I have come across the saying – “Nigerian youths are unemployable” many times. The statement has been said repeatedly by employers, elder statesmen, and politicians alike. Many have pointed fingers at the lackadaisical attitudes and laziness of young graduates, many others stated that the educational system played a role in making Nigerian youths unemployable. Although these statements may be right or wrong, however, I argue that the bucks stop at the door of those who have held power between independence and present times.
How else can we justify the migration of many youths to other climes and the continued excellence of those youths as immigrants in those nations? How can we explain the exploits of Nigerian-Americans who have made notable contributions to their adopted nation? A month back, more than (three) Nigerians were appointed as members of the Biden’s Administration; this includes the Gbongan-born Wale Adeyemo.
Per-adventure his parents did not migrate from Nigeria, he could have been an ex-Npower graduate praying to God for miracles, and just maybe he could have been deemed unemployable by many old folks. Or, if he is lucky enough, he may be a Ph.D. graduate looking for a lecturing position all to no avail. (Data released in the third quarter of 2020 by StatiSense revealed that 17831 Ph.D. holders are unemployed.)
A critical look into the statement made by people who believe Nigerian youths are unemployable makes the statement more hypocritical. How can you say youths are unemployable when the jobs are not available? How can youth flourish when there is no enabling environment? Can youth with no access to the right tools and equipment contribute to technology and the business environment? Questions abound when such statements are said. Meanwhile, when you ask them such questions above, you hear impractical answers.
Statista revealed that the rate of unemployment grew from 4.31% to 7.96% from 2016 to 2020. Meanwhile, the economy’s gross domestic product grew from 1089.95 billion dollars to 1181.40 billion dollars during that period. Something seems amiss. As GDP grows, the employment rate has to increase. What went wrong? Yet, the buck of the blame seems to be on or goes to the youths.
Corporate Nigeria continues to look for talent
Some even go further to malign the youth seeking an enabling environment and call them unpatriotic citizens when they get an opportunity to go to greener pastures. Yet, their children go to such an enabling environment to get a good education and required skills to become employable.
Yes, jobs nowadays are for the employable, but Nigeria is a land with numerous talents. An enabling environment is all that is needed for youths to flourish. Many possess good employability skills, while those who do not – are trainable. Others have the ability/qualities to become future employers of labour.
Nigerian leaders need to do more. Businesses need more enabling environments to flourish, while the rate of nepotism needs to drop. It is important to note that job creations could only increase with good government decisions. Employability issues are minor as far as unemployment issues are concerned employability can be taught. What is needed is More Jobs. How that would be possible in this current economic situation is left to the national leaders.