By Ishaka Mohammed
After many fruitless applications, job seekers in Nigeria get frustrated. As some delve into crime, others retire to idleness, leaving everything to fate. Neither of these options is advisable. Nevertheless, there’s no need to stop trying. The following instances might suffice.
In Nigeria, being called a SAN comes with prestige. The bearer of the title is an experienced legal practitioner, considered professionally (and to a large extent, economically) successful. It means Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), yes? But, no, there’s a different angle to it.
Many young Nigerians can bear an unfortunate version of the acronym SAN. They don’t have to study law, not to talk of being called to the Bar.
To cut it short, a guy and two ladies meet (for the first time). In response to the question of what he does for a living, he replies, “I’m a SAN.” The ladies are amazed due to his age, so they try to congratulate him, but his conception of the acronym fills the scene with abundances of laughs. He gently says, “I am a Senior Applicant of Nigeria (SAN).” The guy has applied for many jobs, but he has yet to secure employment. After listening to his story, the ladies offer him a job.
That’s in a Nollywood movie, though. Now, let’s discuss reality. A friend and former colleague is currently an officer in the Nigerian military. At a point in his life, he handed copies of his credentials to a cybercafé attendant and asked him to keep applying for jobs that matched the credentials; he would pay after every application. That was after being tired of visiting the café all the time.
Road Safety, Prison Service (now Correctional), Navy, name it — my friend had sat tests or gone for physical screenings, but none had worked in his favour. He was literally tired, so exhausted that when he was called for a physical screening after his last application, he had concluded to ignore it. If not for the timely intervention of his family, he wouldn’t have gone for the screening. He made it afterwards and the rest is history.
The above instances clarify that you have no reason to give up. You don’t have to wait for the required “connection”. Keep trying. Thomas Edison once said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” That one more time might be the last effort required. That one more time shouldn’t be about today or tomorrow; it shouldn’t be about the number of attempts; it should simply be about whether or not you have attained your desired goal.
As a Nigerian, you can irrevocably say that many things have gone wrong in your country. The rate of unemployment is high and scary. Thanks to members of the political elite, who are busy hijacking what is meant for the citizenry.
Attempting to minimise unemployment in the country, successive governments have come up with beneficial programmes targeting the youth. However, the politicisation of selection processes and inconsistent remunerations have sabotaged the otherwise commendable initiatives. For instance, many of the past N-Power volunteers are still owed stipends after one year of exiting the programme. And even while in the scheme, a significant number of these youth often received overdue allowances. What about the Special Public Works Programme for 774,000 unskilled labourers? The three-month programme ended in March 2021, but many of the beneficiaries have yet to be paid. It’s worth stressing that each beneficiary is entitled to just N60,000 (spread across three months).
Despite the ugly situations in Nigeria, try this one. In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Federal Government of Nigeria is enrolling 20,000 recent graduates in full-time paid employment for twelve months. In addition, the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme is for young graduates.
I partook in a briefing session on Zoom with one of the programme’s team members, Erere Oghoghome, on Tuesday the 17th of August, 2021. According to her, the programme will engage 100,000 people across five years, and the first cohort will be inducted by October 2021. That means the call for applications will be out in the coming weeks. Every eligible and interested person is expected to have developed a craving for a particular skill.
Aside from being paid employees for the period of the programme, fellows stand the chance of being retained by their host organisations. Plus, they’ll join the alumni network upon completion of the programme, and the team will be the first choice for organisations seeking personnel to fill vacancies.
The basic requirements are: graduated not earlier than 2017, less than 30 years of age, unemployed, and possessing NYSC discharge or exemption certificate.
At this juncture, I implore anyone who meets the requirements to keep tabs on the UNDP in Nigeria for this rare opportunity. It might just be that one more step to their dream job.
Other than using the experience to land a job after the programme, one can deploy the skill, money, or both in self-employment. Remember, fellows will be paid as graduate employees, not given stipends.
Therefore, it’s vital that unemployed graduates apply for the programme. There’s no harm in trying.
Ishaka Mohammed writes from Kaduna. He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.