On Nigerian Twitter, there’s always one controversy or the other, about the poor quality of Nigerian graduates and their misplaced sense of entitlement. May I offer a perspective?

Perhaps the entitlement mentality of the younger generation, springs from seeing their forebears rewarded for patronage, ethnicity, nepotism and corruption; instead of hard work. The reasoning thus goes, “If they could become successful, so can I.”

I have wondered where a young Nigerian can go, to see clear models of hard work which lead to success. It seems everywhere they turn, they see prosperity encumbered by “buts”. So for instance, we hear statements like, “Dangote is successful but, he is a member of the cabal.” Maybe that’s why young Nigerians idolise our musicians and sportsmen. They recognise the grit and effort it takes to move from the streets into the mansion. They know these people put in real work. But, many sportsmen and musicians made it without formal education, hence the oft repeated mantra, “Who CV epp?”

If we are to help this generation, we must understand them and lift them up, not talk down to them. Because after all, we cannot produce other humans to take their place in the workforce. We will still encounter them, whether we like it or not. And the funny thing is, it is the smaller businesses that will suffer for it. Large corporates can afford to train their own staff. They can financially compete for the few good staff that exist or they can simply recruit expats & repats. A small growing business cannot afford any such luxury.

Everywhere you go, growing businesses in Nigeria have had their destinies capped and growth limited because, the founder can’t find competent and affordable people to help him/her expand. And so, they are overworked and are constantly faced with the realities of key man risk.

The HR problem in Nigeria is everyone’s problem. It requires collaborative effort to solve. Shouting at a Doctor who can’t write or speak properly, won’t help him save your life, when you are under his knife. We should not excuse his intellectual laziness and education gap. We should not condone his entitlement mentality, that after all he made it without learning basic communication skills. We should call him out. But after doing so, we must help him to become better or direct him to those who can.

If we are to help this generation, we must understand them and lift them up, not talk down to them. Click To Tweet