WORK MISCONCEPTION IN NIGERIA
Our social value system has demined some work and shown preference for some others and, likewise, our political and or governance system. This segregation is being exhibited in our homes and societies, a situation where families would not give their children in conjugal to artisan jobs which they considered less-dignifying with preference to white collar job.
Social and work discrimination has pathed several young stars in love and has left them emotionally distressed and has produced the long term effect of energetic young people abandoning their skills in pursuit of white collar jobs. Agriculture, which would have long stabilised our ailing economy during the advent of oil driven economy was practically abandoned for the weak old people and left as a vocation of the poor and the weak, which eventually fulminate our economy into recession in abundance.
It is on this backdrop that the paper examines work and the worker with a particular locus on a geo-political location which is Nigeria; however, drawing cogent examples and explanations from across the world. It is observed that unabated struggle exists among workforces leading to class formation and one of the greatest challenges on national integration in Nigeria. Likewise, the incessant desertion and state of laxity of indigenous (traditional) industries or industrial practisers has applicably tumble-down the beauty of the craft and its cash, alas, creating a dependent rather than independent worker and workforce.
The paper therefore concludes that regardless of these operational disparities and other numerous challenges facing the country’s workstation and workforce, the country still holds better prospects of greatness in the world if these challenges are adequately addressed through the recommendations made.
WORK: The word ‘work’ is believed to have originated from the Old English wyrcan which is similar to weorc another Old English. The new word ‘work’ is believed to have been used for the first time before the 12th century. Work can be considered in different approaches; as an occupation and place of employment (for instance, a job or activity that you do regularly especially in order to earn a living or the place where you work); and can also be an effort and a medium for measurement (for instance, the things that you do especially as part of your job).
MISCONCEPTION: The word ‘misconception’ can be divided into two; first the prefix: ‘mis-’ and second the word concept. ‘Mis’ connotes opposite or lack of. It implies that something is wrong or bad. The word conception was first used in the 14th century and believed to have originated among the Middle English concepcioun, Anglo-French Concepcion, and Latin conceptio. The word upholds several meaning such as the process of becoming pregnant; a general idea; the capacity, function, or process of forming or understanding ideas or abstractions or their symbol; the origination of something in the mind. The English dictionary explains ‘misconception’ has a mistaken belief, a wrong idea. This implies that having a wrong notion, fallacy, misunderstanding or misreading of a particular case, object or act can be referred and regarded as misconception. Hence, at this junction where we are particular about work, ‘work misconception’ simply put, is the misunderstanding of what work is. It is, having mistaken belief or reading a wrong meaning to the term ‘work’.
A worker is any sane person that exacts its energy – mental and or physical, and time on a task towards the attainment of organised goals and objectives.
NIGERIA: The country, Nigeria is with over four hundred ethnic and numerous sub-ethnic group wrapped up in different background. The country is located in the West African sub-continent with a land area of about 913,070 square km. It is bounded in the west by the Republic of Benin, in the north by the Republic of Niger, in the east by the Republic of Cameroun and in the south by the Gulf of Guinea. There is no single doubt about Nigeria being the most populous country in Africa with it over 100 million citizens living and going about their daily businesses. Nigeria was formally under British rule which began in 1861. Before the country was colonized by Britain, during the second half of the 19th century, the various nationality groups that currently make up Nigeria were largely an agricultural people. During the post independent era, the major feature of Nigeria’s economy in the 1970s to the 80s, was dependence on petroleum. Presently, Nigeria is struggling to build it economy plus the high unemployment rate growing each year among tertiary graduates and young craftsmen and women.
Work misconception has been identified as one of the factors affecting the Nigeria’s economy and effective discharge of duty, governmentally, among private bodies, institutions and industries. In Nigeria, the nonchalant attitude of larger percent of workers has continue to help crumble national integration, national progress and economic tumour. Work misconception in Nigeria is the view and perceptive of Nigerians and their attitude to work as there are higher preference for certain work or occupation than the other. Workers’ view on any work is vital because it deter the effort to be impacted on it for results.
