Going through all the four corners of the basic educational institutions consumes more than a third of the life expectancy of an average Nigerian. And after investing all the years and the resources in getting educated, it is now becoming a social trend for unemployed youths to opt for unbecoming professions, totally unparallel to their choice of career, after facing the stark realities in the labour market amid harsh economic times.
An average bachelor’s degreeholding Nigerian youth graduate must have invested at least, 18 years in getting educated, but it is alarming, considering the fact that millions have almost nothing to show for it after all. In major suburbs of Lagos, left with no choice, many youths have found themselves in the uncivilized and lower rung of the transport sector as bus conductors of the yellow buses popularly known as danfo.
Some are ending up as loosely organized gangs/area boys also known as Agberos, while some have at most found themselves as drivers of commercial buses. New Telegraph observed that many graduates have also ended up as casual workers in various industries.
At various dump sites of the Lagos metropolis are garbage and scrap scavengers with other educated youths hopping on the lottery and bet business bandwagon. For some, illegal activities such as pick pocketing, fraud, cultism and cyber crimes are their ad hoc ‘professions’. In one of these categories is an Abia State University (ABSU) graduate-turned-commercial driver, who identified himself to New Telegraph simply as Mr. Michael.
For one who had had commercial driving experience before gaining admission into the varsity, venturing full-time into the business was a no-brainer after his search for a good-paying white-collar job ended in futility.
According to him, he started as a bus conductor at Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos and was able to sponsor himself to school from the little money he made. However, after graduating from ABSU with no job opportunities forthcoming, Michael decided to stay on his own by taking a danfo bus on lease.
“Driving and dou-bling as the conductor has not been easy for me but I thank God that I’m able to feed my family members and we are not suffering,” Mr. Michael told New Telegraph. Tomiwa Akintoye, another tertiary institution graduate operating a commercial bus in Lagos, told New Telegraph that the government is to blame, saying suitable jobs for graduates were non-existent.
“Where are the jobs?” Akintoye asked. “Millions are chasing after few jobs. Many of the jobs available do not befit the educated youths.”
“I finished my Higher National Diploma (HND) in Ogun State Polytechnic which is now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic as a Mechanical Engineer.
I have been to so many places to search for a job. I was so frustrated after dropping letters and my curriculum vitae (CV) in some organizations with none of them calling me for an interview up till the moment as I speak with you. After three years of graduating from school, I was still dependent on my parents,” he explained.
After struggling to adapt to the rigours of commercial bus operation, Akintoye, however, was advised by a close confidant, he needed to act like an agbero if he was to keep the job.
For Oyebola Kasumu, another educated commercial motorist plying Ikorodu-Sagamu road, getting a white collar job was a desperate search which ended in futility for him. He told New Telegraph that private companies and government parastatals usually have spaces for vacancies filled up prior to public notices.
According to him: “The moment one hears of a vacancy in an organization, when you go there to apply, you may be told there is no vacancy or demand for strict qualifications. Some may say they want someone with 8 or 10 years of experience. How can one get experience if not by getting employed first?
“Those who engage themselves in scavenging, commercial bus operation, touting, lottery and bet business, cleaning and so on actually never wished for themselves to be so, but several experiences they have had have turned them to what they are today.
“However, the fact is, the dirty or unpalatable jobs they are into actually fetching them more money than expected, which is why they find it very hard to leave the so-called unsuitable jobs they do. “A man who could make around N6, 000 daily, totaling around N180,000 a month, from his dayjob will never go in search for a white collar job where there’s no assurance of timely payment of salaries,” Oyebola said.
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