by Mohammed Haruna
Some questions I placed on whatsApp social network that houses my class mates
in the department of mass communication, Bayero University Kano, coupled with
my observation and general assumption about students in Nigerian universities
prompted this write up. As far as I know, there are series of write ups and
scholarly interpretations from different walks of life on why Nigerian graduates
are unemployable. That is not my concern here. My concern in this write up is self
reflection, self questioning and self examination on whether we are actually
This self questioning, self examination and self reflection do not exempt the
writer of this piece. I am also unemployable for now. This is glaringly evident
even from the grammatical inconsistencies, incoherent and illogical presentation
of facts in this write up.
But let me begin by reflecting on the questions I placed on whatsApp social
network where my mates interact online. I asked; “one of the most difficult
aspect in reporting today is reporting minors. A 12 months old baby was raped by
her own father. And as a reporter, you were given access to all details about the
story. Will you report the story? Why would you report the story? Will you
mention the name of the family, the victim and the community where the assault
took place? How would you report the story without causing adverse rejection for
the family, the victim and the community where the assault took place?
Up till today as I write this piece, about two weeks since I placed the questions, no
The following day, I placed another question that generated huge responses
within a couple of minutes. Guess what? The question was, “how will I know that
a girl loves me sincerely?
I had to off my data bundle to stop the messages from flowing into my inbox. It
seems everyone is an “expert” in that regard. This is just a single issue out of
A common thought of a university student in Nigeria is to graduate and get a job;
own a car, house and marry a beautiful wife to keep at home. Of course yours
sincerely is also not far away from that. But the question is, how prepared are we
for any meaningful employment? No employer will engage someone who has
nothing to offer.
Judging by the foregoing, of course we don’t have anything to offer if we cannot
answer simple questions from a field we claim ours. In fact the issue is not even
whether we can answer questions or address serious academic discourse or not,
the issue is that we reject knowledge and make it our enemy.
We are bunch of inept, incompetent and unequivocal illiterates who are not ready
to learn and imbibe the spirit of knowledge. Anything we say, do or disseminate is
nothing but crass ignorance which is a bye product of poverty of knowledge. I
once told my project supervisor to be patient with my trouble because I am
suffering from poverty of knowledge.
I still insist that we are unemployable. In my capacity for example, I have served
as an Editor-in-Chief several times editing our in-house publications, mostly
assignments. I always have to be very careful and screen thoroughly any write up
or news reports dropped on my table. The reason is very clear. Most of the write
ups are plagiarized. I once queried. “How can you copy someone’s write up and
claim it is yours?
Whenever assignments are given in class, some of our lecturers have to be
patient not to condemn out rightly most contents in the assignments. You could
glaringly see clear theft in most of the contents. I wonder who will employ a thief.
Simply attribution and acknowledgement of sources is lacking in most of our
I don’t want the reader of this article to look at the other side of the coin; I am
still on self reflection. Students in Nigerian universities are not painstakingly built
on scholarship, including myself. We don’t critique most of our academic work
because we lack the moral rectitude and the academic grounding to do so.
Cramming notes to pass exams is mostly our priority. The common and widely
believe is that certificate remains the alpha and omega.
Students are no longer interested in acquiring knowledge. Any serious student
who often ask questions in class or raises serious academic discourse in class is
rejected and condemned among their colleagues. They are call all sort of names.
Some call them “I too know”. I wonder whether there is any English lexicon that
accommodates such expression.
I am still bewildered as to why students don’t seem to appreciate knowledge and
imbibe the culture of learning. We prefer to spend several hours chatting with
friends on social networks. I am more astonished any time I looked at the content
of what we discuss online. Mere bullshit! Complete nonsense, rooted from
myopic, ill fated and ill informed minds who neither understand they are
illiterates nor are they ready to make some self reflection for their good.
In another development, the system itself promotes rascality, ineptitude, and
inefficiency thereby killing its best. This is evident from the lack of encouragement
for competence and efficiency in the system. Rigorous academic discourses are
demoralized. Copy and paste is the order of the day, coupled with debilitating and
unprogressive curriculum in the university setting. Anyway! I don’t want to dwell
on that, still on self reflection.
The glooming poverty of knowledge that manifest on our faces is not far from
being sighted. Mass communication for example is a practical course that requires
skills and experience obtainable on practical terms. Professor Umaru Pate once
said “the broadcasting industry is such a place where hiding one’s intellectual
laziness may be very difficult”. The question is, how many students are ready and
willing to expose themselves to academic rigors in learning the basic of journalism
practice? Even if the facilities are available for them to do that, they don’t seem
to have interest. For example, in Bayero university kano, we have campus based
radio station meant for students to learn the basics of journalistic practice. But
few students appeared to be doing that.
Another reason why I came to a conclusion that we are unemployable is our lack
of independent research capabilities. Most of our final year projects are copy and
paste. If students cannot write and interpret assignments based on their
understanding, you will wonder how they can confront a project that is more
complex and that requires one to critically think with the ability to read and digest
Most of us who cannot be independent minded are seen roaming from one office
to another to lobby some lecturers, all in an attempt to gain favors. It is cloudy to
understand how such caliber of students will make any impact when offered a job
Students these days prefer to celebrate birthdates, watch football matches and all
sort of social activities at the detriment of their academic studies and discourses.
Debates that can foster good learning are no longer given much attention.
Students prefer to promote hate speeches, ethnic chauvinism, epileptic nepotism
and an entrenched culture of tittle-tattle and an unimaginable bunkum. Our IQ no
longer works. We claim to be modernized and technologically advanced, but vast
in ignorance, ill will, inefficient, ineptitude and lack of competence and
confidence to deliver.
This is indeed demeaning, annoying and self destroying. We are indeed
unemployable when we don’t have any input to make; when we don’t have the
competence and confidence to solve social problems, when all we can present are
mere certificates obtain sometimes from dubious ways such as lobbying and
cheating during exams.
I hope we will ponder and change for the better.