WORK MISCONCEPTION IN NIGERIA
Nigeria, the main focus of this discuss has gigantic economy and economic opportunities. Nigeria has constantly been an envy of nations, especially in the western society where our rich soil, minerals and culture are frequently sought after. A quick review on Nigeria economy shows that Nigeria was a huge supplier of palm product, supplier of groundnut, supplier of rubber, supplier of cocoa, at a time when our minerals were yet to be discovered on a large scale. And when we finally started shipping our mineral resources, we became huge exporter of columbine, crude oil, and limestone among many others. Therefore, it is irrefutably correct that Nigerians are good workforce and possess lots of strength and willpower for accomplishment.
In Nigeria cultural society prior to the adoption of Western Civilization, the people uphold several work attitudes which were put in place to meet production demands. This includes agricultural produces and indigenous industrial productions. the first set of workers are the members of the family. It was within this workforce that majority of work activities takes place in agriculture and industries. This system of work does not require salaries neither is wages issued to workers. Nevertheless, workers benefit a close monitory welfare from the head of the house. The head of the house ensures that his workers are well clothed and fed. In some cases, you will find the head of the house encouraging their male children to get married to more wives and this was significantly an issue in some part of Nigeria where paramount recognition was given to the birth of male children than female.
To strengthen the family workforce, slaves were also incorporated into the society and family system. This doubtlessly was a measured attempt to ensure their loyalty and to get the best out of them. Slavery and slave labour was a common practice among the Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo in Nigeria. Like it is being done within the family, the slave lords encourage their slaves to bear more children and they were usually promised freedom and when they are able to work hard enough to earn it. But before they are able to purchase their freedom, they get a small portion of the harvest to keep them alive. During this period, slave owners dominate the economy and this made them extremely wealthy and influencer than those who relied more on their direct family strength. Notably, slaves were also expensive, making it affordable by the rich and rulers of the society.
Besides, the family labour, there was a trace of labour unionism among the traditional system of workers. This practice was and is still in existence today, but has developed different names and conditions. The Hausa calls this workforce “gayyya” while the Yoruba calls it “Aaro” or “Owe”. In the past, it involves the drafting of many able-bodied people within a community into a labour force for a single person. This service was more of the present-day service to humanity as workers receive no wage or salary for his job. Sometimes the pay could be working in turn for one another or the work-owner might settle his workers with food and drink after the day is over. If the work has to last for two or more days, it is the responsibility of the work-owner to entertain his guest.
There is yet another amazing work system in Nigerian history which is the fastest way of getting back borrowed or loaned money. Among the Yoruba, this is called “Iwofa”. This work system also favours the rich in the society as they are the ones who were rich enough to lend money to the poor. The borrower is made to surrender himself or any male member of his family to his creditor who make use of the surrendered labour to work on his land or at his house. It can liken to the present-day collateral security. However, it is not a good or well-organized work system as neither the labourer nor the borrower cannot predict when his labour will be over due to the fact that there was no medium to measure the value of the money borrowed to the quantity of work done.
Other forms of labour existed which were properly managed prior to colonial era and also survived the colonial era into the post-colonial. For instance, we have apprenticeship, the guild system and formal employment. Owners of different craft businesses had to open their doors for others to learn their craft. This system of work and labour is common among craftsmen and women such as wood cravers, blacksmiths, cane makers, potters, hunters, fishermen among others. The guild system was an essential part of work, it was design to protect and promote the interest of craftsmen and woman just as it is likely reflected in our present-day labour union and other affiliated unions to it. Often, any member of the guide can call for the help of other members in achieving a work project. They can also seek for mental energy on how a product or method of production. Evidence of formal employment such as hiring of labour has also been in existence alongside other work system. Separately from being a tyro at a new craft, after acquiring the skills for a craft from ones master some apprentice choose to stay behind to work with their master for a while until they are able to make enough money to start up the craft independently. Other craftsmen and women especially long distance traders employ their friends’ children or member of the extended family to help with the sales of goods and services.
Having observed the traditional work system in Nigeria, there is a major goal and objective to work among employers and employees this is centred not just at gaining salaries or wages but at promoting a common progress. In the work systems discussed above, it showed clearly that the value of a worker is measured by the input or impact he or she places at workplace, still accentuating the importance of value-placement and dignity of labour.
