U n e m p l o y m e n t… Desiring Comprehensive Umahi Job;Not Just for First Class Graduates

U n e m p l o y m e n t… Desiring Comprehensive Umahi Job;Not Just for First Class Graduates

By Akindoyin Aanuoluwapo

Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased from 18.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

The statistics bureau in a report last December said the economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 111.1 million in Q3 2017 to 115.5million in Q3 2018.

“The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people who are able and willing to work increased from 75.94 million in Q3 2015 to 80.66 million in Q3 2016 to 85.1 million in Q3,2017 to 90.5million in Q3, 2018,” the report said.

“The total number of people in employment (i.e with jobs) increased from 68.4 million in Q3 2015, to 68.72 million in Q3 2016, to 69.09 million in Q3 2017 and 69.54 million in Q3 2018. The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) increased from 51.1 million in Q3 2017 to 51.3 million in Q3, 2018.

“The total number of people in part-time employment (or underemployment) decreased from 13.20 million in Q3 2015 to 11.19 million in Q3 2016 but increased to 18.02 million in Q3 2017 and to 18.21 million in Q3 2018.”

The report said the total number of people classified as unemployed, which means they did nothing at all or worked too few hours (under 20 hours a week) to be classified as employed increased from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.

Of the 20.9 million persons classified as unemployed as at Q3 2018 11.1 million did some form of work but for too few hours a week (under 20 hours) to be officially classified as employed while 9.7 million did absolutely nothing, the NBS said.

“Of the 9.7 million unemployed that did absolutely nothing as at Q3 2018, 90.1% of them or 8.77 million were reported to be unemployed and doing nothing because they were first time job seekers and have never worked before.

According to the bureau, “Unemployment rate in Nigeria has been on the increase since the economic crisis in 2014. The unemployment rate based on NBS’s revised methodology were calculated to be 23.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Underemployment, however, has been gradually declining over the past four quarters, with then rate in Q3 was reported as 20.1 percent.

It stated: “The increasing unemployment and declining underemployment rates imply that the fragile economic recovery is beginning to create employment. However, hours worked within these jobs are not yet enough for full time employment (40+ hours within the week).

While this is on-going, the inflow of entrants into the labour market continues to grow steadily, minimizing the effect of any jobs created within the economy on the overall unemployment rate”.

The report further showed that 26.6 percent of women within the labour force (aged 16-64 and willing, able, and actively seeking work) were unemployed, 6.3 percent higher than the unemployment rate for men (20.3%), and 3.5 percent higher than the total labour force unemployment rate, which is 23.1 percent.

The report said, “For women, this also represents a 5.4 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate from the same period of last year. Additionally, 25.9 percent of women in the labour force were underemployed, a 4.1 percentage point increase in underemployment for women from the previous year.

“In the same period, 20.3 percent of men in the labour force (aged 16-64 and willing, able, and actively seeking work) were unemployed. This figure is 3.8 percentage points higher than the same period last year, and 2.8 percentage points lower than the total labour force unemployment rate. Additionally, 15.4 percent of men in the labour force were underemployed, a 5.1 percentage point decline in underemployment rate for men over the same period last year.”

Also, the unemployment rate between urban and rural regions within the quarter under review maintained a similar pattern to that of the general labour force unemployment rate. It showed that in Q3’2018, 23.9 percent of rural and 21.2 percent of urban dwellers within the labour force were unemployed.

This represented a 7.5 percentage point increase in unemployment rate for rural dwellers over the same period in 2017, and a 2.2 percentage point decrease in unemployment rate for urban dwellers over the last year.

“On the other hand, 9.9 million 0r 0.9% of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and doing nothing at all reported they were unemployed and did nothing at all because they were previously employed but lost their jobs at some point in the past which is why they were unemployed.

“Of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and did nothing at all, 35.0% or 3.4 million have been unemployed and did nothing at all for less than a year, 17.2% or 1.6 million for a year, 15.7% or 1.5 million had been unemployed and did nothing for 2 years, and the remaining 32.1% or 3.1 million unemployed persons had been unemployed doing nothing for 3 and above years.”

In the view of this, it came in the news that Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Umahi Offers Automatic Employment to Ebonyi 1st Class Graduates

Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi has offered automatic employment to every first class graduate from the state or anyone who was born and trained in Ebonyi that is presently unemployed.

Governor Umahi has not given waiver for employment since inception of office in May 2015, but he noted it became imperative to employ those who worked hard in the university to make good grades because it will encourage others to work hard.

He said first class graduates cut across those who graduated from the state university and beyond, pointing out that it is to reduce the high rate of unemployment in the state.

He disclosed this on Monday May 27, 2019 during a media chat/ dinner to mark the second term inauguration/ fourth anniversary ceremony in office as the Governor.

He noted that unemployment could lead to depression and said that youth’s empowerment will take centre stage in his second tenure in office as well as industrialization and quality education to Ebonyi people.

He maintained that after school, a student is expected to have acquired skills that will help him/her start up life and progress financially.

