Posts tagged ‘unemployment’

Disgraceful And Shallow Campaigns (Part 1)

I am missing proper discussions and debates on the economy, unemployment, insecurity, migration, social injustice, inequality, education, health, population growth, science, technology and a holistic approach to reducing intellectual and material poverty in Nigeria.

Disgraceful And Shallow Campaigns (Part 1)

By Adeola Aderounmu


The two major political parties in Nigeria ought to be ashamed of their presidential election campaigns so far.

I have seen and listened to many political campaigns in Nigeria and this year’s campaign is the worst ever.

The bigger culprit here is the lazy ruling party popularly called PDP. A ruling party is supposed to be flaunting its achievements while making concrete plans for the future. But here we have a party that is like a sinking ship ridiculously campaigning like it is looking for power for the first time.

The PDP started a mudslinging campaign and took it too far as the election date approaches. No doubt the indolent and largely purposeless government led by Mr. Goodluck Jonathan is probably the most corrupt government in the world today. The cluelessness of Jonathan has shown no limit on his campaign trail.

Sadly too the APC could not hold back and some of its agents have produced a lot of campaign videos that still does not prove how the APC intend to be the change that Nigeria and Nigerians deserve. With several dropouts and losers from the other political parties flocking to APC, it is hard to see any change in sight.

It appears the change people are clamoring for is just to get a clueless government out of the way. But the opposition can do better.

It is about 2 weeks to the presidential election and Nigerians are yet to be told how the economy will be boosted in the face of the global decline in the price of crude oil. Jonathan made more than 200 promises during the 2010/2011 campaign year. Almost all of them were thrashed as soon as he began to drink at the presidential villa.

The economy has suffered and massive funds have been looted from the treasuries under the supervision of Goodluck Jonathan, his central bank governors and his minister of finance. This stealing and looting predate Jonathan definitely.

Indeed, I stand on the side of those who reject the World Bank report or the CNN evaluation of Nigerian economy. More Nigerians have slipped into the poverty zone and more Nigerians are unemployed and several thousands of them were even duped by Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Abba Moro. A few were killed during the duping process otherwise known as the Immigration employment scam.

A way to measure a growing economy will be making good use of the employment indices, the quality of life of majority of the citizens and the overall decline in the percentage of people living from hand to mouth among other factors.

Until these begin to happen one cannot appreciate economic growth on paper or assume that the prosperity of those who buy jets from looted crude oil proceeds represents the growth of a country. It is wickedness to summarize the well-being of 1% of Nigerians who own 80% of the country’s wealth as the mark of an economy that is growing.

The PDP we now know thrives on deceit and lies. The APC ought to seize the opportunity and present a formidable option on the economic front. It is not enough to call the PDP corrupt because the APC is also loaded with corrupt politicians as well as political prostitutes.

Political campaign in Nigeria is mostly gibberish, if not outright rubbish.

In actual fact what ought to be sold during this season of campaign is what the political parties stand for and not just what Jonathan or Buhari are as individuals. On personality levels, Nigerians deserve better than a drunkard or a dictator.

Indeed the personality of the persons leading a political group is important but the fundamental issues that govern the operations, prospects and plans of the political parties for the country should be paramount.

For life can come with unexpected situations. If Jonathan or Buhari for one reason or the other become unfit or unwell to stand for elections on February 14, it is the party’s politics that should bear on the electorates and not just the personality of the number one person in line to the presidency. It’s a huge risky to put persons before institutions.

Therefore rather than selling people during elections, it would have been nice to tell how the two political parties intend to further diversify the Nigerian economy. How do they intend to stop the Chinese from looting and carting away Nigeria’s precious mineral resources?

How do they intend to stop bringing criminals as ministers who will sell the treasuries of the land for a token that they even loot? How does APC or PDP intend to break this jinx that has turned the blessings of Nigerians into curses?

Where are the blueprints on how to help the North to recover its groundnut pyramids? How will Western Nigeria become the hub for cocoa and oil palm production again so that exportation can improve and promote the economy?

What about cassava in the East? Where can l go to read about the plans that the political parties have made in this respect? Why should almost everything be based on crude oil?

