JOBS & ‘Life has not been easy for me with­out a job’

Daily Trust - - JOBS & CAREER - By Saawua Terzungwe

Akombo Aon­dona holds B. Sc. (Hons) Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Benue State Univer­sity, Makurdi. He did his Na­tional Youth Ser­vice Corps (NYSC) with the Borno Ra­dio / Tele­vi­sion, Maiduguri. In this in­ter­view, he says life has not been easy for him since he grad­u­ated in 2009 ex­plain­ing that he has a cas­sava farm but lack the ba­sic farm in­put to boost its yield. Ex­cerpts:

What were your ex­pec­ta­tions while an un­der­grad­u­ate?

My ex­pec­ta­tion dur­ing my un­der­grad­u­ate days was that I thought af­ter grad­u­a­tion, af­ter my NYSC, I will get a good job but un­for­tu­nately be­cause of the sit­u­a­tion in our coun­try to­day, it is very hard to get a job, par­tic­u­larly govern­ment job; they are not avail­able. It is ob­vi­ous that ev­ery per­son that go to school aim at not only ac­quir­ing knowl­edge but also get­ting a mean­ing­ful job to earn a liv­ing and con­trib­ute to na­tion build­ing. It is my plea­sure that I have ac­quired the knowl­edge and have ex­pe­ri­enced the life in the univer­sity. Dur­ing my un­der­grad­u­ate days, ex­pec­ta­tions were very high look­ing at the course I was study­ing. I also ex­pected that with the enough re­sources we have in Nigeria, even if there is no white col­lar job, I would be able to es­tab­lish some­thing for my­self and earn a liv­ing hap­pily but the re­verse is the case; I am sill job­less.

What has been your ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter grad­u­a­tion?

I have ex­cru­ci­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; it is very hor­ri­ble. Till to­day, I am job­less. The ex­pe­ri­ence I have be­tween 2009 and now is dis­cour­ag­ing; I have been mov­ing from one place to an­other in search of job op­por­tu­ni­ties, so life has been dif­fi­cult with­out a job.

How many in­sti­tu­tions have you sought for job op­por­tu­ni­ties af­ter grad­u­a­tion?

Ac­tu­ally, I have vis­ited many in­sti­tu­tions and sought for jobs. I have sub­mit­ted ap­pli­ca­tions in many dif­fer­ent in­sti­tu­tions that I can­not even re­mem­ber both in my field of jour­nal­ism and other fields like schools, govern­ment agencies, com­mis­sions, min­istries, among oth­ers but my prayer is yet to be an­swered. I can only re­mem­ber few re­cent ones which I am still hop­ing that God can do his mir­a­cle. You see I would have worked where I did my NYSC in Borno State; that it BRTV, Maiduguri but the is­sue of se­cu­rity is very para­mount to ev­ery in­di­vid­ual. You can’t just sac­ri­fice your life be­cause you want to get a job. I left Borno be­cause of the Boko Haram in­sur­gency in the state be­cause govern­ment is not do­ing enough in the area of

se­cu­rity.

From what you have said, It’s like you pre­fer white col­lar jobs to en­gag­ing in skills ac­qui­si­tion or agri­cul­ture….

It is not like I have pas­sion for white col­lar jobs more than other ar­eas but it’s just be­cause of the Nige­rian sit­u­a­tion now. If the federal govern­ment had in­vested more money in NYSC such that corps mem­bers can save some money and later start some­thing like small scale busi­ness, it would have been an ap­pre­cia­ble de­vel­op­ment but since it is not like that, you need to have ini­tial cap­i­tal be­fore start­ing any pri­vate busi­ness that is why I am look­ing for a job.

Look­ing at the rate of un­em­ploy­ment in Nigeria, it is ob­vi­ous that govern­ment alone can­not pro­vide job op­por­tu­ni­ties for its cit­i­zens. What other ar­eas have you ex­plored apart from seek­ing white col­lar jobs?

