After The Convocation, What Next? BY AGBA JALINGO

In Breaking News, Education, Opinion

Last week, precisely 27 March 2021, Professor Florence Obi, the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL, gave a very good account of her leadership after holding a very beautiful convocation ceremony. On the occasion, the VC revealed that, 22 graduands bagged first class honors in their various fields out of the 4,955 total graduands.

Among these graduands, are my nieces, nephews, cousins, staff, friends and acquaintances. For some, their new addition is for ornament and reputation. For others, I’ve been having this discussion with several of them and we appear to just be roaming around the same place. I have been asking them:

After graduation now, are you going to return home and start a second childhood?

Are you still going to be asking your parents or me, for money or will you start making yours, no matter how small?

Is the skill/knowledge you acquired in four years, which was paid for, of any use?

If it is, what problem do you think you can use it to solve?

They do not have answers to these ponders. The answers I get are both innocent and perplexing. Innocent because, like from the heart of a child, they are only expressing their sincere incapability. Admitting that they don’t know how to do anything yet, even after training. Perplexing also because it is unbelievable that after four years training, someone is still incapable of creating value that can earn.

“You are there na. You will help us get a job. You have connections …”

Another will say, “Me, I think I need to do a Masters degree immediately. First degree doesn’t give job these days …”

“I have a big business plan that I want to pursue but there is no capital to establish it.”

“You can help us get political appointment in government na….” etc.

None of this answer sounds like an answer to any of my questions.

Someone has three Master’s degrees with two majors. His research on maize yield gaps is supposed to provide practical insight on how to drive up yields per hectare for small holder farmers and develop the maize value chain. But the person is still incapable of creating value that can earn 100k every 30 days. Now, I am not criticizing anyone yet. I am thinking aloud and wondering how exactly do these things happen. It’s like saving so much money in fixed deposit and you are told by your banker that there is no turnover at the end of 30 days.

3 Masters degrees will require that you must have had at least 23 years of reading and schooling including at least 8 years of higher learning. Even if you are not rich, because not everyone will be rich, these years of training should avail you a skill or knowledge or area of competence that can earn you at least 100k a month, on your own integrity. If this isn’t happening, please be frank with yourself, the country isn’t the problem for you. You are rather a problem to the country. If those who have training can churn out more job creators, the number of job seekers will reduce concurrently.

Quotas and affirmative actions for education anywhere, are meant to enable disadvantaged groups to fill a skill or knowledge gap and become self reliant. It’s not to create job seekers. The expectation is that, having been educated, the student will graduate to become a solution provider and consequently earn something from honest work. Even if you want to grow a career in public service, if the opportunity is not immediately available, what are you doing with what you have learnt?

To anyone whom this may concern, your capability is what will determine the responsibility the world will thrust on you. You are not entitled to anything because you passed through the university.

That man whom UNICAL gave an honorary Doctorate degree in this year’s convocation, the man whose vehicles, yours sincerely, proudly sell, Dr. Innoson Ifediaso Chukwuma, Chairman Innoson Motors, did not even finish secondary school. Today he has not only given jobs to more than 10 thousand graduates, he is the Pro-Chancellor of several universities.

So, as you walk through the school gates back home, and into the labor market, always bear in mind that the world has 7.9billion people. Nigeria has 211million people, Lagos State has 21.3million people. Cross River State has 3.738 million. Most LGAs in Nigeria have at least 200,000 people. If you can serve only a negligible percentage of this population with an innovative product or service, even if na by picking their trash after this Easter, you go still make am.

Hoping you had a great Easter celebration already.


Yours sincerely,

Citizen Agba Jalingo is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch and writes from Lagos State.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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