Which recordings from any of the campaign trail can I watch to see and hear Buhari’s plan according to the APC manifesto? All the posters about free food, free education and sudden miracles manufactured by internet warriors on behalf of the APC don’t do it.

Where can I access the blueprint that lazy and corrupt Jonathan has been trying hard to implement for the past 6 years?

Have I missed the discussion on cutting executive recklessness and financial wastages?

Common and ordinary citizens are to survive on a meagre monthly minimum wage of N18 000 per month. That disgraceful amount is a clear contradiction to what a growing economy would pay her citizens.

Ideally such an amount of money is what a family of four can budget to spend in a day if the costs of feeding, transportation, clothing and leisure activities are taken into consideration.

More than 90% of Nigerians live below the poverty level. The people may be resilient but that does not take away the permanent life of poverty that they are confined to.

In the same country some heartless people called politicians earn the biggest political salaries in the world. A lot of unnecessary funds and bonuses are allocated to Nigerian politicians at the local, state and federal levels that amount to direct stealing and official looting of the treasury.

To make the matter worse Nigerian politicians are mostly crooks still finding other means to award contracts, steal contract funds, set up committees upon committees and all sorts of malicious mechanisms aimed solely for self-enrichment.

Both the PDP and the APC have not mentioned how to cut on the financial wastages and leakages across all tiers of governance.

How do they want to make the take home pay of the politicians comparable to the salaries of ordinary Nigerians? Or how do they want to ensure that Nigerians who are employed or unemployed do not become criminals because they want to make ends meet? In short, how do the political parties intend to bridge this extreme social and economic injustice?

One area of public service in the hands of the mafia in Nigeria is the energy sector. The federal government has failed woefully to provide constant power supply in Nigeria.

Nigeria is reputed to have the worst power supply system in the world. Goodluck Jonathan stated clearly that nobody should take him seriously for re-election in 2015 if he cannot provide electricity after 4 years.

The energy sector is just one out of the several unfulfilled promises. Yet Mr. Jonathan finds the courage to live with this shame and still go around making more promises. What has happened to men who keep their words?

Mr. Jonathan lied to the world through the CNN that electricity has improved in Lagos and other cities across Nigeria. What a guy!

The PDP as a political party in charge of governance since 1999 when pseudo-democracy was returned to Nigeria has failed in this aspect. Under Obasanjo, Yar Adua and Jonathan several billions of naira have been looted with no results to show. Nigeria remains the darkest country in the world.

No arrests have been made for the monies that disappeared under Obasanjo and Jonathan which leaves both rulers as partners in crimes against the people of Nigeria.

The Ministry of Finance cannot account for the funds pumped into this adventure that yield no light. Instead more darkness came to Nigeria and the sales of generators by the energy mafia group of companies continue to skyrocket.

The PDP does not need to present any new plan on energy and power generation because for 16 years all its plans have produced more darkness than light.

The APC has refused to provide a clear blueprint on how it intends to rectify this nonsense. No one knows how APC intend to transform the darkness in Nigeria to light. If it is on paper, l think people will like to hear it at a campaign by the person in charge of energy development in the APC camp.

What about security? The PDP government is not discussing much about security on its campaign trail because Goodluck Jonathan the lazy president has failed woefully. His army is in a tattered form. One wonders who is in control of the army. Is it Boko Haram or Olukayode or Jonathan?

But security is a big deal. Insecurity usually ends with civil war. By now 15% of Nigerian territory is in the hands of terrorists. This is shameful and scandalous!

Terrorists have bloomed under Goodluck Jonathan. In the beginning he was mouthy and promised to root them out because he said they are part of his government. Four years on Goodluck Jonathan continued to dine and wine with Boko Haram members in his government.

The PDP government has stated that the opposition, the APC, is behind the terror group based in Northern Nigeria. This statement is careless and senseless because what good governments do around the world is to arrest terrorists and their sponsors. After all these allegations against the opposition Goodluck Jonathan has not made or ordered any arrest within the opposition camp.

Ali Modu Sheriff is known all over the world to have massively sponsored Boko Haram especially during the 2003 elections. He openly made use of Boko Haram to suppress and oppress his opponents while vying for the governorship office. Ali Modu Sheriff is one of Jonathan’s best friends.

