These days our younger ones tell a lot of sad stories that we didn’t tell when we were growing up. In our time, jobs were available. But because jobs are no longer available, you often hear “I have a degree in Public Administration” as some would say, while others say “I have a Masters Degree” in this and that. And they carry many certificates about looking for jobs that do not exist anymore. But even though I did not go through what young people are going through now, I feel their pain, as just like everybody, I have unemployed graduates in my family too. 

It is a common knowledge that most of these young people, both male and female, know several other friends of theirs that are carrying certificates and perhaps with even better grades, who have graduated earlier and remain unemployed. So ‘abin ruwan dare ne’. 

The situation is dire. But I think it is not all hopeless as young people are discerning that CERTIFICATE is taking a back stage in Nigeria and SABITICATE is putting more and better food on the table in a lot of homes. How? 

This morning I looked up the meaning of the word CERTIFICATE in the dictionary and I found out that the word means “an official document attesting a fact”. As to ‘attest’ is to “provide or serve as clear evidence of,” a certificate could be said to be an official document obtained after learning from a school or from any learning environment including mechanic workshop or a carpentry shop. Certificate therefore ’attests’ to a fact that you are trained as a Medical Doctor, a Lawyer, an Engineer, etc. 

On the other hand, the word SABITICATE is driven from pidgin English. ‘Sabi’ in pidgin means ‘know how to do’. If you know how to do something, it means you SABI that thing. Whatever you SABI is therefore knowledge or know-how with which you can use your hands either to earn money with which to eat or to earn money to save and to invest. 

I have since realised that in the worse of situations there is always some degree of good. We are in our worse situation today. However the degree of good in this worse situation is that while there are little or no office jobs or white colour jobs around, there are many young people now making money as tilers, plumbers, POP makers, electricians, tailors, cake makers/small chops, make up artists, caterers, barbers and professional photographers. 

In fact even for those who are lucky to be in employment, the guys that use their hands or ‘hands-on’ do better at work places as effective knowledge of computer enhances not only one’s chances of going fast but also far. And while in business, even if you are a tailor, or in any enterprise you set to pursue, knowledge of the internet enable one do better.

I have said times without number in this arena that your WatsApp Group shouldn’t just be for posting nude pictures and sharing gossips or pictures of Boko Haram, bandits or other criminals. You can have a Watsapp Group for ‘noman rani’ where you pull resources together and purchase bulk fertilizer and other farm inputs. You may form a Watsapp Group in Wuro Hausa Yola and purchase ‘gambaji’ from Chigari, ‘on seitina’ at the beginning of this rainy season and sale at Ngurore in three months time? Young girls elsewhere are multitasking. You too can form a Watsapp Group where some may bring money, some that are better cooks can do the cooking, while others that can drive can come together and make small chops like Samosa, meat pie, spring rolls, meat balls, pofpoff, etc and supply to students at ADSU, Mubi, College of Legal Studies, Yola, MAUTECH, Yola or SPY. Tailoring design groups can come up with girls, and boys too. 

We can’t all be lucky in life and live an easy life. But we can make our lives worth living if we choose to. We can’t all work in the office as we can work from home, in the shop or, as it is done today, on the Internet. 

I have mentored many young people without seeing them physically. And with SADIQ CENTER coming up soon in Fufore, SADIQ INSTITUTE FOR LEADERSHIP TRAINING will train many in leadership and entrepreneurship. 

A lot however depends on you. You may depend on your certificate, but if you add a ‘Sabiticket’ to it, it will work magic for you. You can feed without begging anybody.

By Sadiq Ibrahim Dasin