He described it as painful for a student to study very hard during the university to make first class and after graduation, such student will not be able to secure job even when he or she is an asset to the society.

The Governor used the medium to also announce that the state former Five Star Hotels, located at Mile 50, will now be used by the newly created Faculty of Engineering, Ebonyi State University for their studies.

The Five Star Hotels was among the projects started by the first Executive Governor of the state, Dr. Sam Egwu and has not been completed till date.

The Governor who said his projects are for the future usage said that in his second tenure in office; he will build Airport, and other human oriented projects that will benefit the state.

He added that ten youths from each local government areas will be selected and send to China to go and learn shoe making in the second term in office while more women will receive Empowerment skill

But the problem is that after the news filtered into the air, there were rumours gaining ground that it was a mere propaganda.

They said, it was not possible for the governor to employ the first class graduates, they said it was a scam from the state government to deceive its citizens.

Some others lamented that it was a scheme not to employ anyone at all, because they assume that how many first class candidate will come from the state since the state was said to be among the educational backward states in the nation.

But there was a twist as it turns out that Ebonyi state has produced over 90 unemployed graduates, compared to the rumour that was gaining ground that they may not reach 10 first class graduates.

More than 90 unemployed first class graduates showed up during the screening of the first class graduates as they receive stipend and scholarship For M.Sc, Ph.D.

Not less than 90 Ebonyi Indigenes first class unemployed graduates on Monday 15th July, 2019 were awarded scholarship for Master and Doctorate degree by Ebonyi State government under the leadership of Engr. David Nweze Umahi.

This was made public during briefing at Exco chamber government house, Abakaliki, stating that it became imperative to know that the office of Secretary to the State Government (SSG) was still open to more applicants who fall to the category.

Addressing the Newsmen, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Cletus Ofoke noted that following the state governor’s directive that first class graduates of Ebonyi Origin be employed, 90 unemployed first class graduates have submitted their applications, and they will be sponsored by the state government for their M.Sc and PhD while government pays them N20, 000 monthly stipend throughout the period of studying.

He said that the office of the secretary to the state government having received 90 applicants has during Exco meeting, as he called for more qualified unemployed Ebonyian’s who are first class graduates to submit their applications to the office of the secretary, stressing that Umahi led government was ready to accommodate all jobless first class graduates and would be given equal treatment.

Having examined this, could it be a strategy of the state government to escape recruiting workers into its workforce that made it place an advert that can only employ limited unemployed graduates or could it be running away from its responsibility of employing its citizens which it has not done in the last 4 years?

Speaking with Citizens’ Advocate, citizens expressed their opinions on whether employment of first class graduates alone is the best, or other capable hands should be employed alongside the first class.

“It is never a good thing to employ only the first class student, if the government wants to help people in the state, he should do that and not only choosing some group of people in the society.”

“Ok; what of people that have graduated over the years , without  being employed, and people that has what it takes to better the state and yet are not employed.”

“So if the government wants to reduce the rate of unemployment in the state, they should do the right thing.”

“The government should not only employ people with first class but also people with other grades, because, some of them that have the first class might not really give what it takes, but some people that are not even with the first class certificate can even do more better. So it’s not all about certificate.”

“I’ll advice the state government that they should always employ people that have what it takes to build the society & not only the first class graduates.” – Nwukaghu Judith C.

“Employing first class graduate will not solve unemployment problem because we have a lot of graduates that are even better in terms of their ability and capability, its not about the degree, its not about what you graduated with, its about your inner ability; what you can do, what you can give out.

So I believe that he should give so many other people the opportunity, not just the first class graduates, he ca try out graduates with other grades.”

“Employment should be free and fair, not based on connection. People should be employed on merit, it will be better if people were employed on merit rather than connection.

In terms of employment, the state government should encourage people even those are already employed, the pay is not encouraging, even though you employ a first class graduate and you’re paying him 26,000 and he is doing a job that is worth more than that, it’s not encouraging.”

“In most companies in Nigeria, you will see that one person is doing virtually 10 persons job, there should be division of labour in the companies to ease unemployment.” – Modupe Joshua

“He has taken a good step to employ first class graduates, but he can also extend it to other graduates like second class upper or so, but the step is a very nice one.”

“It will reduce unemployment but he can increase the number of people he will employ, maybe by increasing it at least up to 200. Maybe by adding the second class upper to complete the number.” – Ede Josephine

“Employing first class graduates is like a reward for hard labour but it shouldn’t stop at that, the state government should give room for others that graduated with second class upper and second class lower.

Certificates sometimes does not really tell the extent of performance yes, if there is a way of assessing performances as a way to determine who will get any job, but its not good to give only first class graduates.”

“Definitely this employment will reduce the number of unemployment a bit, assuming the number was 100 minus 5,it will become 95,so it has reduced it to some extent.”

“My advice to the state government and the governor in particular is to beef it up and extend it to other graduates not just fist class graduates.” – Chukwuemeka Theophilus

“I think it is a welcomed development but it is not completely the best. Why I say it is a welcome development is that employing first class graduate is a means of rewarding them for their hard work, though I discovered that in our own side now, hard work is no longer encouraged.