Without dwelling much on the terrorists in the Niger Delta creeks, isn’t it astonishing that they are also mostly friends of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan?

Anyway, the APC is boasting that it will stop Boko Haram. How? What will the APC do differently? By the way that brings a curious issue to the front. When the opposition says that it has the solutions to Boko Haram’s war, why have the solutions not be presented at the national assembly by APC legislators, even if the presentation is not made public for security reasons?

What I meant is that the opposition in a normal society is also part of governance and where the ruling party fails; the oppositions can apply their options through debate and national assembly decisions. The ruling government and the opposition parties are always supposed to work together. But Nigeria is no ordinary country where the winner takes it all.

Today, Nigeria is not a secured country and anybody can be killed or blown to pieces by suicide bombers or shot by Boko Haram group that continue to attack military installations, different residential communities, churches, mosques and schools.

The electorates should have asked the APC how it would tackle the menace of Boko Haram. They should ask whether these strategies have been presented to the ruling party before the situation deteriorated to what it looks like today.

Security of life and property is part of the issues for campaigns or plane level debates. Like power supply, the issue of security is also important when looking at the factors that affect the economic growth of a country.

Nigeria faces more challenges in the days ahead….(To be continued)

Things That Happen In Nigeria (Part 1)

By Adeola Aderounmu

I remember that sometime in the late 1990s I filled and submitted the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) form for employment in Nigeria. This is 2013 and no sane person in the Human Resources Department of the Federal Civil Service Commission of Nigeria has contacted me to inform me about the status of my application.

I would not be wrong to conclude that no one cares about my application since employment opportunities in Nigeria has been totally reduced to man-know-man and other unspeakable conditions. Unspeakable in the sense that nowadays you can be even employed in certain public and private institutions just like the same way people do “black jobs” in other climes. It is wickedness of the highest order if 30-70% of my income goes to a certain beneficiary because he/she helped me to secure a job.

On the homepage of the FCSC there are no available jobs and that would probably make your online application a ghost search. This is where the paper form becomes a gold search and your personal connection with top government officials a clear advantage.

This year (2013) you will need about N25 000 to collect the civil service application form for employment. This fee may not be an official requirement but since we are talking about Nigeria many idiotic things are deniable yet applicable. I can only imagine how many Nigerians have applied for employment into the Federal Ministries over the years.

In Nigeria unemployment is at a world record level. Around 90-100 million Nigerians are unemployed-that is ten times the total population of Sweden! More than 30 million of these people can be categorised as youth under 40 years of age. This is a large market for fraud (and other atrocities that have invaded Nigeria over the years) if you ask me. Just like in the cursed oil business in Nigeria, there is a likelihood of a cartel presiding over the direct embezzlement of the applications fees for the jobs that do not exist. Nigeria is a failed country I have no doubts.

One of the problems with Nigeria is that you don’t even know who is doing what. Nigeria has excessive administrative jargons which promote inefficiency and aid massive corruption and ineptitude. There is a man called Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji who is the head of the Civil Service of the Federation and there is a woman called Deaconess Joanna Ayo who is the chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission.

They can now start to look at my application and let me know where I stand regarding my application submitted several years ago. In fact the Director Generals in the various Federal Ministries in Nigeria who are given 4-5 allocations of the application forms need to bury their heads in shame too. Not a single job is advertised today on the FCSC homepage!

But wait. Who talks about shame or crooks in Nigeria? Nonsense! Almost every civil servant and private employee in Nigeria will do whatever it takes to earn substantially above his/her income because of the unrealistic and useless wages approved by the corrupt federal and state governments in Nigeria. I mean who can live on N18 000 monthly in Nigeria? Is there any family in Nigeria that can live on N50 000 monthly? The latter would be still almost impossible if all the children are deprived of any form of education. Those who earn bigger still try to live above their incomes.

The systemic nepotism and corruption that has overtaken virtually everything and anything Nigerian has become an almost incurable spiral network that span from Aso Rock in Abuja to Igbogila where my grandfather lived and died several years ago. If you are not corrupt in Nigeria you are an endangered species.

Aso Rock in Nigeria is where all the monies from the four corners of Nigeria are supposed to be gathered before being re-distributed to every Dick, Tom and Harry that govern one way or the other in Nigeria. This type of government that creates a million loop holes is the most useless form of governance that I have seen in my life.

