By Yusuf Alhaji Lawan

It was in the year 2009, on a fateful Friday, I had a reason to visit my mentor in his office, who was a lecturer with a Federal College of Education (Technical). After I was done with the business of the day, he gave me a copy of Daily Trust Newspaper and implored me to apply for job vacancies advertised. I was lackadaisical about it, not because of lack of interest, but for too much confidence in other applications made elsewhere.

Exactly three days to the close of the application, I reluctantly sent my letter through post office with a N100 stamp. Few months after, I got invitation for aptitude test. My performance made me among those slated for oral interview. I availed myself, did the needful and got employed at last. This is a success story made without knowing anyone or being helped by someone as the same with some friends and acquaintances in other places.

The impact of government is noticed through its establishments in the nomenclature of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with the provision of quality services to the public. For the purpose of employment into public offices, creating an equal level playing ground for all citizens devoid of all forms of discrimination avails government the golden opportunity to hire competent personnels that can perform optimally in assigned tasks. This is a sure way of giving sense of belonging to the children of nobody who have no one to champion their cause.

In 2015 after former President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled his cabinet, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity was renamed to Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. This development, among other things generated hopes of creating employment opportunities and easy access to jobs especially at Federal level. Unfortunately, reverse was the case. The 8-year administration was characterized by increased number of joblessness and appreciable number of cases of job racketeering. A good number of federal jobs were for the children of “who is who”, their allies while the remnants for those ready to trade at exorbitant price without recourse to the provision of Federal Character Principles.

Throughout the administration, I found it difficult to count twenty federal MDAs that advertised job vacancies, conducted aptitude test, invited successful candidates for oral interview and selected the best hands for employment in a sincere recruitment process. However, it is also of interest to know that countless number of federal MDAs if not all had engaged in secret recruitment exercises under the guise of replacements and so on without advertisement, shortchanging citizens who have no one, money to buy or not ready for such transaction.

On the 16th of March, 2016, Daily Trust Newspaper had a major headline “CBN recruited 909 staff secretly”. The newspaper carried out an investigation which revealed that the apex bank had actually recruited 909 staff within two years without advertising the vacancies. The recruitment was characterized by undue lopsidedness and disregard for recruitment procedures. The matter was deliberated upon on the floor of the House of Representatives. To cut story short, up till date, nothing is heard on it.

Job slots have become saleable commodities in the Nigerian space. It has reached an extent of acceptance that fraudsters have ventured into it, duping unsuspecting members of the public. Couple of years ago, while listening to a radio station, a news item was read about a press statement by a Police Public Relations Officer of a particular state explaining the arrest of an accused on whom a complaint was lodged before them having collected huge sum of money from a Deputy Director in the Federal Civil Service for job sale which at the end found to be fraud. If it was the other way, there wouldn’t have been a complaint.

On 31st March, 2023 Premium Times newspaper reported the arraignment of a staff of Nigerian Correctional Service by ICPC for job racketeering. ICPC accused the suspect of collecting N800,000 from a couple for two job slots at Federal University Lafia, when he knew the claim to be false.

These are the melancholic news trending all over which ordinarily should call for serious concern from government, law enforcement agencies and generality of the public.

Few of the developments highlighted should not be adjudged to be limited to federal jobs only. However, they cut across all the 3 tiers of government. Sadly, the menace has started reaching the organized private sector.

The future of many organisations is at stake as being threatened by the perceived incompetence of the upcoming generation of workers due to poor recruitment policies and lack of concern on organizational productivity as well as shortages of skilled labour.

A good number of those personnels brought into offices through the window, which are becoming majority are not ready to take responsibility of their assigned duties, especially wards of the highly placed and their cronies. If they are subjected to fair assessment process of recruitment, they are not likely to be hired by those agencies. Truancy, negligence of duty, unseriousness and sheer incompetence are the deserved terminologies for their description. Then, what happens if these crop of officers get to the top?

Bad hire is capable of discouraging star employees, leading to low productivity and culminates in generating unhappy clients. It can damage the reputation of an organization and bring about high cost of training.

As new government sets in, Nigerians are musing, awaiting to see what it has to offer with regards to creating fair employment opportunities to all and sundry especially that the rate of youth unemployment in the country keep souring up and it is expected to reach 40.6% in 2023.

Except this is looked into urgently with a view to attending to the pandemonium therein, the future of the nation is gloomy.

Lawan, a public affairs analyst wrote from Hausawa Asibiti Ward, Potiskum, Yobe State.

The writer can be reached via [email protected].

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