The Current Nigerian Youths are Incompetent! Say what???

Tope would you like to go with me to meet a prospect tomorrow? Lunch is on him. This was the first question my colleague asked me when I walked into the office on Friday. Now you have to understand that I am constantly stuck behind a desk with no one to converse with except my computer screen and even that is not as much fun as the marketers who get to go out and interact with real people. I always envy them, not their outrageous target though. So as you guessed I jumped at the idea, even if it was on a Saturday. Lunch on someone else’s pocket was definitely something I was willingly to do.

So come Saturday we both head for Lagos Island. Our proposed meeting spot was supposed to be a seafood restaurant. When we got there, it sure didn’t look like the ones you see on TV, but I kept my mouth shut. Our prospect came out, received us and then led us to a table where there were about eight other occupants. All seemed to be quite prestigious and my suspicion was confirmed when the introductions were over.  When we took our seat, the conversation continued. I tried to gather myself together so I could contribute constructively to the chit chat, my colleagues target was riding on this, so I better not dull.

From what I could gather, the topic of the discussion was the incompetence of most graduates from Nigerian universities. A major shareholder from a high ranking bank that has gone under the radar expressed his shock at  the kind of young minds that are being produced at the universities and how many times he just honors their request for a job because he has given his word. A lecturer was part of the pack. His own argument was how the students are just eager to pass out without really knowing anything. He also said he blames the parents. He felt that their only concern was their children having degrees, even if their brain was full of sawdust. The gentleman that invited us for lunch jumped up and said that the youth aren’t as smart as they were when they were in school. He talked about how he played hard and studied hard. According to him, his social life was wild, but he made sure he stayed ahead of his class. Then as if by intuition, he turned to my colleague and I and said,

“Well these are the youths of today, let’s ask them what the problem is”

He didn’t know he hit my hot button with that statement.  I didn’t even wait for my colleague to land I just went flying off the hook.

I was seriously trying to understand why they were complaining. It’s a wonder that most of the youth in Nigeria have reached the conclusion that no matter how hard you  study and pour your heart into becoming the very best, chances of landing your dream job is zero to nil! Let’s face it, 70% of the time, it’s who you know that gets you the job. There are too many first class degree holders that are out on the street begging for employment, and their flaw is that they don’t know anybody. How in the world am I going to even have the will power to actually open a book and glance through it, let alone read it. I cannot do all that kind of hard work only to meet another brick wall when I’m done. It is logical to think that I’ll focus all my energy on landing a perfect job when I’m out, than trying to figure out who wrote some lousy theory in 1523? As if that is going to feed me when I am out on the streets and hungry!

I had no idea that my anger was been expressed with such vigor until I saw all of them staring at me. The Lecturer was the first to speak, but I was already to agitated to even listen to his words. I just got up and stomped out!

Seriously, who is incompetent? We the Youth or the Nigerian SYSTEM?

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Some thoughts

  1. says

    Tope it’s the same all over the world now, thanks to the economic crisis.

    Young graduates in Europe and the States are not able to get a job. And they can’t get a simple job either because for those they are considered over-qualified + there are unskilled immigrants willing to do them.

    It’s gone so far European government are starting to pay private sector companies to hire young people.

  2. says

    I’m so with you on this one. I fear it is the same very where. It’s always who you know, not what you can do that gets the job. That’s why networking is such a high priority with anyone who wants to pursue a career in what they have gotten there their degree in. :-)

    • Tope says

      So now it is the depth of your network that gets you jobs and not the stuff you know in your head? I feel that is so unfair!

  3. folakemi says

    Nice piece u’v got here ma’am! Yeah, the Nigerian System ​is rusty and nothing to write home about. Its very frustrating when u get out of schl wt a good grade and u have to know someone that knows someone that knows someone b4 u could get a good job. Now tell me,who wants to bury his/her head in researches only to come out here to do nothing?? Even those that were able to do those research,they soon forget how to apply them to the modern day situation when they could not get an opportunity to showcase what they’ve got. Job opportunities in Nigeria have now become a caucus kind of thing–only the rich influential people’s children get the good jobs often times. Its shockprising(shock+surprise) sometimes when u hear from someone that a particular person that was *leading the class from the back* holds a high post in one big firm u applied to,in which case they said they can’t absorb you in because you had a 2:1 as against the first class they requested! Now tell me how did my fellow “scholar” get into that organisation? Ma’am, the system ​is ROTTEN!

  4. says

    From time in memorial, the system has undergone systemic degradation, the fabric of our society has been eaten up by corruption and all forms of social vices. The so called role models who are supposed to serve as examples to our youths are caught napping. Take a look at our current elders and people in position of power or influence. It is one scandal after the other. And we complain of the Youths. There is a saying that goes like this “the eyes are a better student than the ears” . If the system straightens up, the Youths would straighten up.

  5. says

    The Nigerian system I’d say…even these so-called lecturers stab classes, use outdated syllabuses they could update with the internet and library and most aren’t picked because they have the passion and ability to teach, but probably because they knew someone or they are good at research work. They expect us to do magic with what they throw at us with enthusiasm even when its clear they aren’t enthusiastic about their work. Its the same corrupt people in the society that prevent education from getting it’s deserved attention that would come and say graduates aren’t good enough instead of them meeting with the universities to ensure they update their syllabus to what’s relevant in this day and age.

    I wouldn’t spare the students either. Most students aren’t guided well and end up doing courses they don’t like which leads to them just wanting to graduate. They clearly know only few would get jobs on merit, the rest would be those who have ‘connections’ and so its very rare finding ‘rich kids’ with influential parents taking school seriously. They probably would be able to get their masters done abroad and would come back to get the good jobs. Students are hardly motivated in school forgetting that we go through most of the problems our parents are exposed to in the society and as such its hard to just face our studies alone. Of course there are the lazy students who just don’t know why they are in school and are just plain lazy!

    My little contribution…:)

    • Tope says

      Darola I agree that students are lazy, but don’t you think they would be in the minority if we had the elders being more of examples? The probably aren’t motivated because they believe all that effort would never be rewarded!

  6. says

    I’m glad you got a chance to speak to them since they asked for your opinion. Hopefully they learned something and will stop complaining about the Nigerian youth. Good for you!

  7. Folahan says

    Hmmm, nice piece tope, but should have listened to what the lecturer had to say, the realities of getting a job this days are very slim, but if we look at it what you know upstairs really matters, in the sense that, knowing how to run an enterprise or at least performing well in. what you do is very important. Millions of graduates get up today, knowing some 1 some where and they get a Good job, but their inpact on that institution is never reasonable, Imaging you getting to the post of director without understanding mid level work experience, or not even understanding basic economic principles, in as much as society has left us like this it doesn’t mean we should produce half baked graduates. I’m really in favor of both sides, young people should really just get up and do… :|

  8. says

    Hi, Tope,
    Bravo to you for speaking your mind. Maybe you made someone think.
    In Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), I volunteer with a networking group (www.papen.us) to help job seekers refine their interviewing skills and meet people. Although we invite all ages, we don’t seem to have as many people under 30 as we would like. I don’t know if younger folks are so accustomed to electronic-networking in America that they don’t realize face to face meetings are critical.

    The job search is an arduous one for all ages and all educational levels. I wish everyone the best of luck!

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