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YOUTH PERSPECTIVES ON WAYOUT OF UNEMPLOYMENT: ISSUE IN NIGERIA
Nigeria, like most developing countries in the world is faced with myriad of problems such as poverty, terrorism, political instability and most importantly unemployment. In recent years, increased unemployment rate has affected many young school leavers who fall within the working age but have been denied job opportunities. Graduate unemployment in the words of Dabalen et al (2000), accounted for about 32% of the unemployed labor force between 1992 and 1997. This has compelled the Nigerian government as far back as the 1960s to start implementing programmes aimed at tackling the unemployment situation in the country. Providing employment was made one of the cardinal objectives of the first developmental plan; an objective aimed at not just creating employment but to also to train people in skills that will meet the challenges of an ever dynamic economy. The above was indeed the catalyst for the establishment of a number of employment programmes such as the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Family Economic and Advancement Programme (FEAP), Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), National Economic Empowerment and Development Scheme (NEEDS) and many other similar programmes funded by various stakeholders like state governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations.
Unemployment is one the developmental problems facing every developing economy in the 21st century. Agu (2008) pointed out that there has been an exponential increase in youth unemployment in the country. In his words, youth unemployment in the country has caused serious problems that past and successive administrations have not been able to find a lasting solution. Although successive governments in Nigeria since independence have implemented several programmes to address the problem of youth unemployment and poverty, the assessment of the various contributions of such programmes remains scanty compared to the huge amount of resources committed to them (Egware, 1997). In the words of Yakubu (2010), youth employment and poverty alleviation programmes implemented in the last few decades have failed to confront the multidimensionality of poverty as most of these programmes were unable to respond to the exact needs of the poor. Programmes such as the NDE, FEAP, Better Life Programme, NAPEP, NEEDS have all been affected by common problems; such as: inadequate funding, project duplication, gross inefficiency, poor coordination of programmes, corruption, lack of transparency
Nigeria’s current unemployment situation is erratic and falls short of expectations, such that a large percentage of educated, able and qualified citizens cannot secure paid employment (Omotosho, 2009). This indicates that Nigeria over the years has steadily crumbled from its extremely resilient and esteemed position among developing nations (Ipaye, 2008). One of the major concerns of various administrations in Nigeria is the growing rate unemployment in the country and it has consistently formed part of the macroeconomic objectives of the government for the past decades (Omotosho, 2009). According to the World Bank Report (2003), the growing trend of employment and productivity of the Asian Tigers and Japan is responsible for their enviable and brilliant economic performance. Evidently, the absence of the necessary framework to enhance employment and productivity level in Nigeria is the sole cause of the retarded nature of Nigeria, the acclaimed giant of Africa. The trend and problem of unemployment in Nigeria remain obstinate with a tendency of growing geometrically to the alarming rate of 3 million unemployed youth annually (Adelodun, 2006). The trend of unemployment in Nigeria has a devastating effect on the youths from an extensive gamut of socioeconomic clusters, both the high and less educated, even though it has mainly troubled a sizeable portion of youths from less privilege backgrounds (Ipaye, 2008).
According to Adebayo and Ogunrinola, (2006), unemployment trend in Nigeria touches the job seekers within the ages of 20 – 24 and 25 – 44 years more while there is fewer prevalence of unemployment within the ages of 15 – 19, 55 – 59 and 65 years and above. The rate of open unemployment was 12% in March 2005; it rose to 19.7% in March 2009 while the rate of underemployment hovered around 19% in 1998 (National Bureau of Statistics, 2010). From this point of view, it is apparent that unemployment, particularly the unemployment of young graduates, hinders Nigeria’s progress in so many ways. Aside from economic issue, it also creates eminent danger for political stability of our dear country (Ipaye, 2008). Consequently, massive youth unemployment as it is presently recorded in Nigeria portend a serious multifaceted problems and the threat of unemployment has gradually been acknowledged as a pressing challenges facing Nigeria (Ipaye, 2008, Udu & Ugu, 2005). According to Umaru and Zubairu (2011), unemployment has been recognized as one of the major impediments to social-economic growth in most developing countries. It reduces the aggregate output of the economy and results in underutilization of human resources. The need to avert the negative effects of unemployment has made the tackling of unemployment problems of feature very prominently in the development objective of developing countries (Omotor & Gbosi 2006). The issue of real output and employment growth in developing nations is a sine qua non for poverty reduction and a more equitable income distribution (Fofana, 2001). Omotor and Gbosi (2006) noted that the seriousness and nature of unemployment in Nigeria is relatively high when placed on the same pedestal with those of other African countries. According to them, in absolute terms; it is estimated that there are presently about 22 million youths unemployed in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Unemployment is one of the serious socio-economic problem in Nigeria and is really a tragic condition that requires urgent and proactive attention. Indeed, it is alarming and worrisome to observe that Nigeria’s graduates who are educated, able and willing to work cannot find a job. The situation is becoming hopeless, as the rate of unemployment keeps rising without any proactive attempt to curb the menace (Kayode, Samuel & Silas, 2014). A cursory look at the state of the nation, portend more danger with declining likelihoods of young graduates become gainfully employed; going with the trend of events in the country, most especially, the falling oil prices, economic recession, insurgency in the Northern parts of the country among other factors. As a matter of fact, unemployment is one of the major developmental challenges facing Nigeria at the moment. (Obadan and Odusola (2010) have found that the prevalence of unemployment in Nigeria, especially in this 21st century, is getting deeper and more pathetic, spiteful through all faces of age groups, educational level, and geographical spread. The challenges of lingering youth unemployment are very obvious in Nigeria because every year thousands of graduates are turnout for whom there are no jobs opportunity (Emeka, 2011). Nigerian labor markets are beleaguered with youth hawkers who typically would have found beneficial employment in some organizations (Echebiri, 2005; Uwoma, 2006). Given the large percentage of unemployed youths, the trend of unemployment is capable of destabilizing peace as they portend a serious threat in view of nascent democracy and blatant disregard for party politics (Adepegba, 2011).
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to find out the perspectives of youth on way out of unemployment issue in Nigeria, specifically the study intends to:
1. Find out the causes of unemployment in Nigeria
2. Analyze the effects of youth unemployment on Nigeria
3. Find out the perspective of youths on way out on unemployment in Nigeria