3Ps FOR HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT & POVERTY IN NIGERIA

Many Nigerians today, both employed and unemployed cannot just stop complaining and lamenting about how difficult it is to be rich. Many keep blaming lack of funds as the reason for sticking with paid employment for many years and not starting their own businesses or pursuing their family crafts. Many don’t even know that they cannot be rich
in paid employment with linear income but with multiple streams of income.

Meanwhile, many in paid employment are very broke and run a one-pay-cheque away from zero bank balance cycle for many years now. Many of their liabilities are on loans and credit basis: fancy tokunbo cars, clothes, home appliances, travels, accessories and sometimes gadgets, devices and ceremonies. They love the good in life but just can’t earn enough for it hence; remaining in debt all through their afternoon season of life.

Most do not believe it is really that easy to make money in Nigeria except through politics and dubious means. And I can tell you, a lot of people I have spoken with and forums on this subject, all share similar opinions; it is not just easy at all and everything must be based on connection or by travelling abroad. But, there are still exceptions.

In 2013, Muyiwa Afolabi told a story about a friend he tagged Mariam on his radio program “Frankly speaking with Muyiwa Afolabi”. Mariam got a banking job immediately after completing her youth service. She worked in various departments and gathered twelve years of vibrant banking experience in the industry. Unfortunate for her, she was a victim of retrenchment and her life and dreams thereafter took a different turn. Things became hard for her for the first time in 13 years after her graduation.

For the next 3-6 months, Mariam was down, disappointed, frustrated, confused, afraid and in desperate need of ways out. The days seem to get longer and the nights seem to be darker. When I heard this story, I imagined unemployed graduates hoping to get their first jobs despite completing national youth service (NYSC) 2-5 years before; how will they earn and pay their bills? How are they faring through life? It wasn’t a fun thought to me and I know someone in that category is reading this now.

Anyway, one evening, Mariam went for a visit to Muyiwa’s house and his wife made a delicious yam porridge meal for them all. While they ate up, they conceived a business idea for Mariam. “The idea was to prepare delicious yam porridge, maintaining quality taste and quantity, put in packs with fish or beef and supply to banks and offices numbering close to forty along the major road close to her residence!” he said on air.


She then started by giving free sample packs to receptionists and office assistants and rapidly penetrated many offices on that road. She sold a pack of yam porridge for 500 and in the first month sold about 650 packs; earning about ₦325,000 (more than her monthly take home at the bank). In six months Mariam was selling over 2,300 packs in a month; making over 1,150,000 a month!

She had employed more people carrying out supplies to more offices while she stayed with the cooking; sustaining quality and quantity. By the end of twelve months, she made close to 20 million naira and had purchased a parcel of land to start off her real estate development dream.

One evening when she visited Muyiwa again at his house, more than a year later, she was happy, full of vigor and life sharing her property development dream with him. After she has explained and eased plenty of the excitement about her new financial status, Muyiwa then asked her a critical question.

“Mariam, why are many Nigerians poor?” “The 3Ps of poverty” she responded instantly without thinking about them. “So, what are these 3Ps of poverty?” he curiously asked “Pride, Position and Prestige” she replied.

Pride – many people feel too important to do certain jobs or businesses no matter how lucrative the business might be … Positions – Nigerians love titles and positions even if it doesn’t translate to much reward materially or financially … Prestige – many Nigerians are overly bothered about how other people see them or would treat them if they take on certain vocations like selling food, carting, vending, etc.” she explained.
I agree with Mariam completely; many Nigerian youths are prisoners of these 3Ps. Just like I tweeted this morning “You cannot become what you want by remaining how you are; you MUST begin to THINK, ACT and BEHAVE like you want, to become what you want.” Most Nigerian youths are wishful thinkers rather than dreaming action-takers. Friends, let us begin to be the change we desire in our future.
In addition, the basic design for success and fulfilment in life is by growth. Complaining and lamenting will not change anything and people don’t appear as success; they only emerge as success. Learn to take actions and plan them critically. Leave out pride, positions and prestige and just do your thing. It can happen for you, just like it happened for Mariam. 2014 is gradually coming to an end but 2015 is another year full of trends and opportunities. Make up your mind and take bold steps. You can achieve anything if you believe in yourself enough to overcome your limitations

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