We should sort further concentrated scrutiny at the variety of works available for the above labour in order to trace the core of work misconception in Nigeria. At the beginning of this chapter it has been clarified that against the present-day by-line of Nigerians being lazy and uncreative owing to the steady increase in the rate of unemployment, Nigerians possess the willpower, which under the leadership of late Dr. Mrs. Dora Akunyili was referred to as ‘the can do spirit’ by the Ministry of Information, these facts will attest to this point of view.
Within the same society, Nigeria enjoyed a communal living with division and dignity of labour at its peak. Every single profession was relevant to another and therefore accorded respects and responsibility at supporting other ventures to survive. There were fishermen with great regards to their net-makers, the farmer was loyal to his tool maker, and other professionals where committed to create bond around their profession. These gave birth to several services thus creating jobs and generating wealth for every worker. One of the outcome of this relationship is the opening of markets and the provision of market square and market days. This was a strategy planning to bring manufacturers, middlemen and buyers to a meeting point at their most preferred days of the week. This kind of market setting still exits and functioning in most rural areas of Nigeria who operates with specific market days and draws buyers from far and near communities. The market created employment for both young and old. It also performed socio-political function by providing the platform for dissemination of information and entertainment. There were some individuals who had to employ people to peddle their wares at the market such was the case of the manufacturers who base on the nature of their jobs are not permitted to leave to the market, such persons as the blacksmith who is always busy melting and remodelling irons into shapes and sizes. The blacksmith consequently employs someone who could be from his household, apprentice, or slave to showcase and make sales of his crafts at the market. Farmers who dwell in the bush far away from town either visit the market with their produce or delegate the duty to the women who do not only sell these farm produce but also return with some bought items that meets the family’s need. The market was a vital part of any society. It was organized; some had trees as their roof while some tents and other had a nice stall. Sellers occupied the market space accordingly; they sat together base on the guild system they belong to. This also helps in price control and promoting the trade. There was the presence of local police (security) at the market square to maintain the peace and co-habitation of traders. They work alongside the tax collectors who were answerable to the ruler. The market is an incredible place where different skilled and unskilled worker have the opportunity of showcasing and providing services.
In the mining industry, the industry has begun to experience growth since the 4th century AD. Iron and non-ferrous metal were mined and processed for market by the blacksmiths. Blacksmithing involves several procedures and therefore it is a tedious task. To make work faster at blacksmiths employ helping hands in mining process and for production. The blacksmith was indeed important in any community, they were not just useful to the farmers for providing farm tools, and they were creatively part of the warring team. They are responsible for the production of weapons used for war. They produced cutlass, arrows, shield, axe among others. Aside iron, copper, lime and salt were also mined and workers were always employed to undertake the site task. The manufacturing industries, there were several job opportunities workers can pick from. Occupation in manufacturing includes; pot making, leather work, brass work, weaving, medicine; they were all helpful job creators and had large turnout of human labour and monetary returns. The manufacturing industries were utmost relevance to the society because they provided virtually everything that was traded in the markets and gave opportunity to the rich to merchants to become middlemen in long distance trade. The manufacturing industries met the day-to-day needs of the people with the use of resources gotten from agriculture and mining.
Transportation was another relevant employer of labour and a good number of individuals were into transportation. Transportation was so important that by in history of work, we grew from the use of beast of burden to lorries used to convey people from one place to another. Workers had to face the hard choice of being jam-packed behind an old lorry. Traders in particular relied in transportation than the few travellers that journey once in an erratic season. The availability of market square and market days which varies between different towns and communities among others brought about inter-community trade. Many merchants had to travel several miles to get to the next available market. This they couldn’t do by foot because they were known to travel with large goods on donkeys, and camels; only a few of them travel by horses and oxen tied to charts. Beast of burden might have not created enough employment opportunity in transportation because merchants were good riders of these animals and likely do not need to employ riders. Human porterage has also been a useful transport system and provided job opportunity for many. There are humans who voluntarily choose to be work as porterage while majority of human porterage were slaves. Human porterage is still common practice in our present-day society; they helped buyers at the market carry their market items to their vehicle. Some sellers make it apart of their business culture to employ human porterage to assist their buyers. In the past they did more than just carrying market items, they also carried humans on their back and shoulder. A rich merchant, prince and princess used more human porterage as means of transportation. Though, it might be slow but it also showed some sign of royalty and prestige siting on another man’s neck or shoulder. Significantly, the accessibility of rivers made the water transportation promising. Water transportation was vital in trading activities in the riverine parts of Nigeria as merchants would have been limited if this means of transportation never was. Water transportation was successful handled with the use of canoes. This was usually the job of fishermen who were taking time off fishing. Nonetheless, there were devoted canoe riders but they were also good divers (rescuers) and did part-time fishing with hooks and line.
