By Adeparua Damilola
I could remember having a chat with an experts in the field of journalism sometimes ago. Prior to that chat, my husband had already discussed with him about my joblessness? Yes… joblessness.
During my undergraduate days, 300level precisely, I told my mum, on her sick bed that as soon as I graduate, I would get a good job, like a Federal Government job because that seemed to me a better paying job, and take good care of her and my siblings, not knowing that I was actually day-dreaming. Even though mum died a week after my promise to her, I still had a hope of getting a good job immediately after graduation.
I started preparing myself for the imminent future, but to my disappointment, I was posted to a typical local/primitive locality where I never thought existed for NYSC (National Youths Service Corps). It is a compulsory one year scheme for every graduate in Nigeria under 30 years. It was more or less a place where the future of our great nation (youths) is put in a helpless situation… helpless situation in the sense that during the three weeks orientation programme in the camp, I was promised a very nice and likeable place being a nursing mother … did I just say a nursing mother? …. Yes, I actually got pregnant in 400level, 2nd Semester, but gave birth six months before going for NYSC. To my dismay, the very first day I went to my P.P.A (Primary Place of Assignment), it felt as if I was being kidnapped. Everywhere was bushy and all I could see were few houses which made up different towns and at every entrance to a town were graveyards. As I sat on the motorcycle as there was no car to convey one from one place to another at a desired point in time, the journey seemed an endless one because from Edidi to Odo-Oku, was 12.7 kilometers.
I was praying the kind of silent prayer somebody who perceives an oncoming danger would pray; talkless of the dust on my baby’s hair and my white turning brown due to the dry season! Everywhere was bushy and looked isolated. Hmmm! It all felt like a nightmare and I ended up crying my eyes out for the thought of staying for a complete year with my baby of six month in such a terrible place. I could remember the whimpering dogs at night that usually gave me shiver and sleepless nights due to the fear of being attacked by a wandering ghost for it is believed that when dogs whimper like that at night, something terrible, I mean…scary is on sight.
The water though looked very clean but tasted like lime when tasted, made many sick as many were hospitalized and some lost their lives in the process, not to mention the fatal accidents on the way.
Also, whenever it rained, we slept in utter darkness for almost a week each time because they used to say that the barbed wire were wet and needed to dry up.Also, during this period of darkness, snakes usually crawl into houses, chasing rats up and down, but then, we survived it. On the P.O.P (Passing Out Parade) day, some of us shared their testimonies of how they survived the attack from ghosts. They were given a room built on to a burial ground and they were unaware. I could remember one of them telling me “we were brushing our teeth, not knowing we were standing on a human skull”. God saved them from being choked to death by ghosts due to their fervent prayer because they said, they could feel an unseen hand strangling them, one after the other. It was more of a battle! A year after I left the place, someone who served at the same place with me, told me of a Junior Colleague who died after his P.O.P …, such a sad story.
Who could have imagined that having gone through all the stress, one would get to the labour market and start wandering from post to post like a wandering ghost and still be unable to secure a job? It’s not like there’s no job at all, recollecting the fact that I was able to get a contract job which lasted for just a month but then, it was extended… I and some others were eventually suspended based on no particular reason while few people were told to continue job I was called back for the same job later but with more responsibilities but litter amount. Then, I knew it is indeed a labour market!
For the record some companies too try to entice graduates, they try every possible means to convince them to work for them and get paid based on a particular percentage. Imagine a graduate working round the clock,on the scorching sun moving from post to post in unknown places trying to secure Two Hundred Thousand Naira for a company in order to get Thirty Thousand Naira payment every month. We live in such a country where people’s lives and properties are given little or no consideration. A country where credibility is given to live performance of depravity and educational intelligence I played down. That’s just by the way.
Now, the intelligent journalist said something about the ‘availability of graduates and less experts, and this brings the issue of many Employers today to mind. They only want experts to work for them and this brings about this question, “Are experts already made or trained?” If professional are already made, what made them? You will probably agree with me that they are made through training.
Why then is it that Employers no longer want to train graduates? Why then do they want already made experts? Many times I have come across job vacancies that require two, five years working experience. A graduate will see a job vacancy and have the feeling of being capable for the job but ends up getting disappointed with the working experience requirement. How then do we become experts if we are not trained?
If only the youths (graduates) can be given the chance to get trained, if only they can be allowed to put into practice, what they have spent time, money and energy in learning, if only the Employers can be considerate enough to bear in mind that the parents must have spent a lot of resources before they can be able to produce these graduates, if only they can consider the fact that time waits for no one.
Each second adds to the graduates’ age and this at times renders the graduates useless because these same Employers also require a particular age limit for each job vacancies. The same graduates who are supposed to be the breadwinner of their homes are now depending on their parents who are supposed to be reaping where they have sowed. Due to the inability to secure a job, they get frustrated, and end up turning into hooligans, some end up finding their succor in drugs and the likes, losing their minds and causing havoc in the society. No wonder there is increase in crime rate and internet fraud.
Until we stop putting a barrier on job vacancies, and start putting ourselves into consideration, our nation will know no peace because what goes around comes around eventually. We all affect ourselves by whatever we do to others in one way or the other. Give way for the youths to thrive and our nation at large will soar away.
Adeparua, is a Lagos-based Creative Writer. She could be reached via: [email protected]
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