Projecting Positive Attitude Towards Local Content, By Oluyemi Adeosun

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I am a firm promoter of the mantra ‘patronise made in Nigeria’, ‘employ Nigerians’ and ‘proudly Nigeria’. Let me state this from the beginning.

An emerging trend that is disheartening is the increased loss of confidence of Nigerians in Nigerians.

It is now a cliché that Nigerian graduates are not employable or are half-baked.

It is to our shame if our Schools is worse off now than when we were students.

I was once involved in the management of a large scale banana plantation in Osun State. The first shock I got was that majority of the available farm hands are either from Benin Republic or Benue State. Indigenes in the environment will rather ride okada– commercial motorcycle than do farm work.

We are increasingly seeing more construction workers coming from neigbouring countries. It is now common knowledge that the best tilers are across the border.

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The rich employ cleaners from the Philippines. The commanding salary of such expatriate cleaners will make the average Nigerian graduate green with envy.

I never cease to wonder how we have become so bereft of skillful cleaners, tilers, farm workers that work permits are granted to foreign nationals for jobs that we clearly ought to have several citizens skilled at.

In my engagement with several CEOs and captains of industry, some key reasons they advance as justification for employing foreigners for menial jobs include the following:

  1. Attention to details
  2. Great work ethics
  3. Confidentiality
  4. Competence
  5. Positive attitude
  6. Integrity-Keeping your word

It appears that many of our people are generally lazy. They aim to do minimum work for maximum pay. Someone told me recently that the average apprentice does not complete their training cycle. They simply set up their own business after a quarrel with their master. They are half-baked providing half-service.

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Have you noticed that except you insist, an average workman will not clean up after repair work in your home or workspace? How many people have been disappointed by Nigerian tailors?

We need to pay premium attention to quality education for all cadre of workers in Nigeria. Training (and retraining) of workers is very key. We need to reform the institutions for Technical education or privatize them for specialized training of low-mid skilled workers. This training should focus on technical and soft skills-ethics of excellent service delivery. Why can’t we aim to produce the best tilers, plumbers, painters and tailors in Africa?

We also need to get government to adhere to the recommended percentage benchmark for budgetary provision in Education. We should endeavour to mentor young graduates and workmen around us in the ethics of diligence, hard work and excellence. We all can play a part in solving this problem of employability of Nigerian graduates.

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Have an appetite for continuous self-development and growth. We should not lose our demand for quality service and excellence just because we want to promote ‘Made in Nigeria’. If the Beninese can deliver excellent jobs, so can Nigerians! We should demand it from ourselves!

We need to remain hungry and refuse to accept poor service as the norm. If we all demand for quality long enough and take the right steps, we will get there.

 Written by Oluyemi Adeosun @tallestnaija

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Adeyemi is the news editor and Assistant Editor (Editorial) at GreenNews. He holds B.Sc. Ed. (Hons) from the University of Lagos. He believes that information is the source of liberty. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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