Term Paper, 2017
23 Pages, Grade: A.1
Entrepreneurship and its Essence
Nigerian Unemployed Graduates’ Plights
Rousing Graduates’ Interest to Entrepreneurship by the Government and the Press
THE PLACE OF GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESS IN ROUSING UNEMPLOYED GRADUATES’ INTEREST TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Robert, Odey Simon
New Frontier Industries Ltd Research and Publications Int’l, 2nd Floor, Ashby Investment House, 7, New Bridge/Otukpo Road, Makurdi, Benue State; Bridge Gate Research Consult Ltd, Abuja, Nigeria
Keywords:Government, the Press, Place, Rousing, Unemployed graduates, Interest, Entrepreneurship
The failure of both the government and the press in their supposed responsibilities to rouse the teeming populated unemployed graduates to entrepreneurship is the paramount reason for the current high rates of crimes, social vices and violence as the products of high unemployment in Nigeria. Nigerian graduates, especially those from the lower class, the poor, are now treated like nonentities that are stack illiterates. These underlying problems ground this study. The study is aimed at exploring the extent to which government and the press have roused the interest of Nigerian youths, particularly the unemployed graduates, to entrepreneurship. The study reveals that: the government of all levels and the press have done little or nothing to rouse the interest of the unemployed graduates to entrepreneurship; existing entrepreneurs of this class often suffer severe capital issues, which discourages intending entrepreneurs, other unemployed graduates, as the government only aids those who have ‘people in Government House(s) and other high class offices’. It maintains (recommends) that the best way for the government to rouse their interest to entrepreneurship is to drop lip-service and practically mobilise and support jobless youths to become self-employed and thus become automatically detached from all forms of social ills, having taking to it as an alternative. Then, the Press takes it up from there by making entrepreneurship a splash to the unemployed graduates and the general masses.The study is anchored on the psychological or entrepreneurial trait school and the managerial skills school cum the economic development theory.This study concludes that until the government and the press turn a new leave and practically and actively begin to rouse the interest of the unemployed graduates to entrepreneurship, as a practical alternative, unemployment would continue to increase alarmingly, with its devastating menace. The non-participant observation, oral interview and intuition are the primary sources employed, while closely related literatures formed the secondary sources.
To begin with, the education given to Nigerian graduates is almost completely theoretical, with little or no requisite skills and knowledge for self-employment, couple with white-collar job mentality. This, Besong and Robert (2016:132) note that consequently, thousands of graduates from universities and other tertiary institutions are roaming the street in search of white-collar jobs that are non-existent. Duru (2011) regrets that the Nigeria school curriculum is not geared towards equipping the youth with basic skills required for self-employment. Consequently, thousands of graduates from universities and tertiary institutions are roaming the street in search of white-collar jobs that are non-existent. Also, without ‘connection’ to those in the realm of power, one’s merited, not bought, First Class or Second Class Upper is nothing but a mere paper property if one has no one in the realm of power, economy and education. The hard truth is that everyone must not be employed by the government before ‘they make it big time’, since battalions of graduates are produced in disequilibrium with available jobs at the capacity of the government apart from the fact that the available jobs are nowhawked; they are sources of money for corrupt top government officials. Sole proprietorship is better than civil service and other paid (engaged) jobs in several regards, even though it has no future security and freedom and can easily be affected by any unknown risks and misfortunes. It can fall and fold at any time. Anything given due attention and jingles by the press easily catch the interest of their heterogeneous audience, the masses.
Although the government and the press– the media– are yet to play their supposed roles in rousing the interest of many (unemployed graduates) to entrepreneurship, if they turn to it, there shall be great results, change and solutions to unemployment with its devastating menace. If well informed, the unnecessary fears nurtured by the masses would be no more and thus many shall begin to key into entrepreneurship. All they need to do is be innovative, liberal and productive, when the press and the government begin to play their ideal role in the promotion and development of entrepreneurship. The government must begin to do all it needs to do to ensure that the media effectively carry out this task and as well empower the populated unemployed graduates who are becoming nuisance to the society. Our government seems not to realise that the current robust economies of several erstwhile undeveloped nations were a product of entrepreneurship. They should learn from their counterparts in Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Tanzania, Kenya, India, etc., whose bold steps in this area accord their present global status in various phases of development. The development experience of East-Asia: China, Singapore and Malaysia, and Latin America: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile were a product of their priority accorded to indigenous entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises. Nigeria’s huge human natural resources, which if properly harnessed can put the economy on the fastest lane of development and growth like such nations, but because of widespread corruption, unemployment and poverty, Nigerian economy seems to have lost such opportunities (Dibie, Besong and Robert, 2016; Alakali and Robert, 2016).
