According to a New York Times bestselling author, Joyce Meyer, patience is not simply the ability to wait — it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.
Many Nigerian youths have been eager for the outcome of their applications for the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP). Well, the waiting period is almost over because forty days from now, successful Fellows will have been deployed to their host organisations. This is according to the mail sent to many applicants, a version of which has also been posted on Facebook by the official page of the scheme: Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme.
That said, I write this purposely to advise all the applicants. I have categorised them into three.
The first group are those who have been pushed by impatience into using rude comments on posts by two Facebook pages: UNDP in Nigeria and Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme. I presume they’re really fresh graduates who, probably, haven’t been following recruitment processes in Nigeria. I’ll outline only three out of the countless cases of delay in the country for them.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) started a recruitment process in 2019 but failed to complete it until 2022.
N-Power Batch C application started in June 2020, but the deployment of beneficiaries never happened until after 15 months.
The Kaduna State Teachers’ Service Board (KSTSB) started a recruitment exercise in 2018 but managed to employ 7,000 secondary school teachers in July 2022. In fact, as of the time of writing this article, that’s nine months after their employment, none of these teachers has been posted to a school, let alone being paid a salary.
Therefore, there isn’t any need to feel too disappointed over something that is highly expected. It’s worth stressing, however, that it’s OK to clamour for a positive change in whatever concerns us, but decorum is highly recommended, at least for a young graduate and job seeker. So, rude comments should be done away with.
The second group are the over 340,000 applicants who won’t be selected. Yes, a total of 365,679 people applied for the scheme that needs only 20,000 Fellows per annum.
With or without cogent evidence, there’ll be lamentations from almost every angle when successful applicants are eventually picked. Many will blame favouritism and the like. A good number might lose interest in applying for other jobs, claiming that it’s by whom one knows. I urge all unsuccessful applicants (yet to know, though) to avoid losing momentum because of this; it’s simply part of life.
Now, to the third group, the privileged few, I advise that you think twice before leaving your ‘small’ job for the programme. Although it’s said that Fellows will be fully paid as graduates, being deployed doesn’t guarantee prompt payments. You must be realistic to yourself by keeping an alternative means of livelihood.
Of all of the schemes I’ve observed in Nigeria, only NYSC is somehow consistent in the payment of allowances. I’ll mention three others that have significantly failed in this regard.
One, as of January 2022, many of the past N-Power volunteers were still owed stipends. That was after 18 months of exiting the programme. And even while in the scheme, a significant number of these youth often received overdue allowances.
Two, the Special Public Works Programme for 774,000 unskilled labourers ended in March 2021, but a good number of the beneficiaries weren’t paid their N60,000 stipends until after nine months (end of December 2021).
Three, some Nigerian youth were placed on a three-month paid internship called the Work Experience Programme (WEP) from August to October 2021.
The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development promised each intern a monthly allowance of N30,000 within the period of their engagement.
But such never happened, as the payment commenced in November 2021 and continued, inconsistently, through February 2022.
Some may think that NJFP will be different; I pray so, too. However, the scheme has already shared a pattern with its predecessors. In August 2021, it was promised that the first batch would be inducted in about two months’ time (October), only for the statement to be changed after seven months.
Based on the above instances, I reiterate that you keep an alternative source of livelihood before engaging in the programme. This is especially important for those who’d be posted to states other than their current settlements.
On a final note, if you’re privileged to be deployed to a private organisation, make sure to sell yourself. Much as many organisations usually aim to rightsize their employee base, none will be willing to lose a diligent young graduate if you really present yourself well.
Ishaka Mohammed writes from Kaduna. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.