Nigeria’s unemployment dilemma

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LEADERS of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), met at a forum in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital this week. At the forum, they denounced the unemployment situation in the country. Oyo state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, said the APC’s decision to brainstorm on unemployment underscored their “belief that a mental and intellectual approach to the problem would dissolve the challenge in no long a time”.

Ajimobi added that unemployment was a global problem and in Nigeria, “unemployment rate is spiraling upwards, growing at 16 percent per year”.

Serious issue indeed! But if the so-called “progressives” meeting in Ibadan had used their “mental and intellectual approach” carefully, they would probably have seen that it is the monster of contemporary, neoliberal capitalism that is responsible for this worldwide phenomenon. It is a system that is not creating jobs to meet the needs of a huge army of young, job-seeking people around the world. Nigeria’s ruling class has become totally wedded to the reigning orthodoxy.

The state has been gradually withdrawn from creating jobs for people; the ruling mantra is that everything economic should be farmed out to private capitalist oligarchies who would, according to this quasi-religious doctrine, then create jobs in an efficient manner.

The truth is that it is not happening in the advanced capitalist countries, but they at least still have welfare programmes, even when they are under severe attacks. In Nigeria, the ruling class is stubbornly pursuing the same reforms, in a brazenly fraudulent transfer of public pursuit into private hands.

There is no social security for the people, especially the young, while the different groups of the ruling class are enriching themselves. These are issues that they will need “mental and intellectual approach” to seriously deconstruct, otherwise the time bomb they are sitting on will explode and take the entire edifice down. A regime of jobs creation can only come about when the state philosophically dedicates to it.

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