Arfo (2007:71) reasons that for poverty to give way to abundance, Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) must be given a boost at all levels of education. Technical skills acquisition is the thrust of Vocational and Technical Education (VTE). The Nation Policy Education (1981) describes technical education as that aspect of education which leads to the acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge. VTE is a type of education or training designed for preparing the individual learner to earn a living or increase his earning. VTE utilises scientific knowledge in acquisition of practical and applied skills in order to solve problems. It is aimed at preparing individuals and the society by providing skills necessary for employment and self-reliance. It is quite regrettable that the aims of VTE are seldom pursued and almost never realised in Nigeria despite its statutory establishment. The basis for determining social, economic and industrial development of a nation is vocational and technical education (Arfo, 2007:74; Besong and Robert, 2016).
One of the fundamental economic principles is the actualisation of full employment in the society. Poverty alleviation primarily focuses on expanding employment opportunities, especially rural women and poor urban women, the poorest of the poor (UNDP, 1997) and the youths; and working towards the goal through effective policies and decisions that take cognizance of macroeconomic relationships and microeconomic allocation of resources, among other factors (Braun, 1995; Otitolaiye and Otitolaiye, 2014).
Entrepreneurship has been recognised by both developed and less developed countries as instrument for rapid and sustained economic growth and development. It is considered as the engine of growth, because it creates the required manpower and skills necessary for accelerated growth, employment generation and poverty reduction (Musa, 2014:99). Muktar (2013) believes that entrepreneurship has been beneficial because the Nigerian private sector, comprising small and medium enterprises, provides diverse employment opportunities for 50% of the country’s population. This highlights the prospects and role of entrepreneurship in curbing unemployment and making life better for most of the concerned Nigerian populace, who but for it would constitute nuisance in the society and other people. Therefore, the dire need for efficacious entrepreneurial and technical education (technical and entrepreneurial skills acquisition and utilisation) and information resources availability and user-education cannot be over-emphasised. It is in view of the loopholes here that Dandago and Muhammed (2014) attribute employment problem in Nigeria to the disequilibrium between labour market and lack of pre-requisite skills by young people and poor entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is described by Soyibo in Duru (2011) as the process of identifying an opportunity related to needs– satisfaction and converting it to a thing of value. It can also be conceptualised as the process driven by the desire to innovate; i.e., the ability to develop new business ideas and take the risk of setting up an enterprise to produce goods and services that can satisfy human wants. It is the ability and willingness to take risks and combine factors of production in order to produce goods and services that can satisfy human wants (Drucker, 1985). This suggests that an entrepreneur is a self-employed person who is willing and able to identify and exploit opportunities in the environment. Entrepreneurship has significant impact on economic growth and facilitates the acquisition of technical skills for self-employment among youths in Nigeria to some extent. According to Meredith, Nelson and Neck (1991), entrepreneurs are people who have the ability to see and evaluate business opportunities, gather necessary resources in order to take advantage of them and initiate appropriate actions to ensure success. An entrepreneur is the sole proprietor who owns, runs, controls, manages and oversees his/her firm, having acquired such skills or having the charisma, the in-born skills.
Entrepreneurship is concerned with wealth creation through investment opportunities. It is a process through which entrepreneurs create and grow enterprises to provide new products or services, or add value to products or services. It is the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled. It is the ability to take risks and combine factors of production in order to produce goods and services that can satisfy human wants. It is the willingness and the ability of an individual to seek out investment opportunities in an environment and be able to establish and run an enterprise successfully based on the identified opportunities (OECD, 2006; Musa, 2014). An entrepreneur is a poverty alleviator, job creator, sole proprietor, employer of labour, a capitalist, a producer, developer and risk-bearer/taker and manager.
Most local enterprises have provided employment opportunities and income generation sources for many, especially rural women, the urban poor and the jobless youths. The enterprises includes petty trade, hair dressing, catering, home economics, barbing, mechanic, computer services business, arts and drawings, painting, sculpture, wood production, sales and design, local craft, dyeing, beading, cosmetics, fashion and design (tailoring), leather works, shoe-making and mending, restaurant and bar, cooking, baking, farming, fishery, gardening, pig farming, poultry, cassava processing, livestock, firewood and cashew production, groundnut processing etc. (Dibie, Besong and Robert, 2016; Uji, 2014; Kella, 1996; Otitolaiye and Otitolaiye, 2014; Akor et al., 2014; Akogun and Aiyedun, 2014; among others). Dandago and Muhammed (2014) conducted an empirical study on entrepreneurship and the employment opportunities and wealth generation it creates. They prove that the public sector alone is incapable and its jobs are insufficient to absorb the teeming unemployed population of the nation. The over-dependence on public sector white collar jobs is a major defect tackling the nation’s employment challenges.
