“O boy, you never give me my bread o!” One of the almost chorus like sounding sentences an ex-corps member gets days and even weeks after P.O.P. In a good mood one could simply return the favour by saying, “Bros I no dey work for bakery na,” but then they begin to emphasize on the ‘my bread’ thing like they sent you to serve in a bakery far away in the East. Well, it is only normal that one buys bread for ‘the homies’ na. Abi how them go take know say you travel or don come from travel ni? But for some reasons you can’t afford not to let the warm rush of blood swirl through your grey matter when the bread-collectors storm your private quarters. Others be like, “You don finish so o,” and no matter how innocent they sound, your mind begin to sink in the shallow depth of ‘What does that mean!? You begin to think there’s more to what is being said. That is just the beginning. Trust me, your personal person has a sledgehammer question to hit you with. “Now that you are through, what are your plans for us?” Even my scrotal sac shrinks at the sound of that. Everyone wants and or expects something from you.
Now you’ve gone through the many walls of learning by battling school cert, common entrance, Junior WAEC, SSCE, rugged JAMB cum the many others that have brought you this far, the money spent, time used, the sweat and blood you’ve shed, now that you’ve been drenched and dried in the course of serving the fatherland you are now left in the mercy of a time when like an unwanted pregnancy, you are unplanned for. Yes! You knew even from the onset so don’t blame gofamenti o! Shebi you dey there when them bring SAED. Just so you’d know (in case you never knew) SAED is a subtle way of saying, “there’s no job out there waiting for you, you’ve got to create one.” You can only do that through skill acquisition, hence SAED.
Once upon a time, a graduate served his/her fatherland and got confused as to which job offer to accept. After making a decision (that he’ll never regret), his bank alert go “gbagan” with mouthwatering cheques wey no dey bounce, I’ll let P-square do the rest. Things were relatively cheap and of high quality too. The issue of “bread” wasn’t a challenge because the ‘money no be problem’ in fact the problem faced then was that of making a choice from the numerous offers before them. This was no news as it was only normal for a graduate to gain employment and be absorbed into the system while he/she is still young, vibrant and willing to work. With the (what we now see as bogus) remuneration coming in, they could take up the responsibilities of helping to train younger ones in school, empowering relatives, renovating or rebuilding parents’ home as well as getting married on or before age thirty.
Now apart from those of us whose parents dine with silver spoons, the rest of us battle hunger like cancer. Young, energetic, vibrant, fresh and willing to work graduates perambulating cities either in search for jobs or to get money to start up their businesses (after having learnt a skill). Abeg no start with the loan thing. That’s a talk for another day. These set of people are constantly updating, renewing, rebranding, fine tuning and refining their CVs whilst covering their shame with starched tees and neatly polished shoes so you won’t see the hunger and anger that lies within.
In this struggle to get positioned, things don’t go bad. No, things have been bad, they are only getting worse by the minute to the extent that the monthly federal allowance of kopas barely take them from 1st to 15th of every month. Skyrocketing prices now make every average Nigerian groan/whine like wounded wolves. “How can I buy a small paint rubber of garri for #1,200 and still the thing no dey rise” once cried a fellow. I jokingly said, “Add small yeast na.” While the prices are jumping the quality crashes.
Way back people could save something from their alawee and start up something tangible from their savings after service. Now nko? The entire N19,800 barely feeds an individual for 30 days (and you must work for this nineteen eight o!) Yes. And that’s why the many fora of debates on whether or not NYSC should be scrapped. Some say they enjoyed their service year, some learnt, others discovered, and while some see it as a wasted year, others see it as an escape from doing nothing at all. For me it was a mixture of all the aforementioned as the differing schools of thought make sense in their different ways but this is not about NYSC. It is about the burden of expectations that waylay our graduates despite the challenges of this time.
Someone wants you to get married, someone wants you to drive a car, someone wants you to fend for another, others want you to ‘buy the bar’, some want you to throw a party simply because you’ve been ‘gofament pikin’. Woe betide you when they hear that your last Alawee was N41,000 “o boy come make we drink bottles for your head.”
Nobody wants to give you a job, nobody wants to empower you, they don’t ask how you will feed the woman they want you to marry. What part of the bar can 41k buy and what happens when we don burn the papers. O.Y.O!
Them dey forbid if una say “take this one or two million and establish that skill you learnt.”? What if you say, “Nna come and go back to school, do your masters. I’ll by God’s Grace support you.”? “Oya pack your kaya. We’ve got a job for you in Abuja.” would have lifted anybody’s heart in more ways than you can imagine. No! Instead you are asking me for your bread.
Nna eh, the thunder that will shock you is still at the gym in Usellu.
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