THE PRESENT STATE OF EMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA
On April 2018, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Buhari while speaking at the commonwealth Business Forum in Westminster identified that “more than 60 percent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school…”
Unemployment does not just happen; unemployment is generated just as employment. Unemployment according to the Business Dictionary, is the “total number of able men and women of working age seeking paid work.” The International Labour Organisation defines unemployment as the number of people who have looked for employment in the last four weeks and are available to start work within two weeks, plus those who are waiting to start working in a job already obtained.
Without doubt, depression or recession is a key contributor to mass unemployment. It is a period of economic downturn which is always characterized by falling prices, falling wages, reduced purchasing power, excessive supply over demand, general lack of confidence in future and most obvious of all, massive unemployment. This justifies the opening avowal that unemployment is generated, because naturally everyone individual is employed; families own businesses, crafts and trade. Those that are not into buying and selling possesses skills which they turn in as services. This covers the educated and uneducated citizens who can either be self-employed or work in private or public corporations. So it should be made familiar that the rate of unemployment does not necessarily depict the point of fact that Nigerian youths or qualified but unemployed workforce are jobless because they are lazy, but because they have no feasible work or opportunity to invest their knowledge and time.
The new data published by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) pegs the unemployment rate at 14.2% in the last quarter of 2016. According to reports from Vanguard News on 23 December 2017, “the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) pointed out that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 14.2% to 18.8% in 2017.” The suggested traditional method for collecting unemployment data are based typically on sampling or the number of unemployment benefits request. Meanwhile, youth unemployment rate in Nigeria is said to have increased from 33.10% in the third quarter of 2017. Don’t forget, unemployment is generated. Agreeably, recent recessions in Nigeria has led to the escalation of unemployment rate in Nigeria. What then is the cause of economic recession in Nigeria? Scholars, public opinions and economists have considered the following as critical factors which all centres on government policies; high interest rate – which constantly drives out investors from the country, high taxation – which murders small scale businesses and kills investors interest, wrong or unqualified hands in affairs of economic management and policy conflict which results to simple budget deficits, high inflation rate, which only sponsored the speculation in the stock market, poor economic planning (Naij.com, 2017).
These are not excuses to substantiate the fact that there are some irresolute youth, abled men and women who are just too indolent to engage in any employable activities despite the opportunities that are open unto them. Nonetheless, the outright reason for this increase number and percentage of unemployment among the able men and women or “qualified” persons isn’t because of the standard of their education, the colour of their skin, the language spoken or tribe, or the religion practiced, it is all shouldered on the power of misconception on work perception. The big idea behind work is experience and knowledge (skill) which is regardless of classroom mentorship or workshop mentorship. This has been the reason behind qualification clash in workplace between polytechnic and university graduates especially when seeking employment or promotion. Many times we are made to forget that the utmost requirement for work is skill and power (mental and physical) and not grades and titles. As long as we continue to underestimate the true power of work via nonchalant attitude to work ethics and conduct, we are absolutely setting the pace for more unemployment. Unemployment is so unpredictable; employment is never guaranteed even after you might have secured one because the seats aren’t permanent. This is why we continue to receive report such as; “Out of a total number of active labour force of 85.08 million people in Nigeria, about 16 million people were unemployed in the third quarter of 2017.” As reported by Premium Times on 22 January, 2018.
There are three well-defined types of unemployment in the world. These are cyclical, frictional, and structural unemployment and Nigeria is so let out of any of these three. There are several others which such as seasonal unemployment, voluntary unemployment, regional unemployment, among others. Relating these several types of unemployment to the situation of Nigeria unemployment rate will be a good illustration of how people lose their jobs in Nigeria.
Structural unemployment is an unemployment state that might have found it way in through technology improvement or advancement. This is when skill workers are no longer need at a workplace and their position are replaced with machines such as robots to work in their place. This is the situation faced by local miners, bricklayers, traffic control officers, indigenous textile weavers, amongst others whose place has been taken over by machines and heavy duty engines. Local researcher had a good means of livelihood before google and other search engines became popular. Though, structural unemployment is popular amongst the skilled workers but it also finds a way of affecting the unskilled workers. However, unskilled workers also have a name for their unemployment.
