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Youth Unemployment and Implication for Political Stability in Nigeria (1999-2011)

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In Nigeria, civil rule has been restored for over a decades ago, which has given people so much hopes and expectations for political stability to enjoy the value of democratic rule. For instance, it is assumed that with democracy, people would be free to choose their leaders and representatives and hold them accountable for the overall objective of fast tracking development and improving the general living conditions of the masses. This expectation is not misplaced considering that Nigeria has abundant human and natural resources. However, the reality on ground has shown that this expectation is yet to be realized. Hence, the growing sense of hopelessness among the masses. In other countries in North African like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya where dictators have held sway for over three decades, people have revolted against the system. Though these countries can say to be less democratic than Nigeria, yet the living condition of the people in real economic terms is better (Abati, 2011a; Abati, 2011b; Adejumobi, 2011).

Furthermore, the unemployment rates in these countries are more or less like that of Nigeria (Ojenagbo, 2011). The major concern here therefore is, given the kind of violent agitations that pervaded the above mentioned countries with relatively better living conditions than Nigeria, what is the guaranteed that large army of unemployed youths will not engage in activities that would undermine the political stability in Nigeria? Afterall, the current situation in the Niger Delta and the northern Nigeria are not far away from what led to the uprising in those North African countries. The problem of persistent youth unemployment is very evident in Nigeria. Every year thousands of graduates are turn out for whom there are no jobs. Nigerian streets are littered with youth hawkers who ordinarily would have found gainful employment in some enterprise.

The self employed are in difficult situation as scant infrastructure makes it impossible for them to practise their trade. The large number of youths who are unemployed is capable of undermining the nation’s political stability as they constitute a serious threat if engaged by the political class for clandestine activities as we presently witnessing in the northern part of the country – the menace of “Boko Haram” (Adepegba, 2011; Ibrahim, 2011; Lartey, 2011; Olatunji & Abioye, 2011). There is no doubt, with this social problem of youth unemployment on our hands, it will not be out of place to submit that the Nigerian political environment will be unsafe, hostile, insecure, unstable, and rancorous, the benefits and diffident of democracy that should have been enjoyed by the citizenry will be eroded if drastic solution not provided. Thus, the researcher, being a student of public administration, is interested in examining the implications of youth unemployment on political stability in Nigeria where workers live and where industries operate.

1.2. Statement of Problems
The fundamental factor that accounts for the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria is the poor economic growth that has characterized the system over the years. Although, there are many determinants of unemployment, but the most critical of them all is the weak economic growth. The overall situation in the country in the part of eighties, nineties and even in this decade has been very hostile to economic growth and development. The high level of corruption, mismanagement of public funds, harsh economic policies and the insecurity of the Nigerian environment coupled with long – term despotic rule of the military among other factors have dampened the spirit of economic growth for a long time. The poor state of economic growth in the face of the growing population accounts for the worsening scenario of unemployment over the years. Equally, the wrong impression of students about the place of technical and vocational education in our society also accounts for the deteriorating state of unemployment in Nigeria.

There is an enduring societal biased attitude against technical and vocational education (Damachi, 2001). A large number of job seekers lack practical skills that could enhance self – employment. That is why rather than providing jobs for others, the graduate unemployed persons keep depending on the government and the non – vibrant private sector for job offers. Another crucial factor that has elicited unemployment problem overtime is the demise of the small scale and cottage industries – which operated in both formal and informal sectors. Following the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in September 1986 that ushered in liberalization, deregulation and the devaluation program of the domestic currency, many of the teething domestic firms collapsed. That resulted in the loss of many jobs and thereby rendering many people unemployed. Although, these policies were designed to jump – start the growth of the economy, but given the structure of the Nigerian economy, some of the policy packages became out rightly inimical to the system due to their untimeliness.

The agricultural sector has been the leading provider of employment in Nigeria especially in the sixties and in the seventies when the sector provided employment for more than 60 percent of the Nigerian population. However, unfortunately, in the wake of oil discovery, the attention on this anchor of the economy was gradually drawn away to the oil sector where employment capacity is very low. The resulting effect is the large number of job seekers who have no place in the oil industry. Even with the expansion of the industry, unemployment has continued to grow at an alarming rate. The poor economic enabling environment that characterizes the economy over the years has continued to pose serious challenges to employment generation in Nigeria. This, coupled with poor security environment has continued to hamper investment drives and thereby reducing the prospects of employment generation.

Many job seekers who would have embarked on self – employment programs are unable to so because of the hostile production environment. Others who make attempt are forced to wind up due to absence of infrastructures and the overall heat of the investment environment. The consequences of unemployment in Nigeria are very severe and threatening to the citizenry and the economy as a whole. The unemployment episode has continued to pose so many challenges to the survival of the Nigerian nation. While some of these consequences bother directly on the unemployed, others like epidemics are limitless in effects. All these anomalies will be examined in the subsequent chapters of this research work.

