During the week I was invited to the Daytime Talk Show of Lagos Television with Ajibola Ojesola as the presenter and we were looking at what the government can do to eradicate the unemployment issues for youths in the country. I have always had my global audience in mind and that, in a way has made me try to minimize writing about the local issues on my blog but I can’t over look this one. While apologizing to my international readers I just think that my thought line might as well be a useful idea for your country. One of my points during the interview was very simple and it was hinged on the fact that certain areas in the country, especially in Lagos state, have been over developed at the expense of some other parts of the country.
I remember saying, and just as we – those who live in Nigeria or have visited Nigeria – can verify, that places like Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Ikeja, Lekki and a few other places within the state have been over developed. That is where the government has concentrated its efforts regarding the provision of infrastructure over the years. The aftermath of this kind of thing is that everyone who is looking for a job goes to these few developed places to look for jobs. By the times all the jobs in those areas have been given out we then say there is no job in the country again.
Take a look at all the people driving out in the morning from your area! Most of them are driving towards the same area. Most people will come out at the same time and also close at the same time. That is another very obvious reason some areas are always blocked in the morning when it is time for people to resume and it always blocked in the evening when people have closed from their offices. We have left some areas and regarded them as residential areas. We did not allow companies to grow in those areas and we have referred to those areas as the developing areas of the state. Even till date, most of the power and high earning projects of the state and corporate organizations are on the Island. The mainland in Lagos has not been developed just as the Island has been developed and this is one of the challenges we have in Lagos today. That is why it seems as though we do not have enough jobs because the companies in a certain area cannot employ anymore.
Those that are even employed in those areas are spending a lot trying to get to their offices. If we evenly develop the state by making sure the companies spread out rather than allowing all of them cluster in an area, people will get to work faster because traffic will be reduced and we save ourselves the daily stress that we go through. We must also know that the presence of some major companies in a certain area will bring in more companies. For instance, some states in Nigeria have introduced the multi-campus systems for the state owned universities. This is a system where some faculties of the universities are spread in different parts of the state. Many were opposed to this system when it started but if you take a good look at it today, it was one of the strategies for developing some of the other parts of the state. They government was wise enough to know that if the school faculties are spread into some cities, those cities will develop economically. The presence of schools there will create some jobs for the people in the community and housing will be a better business.
The major ill we have had with concentrating too much effort on developing certain areas is that it is not everyone who has easy access to those areas we have developed. There those who will even get some jobs with low pay and they are willing to do the job but by the time they calculate their daily cost of transportation there will be nothing left for them to live one. Ultimately, it is as good as not having a job at all. When the same person gets a job in a place that is close to where he or she lives, the person will gladly take up the job and work very hard at it to make the most of the decent living.
More companies are springing up on daily basis and the funny thing is that all of them still want to have their offices on the Island. For those living on the Island on close to the areas on Island, it is good for them because they can take advantage of proximity to work. The person who does not live on the Island will not think twice about the job because of distance.
Here’s my call to the government and its agencies like the town planning, corporate organizations and other individuals running companies. Consider setting up very profitable companies in some of the underdeveloped areas. This will reduce the number of unemployed people in those underdeveloped areas, reduce how much you spend on transportation allowances for staff and proximity will help punctuality. What’s the point setting up a company miles away from the people who work for you and spending millions to purchase a bus that will convey them to the company on the company’s account?
Let’s think again! Let there be even distribution or location of companies and you will be surprised that this will help in reducing, maybe not eradicating, unemployment for those in the mainland since they are higher in the percentage of the unemployed. Fola Daniel Adelesi
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