When members of the current APC administration were campaigning for votes in 2015, they severely criticized the then PDP led federal government, and accused it of corruption and economic mismanagement, which they said, was responsible for the many ills plaguing the country, and in particular, the rising unemployment rate, which then stood at 8.3 million people.
They promised a complete turn around, pledging that once elected, they would right all the wrongs of the PDP. They also promised that they would create three million jobs every year, which according to our own calculation, would wipe out this eight million unemployment rate inherited from the PDP within three years. We agreed with the APC, hailed them, and gave them our votes.
But three years down the line, the unemployment rate in the country has not faired better. Instead, it has even gone from bad to worse.
According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a total of 7.956 million Nigerians had become unemployed in the country from between January 2016 and September 30, 2017. Specifically, the NBS report explained that the number of unemployed Nigerians had risen from 8.036 million people in the third quarter of 2015, to 15.998 million or about 16 million people in the third quarter of 2017.
According to the NBS report: “The unemployment rate increased from 14.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 16.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 and 28.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017. The number of people within the labour force who are unemployed or under employed increased from 13.6 million to 17.7 million respectively, in the second quarter of 2017 to 15.9 million, and 18.0 million unemployment in the third quarter of 2017”.
The National Bureau of Statistics blamed the increasing unemployment or under employment rates in the country on “Nigeria’s fragile economy” despite the exit from recession. It explained that the domestic labour market was still ftagile, while “economic growths in the past two quarters of 2017 have not been strong enough to provide employment in Nigeria’s domestic labour market”.
This is an unbiased report. I personally believe that the NBS was not out to hurt anybody, but to do its professional work, which it believed, would serve as systematic guide to the managers of the country’s economy to plan for a better tomorrow.
Unfortunately, those in charge of affairs in the country, and who might stumble into the report, would fail to do anything. They would read politics into it and accuse the opposition of sponsoring the report, particularly on the eve of the general election. And our people will continue to suffer.
Every reasonable Nigerian knows that things have not been going on well in the country. It did not start with the present administration. The economy has not been healthy. Most companies and industties in the country have not been operating at installed capacity, resulting to loss of jobs while some of those working have not been receiving their regular salaries.
Every year, thousands, if not millions of youths, turn out from various higher institutions. There would be no jobs waiting for them, because their future had not been planned. They would continue to roam endlessly in the streets, searching for nonexistent jobs. Sometimes, they would end up as street boys, doing so many despicable things like political thuggery, kidnapping, militancy, harlotry, and what have you.
So many thers would seek solace by travelling outside the shores of the country, to places far worse than their fatherland, where they would be doing all sorts of menial jobs. Some of them would even end their lives in prison, or would be killed outright.
The NBS report therefore, should be seen as a wake up call. Those in charge of affairs in the country should put their heads together and see what they could do to salvage the situation. Fifteen or almost sixteen million jobless people is not a small number. They are like time bomb which could explode at any time, and when it explodes, it could cause a lot of damages.
If we leave these people unattended to, then we would continue to breed criminals in our land. That was how Boko Haram, militants in the Niger Delta area, cultists, kidnappers, etc., started. They were jobless youths who were first recruited as political thugs but later abandoned by their masters. Then, they become thorns in our flesh.
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