1.3. Objective of the Study
The primary objective of this research work is to look at the socio-economic effect of youth unemployment on the Nigeria society. Specifically, the research seeks to: 1.To examine the implications of youth unemployment on Nigerian political stability. 2.To examine the consequence of youth unemployment on the citizenry and the economy of the country as a whole 3.To suggest various possible solutions to ameliorate the critical situation

1.4. Research Questions
It is a common knowledge that research is the ability to probe the known and unknown while question is something vital which the researcher will apply on selected individual verbally or written in the course of establishing the truth on the subject matter – youth unemployment and its implication for political stability. Consequently, the study seeks the following questions: 1.What are the causes of youth unemployment in Nigeria?

2.What are the panaceas to the problem of unemployment in our country? 3.What is responsible for the poor economic growth in Nigeria? 4.What are factors responsible for the demise of the small and medium scale industries in Nigeria? Method

1.5. Hypothesis
According to learner’s dictionary, hypothesis is an idea or explanation of something that is based on a few known facts but that has not yet been proved to be true or correct. Therefore, based on the nature of this work the researcher possesses the following hypotheses to guide the study:

Hypothesis One
H:0High level of corruption is not the major cause of unemployment in Nigeria. H:1High level of corruption is the major cause of unemployment in Nigeria. Hypothesis Two
H:0 The long neglect of agricultural sector is not the cause of increasing level of unemployment in Nigeria. H:1 The neglect of agricultural sector has been the major cause of increasing level of unemployment in Nigeria.

1.6. Significance of the Study
The importance of any social research is tied to find out solutions to various problems facing mankind in the society. The study creates awareness to every citizen of this country and economic planners on the implications of youth unemployment on the political stability in our society and its effect on the economic development. It also helps policy makers to assess the increasing level of unemployment and its resultant effect on the nation’s security and unity. Finally, the information and data generated in the course of this will serve as a guide for further investigations and add to body of knowledge. It will equally be of value to students of personnel management to know the effect of high rate of unemployment on the societal work environment.

1.7. Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study has a limited scope in at least two ways. The first is in terms of time period covered by the study and focuses on the unemployment situation in the country. The decision to limit the scope of the study to the unemployment and political stability between 1999 and 2010 was informed by the insufficient funds and most importantly the limited time available to the researcher. Being a masters dissertation, the researcher had only few months within which the research must be completed and no form of financial aid, aside personal funds. The shortage of funds meant that the author could neither collect nor administer questions outside a small community of people.

1.8. Methodology
Universally, there are two basic research methods i.e. Qualitative and Quantitative that are normally used by researcher in conducting scientific research. The two techniques are different in many ways, but they complement each other. All social researchers systematically collect and analyze empirical data and carefully examine the patterns in them to understand and explain social life as in the case of this research work. However, the explorative method was used in this project. The explorative method is broader and more relevant to this study than other available methods because it will make use of existing statistics. The explorative method is a thorough research method that tries to gain insight and ideas on the problem surrounding the subject matter. It might result to the formulation of useful hypothesis which help in breaking broad problem into precise and sub statement. Additionally, exploratory research is also a type of research conducted for a problem that has not been clearly defined.

Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data collection method and selection of subjects. It should draw definitive conclusions only with extreme caution. Given its fundamental nature, exploratory research often concludes that a perceived problem does not actually exist. Exploratory research often relies on secondary research just like the case of this research work, such as reviewing available literature and/or data, or qualitative approaches such as informal discussions with consumers, employees, management or competitors, and more formal approaches through in-depth interviews, focus groups, projective methods, case studies or pilot studies. Consequently, an exploratory research method will be suitable in this regard in that a few set of people both employed and unemployed youths will be interviewed for this study. Relevant journal, articles and books will also be reviewed for this study.

1.9. Chapterisation
For proper analysis, the paper has been divided into five chapters. The chapter one deals with introduction, statement of problem, significance of the study and methodology. The chapter two focuses on the related literature and theoretical framework Chapter three examines the nature and the consequences of unemployment in Nigeria. Fourth chapter reflects data presentation and analysis.

The last chapter is the summary, recommendations and conclusion.


Abati, R. (2011a). Egypt/Tunisia: It could happen here. The Guardian, Friday, 04 February Abati, R. (2011b). The Collapse of Ghaddafi’s Empire. The Guardian, Friday, 25 February. Adejumobi, S. (2011). Lessons Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan. The Guardian, Monday, 21 February Adepegba, A. (2011).
Police Arrest 51 Over Post Election Violence. The Punch, Saturday, 23 April. Damachi N. A. (2001): “Evaluation of Past Policy Measures for Solving Unemployment Problems”, in Unemployment in Nigeria; CBN Bullion Vol. 25, No 4; Oct/Dec. Central Bank of Nigeria (2001): “Nigeria: Performance of the Economy, 1991 – 2001”, CBN Nigeria: Economic Performance Indicators; June. Ibrahim, M. (2006). Empirical Survey of Children and Youth in Organized Violence in Nigeria. Retrieved from: http://www.coav.org.br/publique/media/Report%20Nigeria.pdf,on November 8, 2010. Ibrahim, I. (2011). Nigeria, A Divided Country. Newswatch, 53(18), 19-22. Lartey, O. (2011). Four burnt alive, 45 prison inmates released in Kaduna. The Punch, Wednesday, 20 April

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