That is why most of us youths think that there is a better way to do it like politics and other things, and I think if this approach he is using is being executed like it is being said, most people will realize the importance of working hard in school. But in the other way round I know that there is what I call circumstantial reasons why some people don’t come out with first class.

If we look at that, then we may also not restrict the employment only to first class. Sometimes if am to say, first class graduates might have done well, sometimes they are not always the best.”

“Employing first class graduates alone won’t reduce unemployment in the state, because when you compare the number of first class graduates in the state, compared to people that graduated with other grades, I don’t think the number will have much effect on it, though if you remove the number of first class graduates from the number of unemployed youth, it will reduce by that number.”

“The state governor is doing well be encouraging hard work, but he should increase the employment by employing second class upper. If he wants to employ first class graduates first, no problem, but after that, he should make provision for other graduates who are qualified to be employed so as to reduce unemployment in the state.” – Bro Ezaka David Sunday

“In this state, the governor needs high talented personnel, but those that graduated with second class upper and second class lower are also competent in academics, because in academics, no one is perfect, what you have within you and all that you can offer the society counts a lot.”

“The governor should also employ those that are experienced in their field, with 4,5,6 years experience, rather than employing just first class graduates alone.”

“He should employ all graduates, since we have gender equality, we should also have academics equality. Inasmuch as he is trying to employ first class graduates to encourage hard work, he should also employ qualified graduates alongside them. He should also employ those that attended Polytechnics, monotechnics and college of education, not just University graduates.”

“Employing first class graduates alone won’t reduce unemployment in the state because majority in their disciplines are second class upper and second class lower, it is only few that are first class, which so many also got with crooked ways, except some few ones that are got it because they are intelligent.”

“He should do a massive employment that will accommodate everyone, including those that didn’t pass through the four walls of the university but are highly skilled at what they do.” – Nwafor Innocent Obioma

“Requesting to employ first class graduates is uncalled for, its like telling those that didn’t make first class to go and kill themselves because they don’t have a place in the society, now that suicide rate is on the increase.”

“If he’s successful in employing first class graduates, other states can emulate him in taking such decisions. It might also affect students in school by encouraging them to indulge in exam malpractices or other vices that can improve their results so that they can be employed in the nearest future. That is not the best thing.”

“I believe that people that apply for jobs should be given the job as long as they are qualified, since some people are not academically sound, but can perform better than the first class graduates. First class should not be a criterion for giving people job, it shouldn’t be the yardstick.” – Comfort Stephen

“Employing first class graduates is good, but not that good since most of first class graduates didn’t merit it, some of them used money to acquire the certificate. He should have given maybe like 60% employment to first class graduates and share the remaining percentage to graduates with other grades.”

“Since he is employing first class graduates to encourage hard work, his idea is good because those people that are eager to have first class will strive the more and it will improve students’ performance in the state.”

“Government should make an enabling environment for investors to come and invest in the state so that there will be more employment opportunities in the state other than government employment.” – Madu Emmanuel

“The government would have employed graduates with other grades, but they will pay according to their qualifications.”

“It is a good step that the government has taken, at least, it will reduce unemployment rate by that number that has been employed. But government should also employ second class upper and lower, even those that haven’t gone to school need work to survive, but if those people are employed, they can use that money to sponsor themselves to school, have certificate and live well.” – Mrs Ekebe Promise

“I don’t think first class graduates alone should be employed, because looking at the educational system in Nigeria, many people can sort their ways through school to achieve good grade. There is this saying that ‘good grade is not equal to good brain’. It is not about the parallel A’s, it is about what you’ve been able to get.”

“First class is good, but I’ve learnt as a professional teacher, we understand that there are limitations that may happen in the course of study and someone may shift from what he/she has been aspiring.

Then when some things happen that affects the person’s result, this may make the person not to make first class again.”

“The governor should not limit the employment to first class graduates; he should include graduates with other grades.”

“The government should create job opportunities to its citizens; they shouldn’t just reserve it for their children or relatives. If it is not possible to create job opportunities, they should empower youths. When one person is empowered, such person will empower another person who will empower another person and like that, the chain grows.” – Chinonso Jane

“Employing first class graduates alone is not good, what happens to second class graduates? Everyone cannot be the same, all students can’t come out with the same grade. When you target the stars and you land on the cloud, what can you do?”

“Though it is a means of encouraging hard work, but what will happen to graduates with other grades. If he’s taking the first class graduates, he should as well employ graduates with other grades because it is not easy to go to university successfully.” – Umoke Ethel

There are lots of people that are not aware of the first class employment, but those that are aware of it applauded the Governor for the bold step he has taken to reduce unemployment by the number of people he employed.

Having interacted with Ebonyians, they applauded the governor for the good work he has done by employing the first class graduates, but implored him to also embark on a massive recruitment that will cut across board, instead of employing only first class graduates.

Some believed that creating enabling environment for companies in the state will increase employment opportunities for Ebonyians. If companies invest in the state, there will be more job opportunities for the citizens.

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