THE IMPACT OF UNEMPLOYMENT ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AND NATION BUILDING IN SOME SELECTED L.G.A IN EBONYI STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The Nigerian economy since the attainment of political independence in 1960 has undergone fundamental structural changes resulting to structural shis which have however not resulted in any significant sustainable economic growth and development to ensure adequate employment opportunity for her youths. According acknowledged Akpabio, (2005:332) and Gobeli, (1995:122). Over time, the roles of the youth in national development have been. As they continue to play pervasive roles in nation building, the youth by definition have been regarded as that segment of the population from 18-35 years (National Policy of Youth Development, 1999) who are characteristically active, vibrant, daring and with useful energies. The development of the Nigerian nation from pre-colonial to independent and post independent era has been attributed to vital contribution of the youth. Despite their positive roles in national development, they constitute the most critical and volatile segment of the society. The worsening economic situation in Nigeria from the austere periods to the SAP and Post-SAP era has threatened the collective psyche of the youth. General unemployment, lack of consistent policy framework for youth development, general economic hardship among others have thrown the youth into joblessness, agents of social vices and general idleness. As their conditions worsen, they have been used as agents of political thuggery and general misadventure. Moreover, they have become the major agents in social conflicts with diverse and devastating consequences in the nation. As their negative and pervasive roles continue to impact on the economy, several strategies of youth empowerment have been evolved over time. The strategies have, however, yielded little or no results as their activities have consistently imposed serious threats to social security, truncated economic activities and severe drainage of national income. Youth unemployment is becoming an increasingly troublesome issue in many parts of the world. In Nigeria, it has become one of the most serious socio-economic problems confronting the country. The magnitude of this can be appreciated if accurate statistics could be obtained from the Federal Bureau of Statistics on the number of unemployed youths roaming the streets of Nigerian cities. However, Awogbenle and Iwuamadi (20101:33) observed from the excerpts of statistics obtained from the National Manpower Board and Federal Bureau of Statistics showed that Nigeria has a youth population of eighty (80) million representing 60 percent of the total population of the country. Sixty four (64) million of them are unemployed while one million six hundred thousand (1.6 million) are underemployed. Unemployment has become a major problem bedeviling the lives of Nigerian youth causing frustration, dejection and dependency on family members and friends, who also have their own problems to contend with. The high rate of unemployment among the youths in Nigeria has contributed to the high rate of poverty and insecurity in the country. Unemployment is worldwide economic problem, causing poverty and lack among the young once. In recent times, there have been notable adverse social, economic and political developments in Nigeria, a consequence of youth unemployment and underemployment, particularly exemplified by increasing militancy, violent crimes, kidnapping, restiveness and political instability. The Nigerian situation is further compounded by the recent global financial crisis that has crippled businesses and the prospect of securing jobs for young people (Fanimo and Olayinka, (2009:66).

According to Adejumola and Tayo-Olajubulu (2000:163) contended that unemployment has been identified as one of the major causes of social vices, including armed robbery, destitution, prostitution, political thuggery, kidnapping and many more. Musari (2007:299) corroborated this statement by saying that about 4.5 million enter the labour market every year without any hope of getting employment for life sustenance. The precarious situation has le the youths in a vicious cycle of poverty that daily erodes their self-confidence and bright future. For most developing countries like Nigeria, Governments and policy makers are increasingly finding it diicult to grapple successfully with youth unemployment. This high rate of unemployment can be blamed on the lack of adequate provision for job creation in the development plans, the ever expanding educational growth and the desperate desire on the part of youths to acquire University education irrespective of course and course contents. As a result, a number of skills acquired from the University appear dysfunctional and irrelevant (Okafor, 2011:307). In Nigeria, the federal government in 2008 acknowledged that about 80 percent of Nigeria’s youth are unemployed and 10 percent underemployed (Daily Trust, 2008). In 2011, the Minister of Youth Development, Bolaji Abdullahi reported that 42.2 per cent of Nigeria’s youth population is out of job. Depo Oyedokun, the Chair of the House Committee on Youth and Social Development revealed that of the over 40 million unemployed youths in the country, 23 million are unemployable and therefore susceptible to crime, hence the need to articulate what could be done to salvage the situation. The pace is increasing because most graduates lack relevant marketable skills. More than half of the Nigerian populations are under the age of 30 (National Population Commission, 2001). Therefore it can be asserted that the economy of Nigeria is a youth economy (Oviawe, 2010:88). Expectedly, today’s youth will become in a short decade tomorrow’s parents, leaders, labour force and armies. However, the Nigerian youths are said to be confronted with poverty, unemployment, urbanization, lack of capacity and skills needed to move the economy forward. This is because the youth faces unemployment and lack of necessary productive skills to keep body and soul together.

A national survey jointly sponsored by NUC and the Education Trust Fund (ETF) in 2004 sought to determine the labour market needs. The study revealed that 44 percent of the 20 organizations rated Nigerian science graduates as average in competence, 56 percent rated them as average in innovation, 50 percent rated them average in rational judgment, 63 percent as average in leadership skills and 44 percent as average in creativity. On needed skills like literacy, oral communication, information technology, entrepreneurship, analytical, problem-solving and decision making, 60 percent rated them as poor. By any standard, the above statistics reflect a poor assessment of Nigerian university graduates and further buttress the argument that Nigerian university graduates are unemployable (Okafor, 2011:310). Resultantly, the lack of employment potential makes crime a more attractive option for some Nigerian university graduates. This is because in Nigeria it is common to find some graduates still roaming the streets, five years aer graduating in search of jobs that are not thereby lending force to crimes such as armed robbery, car snatching, pipeline vandalization, oil bunkering, and prostitution among the youths. This critical skill gaps inhibits the development of youths and the entire development of the nation, as more than half of the Nigerian populations are under the age of 30. This is dependent on the fact that Nigeria’s population is predominantly youth Oviawe, J.O. (2010:66).

1.1. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

This study has tried to establish that youth unemployment is a growing challenge of all in selected local government in Ebonyi state as well as the Nation as a whole. Policies to tackle youth unemployment have tended to focus on how youth are different from other workers. They are less skilled, less experienced and have very limited business contacts. Thus skills training and vocational education constitute the majority of interventions to date. However, many of these training programs have had disappointing outcomes. Youth unemployment in Ebonyi State is a multi-dimensional problem that needs to be addressed on macro basis. Youth unemployment in Ebonyi State is more of a demand side problem. There are not enough jobs to go round. Increase in the demand for labour will move the economy along the demand curve, thereby increasing wages and employment. The demand for labour in an economy is derived from the demand for goods and services. If the demand for goods and services in the economy increases, the demand for labour will increase. This may be described as classical unemployment. Youth unemployment can be reduced if the following interventions and recommendations are creatively implemented in the selected local government areas.

THE IMPACT OF UNEMPLOYMENT ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AND NATION BUILDING IN SOME SELECTED L.G.A IN EBONYI STATE