Opinion: Dangote’s ‘Graduate Driver Academy’ is an insult

by Lagos Hunter

“If you argue that Dangote’s ‘Graduate Driver Academy’ isn’t an insult to the years you spent at the university, then you deserve to be a driver”

The tweet above dragged me into an extended debate with a couple of folks who thought that I was being senseless. Their arguments? “After all, Dangote is first and foremost a businessman.”, “How many university graduates are employable?”.

Fair comments, after all as a capitalist, the rot in our academia and our high rate of unemployment aren’t his business. That is, until we take a big picture perspective on things.

As Africa’s richest man and by implication, Nigeria’s richest man too, Dangote has a very big stake in the quality of our university education, government of the day, social economic security, and more. How could he not? His business survival and growth is hinged on these. Let’s move on.

A university education is supposed to sharpen the mind of an individual, broaden his/her horizon, and make him/her amenable to new knowledge and experiences. Typically, a university education (or lack of it) should exclude you from certain kinds of jobs. For example, after four years of university education, it must be demoralizing to end up behind a bank cage doing number but running other people’s cash through a money counting machine or in my opinion driving one of Dangote’s trucks.

According to the Merriam Web-ster Dictionary, ra·tio·nal·iza·tion is a noun which means, “the act, process, or result of rationalizing; especially : the provision of plausible reasons to explain to oneself or others behavior for which one’s real motives are different and unknown or unconscious”.

I have heard a lot of arguments rationalizing why there’s no big deal with Dangote’s program:

“Dangote is setting up a top notch logistics company and a person who starts out as a driver can move to other jobs and grow in the company.”

Let’s be clear – logistics and supply chain management are highly skilled and specialized areas, driving is not. Universities offer post-graduate programs in these fields. No university offers as much as a Bachelors degree in driving. The point here is that driving definitely cannot be on the management/executive track of Dangote’s organization. A driver most likely has a one in one thousand chance of making that crossover and become a management employee.

That’s not good enough.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (22)

  1. if you have ever commuted along lagos ibadan expressway, you will thank God that dangote is sending trailer drivers to school. the threats to life from daily multiple RTAs, collisions and explosions, long-standing environmental damage, the mind-numbing day-long hold-ups, the inter-ethnic clashes, student riots, commercial sexual activity involving under-aged females, and increase in HIV/AIDS associated with truck stops along that expressway will reduce when we can finally communicate with the usually stubborn, intransigent aboki-type and adamant but soon-to-be educated truck drivers.

    1. Ayo, the Op-Ed you referenced is one of the most myopic editorials I have come across.
      The author's main thrust is two-fold; firstly, why should graduates be drivers and secondly, why should graduate drivers be sent to a Drivers Academy?

      To the first part, I wonder if the author is aware that the now moribund Lagos State Transport Corporation (LSTC) had a well applauded graduate driver scheme.

      For the second part, I would like to ask if the author believes that all graduates nerd not go through driving school before getting licensed?

  2. Income=Savings Consumption,an unemployed person who earns zero income is dissaving(i.e.negative saving).Meanwhile,this same person is recording positive consumption on daily basis.This is bcos consumption can never be zero,even if u receive no income.However,if somebody has decided to apprehend the bane of poverty in the society by whichever means and another vowed to change his misery ways of life,by taking up a job seen as dirty by some pple;i see no offence,i see no insults of whatever degree.The truth is,this is what the society has made us to face.

    For those that are ''forming'' now,dont b surprised that the next set of recruitment in this line tend to be more competitive.Quote me.

  3. as you can see,i am at home jobless doing nothing, i rather work 4 dangot 4 de betterment of life,pls. i have sent my email to you sir,i need dat job.No.08065745983

  4. Pingback: Opinion: I ‘beg’ to apply for the job of a Dangote graduate driver! Despite my degree(s) | YNaija

  5. All that needs to be said has been said. How many graduates even have jobs. One is not compelled to take the job. If someone thinks he or she is too "big" to take the job then go ahead & sit your jobless ass at home

  6. How is a job offer an insult? Is he imposing it on people? Would you rather join NURTW than drive trucks for Dangote and earn more than bankers? Some people's ego will keep them poor.

  7. I f graduates can be sitting in call centers why can't drivers be graduates?

  8. Honorable graduate stay at home and chop ya certificate. Shell will employ you.

  9. Opinion is like yansh, everyone has got one. We can argue for and against this but to what extent if the unemployed graduates embrace the opportunity,there's dignity in labour; even in being a graduate truck driver. My cousin; two masters degree in Architecture, one from OAU & the other from UK,is a heavy equipment driver in UK. He's haPpY. I'm happy for him.

    To each man his own.

  10. In my opinion any1 dat applies 4 dis has a low self esteem and does nt knw d worth of his or her degree….. Call me proud or anytin u want bt i know wat i'm worth… On d site i read abt d job, some masters degree holders were even planning 2 apply **God 4bid**…. And if ur response is "sit down dere and see wat d labour market has 4 u den u'll appreciate d driving work" i'll only tell u dat " u can be only wat u think u are worth". Dangote shld hv graduate kids and relatives, dey shld all apply…. Nonsense!!!

  11. I rather drive the damn truck than stay at home jobless with nothing to do and no source of income..my opinion!

    Stop being a begger with a choice jare..atleast he had the decency of giving them the opportunity..

  12. your argument is (if i might be allowed to quote you)

    "Typically, a university education (or lack of it) should exclude you from certain kinds of jobs".

    hmm, i hope you know that life and what we do with it is a choice, if graduates have been loafing around with no job opportunity in sight,why would anyone act all snotty when someone has a means to help anyone who is interested?

    applying for the job is a choice, truth be told even outside the shores of Nigeria graduates are exposed to various kinds of jobs and are happy to them. nobody is saying they will be drivers for life but at least they will be out of the unemployed category for a while till they find something else to do.

  13. Personally, I couldn't agree more; Its definitely an insult! This is not a management trainee position o, 'graduate' driver? Seriously, the rot in our education system has to stop somewhere and this 'industrialist' seems to think this is something positive. I am really struggling to understand the rationale behind this idea, seems kind of half baked to me…

    1. Hmnnnn. Driving is a profession and heavy equipment driving like Dangote trucks is a highly skilled job. Folks who do it in advanced countries went to technical schools (don't ask me if we still have any functional). They make around €45k per annum. Driving is a big deal Funmi!

  14. There's one more thing I forgot: Would you rather be jobless or would you rather drive the damn trailer and get paid?

  15. Naa, I don't think Dangote is insulting anybody. Dangote is an industrialists and here's the problem with industrialists: they love people with certificates. They think university graduates are better than SSCE holders. Now if you look at the Nigerian banking industry in the 80s, they were hiring clerks with SSCE certificates. All you needed to work at the counter was an SSCE certificate.

    Then EVERYBODY got SSCE certificates. So they nudged it up a little bit and went to OND and HND holders. Then everybody had OND and HND certificates. Then GTBank came in and refused to employ anyone with that[despite the fact that the co-founder had only an HND]. Then all the banks said "chill, we can form bosses too". Then they started employing people with degrees. Now everyone is getting a degree. Not just a degree, everyone is getting a foreign degree! It's only a matter of time before they nudge it up again to a foreign masters degree, then a foreign pHD, then a professorship.

    In the long run, in 20 years, if you want to be a cleaner anywhere, you'll need to have a pHD.

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