Prior to the 2015 general elections that brought President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress, APC into office, people were almost deaf from numerous campaign promises.
Prominent among the promises was the readiness to provide jobs for the youths and end the long-standing scourge of unemployment.
Obviously, a higher percentage of the electorates fell for the promise to allay unemployment and cast their votes for the current administration.
However, over two years since Buhari’s victory and not much can be said to have been done about the high unemployment rate in the country.
More youths graduate from different universities and higher institutions every year and join a host of others in search of jobs which are usually very difficult to come by, save for people who are well connected.
Meanwhile, for the umpteenth time, the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, has said that before the year ends, no fewer than one million youth will be gainfully employed across different states of the federation.
He also pointed out that the Federal Government had already engaged over 30,000 youths through its numerous programmes and job creation.
Lawal opined that the president is laying a solid foundation for the future generation through his leadership style, but a lot of people actually may not agree to this as they continually feel that the president is witch-hunting a selected group of people in his famed anti-corruption war.
In his words: “We have commenced a new journey of rapid and sustainable economic growth that will usher us prosperity despite all the challenges.
“Our economy should have been among the strongest in the world if not for the high level of corruption which is more evident in key sectors like education and health care delivery.
“This government has introduced diversification policy and very soon we will begin to witness changes as we have witnessed in rice and wheat production.”
Now that the government has promised to provide at least one million young people with jobs, that obviously suggests that the rate of unemployment would experience a drastic reduction.
Statistics from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report show that another 1.5 million Nigerians became unemployed in the first quarter of 2016.
The record also clearly stated that the rate of unemployment grew from 10.4 percent in the last quarter in 2015 to 12.1 percent.
The labour force population (i.e. those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 78.4 million from 76.9million in q4 2015.
This means that an additional 1,528,647 economically active persons within 15-64 entered the labour force i.e. were able and willing and actively looking for work between January 1 and March 31 2016.
According to the report: “Within the same period, the total number in full time employment (did any form of work for at least 40 hours) decreased by 528,148 persons or 0.97%.
“This consists of people who lost their jobs and were either forced or for various reasons chose to move from full time employment to underemployment.
“Within the same period, the number of unemployed in the labour force, increased by 1,449,18 persons (increase of 518,000 between Q3 and Q4 2015) between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016.”
Youth unemployment also rose to 42.24 percent, as 15.2million youths remain unemployed in the economy.
“Accordingly, out of a total youth labour force of 38.2 million (representing 48.7% of total labour force in Nigeria of 78.48mn), a total of 15.2mn of them were either unemployed or underemployed in Q1 2016 representing a youth unemployment rate of 42.24%.”
Does this suggest that the country is making any progress in the aspect of reducing the rate of unemployment or is it the population explosion taking its toll on the country?
Now that the government has raised hopes on high, probably people should expect more from them this time because a lot of hopes have been dashed in the past and people have resorted to paying no mind to whatever promises the government makes.
This should even serve as a wake up call to the government to desist from making promises and leaving them unfulfilled because overtime, it could make citizens lose faith in them and really, nothing would work out perfectly if the citizens find it difficult to believe the government.
The government really has to take investing in the youths more seriously because an investment in one youth means an investment into the future.
It is needless to revisit the old cliche of youths being the leaders of tomorrow.
Got a news tip/information for us? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on twitter @thesheetng
Like us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com / The Sheet
This is a 2017 Copyright of thesheet.ng. You may wish to request express approval from thesheet.ng to republish.