In cyclical unemployment, companies, industries and small businesses are either at the verge of folding up or broke. The only option at the moment is cutting the workforce. This previously was the fate of some bank workers during the recent recession in Nigeria. Bad enough, cyclical unemployment tends to create more unemployment in the society because laid off workers will definitely have less money to buy things they need. This will further affect the demand of goods and services.
Frictional unemployment is the condition of every fresh graduate. It is the new fate of every fired employee and those who resign off a job. Among the various types of unemployment, experts are of the opinion that frictional unemployment is more promising, because actions herein are deliberate actions of the worker who is either seeking a change of occupation or has gotten a better fate and opportunity to pursue. And for the fresh graduate, there are better chances of gaining employment which at first might seem to be underemployment or better still, they have the chances of creating their own jobs through entrepreneurship skill acquisition. Likewise, those who were fired can create their own jobs base on experiences.
WORK MISCONCEPTION IN NIGERIA
Is it not fascinating how humans have several divisions even for unemployment. There are such big names just to beautify the situation and make comfortable those who are lost in it. Imagine, someone walk up to you and tells you he is going through cyclical unemployment or frictional unemployment, it does not really communicate the true measure of pain and discomfort unemployment carries with it. But this is not the same with work. Many people feel thwarting when they have to work where they cannot constantly be on suit, black suit to be precise with a black leather bag to match, a black or red tie on a white shirt and a scintillating black leather shoe. And just because their work life does not carry these features, they tend to look down upon themselves and the kind of jobs they do. You must have come across people who refer to their jobs as dirty job, irrelevant jobs, common jobs, or just managing. All these is for the reason that they are cleaners at the shopping mall, shoe cobbler at the corner of the street, radio mechanic under the bridge or own a mobile boutique in an old wagon vehicle. When you call them employed, they will claim self-employed. When you call them self-employed, they will claim underemployed. Just when you agree that they are underemployed, they will claim unemployed. They are always on the defensive and offensive, looking for the next opportunity to disqualify and disconnect selves from the kind of work they do for a living.
It will have been their fault if the society haven’t giving the impression that there a respected jobs and there are worthless jobs; that there is soft work and there is hard work and that there are clean jobs and there are dirty jobs. So you just have to be picky, every child wants to become a doctor, lawyer, mechanical engineer (not on the roadside), dentists, civil engineers (not bricklayers) among other fantasy even when their ability doesn’t. Regrettably, after all the educational acquirements, you will need working experience and no one will employ you to get the experience even for free. You cannot actually get a job unless you have five – ten years of work experience and it just might not be counted as experience if you once sew dresses for three or four years, did laundry for more than two years, sold magazine and newspaper for a year on the street.
If you are still wondering what misconception of work is, then you have to start reading from the beginning and observe the changes that had occurred. Have you wondered why it was so easy for the past Nigerians to be able to adopt and adjust to white methods of work during colonial periods? You definitely remember that the colonialist made good use of black man and his technology to extract most of the things they needed and when they find it necessary to improvise, they teach the same black power how to make use of new tools. This is the same traditional skill many of us will call “ancient”, “old”, “insignificant” or “outdated” but it was creative used by some people at critical point. And it was thought necessary they remodel the same traditional processes to continue their jobs and this was how the ‘New World’ America was built. This is the simplest definition of misconception of work. We have allowed so many archetypes and occupations shy away because we feel they have become old, irrelevant, or outdated and we want to embrace new and modernized facsimiles.
How exactly will you define work?
“Work is an activity such as a job, that a person uses physical or mental effort to do, usually for money (Cambridge English).” Oxford Lexicon also remarks work in the same light, “It is an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.” Collins notes that people who work have a job, usually one which they are paid to do.