It must take nonentities to start and sustain such a system of governance. Posterity will neither forget nor forgive those who destroyed the Nigerian Federation and substituted it for the destructive unitary system. It must also take a great deal of indifference and careless followership to allow the reign of a useless and worthless system. My anger knows no bound.

A systemic destruction of the moral and social system in Nigeria and a parallel replacement with the business of trust in God and Allah rather than the entrustment of societal and ancestral values in capable hands have derailed and submerged Nigeria/Nigerians in what looks like an everlasting doldrums.

I’m never going to be able to calculate the amount of money that has been stolen from innocent and desperate applicants in the name of Civil Service Employment opportunities. The affected departments in Abuja should stop this exploitation and looting.

Once upon a time in Nigeria merit took the forefront when people were given jobs and responsibilities. We know how times have changed very badly for Nigeria. Today in Nigeria any useless or insane person and even a criminal can occupy any position in public service as long as the person is connected. Gone are the days when things were done correctly in Nigeria.

Federal character destroyed partly the merit system in Nigeria. An inexplicable affinity for sudden wealth and insatiable greed aggravated the situation. Tribalism and nepotism completed the destruction. In Nigeria today public trust is zero. The governments are not working. People do what they like and live recklessly. Life is not appreciated in Nigeria. In extreme situation, the people and the government bend the constitution/law to perpetrate their evils, in broad day light!

How can you change for better a system where everybody is looking suspiciously at the next person and over their shoulders? How can you change a system where people believed that their neighbours can be responsible for their misfortunes and bad luck? How can you change people who in these entire dilemma run between mosques, churches and fetish shrines while perpetrating all sorts of evils in offices, environs and homes?

Personally my mind has continued to jump between hope and hopelessness for Nigeria. I feel hopeful for the great minds that are produced in Nigeria. I feel hopeless because in public and private enterprises everybody becomes a vulture ravaging what is left of the national cake in the name of self-preservation. Nigeria is not working.

Since it appears that only a handful of people are genuinely interested in saving Nigeria, I have for the moment aligned my mind along the possibilities of the changes that may come with self-determination, national conferences, referendum or outright political re-structuring that will bring back regional governments. I will continue to argue that there will not be a magic formula for Nigeria (if she is to recover say in the next 50-100 years) but not even getting started along that recovery road remains a lingering sad situation.

N18 000 is Still Minimum [Poverty] Wage

By Adeola Aderounmu

There was a strike in Nigeria on Wednesday November 10. These strikes were called by the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress.

These Unions reached an agreement with the Nigerian government in 2009. As a tradition the government didn’t keep its part of the agreement.

The people want a raise of the Minimum wage to USD120 (about N18 000). The present minimum wage is about USD 60 or N9 000.

The goal is to eventually get the minimum wage to USD350 which is about N52 200.

This is touching, sad and extremely irritating. In 2010 there are people earning USD 60 in Nigeria!

More sadly there is no unemployment benefit, which means that some people don’t earn or gain anything at all at the end of the month.

This is the same country where the politicians earn more money when compared to the US president Mr. Obama. Nigeria is one of the largest producers of crude oil in the world and our politicians are probably the highest paid in the world.

Irritatingly they are also grouped among the most corrupt persons on planet earth.

These demands for wage increase reduced the Nigerian labourer to almost a piece of unappreciated rubbish. Very sorrowful and extremely painful against the backdrop of a country that tries to preach that it is the giant of Africa.

If we put the national earnings of Nigeria since 1960 side by side with what the workers are demanding we see one of the biggest contradictions of the century.

We need no reminder that Nigeria has been mismanaged and plundered by her rulers and dictators in various forms-military and civilian authoritarianisms even to this day.

The strikes have been suspended. What the Nigerian government should do is to assess the standard of living of the average Nigerian and work out appropriate wages that will ensure good quality of life for all and sundry.

Apart from money, infrastructures must be provided or reinstated. Food, Water and Housing must be provided for all. Good roads and modern schools cannot be left out. Along with good health, these are the indices of poverty.

Nigeria must fight corruption by all means and ensure that the dividends of the oil and other revenues trickle down to the last man/woman on the street. By all means we must become more productive and transform our economy for the better.

