Nigeria: How Corruption Inhibits National Development (I)

By IndepthAfrica
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Aug 2nd, 2012
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By Nasiru Suleiman

On Sunday July 22, 2012, I was at the ECWA Church, Angwar Rimi Hausa section in Kaduna. It was the rounding-off of the Children’s Week of prayers and to celebrate the day, the children lined up some interesting programmes among which was the one they tagged “Talk-show”.

Like any other TV talk-show, the programme was well organised with the presenters looking smart and apparently in control of the programme. Their guests were well-informed people, as they comprised of ordained reverend gentlemen, teachers from public schools, etc.

The topic for discussion was “insecurity”. The children who were apparently worried about the present situation in the country put several questions to their guests among which are: the causes of the present unfortunate happenings in the country?

The children were also disturbed and wanted to know their fate if the situation continued, they so wanted to know what will be the future of the country and the fate of the younger generation. They also wanted to know if the government was doing enough in bringing an end to the crises in the country.

Several other questions were asked, but one question that caught my attention was the one that tried to link the present insecurity and the incessant religious and communal crises in Northern Nigeria and the country as a whole to youth unemployment. The question was asked by the presenter: “Larger numbers of those perpetrating this evil are mostly youths.

Because of the prevailing situation of unemployment in Nigeria, the youths now become handy for mischief makers who use them in perpetrating their evil acts.

In connection with finding solutions to the security challenges in Nigeria, what will be your advice to the youths and every young person in Nigeria today?” As one of the guests whom the question was directed to picked the microphone to respond, like the typical Nigerian, she first started with some questions to the entire congregation and asked, How many Nigerian youths are actually employable?

How many actually went to school and possess the required qualifications for job? How many have the paper qualifications? She continued by asking how many are willing to bring themselves low to go and learn a trade?

As she talked on, she advised those who are gifted educationally to pursue careers in schools by choosing the courses that best match their abilities and for those who are not gifted academically they should humble themselves and go and learn trades so that they can fend for themselves and their dependents in the future.

She blamed the present challenges facing the country to corruption in low and high places, love for money and the get-rich quick syndrome amongst many Nigerians.

Her response kept me thinking, and I began to reflect on so many other issues, I looked at the majority of the youths on the streets who are actually unemployed and many of us who are underemployed, I was forced to start reasoning alongside her position and began to ask myself the same questions. How many of us are actually employable?, which skills do we possess?, how relevant are those skills and knowledge to the present situation?.

As I reasoned, I thought of what we were told was obtainable in the past, how jobs used to be available for graduates; we were told companies usually go to pick from among the graduating students in the universities and other higher institutions. We were even told that graduates were given cars as gift immediately after graduation from the university.

We were told jobs and jobs were just available for apparently limited graduates in the country. But what is the situation today?

What has happened to the good old days?, what is it that was done then, that we are not doing now? What have we as a nation failed to do that has plunged us into this present situation? These and many more questions still keep my mind busy.

May be the whole mess could be attributed to poor planning. But if you say poor planning, one will be forced to ask questions on the number of development plans we have had in the past. Can one say is poor implementation of well-conceived plans or the plans were just ill-conceived ?

Certainly, if we can not say it is poor planning, then, what is the problem? Why do we produce large number of graduates who are unemployable? Why do we have large number of our citizens without formal education? Why is it that, despite the good plans on paper, the results are usually insignificant?

TO BE CONTINUED

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