Frederick Lewis Donaldson while delivering a sermon in Westminster Abbey, London on March 20, 1925 said there are seven social sins and the very first of them is wealth without work. This implies that Frederick believes work brings about wealth. Others on the list are; pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle. Another definition of work can be drawn from Barak Obama, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen, if you go out and make good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope. Mother Teresa gave a simple sentence definition of work, “Work without love is slavery.” Mother Teresa’s definition of work I believe is only lived by few, but here is the common reason for work as put by Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, “I don’t like work – no man does – but I like what is in work – the chance to find yourself; your own reality – for yourself not for others – what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”
One more definition of work from my favourite author, Victor Hugo in Les Miserable, “A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour.” Perfect! This brings us to the end of the argument of what the concept of work is. Work does not necessarily mean dealing for money as business consultants and experts might consider, “work is what you love to do, that which no other person understands better than you, something to get up to and do in order to fill the world with hope and most definitely this will bring wealth your way.” This is the picture-perfect concept of work.
Hence, the misconception of work is when the society fails to regard the vulgariser as a qualified worker. Misconception of work is when the society disregards the efforts of bricklayers, plumbers, shoe cobblers, roadside mechanics and panel beaters, item hawkers, vendors, receptionist, waiters, cleaners, gatemen, taxi drivers and bike men, social and community volunteers, etc. Inaptly, we chose social class division over passion; the rich will never want to get acquainted with the middle class let alone permit them to work or get into their family. So, everyone desires to be rich and not necessarily work. This is why top authority positions are reserved for children and families of top officials. This is why Nigerian workers are often neglected at contracts and business deals by their own very government and would rather be given to foreign firms with the claim that they are experts. This is why many workers at public sectors are presuming to be figure heads, living under the grace of the seating government. This is why Nigerians are either underemployed or totally unemployed. Because our society will neither encourage a little beginning nor will they cheer any passion for work that bears petite or immaterial income. We choose to celebrate achievements over labour, and encourage corruption instead of honesty. But until we understand that a farmers toil his farm is important and significant to survival like a doctor is; until we understand that the sweat of a classroom teacher is important and significant as any business tycoon; until we understand that the struggle of a taxi driver is important and significant as any pilot and that the entire artisans are great asset to the economy, we will not have any lasting solution to under and unemployment. ILO maintains that unemployment statistics vary according to how unemployment is defined and who is deemed to be part of the workforce. There are definitely no dirty jobs, there are only jobs that are illegal. There is no gender discrimination in jobs, there are only jobs which require more physical power. A lady should be given the opportunity to take on any job she is qualified for without a discrimination of sex and without gender salary discrimination as well.
Why are Nigerian youths unhappy and causing troubles as the day goes by? Anne Frank, the first diarist I ever read of, explains this in quite simple sentence. “Earning happiness means doing good and working… but only work gives you true satisfaction”. The youths and employable men and women aren’t satisfied until they are engaged. What has the government done to engage the increasing population of unemployed citizen? Our government has put in place several schemes to engage the unemployed; we have Npower which is exceptionally engaging. But going by Confucius, “Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day; teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.” We must come to the understanding that most Nigeria youths like other youths of the world do not only lack employment, they are thirsty after empowerment and encouragement. In other words, don’t think of creating jobs for the unemployed, because there is another type of unemployment which is voluntary unemployment where an employable worker decides to stop searching or neglect for opportunities, empower their skills, encourage their dreams and watch them provide more job opportunities than any government can never think of which will generate astounding revenue into government pulse at all levels. Take a good reflection from the technological development and advancement spreading across the world in this century, these great multi-billion companies generating billions of dollars for their countries is the brainwork of youths who are so empowered and encouraged by their society.
You must understand that the cobbler is happy and fulfil being a cobbler, he just need you to understand and respect his choice of work to meet your shoe needs. The best you can do to make him more productive is make available funds, grants, loans, partnerships and mentorship opportunities to him and help him become an international shoe cobbler. Hence, it is high time workers decide the kind and nature of work and services they are willing and can skilfully offer the society, stand by it; command respect; and when you are not given demand for it because it is your right and without your support a lot of things wouldn’t go right. The reason why there are incompetent workers at different parastatals is because many are engaged in works they don’t enjoy just to earn salaries and not for the passion of it. Therefore, we will continue to have electric engineers that cannot differentiate between positive and negative wires, lawyers that can hardly win a case without attempting bribery among others. We have to grow from seeking jobs to engage in and developing skills into acts, something no one except you can do that exact way. There are abundant nurses in the country but you can strive to be a unique nurse, a matchless driver, a distinctive gate keeper, store keeper, receptionist, rewire, etc. Seth Godin in Linchpin: ‘Are you indispensable’ explained the difference between jobs and act. “Work is what you do when you are told what to do. The job is showing up at the factory, following instructions, meeting spec, and being managed, someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can. The job might be difficult, it might require skill, but it’s a job. Your act is what you do when no one can tell exactly how to do it. Your act is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people. I call the process of doing your art ‘the work’. It’s possible to have a job and do the work, too. In fact, that’s how you become a linchpin.”
