Distinguished readers, I was planning to write on the outbursts of the Chief of Army staffs, Gen. Tukur Buratai who publicly declared that Nigeria needs spiritual efforts to defeat Boko-Haram troops but I could resist the tempo to change the topic as the social media was washed away with beautiful young guys and ladies who just finished serving their father’s land. Permit me to congratulate Olatundun Abiodun Khent, Akinbode Titilayo and other teeming corpers as they take the final bow in NYSC 2018/2019.
Few days ago, I followed a close friend to his workplace, a private school in Osun state. Being a secondary school teacher, his office is located at the top of the building while the primary section of the school uses the ground floor. I decided to stay at the ground level because I simply do not want to disturb or distract his attention while teaching his students.
I sat at the school’s visitor room very close to the principal’s office surfing the internet as I see beautiful photos of corps members displaying their hard-earned certificates who have no ideas of how tough and demanding the next phase of life is, a very complex reality. I was perplexed and morally down.
While I was still battling with my thoughts at the rapid rate of unemployment in Nigeria and how the colony of unemployed ones keeps expanding yet there are no visible, critical, long and surviving solutions or measures put in place to address this growing epidemic, some parents came into the school to see the principal of the school to buy books and appeal to the school authorities to give them more time in regards to tuition fees.
Out of all scenes and dramas I witnessed in the school, there was a particular scene that caught my attention and I felt so sad and weak that our leaders have not done much at all for the future of these young boys and girls.
The scene is about a new intake, newly admitted student of the school. She was followed by her mother who could not read and write but genuinely loves education. She asked for the list of the new intakes, the list contains materials needed and amount of fees to be paid. The tuition fee is #8,000.
Apart from black shoes, school uniforms, bag, notebooks, food flask and other essential items, the price stipulated for textbooks is #11,500. I looked at the woman; she felt like a great blow descended on her, very sad and the shock was rude. She never expected that the total fees would be so high like that. She collected the bills, walked away with the kid with a pledge that she will return with the kid the next day.
Private schools are really flourishing due to negligence and irresponsible acts of the government. If it takes a ward, #6000, two textbooks and basic materials to attend grammar schools owned by the government and there are no visible changes in the life of these kids, I see no reason why private schools are not better alternatives. That government officials, civil servants, politicians and so called public school teachers take their kids to private schools is laughable.
The story of the “kid” is very similar to the stories of many disadvantaged Nigerians. Parents and guardians suffer greatly to educate their wards and what most students do to sustain themselves in tertiary schools is quite alarming. The decent ones do odd jobs while the indecent ones involve themselves in prostitution, robbery and internet fraud business.
They suffer greatly and do all their best to become graduates yet they join the colony of unemployed ones and this colony keeps on expanding every day. Every parent spends heavily on their children so that they would reap the fruits of their hard labour. It is sad and quite unfortunate that parents and wards would go through hard times to become educated and employment will become a greater challenge. It is really sad.
I have stated it several times unequivocally that “Nigeria is a very unfortunate nation”. As blessed as she is, people who exploit, continuously and tirelessly rape her offsprings have made her worthless. She has been so unlucky to have liars, gold diggers and hardened criminals as leaders and they have never charted possible solutions to this “growing colony of educated and unemployed youths” and whenever they provide any social intervention programme, it leads to their bank of private resource. This is the time for creativity and mental alertness. Graduates should depend heavily on native intelligence and wealth creation. They should apply for professional courses and extend their wings to entrepreneurship.
Inspite of the neglects by governments, we still have young Nigerians who are striving so hard for the survival of their businesses. These young Nigerians did not allow the sad narratives of the country to weaken their morals rather they become steadfast and imbibe the spirit of persistent determination. I have always agitated for a clear financial prospects for young graduates that would assist their business and make them grow well. Government should build more om existing social intervention policies and ensure its full implementation.
As Corps members take final bow, they must carry “guns” to survive the sad narratives of this nation. They need to change their mindset that there are available jobs after NYSC and focus on more ways to create jobs so that they would also employ people. The government has failed in her duties but they should not fail themselves. If you are a corps member and you have taken the final bow, these are the four elements of GUNS that you need to carry with you always.
Giving all available shots trial
Unifying all positive forces
Networking available contacts
Standing firm on the principles of resiliency
Till next I write you on another edition of TIME BOMB, I say thank you.
Apagunpote Olayimika Chocomilo is a right activist and columnist at WITHIN NIGERIA. He can be contacted via 08164411922 or [email protected]