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Saturday, 4 October 2014

Against All Odds - Nigerian Graduates And Their Will to Survive

I stumbled upon an article that showcased Nigerian graduates doing menial jobs and was filled with mixed emotions. The many challenges faced by Nigerian graduates today outnumber the benefits. It is so sad to think that after parents struggle to send their children to school, these children end up as liabilties because of lack of jobs. Some of these graduates have accepted their fate and have chosen to survive. I admire their courage and commend their determination. Truly in all labour, there is profit. Read their inspiring stories below:

When Olujide Moyosore Dorcas gained admission to study Business Education at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, it never occurred to her that she would one day end up as a commercial tricyclist. After her graduation, she went into the labour market with the full hopes of landing her dream jobs. But after several years of combing the street, she gave up the search and settled for commercial tricycle business, a job usually undertaken by men. 

“I searched for a job from when I graduated in 2011 without any success. When things were getting very difficult, somebody introduced commercial motorcycling to me. It looked odd to me at the beginning, but I had no option than to go for it. I first applied to a pure water company at Abule Agba for employment, but didn't get it. Later, I applied to different schools for a teaching job without any luck. Thereafter, I applied for the post of a manager in a yoghurt manufacturing company in Mushin."

I got the job, but the salary was nothing to write home about, so I had to quit, she said. She narrated that it wasn't easy when she started because her friends were not in support of it. My friends didn't buy the idea of driving tricycles. I would have given up because of that, but when I told my dad about it, he encouraged and gave me his full support. “I am not regretting my decision because I am earning enough money to meet my basic needs. I am living well and have no reason to look inferior before my male colleagues at the park. They are very friendly and encouraging,” she explained.

She added that the passengers that patronise her have always admired her and at times give her their balance. “My advice for those that are jobless is that they should try and find something doing to make both ends meet. This is very important because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. If they put aside shame and do something, they would not have to depend on anybody for their basic needs. As I am now, I pay my rent, feed and clothe myself without waiting for anybody to give me a dime."

Daniel Emeka, a Psychology graduate from the University of Ibadan, resorted to riding commercial motorcyclist popularly known as okada after his efforts to get an office job failed. He said: “I graduated in 2010 and searched for job everywhere to no avail. When life was becoming very unbearable, I decided to put the pride of being a graduate aside and took to commercial motorcycling to make both ends meet. It wasn’t easy starting the okada business itself because I didn’t have the money to buy a motorcycle. I was able to raise money from a family friend to purchase a motorcycle that has been helping me to survive,” he said. 

He blamed the apathy of the government and the culture of godfatherism in the country for the growing rate of unemployment, saying: “It is so unfortunate that our country is faced with the problem of godfatherism, a situation in which you have to know somebody before you can get a job. “Sometime ago, I went for a job interview, and on getting there, I was asked to provide a note from a reputable person standing for me. Because I could not provide one, I was not even asked anything. It is rather too bad that in this country, you would have to know somebody before you can achieve what you want.”

Though Daniel is not totally happy with his present job, he said it was not a bad idea because it is better than getting involved in criminal activities to survive. “As a Christian, I have been taught not to forget the days of my little beginning. Being a dirty okada man is better than being a clean criminal. I believe that God will elevate me with time,” he submitted. 

Alice Owolabi is a graduate of the University of Ilorin. As an undergraduate, Alice had lofty dreams of what she wanted for herself. For her, a job in a bank is the most ideal. Years after graduation, Alice trekked the length and breadth of Lagos without a job. Her prayers were finally answered when she eventually got a job in one of the new generation banks. But while her dream was to work in the mainstream banking, Alice was employed as a cleaner. “I am managing the cleaning job since there are no jobs out there. My intention is to work in the bank as one of the key staff. It is so unfortunate I found myself as a cleaner. But I am still hopeful that God will change my situation. I will keep praying to God that one day, the manager would be led to look at my C.V and give me an opportunity to work as a staff and not as cleaner,” she said

Michael Ajayi works in a factory. He resorted to the factory job after years of fruitless search for a job after graduation. While lamenting the nature of his job, Ajayi said, “I am not happy with the kind of job that I do. As a graduate, I am supposed to be rendering intellectual service to people and not be going through the hard labour that goes with working in a factory. “It is rather sad that the rate of unemployed graduates in the country is on the increase. That is why you find many graduates doing jobs they are not supposed to do. There is little or no hope for the youth. It is simply by the grace of God that one can be successful.”

Wakil Moshood confessed that he was compelled to earn a living disposing refuse when he realised that he does not want to lose his wife. According to him, years of fruitless search for a non-existent job after graduation forced him to put aside his shame and opted for a life as a scavenger. He is particularly scared of losing his wife to other men who could lure her with the good things of life that he is unable to provide. 

"The Yoruba have a proverb that a jobless man’s wife belongs to another man. I went round searching for a job without luck. And I see around me men whose wives engage in extra-marital affairs because their men could not provide for their needs. I cannot afford to go through such experience, so I decided to forget about shame and come here to hustle.”

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