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What if Dangote wants graduates as drivers?

10 September 2012, 12:27

Many of us may be discontent with the business model of the mogul, touted as one of the richest in Africa and making Forbes list year after year as being immensely rich and taking his position as one of the wealthiest on the globe but for once lets logically look at this issue that has received a number of public outcries.

Fellow agents of change in Nigeria, I choose to differ for once on the reported public outcry against DANGOTE calling for Graduates as Truck Drivers. I will attempt to lead several basis for my position.

There is probably no gain consulting GOOGLE or the United Nation's data on the rate of unemployment in Nigeria as it stares us in the face everyday.  Everyday, on the streets of Lagos, I come across many well - spoken Graduates turned beggars with no means of livelihood. Many have become commercial motorcycle riders in a bid to sustain themselves and family.

As if this is not bad enough, many Graduates have become employed but not gainfully in less - than attractive employments. Take accounts - sourcing called 'marketing' in local parlance for example, not a few have become engaged in such contractual employments whilst security of such is based on the number of accounts which can be 'captured' Of course, left with no other choice, many Graduates have enthusiastically taken up these jobs faced with no alternative and professing their competence at their abilities to ''work well under pressure'' but alas, they got the boot too!

Even more interesting is the fact that few have clung on to their employments having lost value for their person, engaging in amorous relationships and pawning their bodies for this means of livelihood.

Everyday, I learn of the plights of my contemporaries and other Graduates working in degrading and unimaginable conditions including extended man – hours with little or nothing to show for such. To say this grieves my heart will be an understatement.

In recent times, particularly on our APAPA - OSHODI, OTEDOLA END OF LAGOS - IBADAN EXPRESSWAY, SAGAMU and other major highways in the country, innocent lives have been lost to trailer accidents. Few months ago, the newspapers were awash with the reports of two young men, both employees of a Courier Company who lost their lives in a trailer accident. Another set of four young men lost their lives at the same spot around OTEDOLA estate when a trailer tyre disengaged and slew them.

I was also informed of a trailer which was fleeing from FRSC men at the last Holy Ghost Convention, driving against traffic while commuters were lucky as it eventually plunged into the bush by the road side. The interesting reoccurring decimal is that the drivers are never apprehended.

I, for one think the time has come to leave the job of driving trucks to responsible and educated graduates who would consider road - worthiness of trucks and place premium value on their lives and that of other road users. I ask myself, where is dignity of labour? What business would I have considering the nature of the job when I am adding value and well remunerated? In my opinion, the real labour forces are those employed by LAWMA diligently sweeping the roads, making them impeccably clean. I doubt if they earn a lot and if they have life insurance policies taken out on their behalf. Lately LASTMA men have become endangered species, losing their lives and in retrospect, those of their families to senseless commercial bus drivers.

How is being a Graduate and driving a truck different from being a Pilot and flying a plane or being a Sailor or Captain and manning a Vessel? I am all the more grieved because the smell of the pretence reeks to high heavens when our Graduates eek hundreds of thousands of naira to procure South African, Spanish, Ukrainian and visas of other countries to live whilst working worse menial jobs. This tells me that the problem may not be the job but other surrounding circumstances which render the job undignifying.

The men have since been sending money home doing the job of security guards in UK and USA while the women are Nurses caring for patients young and old. The problem is our failed trust in us as individuals and as a country.

In conclusion, our grouse should not be that one of the greatest employers of labour is seeking to employ graduates as truck drivers but that their conditions of service must be encouraging and soul - lifting. Many Graduates may be employed but certainly not gainfully. They litter the cubicles of our banks, their bulk rooms, the Inland Revenue Services where they know or learn next to nothing about tax issues and our various government ministries.

We definitely require improved and enforceable labour laws, a sincere government which can genuinely improve the lot of the youths by providing quality education, make them gainfully engaged either as employees or owners of their own businesses whilst encouraging the right working conditions.

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