By Ozumi Aliu Abdul

…a special message to mass communication potential class of 2016.

How time flies, just like yesterday, I could still recall with vivid nostalgia exactly three years ago when I joined this class of young men and women imbued with the potentials and aura for greatness in life as a sophomore.
It was always an interlude of joy and partly reflection about certain factors like fate, fortune and some avoidable and unavoidable mistakes which had threatened, stymied and slowed the pace of my hitherto academic adventure which used to be the bride of every academic lover, and thus condemned me to a sophomore (in 2013) several years after some of my contemporaries back then during my Secondary School and Diploma programme days respectively had graduated.
Throughout the first semester of my 200 level then, I courted a frustrating figure, I  became paraplegic and a paranoia of my shadowy past who muttered blames  intermittently, and always  with almost predictable routine of activities on daily basis-from the class , I resigned quietly to my Samaru enclave right behind samaru commercial hub like the biblical “thief in the night”. Sometimes, my metaphoric ‘new baby’ had to depend heavily on the sedative lullabies of Longo Longo[Suleiman] who always consoled me before I can be lulled off the trauma.
Thank God, today I can now hive sighs of relieve as all those traumatic experiences have now become filthy and stinky carcases of my horrible past. At least,  I can now retort  in self consolation with some AMEBOS and TATAFOS here in Zaria and my Lagos environs who always find solace in questioning my snail-pace academic sojourn, saying ‘I am in my final year,’ even though right inside my heart I know there is still a very long, long road to graduation.
This is what I want you all my colleagues (mass communication potential class of 2016) to circumspect that there is still a very long, long road to graduation. Yes, we are on the cusp of bidding our respective farewells to the four corners of this great almar mater, but there are still much to be done before graduation and also the need to look beyond life after graduation.    
I know for sure hedonism may have its way of playing some tricks on the minds of some of us by euphorically being taken away by the much-vaunted “final year” thing. In as much as I garland our gallantry battles from 100 or 200 level depending on our individual mode of entry to this very final level, but did some of us for once or more care, gasp and think of certain Mcom403 and Mcom405, most especially the Mcom405 (the one my friends call the “Almighty theory”)? These two courses from my experience had held many senior colleagues for the jugular for many years without graduation.
I know this would probably be the most distasteful part of this piece that some of us would not want to read. Even as I am penning down these few words, I can hear some of us muttering prayers like ‘God forbid’ ‘Tufiyakwa’ ‘in Jesus name it will not be my portion”, “Inshallah i will not spill” depending on the two major religions (Islam and Christianity) we espouse.
Nobody is praying for anybody’s failure here but rather an anticipatory advice for us all to be frugal instead of being overnight plodders so that we can successfully see off this final hurdle of our first degree race.
We now count months to go, not years again after which we will pull off the undergraduate tags we have been cladding for four or three years as the case may be, and then don the regalia of graduate which now by every passing year is becoming less honourable, less lucrative and less enterprising than it used to be in the 70s and 80s.
The large frame-picture therefore before us now is life after graduation especially after the so-called voluntary service to one fatherland, the fatherland which one will serve for one fruitful year and later leave one to his fate to wallow in pauper, and if care is not taken thus degenerate into a street urchin psychologically.
This where the thematic occupation of this piece lies; the time to think about life after graduation starts now especially for those of us who do not have rightly placed people to kow-tow the people at the top brass of governance or business for paid jobs considering the sky-high rate of youth unemployment in the land today which does not exhibit any sign of abating or even reducing anytime soon.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate currently stands at 23.70 percent, in 2004, unemployment rate was 5.6 percent. If this trend continues, the current unemployment figure should have at least tripled in five years time, where millions of graduates who are qualified and willing to, could not get jobs.
Year after year, 117 universities, hundreds of polytechnics, colleges of education etc release thousands of graduates to add to the millions with availability of few hundreds of jobs.
On second thought, let us assume that we win the war over bad governance and poor economy, say President Muhammadu Buhari announces the creation of 10 million jobs, similar to 500,000 job creation proposed in this year budget and the unemployed youth need just to pass aptitude test, how many graduates will pass the aptitude test? 60, 50, 30 percent? In other words, out of every 100 job seekers, only 25 will pass a job aptitude test and proceed for interviews, what then happens to the remaining 75 percent positions?
Some graduate CVs are nothing but “apologies” and a CV is supposed to sell one’s qualities and abilities.         
For this reasons thereof, skill acquisition is nulli secondus (second to non) as it is very important in every life of every human being. The reason why many technicians earn much more than graduates is because the technicians acquire more practical skills unlike our universities’ graduates who were fed with theoretical experiences while in the universities.
It is a clear definition between CERTIFICATE and SABITICATE. As water is essential to human life so also skill acquisition and training are needed in the life of every serious-minded mass communication graduates.
Gone are the days when jobs were available both in public and private sectors of  the economy and employers go about looking for potential graduates, the paradigm has changed. But nevertheless, my few years experience in the field of journalism beckons on me that mass communication field  is the most lucrative, marketable, honourable and secured field of all human endeavours, so much so that  its branch [journalism] is dubbed with the sobriquet ‘the fourth realm of the estate” which other profession? I dare people from other fields with due respect to rejoin or substantially counter this view.
But despite this our professional grandeurs, most mass communication graduates still bemoan lack jobs, what is wrong for crying out loud when we have APCON, NIPPR, RATAWU to mentioned but a few which can easily polish our potentials like the Reuben Abatis of this word, the Garba Shehus, the Femi Adeshinas, the Lai Mohammeds and the rest?
I now pass the ball to your courts as i drop my pen here:
What is the projection into future after graduation? 


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