By Orevaoghene Eredoro

 

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Mrs Ekpomebe styling hair in her salon

Mrs Ekpomebe styling hair in her salon

Unemployment in Nigeria is one of the most critical problems the country is facing. The years of corruption, civil war, military rule and management have hindered economic growth of the country. Nigeria is endowed with diverse and infinite resources, both human and natural. However, years of negligence and adverse polices have led to the under-utilization in order to yield maximum economic benefits. This is one of the primary cause of unemployment.

 

Nigeria, today is in a dilemma, where over a million youths graduate every year and there are no available jobs. The unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for job.

 

In view of this, even though the Nigeria government cannot provide enough jobs for her populace, the Nigeria government has created and adopted policies that help in encouraging skills acquisition and entrepreneurship in the nation. Take the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) skills acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes for example, young unemployed people are encouraged to be their own boss. So as to fend for themselves and at the same time contribute to the economy of the country.

 

Mrs. Onome Peter a hair stylist and a mother of five, is among those who have decided to be self employed by acquiring skills. The hair stylist spoke with Spy news, telling her experience on what motivated her and also advising the unemployed to stop waiting for what the government will do for them but rather think of what they can do for the Nation.

 

Motivation

I have been a hair stylist for the past 10 years I was motivated by poverty. I faced difficulties and hardship and my husband alone could not take care of the family. I knew I needed to assist him but I had nothing to do. We ran into serious debt, we borrowed money from almost everyone around us in the name of I had nothing to do. So when I had my last baby in 2007, I took up the challenge. This was because there was no money to take care of the baby and as a nursing mother I could not even feed well. Right there and then I stood up and went to my friend who was a hair stylist, I explained my predicament to her and asked her to teach me how to style. Most people were surprised, they laughed at me because they thought I will not be able to cope but I was determined to learn and change the position of my family. I was fed up with what life was throwing on my way. To God be the glory I served and graduated successfully and here I am today. I have been elevated from poverty to plenty.

 

Achievements

Through this skill I acquired, I have achieved so many things as a woman, a wife and a mother. I feed my family, I clothe my children, pay my store rent comfortably and even pay my children school fees if my husband is not around and settle other bills in his absence. Above all, I have my bank account  and I have my own savings we do not borrow anymore rather we give out. I have also thought some persons how to style.

 

Challenges

One of the challenges I face and also believe other hair stylists face is that of power supply. The power supply is not constant. Not all customers can afford to pay for generator service and that really poses a grant challenge. Most of them prefer for the power to be restored. Only few can afford generator service. Sometimes we even loose the customers because they do not have enough to pay for the services.

 

On the other hand, there is now a flood of new weavons which are very expensive, unlike the cheap expression, yarki weavons like remi and its likes are a little on the high side. Some are sold N2,000 and above. So we tend to loose the customers that cannot afford them.

 

Also, some customers are very troublesome but as a professional you have to tolerate their misbehaviours. You know the saying goes, “the customers are always right”, so one has to be patient and understanding to be able to handle them.

 

Advice

Most people, especially the unemployed youths that have the mind set that doing anything outside government, job is a sign of poverty. This is where they get it all wrong because to be self employed is the greatest achievement anyone can have. You become your own boss. What could be better than being your own boss? You answer to no one. Being self employed cannot be overemphasised. Most of us who are self employed can do better than some persons in the civil monthly salary to do whatever they want to do, those of us that are self employed must have done so many things. We do not wait till the end of the month to do what we want to do.

 

Funny enough, most of the government workers come to the saloon to style their hair, with a promise to pay at the end of the month. So you can see the difference. If everyone is a civil servant and no one is skilled like the hair stylists make-up artists, fashion designers and what have you then we will all wait till the end of the month to pay our debts and that will not be favourable to the economy.

 

I am advising young people especially, the unemployed graduates to acquire skills, be their own boss and not wait for the government to provide jobs. As an entrepreneur there are so many things that you can achieve. In Nigeria today, there are no jobs anywhere and in stead of compounding problems for the government let us acquire skills and by so doing we can also be employers of labour.