Between the basket and the weaver who is to blame for the basket`s inability to hold water? A man once took a basket to the stream to fetch water. He grew so frustrated at the futility of his folly that he set the basket ablaze. But the basket had one last opportunity to ask him why he made a basket instead of a basin, and why he did not teach the basket to hold water.
There are a lot of bucks to go round in Nigeria at the moment. With a country that once held such great promise now besieged by grave challenges, the ruckus of recriminations is drawing the raptors.
Between leaders and the led, a war of attrition is in full force with each side blaming the other for the woes which now cause the Giant of Africa to stand on wobbly feet.
On April 7 2022, the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) organized a one-day Trade, Job, Career and Employability Fair in Abuja with the theme: “Promoting Employability, Skills Development and Decent Work.”
To represent Nigeria
s Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Chris Ngige, at the Fair was Mrs. Tilda Mmegwa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job creation. Her mission at the Fair was soon made apparent when she blamed Nigerias youth for the unemployment currently ravaging the country, citing their lack of functional skills. She also said that many of those who form the swarming and squirming mass of Nigeria`s unemployed were those bereft of functional skills.
Commendably, she went on to outline the plans of Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to train 37,000 unemployed graduates,1,000 in each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, on soft skills and marketable resume.
However, it is to the minister
s claim about lack of functional skills being behind Nigerias unemployment crisis that curiosity must now be trained. Is it that the jobs are not available or simply that there are no qualified hands available to man the jobs? Is the haircut horrible because the barber was not good enough or were his shears not just sharp enough?
Functional skills are the core English, mathematics and information and communication technology (ICT) skills people need to solve problems in their work and private lives. They are transferable skills that apply to diverse careers and industries. Functional skills provide vital knowledge people need to learn, work and contribute to society more effectively. In the 21st Century workplace, these skills come in handy. Any country moving with the times would have known many years ago to equip its workforce with these skills to prevent many from being left behind as is the case now.
Nigeria has simply not done this or done enough, and now that the price is being paid in the agony of millions of Nigerians who are today unemployed. The blame game is well and truly on.
It breaks the heart that today being a young person in Nigeria is practically synonymous with frustration. Wherever one looks, young people seethe with discontent and frustration. The generation which should be bearing Nigeria`s torch of hope is full of many whose fingers are too furious to hold anything, and so, flame by flame, the light of a country as great as any is dying.
Does anyone wonder why many of Nigeria`s young people besiege foreign embassies in Nigeria in their haste to flee the country? Does anyone still wonder why the ranks of terrorist organizations operating in Nigeria are massed by young people who should be building the walls of Nigeria but have instead taken up arms against her?
Does anyone still wonder why young people are so disillusioned in a country where septuagenarians are staking an unspoken claim to power? The Academic Staff Union of Universities is currently observing its now customary annual strike action. With many Nigerian undergraduates sat at home, does the minister sleep easy given that he is in charge of labour issues?
As Nigeria has continued to unravel, it has become easy to indiscriminately point fingers. Yet, as experience has shown, the only time the indiscriminate finger-pointing of the average Nigerian politician abruptly finds the coordinates of discrimination is when the fingers turn on those in the corridors of power.
As many Nigerians continue to sip the soup of pain and penury from Nigeria`s kitchen of unemployment, Nigerians know who the chefs and servers are. Nigerian voters will remember their faces when the ballot boxes are thrown open next year.