Hardball

Fr. Mbaka and the impending revolution

Ejike Mbaka

By Charles Oluchukwu Igwe

 

SIR: On January 1, Nigerians woke up to another prophecy of the catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka. He spoke during the 2020 edition of his popular annual December 31 crossover night tagged “Cornucopia of New miracles from God”.

The priest warned government at all levels to begin to do something seriously about the unemployment situation in the country in order to avert a revolt by young people that could be worse than the #EndSARS protest and its aftermath. According to Mbaka,”the government should rise and urgently create jobs and innovate opportunities that would benefit the youths of the nation because they have suffered so much”.

We do not need Mbaka to tell us that a revolution is looming as a result of the unemployment crisis in the country. Recent data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows the unemployment rate in the country currently stands at 31.4%. This means that out of a population of 202 million, about 63.4 million people are currently without jobs. This is worsened by Covid-19 pandemic which led to many job losses across different sectors of the economy.

Millions of young graduates are roaming the street with no jobs. Our education system is in decrepit condition. Many young graduates are unemployable because they lack the knowledge and skills that is commensurate with the certificate they possess. There is growing despondency, anger, hopelessness among young people. The unemployment rate in Nigeria is tickling like a time bomb and will soon explode in form of a revolution if urgent action is not taken to address the dire situation.

Nigeria possesses the human and material resources necessary to be truly great and transit from a third world to a first world country. The federal government is doing its best but it is not enough. The Social Intervention Programmes like the N-power scheme, the School Feeding Programme and the yet to kick-off Special Public Works programme for 1000 persons from every local government (774,000 people) must be applauded but this labour programmes of government are largely unsustainable. The agricultural revolution of the federal government has yielded fruits. It has reduced food import and significantly boosted local production and job creation but the menace of the killer herdsmen seen to have hampered that effort.

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) accounts for 48% of the nation’s GDP and 84% of employment. This is a crucial sector for massive job creation that has received significant attention of federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The recent approval for the establishment of public-private styled infrastructure company name InfraCo with an initial seed capital of N1 Trillion and which is expected to grow N15trillion overtime is a welcome development if fully implemented. It should address Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit, improve the economic indices and create jobs.

The high rate of unemployment requires serious effort, commitment and cooperation of the various tiers of government. Truly, the labour programmes of the federal government are not sufficient to absorb the current stock of unemployed Nigeria, let alone new population that will join the labour force in a few years. Therefore serious economic reforms are needed.

Industrialization and the entrepreneur development are crucial to solving the unemployment crisis.

Improving the skill of the Nigeria labour force through human capital development will greatly reduce the unemployment rate. This can only be achieved through the educational institution in Nigeria. Improving the quality of the curriculum especially with renewed focus on Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will produce a much more productive labour force better suited for the fourth industrial revolution.

Onitsha, Anambra State.


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