Unemployed persons should receive benefits while active measures are taken to reduce the rate of unemployment both in the skilled and unskilled labour forces.

The strengthening of our democratic structures and empowerment of public and private institutions through manpower development and the acquisition and utilisation of technological knowhow are not least among the exigencies facing Nigeria.

The outcomes of the 2011 electoral processes will be a decisive factor that will shape the things to come.

Anyway, with the cost of living in Nigeria today no one should be earning less than N200 000 as monthly wages. This is about USD 1 300 and it is definitely not a bad proposition. This is what the labour unions should be struggling to achieve and not a poverty wage of USD120.

With probity, accountability and functional economic variabilities, the issue of inflation should not become a threat or hindrance to the good life that we deserve.

Still on Bleak Christmas in Nigeria

Adeola Aderounmu

During the week I reported about this year’s bleak Christmas in Nigeria. The Nigerian Guardian Newspaper is reporting this morning that 1 500 people have been sacked by the Intercontinental Banks.

The bank has over 300 branches in Nigeria and approximately 5 person/ bank received letters of disengagement, as reported by the Guardian Newspaper’s correspondent Muyiwa Adeyemi.

The compensation given is 3 months basic salary irrespective of how long they have worked for the bank. Yea, welcome to Nigeria, the land of injustice.

After these 3 months, what are these workers supposed to do? One thousand five hundred..! How many households are we talking about? How many children are going to be affected?

Nigeria has no social security program for the unemployed. Unemployment is already rife and the effects on social vices cannot be over emphasized.

UBA-The United Bank for Africa also laid off 2 000 of its work force. This compounds the already overloaded unemployment market for which no reliable statistics are available. But millions of Nigerians lack gainful employment and many graduates are using their skills mostly in informal jobs.

Things are really getting worse based on realities that we can see and experience. This is one of the reasons why it is so frustrating so see the negative effects of governance in Nigeria. Corruption, greediness, nepotism, tribalism and all sorts of vices have denied us of the type of growth and development that we should actually be experiencing.

In all of these the politicians are getting richer. They make loads of money that they do not deserve, their actions do not improve the standards of our lives and they continue to do things that are not only irritating but also invariably extremely inimical to progress. They loot, steal, plunder and sniff everywhere for ways to get richer and richer while the masses are left with the mess from their misdemeanours.

This is Christmas season and for these people who have been thrown out of jobs without any form of security, you can imagine the impact on their psychological and social wellbeing. It is not going to be easy as they must now desperately seek ways to put food on the table for their families and dependent relations. I wish them well, now and always

Merry Christmas Nigeria..!

UPDATE: Oceanic Bank has also sacked 1 500, as at Dec 21 2009.

October 1st: Take a message to Nigeria..!

Adeola Aderounmu

They called it Independence day-Oct 1 1960-which makes the country Nigeria a fool at 48. When I wrote a fool soon 47, I thought I would never have to do that again or that 365 days later I would eat my words. Today I can repeat myself loud and clear that Nigeria is a fool at 48.

Nigeria is 48 years old on October 1 2008. The government wants us to believe that it is working hard to make life better for Nigerians. How the government would do this without asking thieves and looters like Babangida, Ibori, Atiku, Anenih, Kalu, Obasanjo and the other thieves to give us back our monies is something I don’t understand. I don’t understand how you want to improve the economy and the standard of living when corruption is Nigeria’s middle name.

Nigerians in power or in position of authority are not only corrupt, they are also suffering from tribalistic inclinations and a profound form of madness characterized by self-preservation and wild accumulation of extreme wealth.

There are probably more than 150m people in Nigeria and more than 70% of these people live from hand to mouth-in absolute penury and poverty. Several Millions of Nigerians cannot spend 1 dollar in a day. They live under a government that pride itself as the giant of Africa. The statement is both an anomaly and an expression of insanity by whoever lives by that acronym. What giant? Even Ghana is doing better than Nigeria and little wonder many Nigerians are relocating to Ghana for the purpose of business, education and work.

Nigeria and Nigerians are bound to be in perpetual custody until one day when all the evil people will be wiped away. Imagine just how much all the politicians, state governors and House of Assembly members are carting away every month while the ordinary people are on the streets suffering and living hopelessly.