Conclusively, before any economy can experience progress, such economy must be artistically productive. In production, there are four major factors which without productivity are liable to experience failure regardless of the organiser and the financial investment involved. The major factors for production have always been land, capital, tools and labour. A conscious study of the past will reveal the importance of these factors which were accessible.
Every society has its laws and regulations on the access, use and distribution of land. In the past land was own communally and was easily accessible to members of the same community, except strangers. There should be a scheme to apportion land on agreement to those who intend to invest in agriculture. There should also be plans of building complexes for different business venture concepts at reasonable prices for business that require a store or shop to exhibit their goods and services. Services such as roadside mechanic, carpentry, canteen, among others should be considered for siting and structures. There was a time when the government want to move the roadside mechanics to various “market village” sites but this plan never saw the light of the next day. Government should also encourage village, especially remote areas to embrace industries in their spaces. This is will embolden the spread of social amenities across the country.
Capital is as important as land and can be secured through grants, loans, and other fundraising scheme should be encouraged and introduced to assist those with intelligent business ideas in achieving their desired goals. Accountability system should be established to monitor the practicability and progress of the businesses.
Tools will definitely be available once funds are gotten. We should also encourage the purchase of indigenous tools when and where necessary. Private and non-governmental bodies are acclaimed to participate in this act of empowerment.
Labour is everywhere. What might be hard to find is skilled labour. There are numerous underemployed and unemployed individuals who are thirsty for the opportunity to earn a living. Steady partnership with higher institutions and NGOs who are entrepreneurship or skill acquisition focused will help unskilled labours become skilled and relevant to their choice of duty. We should try to revive the humble days of apprenticeship not just for office or corporate jobs (internship) but for other job opportunities as well. These steps are not and should not be left as duties for the government; they are responsibility of every one in as much as you can, why not start something today.
Final words, it is vital that we believe in our proficiency and capability regardless of tribal or religious romanticism. We should always remember that Nigeria comes first before our individual predilection. This is the first inheritance we will pass unto our children and children’s children thus; we must guarantee that it is save enough. Outside Nigeria, notable Nigerians are breaking the limitation set on black citizens and coming out with great feat. Notable among many are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie whose first two novels won literary awards. Deola Sagoe is described as the African fashion designer who is best placed to interpret cultural diversity and artistry. Philip Emeagwali is an engineer and computer scientist who is well recognized for his use of a connection machine supercomputer to help analyse petroleum fields. Chief Emeka Anayoku is a Nigerian who had served as commonwealth secretary-general between 1990 and 2000. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the first woman former finance minister and foreign minister of Nigeria and the Managing Director of the World Bank appointed by World Bank President Robert Zoellick in 2007. Others ‘Asa’ Bukola Elemide (Music), Akinwunmi Adeshina (president of African Development Bank), Arunma Oteh (Vice President and treasurer of the World Bank), Mohammed Barkindo (secretary-general of OPEC), David Oyelowo (Actor), John Boyega (Actor), Duro Olowu (Fashion Designer for White House) among others. We therefore must join hands together notwithstanding trade, qualifications and achievements, we must respect and promote any dignifying occupation and work together to build a developed nation out of our underdevelopment.
Falola, M. Uhomoibhi, A. Mahad, and U. Anyanwu, ‘History of Nigeria: Nigeria before 1800 AD’ Learn Africa Plc, Lagos. 2012.
The Balance, “unemployment” accessed at www.thebalance.com/typesofunemployment accessed on 14 March 2018.
Oxford English Dictionary
Cambridge English Dictionary
Frederick Lewis Donaldson’s statement while delivering a sermon in Westminster Abbey, London on March 20, 1925 retrieved on 14 March, 2018 via Goodreads.
Premium Times 22 January 2018
International Labour Organization (ILO)
Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS)