October 24, 2014.
By: Joe Onwukeme
The dream of every undergraduate is not only to excel in his academics, but also to start a career immediately after graduation.
The need to write this Diary Of An Unemployed Graduate (DOAUG) was born out of nessecity due to the high level of unemployed graduates and the disparity it has created between the middle class and the elite.
Unemployment has reduced Nigerian youths to liabilities and burden; it has made them vulnerable to the society; pressures from families and desperation has made many succumb to any available job to keep body and soul together.
The Wednesday, October 07, 2014 edition of The Guardian Newspaper Editorial titled: “Confronting Graduate Unemployment Crisis” revealed that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) posted 54 per cent of Nigerian youths as unemployed in 2012, going by the “2012 National Baseline Youth Survey Report” issued in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth Development.
Official research has also put the figure of unemployed graduate at 23.90 per cent (34 million graduates) of our total population (as at 2013). The published figure is exclusive of about 40 million other Nigerian youths captured in World Bank statistics in 2013.
With this alarming figure and influx of graduates coming out of our higher institutions yearly, it leaves us with this question, Which Way Nigeria?
I wrote my final paper as undergraduate of History & International Studies, Imo State University Owerri, on Monday, November 05, 2012.
After the last paper, the celebration started right inside the exam hall. Some of my course mates defied all security warnings to express their excitement. After the school jubilation and gyration some relocated to various venues for the next rendezvous.
I went straight to my hostel which is off campus to the waiting arms of my hostel mates, who in turns welcomed me by pouring dirty water, others preferred to soak me with all kinds of drinks. It’s a ritual that must be carried out; they must baptize you with water and drinks on the day you write your final exam, where this emanated from, I know not. You just have to partake in it.
The jubilation signals end of life as an undergraduate and a step to our dream job. Below are series of dates that have significant roles to my life after graduation.
Monday, Jan. 7th 2013:
After studying tirelessly at University to get a Bachelor Of Arts degree for four years, I worked for a consultancy firm for five months, doing more of voluntary writing and gathering work experience as much as I could before going to serve my fatherland.
Thursday, 5th June 2014:
It was the day I passed out from the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. It’s been four months and counting, no job yet. I have re written my CV and Cover Letter countless times; adapted them to suit all the different roles I have applied for these past months, no meaningful response yet.
The employment test for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) conducted across the country that claimed the lives of 20 applicants is still fresh in our hearts and also shows the desperation for jobs in the largest growing economy in Africa where oil wealth has enriched the elite who has failed to create jobs for the unemployed youths.
The private sector cannot employ more than they need. When they advertise for jobs, the kind of experience needed is most times near impossible for young graduates like me. My dream of becoming an envoy representing and negotiating for my country outside the shores of Nigeria is still alive; my dream of also serving humanity by working in International Organizations is still intact.
I have finally got my foot onto the writer’s ladder and started my career as a freelance writer- both as a career and as a hobby. It may not be paying but it’s an avenue to express myself and acquire more knowledge.
I will for ever remain grateful to the following Newspapers for appreciating and publishing my articles: Guardian, African Herald Express, The Sun, The Nation, Leadership and Paradigm and others that are yet to publish. My gratitude also goes to the following online blogs, Sahara Reporters, Sky trend news, Eagle Reporters, Elombah.com, Nigerian Voice and Naij.com.
I also wish to congratulate all the 2013/14 Batch C NYSC members that passed out Thursday, 16th Oct. 2014. Don’t be discouraged; think of what you can do while waiting for white collar jobs and I pray you all will have the zeal to hold on when the reality begins to dawn on you.
Before I close my DOAUG and retire for the day, who knows what the end of this year and the start of 2015 will have in store for me, but it sure will be an interesting ride to find out.
Joe Onwukeme: An Idealist wrote from Enugu