Good morning and Happy New Month. There are now no elections to be held in Nigeria in 2019 and for the next four years, there will be no general elections except for a few states that will go to the polls to elect their governors.
A few weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of youth corpers signed out of the NYSC yearly program and are now on the streets of our cities applying for jobs and looking for how to make some income for themselves. It is now again the responsibility of the parents for those who can to look for opportunities for their children wherever they can find them. I am sure you have had your fair share of cousins and friends and junior ones asking to keep their eye on the ground for “any job”. When NNPC announced vacancies a few weeks ago too, it was reported that 26 million applications were received. Where do we go from here? How do we have an economy that is not growing at the rate that we are churning out graduates? How do we have an increasing population of people able to work without being able to give them work?
Our answer is that the system is bad. Youth Unemployment in Nigeria is at 55.4%. You read that right! About 6 out of every 10 young Nigerian able to work does not have work to do. Most of the times, we say people who are widely connected and are friends of politicians will fix their children in the ‘juicy’ jobs while others are left to scamper for what is left. While that is true, we are still yet to find an answer to why there are not enough jobs in the first place except that our answer is that the system is corrupt and flawed.
The system does not guarantee opportunities for all and government is only concerned its own idea about creating jobs – expanding the public sector and increasing the recurrent budget. Setting up a business in Nigeria is not just hard today, staying in business is even harder. This model of continuing to do what we can do is not sustainable, if only because year after year, there are more people who join the labor market and do not have jobs. When this number continues to increase and we have an army of youths who are educated and have no jobs, then we can expect that the cybercrime industry in Nigeria that is already reported to be at $6billion dollars now per year will only increase.
Something has to change! And if we all agree that the system is flawed, then what we have to do is fix the system. Even though there is a lot to do to fix the system in what we call A NEW POLITICAL ORDER at the New Voices Movement, what we must do NOW is categorized under two things – We must immediately begin the demand for a proper restructuring framework of the country so that governors are economically responsible for their states instead of just sitting down in. their offices and waiting for monthly allocation from oil proceeds in the south and secondly, young people must mobilise in each of the states and demand for a comprehensive jobs plan from the governors of the states that has at its centre the private sector and not just the creation of another agency so that their political party supporters can be made directors and staff that will eventually still not get paid.
It is crystal clear why today most states do not have a jobs plan that includes the private sector and removes the barriers that hinder this plan from being implemented. The revenue sharing formula where everyone gathers in Abuja does not incentivize any governor to look within the state and harness its resources. Even Lagos owes some measure of thanks to President Obasanjo’s grandstanding a few years ago before the state’s leaders thought to look within and generate some revenue and still Lagos does not work optimally even today. This is why these two plans must go hand in hand and simultaneously. The demand for these two both at the national level and the state level is the systemic approach to prevent the impending chaos that we will witness if we continue to have young people without jobs and idle.
To make these sort of demands, we must mobilise the numbers across the entire country and this is the reason a movement for social and political reform is needed. It is high time! At New Voices Movement, mobilising young Nigerians for this purpose and others is what we are working on. You will find more details on our website. Join us and let’s place a demand on this system.