After all, success and failure know no religion

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By age 18, my life was in a free fall. Everything that shouldn’t go wrong was broken beyond remedy.

One day, after an evening football training session, I noticed that the playground was being prepared for a gospel crusade. For reasons I can’t remember, I went back to that playground. That night, I had a life-changing encounter with God.

In my personal spiritual journey, I have been spiritually inspired by many great preachers from both my home country of Nigeria and elsewhere. Unfortunately, for a long time, I restricted my learning experiences to the spiritual aspects. …

The elites misrepresent the unemployment problem

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Nigerian university graduates have become victims in a system suffering from a gross shortage of economic opportunities. Youth unemployment has reached a crisis point. One in every two Nigerian youth is either unemployed or underemployed.

Ironically, people who strolled into their first jobs three or four decades ago without breaking a sweat are quick to blame the younger generation for lacking the required quality. They use slurs like “lazy”, “half-baked” and “unemployable” to describe recent graduates.

This leaves a rhetorical question. If Nigerian graduates are now half-baked, when were they ever fully baked?

People talk a lot about how the…

The elites misrepresent the unemployment problem

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In the first part of this article, we assessed the unemployment crisis from a historical perspective. We introduced you to a hypothetical elite Nigerian family (The Boyoyo family) living the Nigerian dream and oblivious to the economic struggles of the generation that came after them. We also provided factual evidence of the current state of the Nigerian labour market and attempted to address some of the misconceptions.

What are we missing?

At the heart of the debate is that Nigerian graduates are not well equipped for the labour market. The proponents of this argument believe it’s all about skills or the lack of it.

Rarely told career development stories

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I’m a firm believer in what Nigeria has to offer the world in terms of human capital. After all, the nation’s universities and polytechnics produce over 500,000 fresh graduates annually. A lot of these graduates would go on to build solid professional careers both at home and elsewhere.

Nigeria is a country living below its potential as a nation. Even under the prevailing circumstances, the people are extremely resilient, and routinely make something out of nothing.

The reason only negative news about Nigeria grabs all the airtime is that we don’t do so well in telling our own stories.


What you can do about it

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I’m writing this mostly in the second person, imagining I’m having a monologue with my younger self. I’m speaking to that young man or woman who appears to be stranded in an economic wilderness after bagging the much-coveted university degree.

You’ve survived a tortuous journey through university under precarious financial circumstances coupled with incessant teachers’ strikes. You’ve also proudly served your nation for one full year in some remote village under horrendous living conditions.

You’ve done your part. What is left now is for your country to recognize your talent and reward your sacrifice with a job that will help…

Between cutting your losses and playing to the final whistle

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I was 18 when I read the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. By this time, I was homeless and irreversibly severed from every meaningful family relationship. I slept on benches and worked as a factory hand on what was less than $1 per day at the time. Life was as hopeless and grim as it could get. There was no hope of having a decent future.

I can’t remember the circumstances that led to the discovery of Hills’ book or who recommended it. But certainly, reading that book was a transformative experience. One story stood out and…

A Poem for Nigeria

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I wish lies and propaganda could raise the dead

I wish lies can grow back limbs torn by bullets

Oh how I wish lies can numb all the pains

I wish we can say there was never a Lekki Toll Gate (it was never built)

Or perhaps, the sun never rose on the 20th of October

If lies were raw materials, we would have built one of the greatest nations on earth

The unemployment rate would be single-digit tending towards full employment

The minimum wage would be about $1500 per month

I would have told you that there are all…

From police brutality to government brutality

From Facebook #EndSARS

For 12 days, we saw a new Nigeria arising from the ashes of maladministration, gross corruption, and nepotism.

For 12 days, we saw order, accountability, and efficiency.

For 12 days, we saw how young Nigerians mobilized to run the most peaceful and effective protest ever.

For 12 days, we saw solidarity and ingenuity in a way that the ruling class never thought young people were capable of.

For 12 days, we saw that Nigeria has depths of talent the world is yet to recognize. We saw tech skills deployed. We saw organizational skills.

We also saw how over NGN7 million…

#EndSARS #EndSWAT #EndPoliceBrutality — one protest, many related perennial issues

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The Nigerian State has been romancing with police brutality for a long time. I remember my days as a student union leader almost two decades ago. A road trip from Calabar in South West Nigeria to attend events and rallies in other cities across the country was always fraught with the risk of being felled by police bullets.

The profiling of young people by the police is not new. It only got worse.

The Nigerian Police purportedly fights crime by going on “road or street patrols” and physically or visually identifying alleged criminals.

This crude and antiquated approach to policing…

Remember these things when you don’t feel like letting go.

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I left home just after my 18th birthday under very controversial circumstances. To my mom, it was good riddance. For me, it was a premature and unprepared entry to adulthood.

For the next ten years, I plowed through life — alone, outside the comfort of my immediate family.

Within that period, I went through college without as much as a letter from “home”. I could have dropped out of college if I wanted — nobody in my immediate family would have bothered.

The pain of betrayal, rejection, and the frustration of facing life alone created a huge load of anger…

Joseph Anwana

Avid reader | Lifelong learner. Follow me @JANWANA on Twitter. Stay in touch here

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