I have started a cas­sava farm even though I am in Abuja now, it is be­ing man­aged by my rel­a­tives but I have limited re­sources to ex­pand the farm so I need a white col­lar job that can sus­tain me for at least ten years to en­able me go into a lu­cra­tive pri­vate en­ter­prise. You see, govern­ment has ne­glected the agri­cul­ture sec­tor, it is the sole re­spon­si­bil­ity of govern­ment to cre­ate a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for busi­ness to thrive but in our coun­try, govern­ment is so adamant, thus, ren­der­ing the agric sec­tor co­matose. If you have a farm, get­ting fer­til­izer, her­bi­cides, in­sec­ti­cides and other farm in­puts is al­ways cum­ber­some; even if they are there, they are be­ing sold at ex­or­bi­tant prices and not leav­ing peas­ant farm­ers at the mercy of God, so it is very dif­fi­cult for some of us who wants to in­vest in agri­cul­ture.

You see, I can be a busi­ness man. Sincerely speak­ing, apart from of­fice work, I have the pas­sion of hav­ing my own per­sonal busi­ness, I mean sole pro­pri­etor­ship but where is the cap­i­tal? There is no cap­i­tal to start any busi­ness. The govern­ment has ac­tu­ally po­lar­ize and crip­ple ev­ery as­pect of the life of this na­tion, even people with businesses lack the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture like elec­tric­ity to op­er­ate ef­fec­tively. Even for you to whole thing is that there is no ini­tial cap­i­tal to start any busi­ness and that is why we job­less grad­u­ates are suf­fer­ing with our cer­tifi­cates in our houses.

The federal govern­ment has ini­ti­ated sev­eral poli­cies and pro­grammes aimed at curb­ing the ugly trend of youth un­em­ploy­ment. Are you not fol­low­ing the de­vel­op­ments?

Pol­icy for­mu­la­tion is dif­fer­ent from pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion. Govern­ment poli­cies are just be­ing for­mu­lated; govern­ment is not even se­ri­ous about such poli­cies, you just hear them in the me­dia Ge­orge Akume ad­min­is­tra­tion, he tried to es­tab­lish tomato in­dus­try, the in­dus­try could have re­duced the rate of youth un­em­ploy­ment in that state but un­for­tu­nately it is not func­tional so these are the prob­lems. I know what politi­cians can do be­cause I have stud­ied the ba­sic as­pects of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence and I also re­late with politi­cians very well so do not be car­ried away by what a politi­cian wake up and call a press con­fer­ence or brief­ing to say. With the nu­mer­ous poli­cies on ground such as YOUWIN, SURE-P and many oth­ers, the rate of un­em­ploy­ment is still ris­ing. The youths are not get­ting jobs but in the me­dia, you read or hear a min­is­ter or key govern­ment of­fi­cial telling us the num­ber of jobs cre­ated, that we have cre­ated 20,000 jobs in the first face of this pro­gramme, who are those that were en­rolled and when was it an­nounced? You see, I am not sat­is­fied with these poli­cies be­cause they have not ben­e­fit­ted me nei­ther do they ben­e­fit any of my friends of any other per­son that I know.

So how are you cop­ping?

You see, this is a very big ques­tion and it is the very ques­tion you should ask the govern­ment. The govern­ment has con­tin­ued to es­tab­lish uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try with thou­sands of people grad­u­at­ing ev­ery year with­out jobs, what do you ex­pect them to do? A grad­u­ate can’t feed him­self, a grad­u­ate can’t have money for recharge card, a grad­u­ate can’t have money to cloth him­self; it is a se­ri­ous mat­ter. You see, when you passed through the univer­sity and the univer­sity passed through you only for you to later dis­cover that you are frus­trated by so­ci­etal cir­cum­stances, life be­comes weak and sour. Some of us have the good mind of do­ing the right thing but you know, some people don’t have the mind. I think the present in­se­cu­rity in the coun­try is be­cause of the un­em­ploy­ment level be­cause it is not ev­ery suf­fer­ing per­son that has the mind of peace and or­der so it is ob­vi­ous that some grad­u­ates will be per­pe­trat­ing dif­fer­ent kinds of evil against the na­tion. But I pray that let nor­malcy re­turn to Nigeria, all those per­pe­trat­ing evil and drag­ging the na­tion back­ward, they shall reap the harsh ben­e­fits of their crime from God but I must ad­vise that govern­ment at all lev­els should also do the right thing.

Akombo Aon­dona

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