Entrepreneurship is required as the prime mover of a successful enterprise and it is an important factor of production. Entrepreneurship impacts on both the society and the individual economically and otherwise. It explores and explicit economic ventures, evaluates entrepreneurial opportunities and executes the opportunities by translating the new ideas/information into feasible techniques, goods and demanding market structures. Besong and Robert (2016:133) note that entrepreneurship has significant impact on economic growth and facilities the acquisition of technical (entrepreneurial) skills for self- employment among youths in Nigeria to some extent. Entrepreneurs must share these ten characteristic/qualities: think success, be passionate with all you do, focus on your strength, never consider possibility of failure, plan accordingly, hard work, willingness to learn, preserve and have faith and constantly look forward to ways network (Brain, 1982; Kpelai, 2009; Huxley, 1980). Because most of the operating and intending entrepreneurs are ignorant of the essential excelling qualities of the entrepreneur, it is imperative for the press to rouse the interest of these graduates and educate them on what they need to do to begin/run their enterprises successfully and the intrigues of entrepreneurship, including the basic qualities of the bound-to-succeed entrepreneur.
Udeh (1999) points out some characteristics for entrepreneurship practise, the core attributes of every entrepreneur thus:
- Possession of entrepreneurship spirit;
- Leadership charisma;
- Moderate risk-taking;
- Decision-making; and
- Time management.
On their part, Hisrich et al. (2007) give three basic personal characteristics and behavioural traits of entrepreneurs viz:
- Understanding of environment;
- Ability to encourage teamwork;
- Encouraging openness.
Legion scholars have variedly theorised entrepreneurship, its evolution, development and impact. The earlier scholars belong to the psychological schools of thought or entrepreneurial trait school, championed by Schumpeter (1934) and the managerial skills school, championed by Drucker (1970), cited in Dandago and Muhammed (2014). To the former, entrepreneurs are ‘born’ and the behaviour of an individual is influenced by their attitude, values and beliefs. These theorists believe that entrepreneurship is based on certain traits and entrepreneurs are ‘born’, not made (Musa, 2014:100-2). Alakali and Robert (2016) note that their conception/proposition has religious (divine) undertone, as entrepreneurial skills, competence and successful leadership is rather traced to divine or natural endowment, thus postulating that entrepreneurial skills and development likewise cannot (can rarely) be acquired and attained ordinarily through learning. This is not true, as it is rather misleading. These attributes are both naturally and artificially acquired and attained. Entrepreneurial skills/attributes are both naturally and artificially acquired and showcased. They can be learnt, when one is not naturally talented in it. This is just like greatness acquisition, as conceived by Shakespeare thus: ‘Some are born great; some achieve greatness; to others, greatness is bestowed upon them.’
Theorists of the managerial skills school of thought argue that entrepreneurs can be trained and developed and that the techniques of entrepreneurship are a discipline that can be taught or learnt. Hence, entrepreneurs are ‘made’, not ‘born’, rather than the opposite thought of the theorists of the psychological or entrepreneurship trait school. It is apt to muse that entrepreneurs are both born and made. The born ones are those that perform outstandingly in entrepreneurship despite not having attained any formal or advance training/skills, while those who have become good (outstanding) entrepreneurs, though lacking the inborn (leadership and managerial/entrepreneurial) qualities, traits, skills and competence, but merely upon willingness, commitment, learning/acquisition and utilisation, are the ‘made’ entrepreneurs.
Schumpeter (1958), the proponent of the economic development theory, contends that entrepreneurship is a vital force in economic development and the entrepreneur is the initiator as well as driving force of innovation. His 1958 study reveals the relationship between capitalism spirit, assumption and performance of entrepreneurial role in different historical settings. He observes that the principal force behind entrepreneurial performance is the profit motive, even if there are other less materialistic considerations, such as to find an empire, will only ignite greater motives. Also, the (media) development theory, which tasks people to embark on activities that can bring out total national improvement on their life and socio-economic development, moulds this study (Ojobor, 2002; McQuail, 1987). This is predicated on the social effect theory which describes the influence of phenomena in contact on each other negatively or positively.
