OZORO/Nigeria: Following the lack of jobs in Nigeria and the need to acquaint Nigerian students with requisite skills that could make them self-reliant and possibly job creators, two special assistants to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Ovie Success Ossai and Okoh Ezekiel Oghenetega, on recently held an event for students of Delta State Polytechnic Ozoro with a view to transforming their minds from total dependence on government jobs to acquiring skills for self-satisfaction.
Although the participating students were majorly undergraduate students, the event, according to the organisers and the different guest speakers, was aimed at preparing their minds to acquire skills even while still studying on the campus so as to aid themselves if the search for government job fails and even if the paid job is available, the skills could fetch them additional income for family upkeep.
All the speakers who spoke from their different wealth of experiences, employed all strategies to sway the students to understand that government jobs are non-existent and even the few existing ones are highly competitive to the extent that vacancies for 1000 persons, 100,000 persons will apply making it impossible for the employers to pick the best and predisposing the job seekers to employ every means possible to secure the jobs.
One of the speakers, Dr. Hilary Ijeoma Owamah, gave an instance where the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) once called for vacancies of 4000, but to the amazement of the road safety authorities, over 600,000 applicants put in for the 4000 vacancies available at the Road Safety Commission.
According to him, such is the situation surrounding the employment market in Nigeria. He said that over 600,000 graduates are being churned out of the Nigerian higher institutions on a yearly basis but there are no provisions for job space for them. In this regard, he said Nigerian graduates seemed to have entered one chance as there are no jobs to accommodate all of them.
He insisted that the labour market is overstretched as there are a growing number of youths without meaningful engagement. He added that while graduates are complaining of no job for them, the employers on the hand are also complaining that the Nigerian job seekers are not employable.
According tom him, the possession of a certificate alone is not enough to secure needed jobs but skills needed for the job are also required. Ability to perform and prove one’s worth is a necessary requirement to secure the jobs. He said the possession of a good CGPA may not be the major requirement for jobs but ability to perform as most employers are seeking for skills to enhance their jobs and not certificates that the possessors cannot defend.
He said: “Many new generation graduates are not employable because they are products of a faulty system. Some graduates cannot defend their certificates. So, you need skills. It could be hard skills or soft skills. But you need be known for something that you can do.”
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by the state commissioner for Higher Education , Professor Patrick Muoboghare, told the students that while the possession of a certificate is a good one, the acquisition of skills will aid one where the jobs are not available.
Rector of the polytechnic, Professor Job Akpodiete, who gave the opening speech said the era of depending on only certificate is over. He said the possession of only certificate without skills will not save us from the hardship of unemployment. He said the institution has made it part of its programme that every student that pass through the system must acquire a skill that will be useful to them after their graduation.
On the part of Okoh Ezekiel, one of the organisers, he said the programme has held at Ogwashi poly, Delta State University, Oghhara poly and college of education, Warri. He insisted that the objective of the programme is to give orientation to students on the need to acquire skills to help themselves after graduation from the institution.
Ossai also said: “We are here to talk to students on the need to acquire a skill. It will help them build a world or a state of job creators. We are tired of the number of job seekers in this country. Our main purpose of coming here is to reduce unemployment. We are here to make job creators among the students.”
Nigerian Comedian Go Dye who entered the hall with four hefty men as body guards whom some referred to as bouncers, spoke to the students on the pathway to make progress in life.
He told the students that he first received 10,000 dollars in 1994 which when converted then amounted to N1.5million. He said he was very excited and did all he could to preserve the money from theft.
He said he refused to board okada then as he was holding money that was 10 times bigger than money for buying Okada, so he felt it was an insult for him to enter Okada with such money.
He said though he was born into poverty, he didn’t allow his parents poverty to overshadow him but he distinguished himself and became a superstar and a well known comedian of today. He pointedly advised the students that to make progress in life, they must take their studies seriously.
He, howver, said that education will guide youths to success but what will keep youths flowing in the success is their skills, noting that they should realise that without skills, they can’t make appreciable progress.
The event, tagged: “Even a Professor Needs a Skill” ended on a good note as most of the students were grilled on the need to seek for an alternative source of income rather than depending on government for jobs. They expressed satisfaction at the event as all the speakers refocused their minds away from total dependence on government jobs.