Akinwunmi Ambode is a brilliant man, a very brilliant one. I enjoyed working with him, I admired his coherence from afar and his love for productivity upclose. But I doubt this 50,000 Naira per month salary for 1,000 graduates having Bus Conductor jobs is a scheme he’d be proud of.
If you think unemployed and prideful youths who berate or scoff at this scheme are stupid, indolent and unserious, you are right.
But, if you also think this scheme is applaudable, coming from a state with an economy of multiple African states combined, then, make I nor lie you, you’re a pot, calling kettle black.
Yes, things are very bad across the country. The rate of unemployment and pseudo-employment (e.g, jobs that de-skill the employee and where such employee has to go from Iyana-Ipaja-Ayobo to Ajah everyday for a 40k per month 9-5pm job) is alarmingly high and sometimes tear-worthy.
But, while I know that a lot of graduates in Lagos would jump at this Bus conductor job faster and higher than an Atlanta 96 Ajunwa, I won’t hide my thoughts that I expect something with real value from the present Lagos state government in the mold of any scheme aimed at creating employment for graduates and bettering youths’ lives.
This scheme would have been truly valuable for Out-Of-School youths (secondary school leavers) who have been rebranded as urchins on most streets of Lagos, thoroughly addicted to theft, sports betting and baba Ijebu who never daapadas in 90% of cases. This kind of scheme would have afforded these set of youths a chance at rehabilitation and re-focus on understanding the dignity of labour for money, instead of “double-twale money”. But, to direct these scheme towards graduates, to me, is not thinking enough.
That I think it’s unfit for graduates is not a ‘yanga‘ (stupid pride) matter at all, rather, I’m just thinking real value. We are talking about a 50 Million Naira per month expense here, and to what value? That graduates will add colour to the bus-conductor craft?
This is the 21st century where skills and service provision are Eldorado, and this is what I think Lagos should be investing 50 million naira into, when alleviating graduate unemployed is involved. Tell me, what skill would these 1,000 graduates learn from this scheme in order to become productive participants in a growing economy? Organizational skill or what?
For example, I know Tunde, a University graduate who is skilled at making shoes from traditional “aso-oke” fabrics. I know Ibitola, a University graduate who is skilled at making skin and hair products. Graduates making a living from service-providing skillsets are on the rise. This is the area where I believe Lagos can invest largely on, to empower graduates via activated skills in building, construction, professional masonry, scaffolding, fashion, software development, IT and graphics, agriculture and agro-allied interests, trade and investment, etc, a scheme where graduates would learn value, add value, and reap value too.
Oga Ambode, I remember we campaigned with a plan to have a 25 billion naira Employment Trust Fund to make stuff happen for unemployed graduates and youths across Lagos in your first term, it was and is a great idea, but me I don’t think spending 600 Million out of that money for this bus-conductor scheme is well-thought out oh.
Why can’t Lagos make paid interns out of unemployed graduates who will enroll for getting a skill that can make them integral branches in the tree of Lagos economy?
What if Lagos pays even less to partner with Andela to train 1,000 graduates across the 57 LGAs and LCDAs on programming and software development for example, paying a stipend like 25k for example over the course of the training, say a year?
What if Lagos replicates this example above in other areas where skill that’d bear real value for unemployed graduates is sure, unlike this bus-conductor one that portends to even de-skill and blunt such graduate, making them mere consumers in an economy where they could have been made producers cum stakeholders?
Well, as I said above, right now, I’m sure 100,000 graduates must have applied for this 1,000-space bus-conductor job already, hunger pangs erode ideology fast, and I feel for my dear youths, this is how difficultly “just-chop” things have become. I’d advice any unemployed graduate friend who feels interested not to hesitate to apply, this post is just to express my thought that there’s nothing applaudable about this scheme, and also to prove that Lagos state can think better solutions than this particular one.
In fact, this isn’t even worth to be called a solution at all, by objective standards, it is not even a palliative, at best, it is a mere placebo, an empty drug, administered to give pseudo-treatment to a real ill.
PS: On a lighter note, dear people, can we find a better moniker for these our brothers and sisters who will take up this job? Special Passenger Aides in Road Transport- SPARTs for short? Like, what do you do? Answers and says, “I’m a SPART”……because why, awa eyan ti bastardize ‘Conductor’ gan now. ….LOL
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