I will not agree yet with anyone who says things are getting better in Nigeria. A daily walk or even work on the street indicates otherwise. It is true that some people struggle and managed to escape the poverty line but this category of people are few, countable and most often opportunistic. A person getting rich in Nigeria in several cases is at an opportunity cost to the masses.

The government has failed to provide a level field that would enable equal realization of individual dreams and aspirations. The education sector has been reduced to absolute nonsense and the results from the recent WAEC indicate that education is no longer a key issue in Nigeria. The health sector does not need to be described! If the (illegal) president of a country has to go abroad to treat stomach ache, headache and other ailment, what else does one have to say about the health system? It means that there are no provision of health services in Nigeria.

The transport system does not exist. Almost every aspect of it is unregulated and in private hands. It seems that the government does not know what public transportation means. The roads are terrible and getting worse. It needs to be restated again that probably the worst road in the world is in Nigeria. It is in this same Nigeria that the government is building an ultra modern city called Abuja for the pleasure of those in governments and for the deliverance of wrong impressions to visitors to the capital of (Northern) Nigeria.

On one side, there is a war going on in the Niger Delta where the protection of life and the security of ordinary people cannot be guaranteed. The regional leaders have sown seeds of discord and the government at the center over the years has allowed foreign oil companies to continue to colonize the region as the people suffered, died or survive in poverty and impoverishment. On another side, there is another war purely for survival. It is rugged down there in Nigeria and the rat race situation is unprecedented.

Power supply is improving at some places but you cannot be sure that that change is permanent because of the corrupt system. In most of the places anyway, power availability or a steady supply of it remains a permanent mirage. The men who stole over 15 million dollars in 8 years while pretending to be working on the power sector are all free men. That is Nigeria-steal and walk free. Slap the people as many times as you can-and walk free. Loot, loot, loot, until you can loot no more! Loot, loot and loot because the treasury never seems to be empty. Loot and loot for your children and your unborn generations! Let those who are not in power suffer and struggle to eke a living! Isn’t it amazing that the richest country in the world has the poorest people living in it?

Nigeria is 48 but she is sick. Someone has to remind Nigeria that agriculture is supposed to be her number one foreign exchange earner and not oil. Some people have alleged that Nigeria gave Malaysia her first oil palm seed, today Malaysia produces more oil palm than Nigeria! Someone who is normal should tell Nigeria that she has the best human resources pool in the world and tapping 70-80% efficiency of that pool would transform Nigeria to the best economy in the world provided corruption, favouritism and tribalism are relegated.

Someone should take a message to Nigeria that education is still the key to the future. The role of medicine, technology and information technology should be emphasized to those fools in power and their useless spokesmen and women. The message should include the importance of the provisions of permanent and constant power supply. The importance of good road networks and extremely functional public transport system in the sustenance of economic growth should be pointed out. Someone should tell those thieves and rogues in power that there is difference between knowledge on paper or textbooks and actual implementation.

The rescue of Nigerians actually (in the end) lies in the hands of the ordinary man and woman on the streets. They must rise up and claim what is theirs-their country. They must stand up and let their voices be heard, their votes to be counted. They should put up strong opposition and resistance the next time their votes are annulled or when their votes are not counted. It’s easier said than done because we are always afraid to die. We are afraid of the people we thought are our fellow Nigerians-those who will not hesitate to pump the barrel in our skull to ensure that the barbarism and looting in governance continue forever and ever.

But the implication of not standing up against all odds is the reason more than 50 000 women will die in 2009 due to pregnancy related problem. It is the reason that up to 12 children may have died due to preventable diseases since you started reading this article. Not rising up for what we believe in is the reason that some of us were unemployed for several years allowing frustrations, hopelessness and anger to take over our lives. Not living in decent homes and never getting water from the taps are all outcomes of our “sit-down-and look- (siddonlook) approach”.

Nigerians are a lovely people and it is very easy to associate the vices in our lives with the failure of governance. It’s up to us if we want to live with these ills and vices for the rest of our lives or if we want to change things and prepare a better place for our children and children’s children.

Nigeria we hail thee, our motherland! A fool at 48!

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