Tuesdays are always one of my most boring days. It is the one day I have very little to do and very little friends to gist with. Why? Because they aren’t so jobless like me. And please before you judge me, I am not ashamed of being Jobless. Afterall, the average Nigerian youth is Jobless. Forget about those statistics you see out there and come down to earth. Take walk through the streets. Come to agege, orile Iganmu, igando, surulere et al. You would come to the sad reality that at least 7 out of 10 Nigerians have no Jobs. Even those who thought they have got some sort of employment are actually underemployed. But trust Nigerians, we will always find a way out of our sorry predicament.
I use to have a roommate some two years ago. His name was kola. A first class graduate of Economics at the Lagos State University, LASU. He wakes up every morning as early as 6am, take his birth, apply the coconut oil on his well trimmed Afro, put a white long-sleeved shirt on a nicely ironed blue jeans and set out at exactly 8am after he must have applied my perfume to his nicely ironed shirt. But can someone please ask me where he was going to? You maybe quick to think he has some sort of Job that pays him minimally at 150K for starters. Your closest guess could be maybe he is always setting out for a Job interview. But who goes for a Job interview every blessed day? Jobs aren’t hanging on trees the last time I checked. Oh! Maybe he goes out searching for Jobs! Hmmmm. He already spent the first five years of graduation circulating his CVs to several companies. He distributed his CVs has though distributing a Christmas gift. But where exactly was Kola always going with his sparkling outfit. And please, he ain’t going out to rob no one. So don’t fret. My friend was a well brought up Christian.
So where was he going with his look of a fresh boy who earns big from a oil company? That my brother was the million dollar question I asked myself at the time. And so I decided to ask him this million dollar question on one bright Monday morning. The answer I got was one that was neither satisfactory nor believable. Then I made a decision one night that I was going to make my own findings and verification. Kola was a well brought up Christian boy as I have already made you understand. But he was also very hungry. Although, we were both hungry but his level of poverty had a different category. Hunger as you know can be a bastard and mosttimes a very terrible phenomenon. It could make a monk, who is sworn to defend righteousness, consider stealing, and that consideration is itself a sin. You are free to ask me what I did next. I did what even you my patient reader would have done. I simply followed him. One had to be reassured that the next time you wake up, you wouldn’t be sleeping next to some strangers behind the bars of Kiri Kiri prison. Although that could have been an economic relief. At least the ministry of interior did say they budget 14k per day for prisoners. With such figure, its better off being in the prison than working your ass out for 30k minimum wage. However, the reality of the Nigerian prison is a different horror entirely. A stack contrast to what the ministry did tell us. But that’s a story for another publication.
One Thursday morning, Kola set out again as usual and trust me I didn’t waste time at tailing him. Omo this guy dey waka. He should really consider relocating to Kenya or Ethiopia where his skills could be shappened, maybe he he would end up winning a marathon race at the Olympics. Those were the thoughts that strolled through my mind as I followed him. After some twenty minutes of trekking, he finally made his entrance into someplace that seem really heart breaking for me. I would have decided to wait longer in the assumption that he was actually going there to say hi to a friend and then step out to continue his journey. But the wait wasn’t necessary. He already told me where he goes to only that I didn’t believe him. The thought and that sad reality of the average Nigerian youth actually dawned on me yet again. So Kola, a first class graduate of a reputable university actually sets out every morning, with his well trimmed hair and a nicely ironed cloth only for him to make his entrance into a NAIRABET shop! That is his place of work every morning. Not as an employee but as someone who stakes N100 to win a million naira. Oh NairaBet! Saving lives since 19 gbogboro . That is the Job of an average Nigerian youth these days.
There are many more out there who are living under worse conditions. We try very hard to pass Jamb, Burn the midnight candle to write and pass Post Jamb. You get into the University and the hustle and struggle continues. You read until your sanity threatens to cede itself from your brain and then you graduate with a first class degree in an unfathomable condition of leaving and learning. All of this to end up jobless. To all the Nigerian youths out there who are struggling to make ends meet, God bless your hustle.
But we shouldn’t stop at our honest hustle. Let’s also take it a bit further by being good and critical citizens of our country. Like a philosopher once said, Just because you aren’t interested in politics doesn’t mean politics isn’t interested in you. Being jobless is a confirmation of politics taking the most profound interest in you. Our joblessness and academic predicament are reflections of political decisions. While asking our leaders to provide better opportunities for us as we have it with some of our African counterparts, the unemployed among us should also remind our leaders about section 16 subsection 2d of the Nigerian Constitution. That part of chapter two of the constitution mandates the government to pay to its unemployed citizens what it called “Unemployment Benefit”. No be me talk this one o. Na the constitution talk am. Until I reach you again, Bye for now.