Two groups who claim to be unemployed, even though they are graduates from various universities in a petition to the Electoral Commission (EC) urged the EC to recruit them for the December 7 elections.
The groups are the Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana (UGAG) and the Unemployed Teachers Association of Ghana.
The two groups in a statement signed by the President of UGAG, Desmond Bress-Biney argued that, they are in the best position to carry out such tasks given that their members graduated from various tertiary institutions.
Before I touch on their demands and appeals, let me state emphatically that I don’t endorse their existence if indeed they exist. This is because, ‘university education’ should give the student/graduate the opportunity to think on his/her feet and be self sufficient that is why entrepreneurial skills are taught at the universities.
In their petition titled “Give Us Election Day Job”, the Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana and the Unemployed Teachers Association of Ghana stated that “we wishes to call on the Electoral Commission of Ghana to use our members and other unemployed graduates for the collation of results at the Constituency Collation Centers on December 7, 2016 to ensure a fair and transparent election”.
Prior to the demand by the ‘unemployed groups’, the Electoral Commission had announced it was going to use professionals such as Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA), the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), among others as the returning officers for the election 2016, an initiative which has been praised by almost all stakeholders and the general public.
I am of a strong view that if indeed these groups can be identified by the EC, then they should be given the opportunity to serve their nation because they are also professionals.
Why am I saying they should be given the opportunity?
The EC plans to engage the services of lawyers, accountants and others who already have source of employment so it will be ideal to allow our brothers and sisters who claim to be ‘unemployed graduates’ to serve the nation and also get their daily bread.
The EC must give the chance solely to the group to submit their applications and if indeed they qualified, the EC should not hesitate to employ them for the one-day exercise.
The EC says “about 275 professional will be needed to help with the polls in the various constituencies”. But my question is, can the group provide the number? And what happens if the number of unemployed graduates and teachers far outweighs the required number by the EC?
“We see this as an opportunity to serve our dear country at this crucial moment while we wait patiently for a job because it will also be an opportunity for us to earn something to cater for ourselves and also start a small business if possible”, the group in their petition noted, but I want to remind them that this is not sustainable. It is just a day’s job and not permanent. The unemployed graduates should come together in groups and create jobs for themselves instead of tagging themselves with such accolade of being ‘unemployed graduates’.
I wish to call on the Chairperson of EC, Madam Charlotte Osei and the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to consider the plea of our brothers and sisters who are currently suffering as a result of being unemployed.
University education is very expensive in Ghana even at the public schools so it is disheartening to complete and not have a job to be able to compensate for what your parents/family spent on you.
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo
The writer is a producer with Onua 95.1FM in Accra