himself helplessly hopeless, he concludes that life is not fair and he loses his mind to depressive tendencies.
The Nigerian students who hitherto, have been sufficiently fed with lies and fables that there is an assurance of life-changing opportunities as soon as they come out of school. Take this to the bank, there are no jobs anywhere. How can there be jobs when our environment is not conducive enough for foreign investors to bring in their money and machines. Our governments make laws that not only scare potential investors away, but also impede existing ones from growing. Should you find any job, then be psychologically prepared to withstand all manners of pressures ranging from discrimination, exploitations, underemployment and corporate political games being played among major stakeholders in an organization.
In the public sector where politics and nepotism reign supreme, jobs are never given to merited applicants but sycophants and political beggars. The person you may think would help you get a job will have to know someone that will in turn know the eventual person in charge of job placement. You can see the pyramid of influence…
In Nigeria, that’s how we roll.
As you complete the mandatory but rather irrelevant national youth service, you will marvel at how those economic policies which you had crammed just to pass during your university days are so inconsistent with current happenings of things in your beloved country. It would look as if there is a conspiracy of human factors bent on frustrating your life for no just cause. I did a Mathematics topic surd as a college student, continued with indices and simultaneous equations in my first year as an undergraduate, forced to register and pass several other departmental and faculty courses but failed to pinpoint their significance on my personal development and by extension, to national benefit. Inventors and proponents of those theorems had something in mind —– to solve human problems. From their original postulations, it is expected that there should be some synergy between understanding those theories and applying them but unfortunately they forgot to exempt Nigeria when drawing out their formulations and conclusions. Policy makers and executors in saner climes are no more interested in how to memorize formulas, economics functions and theories; they apply them in real life situations to better their social life and economy.
Mark Twain, a foremost American writer and humorist in his quote said Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Take up a skill which naturally interests you. The deed has been done. Mistake made cannot be unmade again. The sunshine outside is still capable of drying clothes if/when there is will and zeal. Being a graduate alone is one thing, becoming an employable graduate is another thing. Equip yourself with professional skills that will make you stand out among your counterparts. Age is most likely going to work to your disadvantage unless you are planning to or have falsified it already.
Unless you were born with a silver spoon, you certainly cannot be a graduate at nothing less than 27, this would have already been slowed down by administrative delays in public schools and labour-induced strike actions. That is the gap that being a professional might fill up. In being true to yourself, there are certain artisan skills that can be re-packaged and professionalized to suit personality and preference. It’s called branding. All you need is personalize it and you will be better for it.
My fellow compatriots, getting yourselves in what the state has criminalized will spell doom for you. You have had enough as an undergraduate; burning candles just to satisfy some egocentric and sadistic lecturers who derive pleasure in tormenting students’ lives. Evaluating our university teachers contribution in the overall working of our economy is what I have been finding difficult to come to terms with. While very few of our acclaimed University dons have been useful to the nation through effective consultancy services to the government in their areas of academic career, a large number of them are mere benchwarmers. Their certifications and professorships carry no weight and are of no substance. A lot of us resorted to finding other ways to finance our schooling to supplement whatever was occasionally sent by parents. It lacks common sense ending all of that within the arms and walls of the EFCC or any other financial crimes institution of the state.
May God bless the Nigerian youth….