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Nigerian Graduates Forge New Paths Amidst Unemployment Crisis

In the face of high unemployment, Nigerian graduates turn to unconventional careers for livelihood.

by Adenike Adeodun

Despite the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reporting a significant drop in Nigeria’s unemployment rate, from 33.3% to 4.1%, the actual job market tells a vastly different story. Throughout Nigeria, a large number of university and polytechnic graduates, many with master’s degrees, are still struggling to find employment.

Employers often bypass these graduates, citing a lack of real-world experience and expectations of high salaries. This harsh reality forces many graduates to reevaluate their career paths. In a society that increasingly resembles Thomas Hobbes’ brutish state of nature, survival has become the name of the game.

Taking practical steps, many graduates are embracing roles well below their academic qualifications. Jobs like motorcycle (Okada) and tricycle (Keke) riding, taxi driving, house cleaning, laundry services, and generator repairs are no longer beneath consideration. On the darker side, some have drifted into illegal activities, including kidnapping and internet fraud, in their quest for financial stability.

Yet, there’s a group of graduates who have chosen to walk the path of honor, shedding their graduate status in favor of survival. Their stories are both encouraging and a testament to their resilience.

DAILY POST’s investigation uncovers the diverse journeys these graduates have embarked on. Take Johnson Ademola, for example, a man armed with degrees in philosophy and sociology and currently pursuing a PhD. Against the odds, Ademola has carved a niche for himself in generator repair, a job many would associate with less educated individuals. His academic prowess sets him apart in his field, drawing in clients who value his expertise.

Ademola’s venture has grown to include generator sales, and he employs three people, paying them salaries that testify to the success of his business. He has even turned his workshop into a training ground for technical school students.

James Okezie, working alongside Ademola, shared his own journey of job hunting and the contentment he now finds in his current role. Similarly, Patrick Nnamani, a tricycle operator and Business Administration graduate sees his job as a viable business, hampered only by a lack of financial support.

Onah Theodore Uzoamaka, an English language graduate, has turned to selling honey after facing disappointment in the job market. Her experience highlights the struggles faced by many, including government interference that hampers entrepreneurial efforts.

Kemi Adewale Kehinde, another graduate, resorted to petty trading after a fruitless job search. She believes her business has potential, especially with financial aid and a better location.

Emmanuel Agu, a Mass Communication graduate, has been providing house cleaning and laundry services since he couldn’t find a job post-graduation. Despite the hardships, he holds on to hope for a better opportunity.

According to a report by the Daily Post, Rowland Akande, an accounting graduate, has found his calling in estate management. His experience showcases the value of patience, knowledge, and integrity in this field. Akande is committed to his career in real estate, finding it more fulfilling than any other job he could seek.

These narratives reflect a broader trend across Nigeria, where graduates are redefining success in a tough economic climate. Their stories of resilience and adaptability shine a light on the urgent need for more support and opportunities in a country rich with potential but hindered by economic challenges.

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