The acquisition of technical skills and their efficacious application in the process of production was the cornerstone of England industrial success. Skills and capitals as well as entrepreneurial drive, merged together, were factors responsible for the triumph of the private sector transformation of English society in the 19th and 20th centuries (Uji, 2014). The task of such or even more transformation of Nigeria’s private sector, the national economy and the society at large lies basically with the government and the press through efficacious entrepreneurial education programmes specially designed to promote and sustain entrepreneurship and thus create wealth and jobs (employment opportunities).
The National population statistics of Nigeria, in the 2007 census had it that the population of youths, the ages between 16 and 40, stood at over 70% of the national population estimate. This implies that the present Nigerian population is predominantly youth-centred. Only 30% of the 70% is gainfully employed, the other being idle or unemployed. This also applies to Benue State too. The implication is youth restiveness– indulging in and perpetrating crimes, social vices, terrorism, militancy, gangsterism, insurgency, fraud (419), kidnapping, thuggery, theft, suicide, homicide, etc. More so, recent World Bank’s statistics proves that poverty among the youthful population is as high as 70%. This figure, Uji (2014) observes, contrast with the NPSN (2007) census figure above and also with the recent claim that Nigeria is the fastest growing economy in Africa. It is ironical to have growth here without development. There can be no significant development without the employment of the workforce, the youths, having 70% poverty ratio.
Dibie (2014) expresses the incessant woes of Nigerian graduates who suffer for jobs amidst many jobs, all because only a few belong to the bourgeoisie, the ‘big gun’ tree, the political and intellectual elite classes, oligarchic and absolute monarchical classes, the top military lineage, religious and ethnic lords circle and demonic societies. Gone are the days Nigerian graduates had prestige and shared equal rights and privileges. Although certificate grade is greatly emphasised even at the expense of talent, prowess, dexterity and pragmatic product (performance output), those outside the folks have their First Class and Second Class Upper (Lower) neglected, relegated and contemplated. For the Third Class, no matter how brave, clever and productive, it only takes the grace of God for them to get jobs, unlike those the First Class and Second Class that they are even better/more than (Dibie, 2014).
Jobless graduates are on the high increase in recent times and only God, the Almighty, knows when the reverse will be again. Then there was nothing like job middlemen (agents) and securing of job was not based on ‘who knows who’, tribe, religion, class or group basis (Besong, 2016). Most Nigerian graduates now regret ‘wasting’ four, five or so years on education, with nothing to show for the years in the long run. The Igbo ones in specific, who are business-minded or conscious of entrepreneurship, regret most, noting that such years would have been fruitful if spent on apprenticeship or sole-proprietorship, using the school fees. Even most parents of the middle and average classes now regret sponsoring their wards/children with all difficulties in anticipation of betterment at graduation. Some graduates have stayed over ten years after graduation without any (reasonable) employment yet most firms and institutions now ask for recent graduates of between three and five years, worsening the whole situation with almost impossible criteria, like this or that number of years of experience/s. So, how then would fresh graduates begin to work and have post-cognate experiences? Some people (of the graduates) have thus become discouraged from further education, as they often ask what differentiates them much from the suffering educated graduates without even food to eat, or the efficacy of the one they have acquired is.
As such, some of the parents of the unemployed graduates easily get provoked by the slightest misdeeds of such graduate children/wards, often raining insults on them. In spite of their untold sufferings, in their frustration and desperation for jobs, they starve and spend the little on them to get employed into private and public sectors respectively, the public sector more. They are thus deceived by job agents and (top) government officials in all parastatals to pay whooping amount of money bribe in empty promises for jobs or job connections. The female ones, most times, pay both in cash and in kind, though mostly in kind, but all in vain most times. This is because a director or such a person, for instance, cajoles and sleeps with about ten or more girls/ladies for just a single job slot that he has. And it is not possible for him to ‘offer’ all the ten a job; besides those he has collected bribe from for the same job. Because of their frustration, most of these graduates continuously get fooled. Must Nigerian graduates pay to get employed? Why does this happen in Nigeria alone? Recently, forty thousand cash payment is demanded of those who want to serve their fatherland through ‘Peace Corps’, making reference to how the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence began.
These jobless graduates, Dibie (2014) observes, are ‘a poet’s burden: the poet is worried by the unceasing misfortunes, woes, calamities, hardship, plights, humiliation, dichotomy, pains, cries, untapped knowledge and capabilities, poverty, frustration... of these qualified disqualified graduates, who most times become pushed by the forces of joblessness to do the unusual. He captures the foregoing viz:
Graduates yet not graduates!
Graduates plagued with endless
Woes and tears, painfully.
Years ago, unqualified for jobs...
Now, a graduate worse!
At times, over qualify [sic]
Most times, qualify but have
No big guns behind them
When, how, where will they ever be qualified?
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