employment as investment vs employment as settlement in Nigeria

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employment as investment

Different political parties and candidates campaign on the promise of creating millions of employment opportunities for citizens. The political parties and candidates insist that they are feeding the people by creating these jobs. Despite the number of employment announced and created over the years, there are not many tangible products to show for them in Nigeria. Instead, endorsed and neutral natives are employed in public offices to move files and sit around without real productivity. This brings us to check whether we see employment as investment for productivity or employment as political settlement in Nigeria.

Football clubs spend huge sums of money to sign the service of a player because they believe the player will be productive in the team. Football clubs see the signing of players as what it is, employment as investment for productivity. Hence they employ the best players who have the ability to deliver on the goals of the football club itself. Despite employing the best of players, they also hire professional coaches who continue to train these star players for more productivity. The feeding, medicare, training and allowances provided for the players are not seen as settlement, but as investment for more productivity of the players.


Progressive societies are formed by the agreement of members of the society to collaborate for their common safety and sustenance.[1] They collaborate to develop, multiply, distribute and utilize the human and mineral resources in their environments for solving their problems.[2] Thus, these societies develop the productive capacities of their indigenes to discover, extract, develop and distribute resources for common good. The legitimate leaders of these societies evaluate the best management-option for maximizing resources and its effect in the society.

executive and law enforcement in Nigeria
agreement between members of the society

What is employment? Employment is the fact of having a paid job.[3] It is a set of activities which an individual does in order to earn a living. Since the society is the custodian of the people’s rights and liberties, it is the responsibility of different governments to provide employment for its citizens. They fulfil the employment role by directly coordinating production activities of primary needs and enabling individual initiatives for other productions. Through its policies, governments enable proper and far-reaching development through private initiatives to attain the purpose of employment.


What are the purposes of employment?

  • Contribution to the cycle of production: employment enables citizens to contribute to any of the different stages of production of goods and services in the society. There are three sectors of production[4]
    • Primary production (extraction or gathering): this is the process of extracting or harvesting natural resources in one’s environment in their crude form. Activities in this sector includes mining (coal, copper, crude oil, gold, etc.), fishing, forestry and farming.[5]
    • Secondary production (processing): this is the process of refining, manufacturing and constructing finished goods from the extracted crude resources. This includes steel work, vehicle and other constructions, building, purification and many other industrial processes that prepares crude resources for use.[6] The secondary stage of production may take more time and employs more number of people than the primary stage.
    • Tertiary production (distribution): this is the process of distributing refined resources for the development and satisfaction of human needs in the society. It involves legal, accounting, customer and distribution services.[7] This sector of production requires even more manpower to calculate, preserve, secure, regulate and adequately distribute resources to reach wider areas of the human society. The success of the tertiary production is dependent on the quality and availability of the refined resources from primary and secondary sectors. Doctors treat patients when drugs are made available, food vendors and utility suppliers are able to supply what has been extracted and refined for use.
  • Improvement of human capacity: employment can be viewed as a higher level of investment in the workforce and capacity of a society. The training, work engagement, salary, holidays, welfare and incentives are all meant to develop the worker’s disposition for productivity.
  • Contribution to self-actualization: people are born with specific talents and dispositions for their work in the human society. These talents often stay dormant until they are activated by constant practice along the line of the individual’s genius. A gifted architect may never discover or actualize his architectural potentials if he is unemployed or employed in unsuitable sectors. Employment is intended to bring out and utilize the best in every citizen for the improvement of life in the society.
  • Provision of resources for livelihood: through employment, people rightfully earn resources for their sustenance, development and wellbeing.
  • Fulfilment: human beings obtain a sense of worth, happiness and pride by contributing to worthy causes. Employment provides people with the opportunity to be relevant and fulfilled by working for the development of the human society.


These purposes are the major pursuits of progressive societies who create employment as investment for sustenance and human resources engagement and social development. Progressive societies manage significant portions of the basic productivity and security, and also collaborate with private sectors to supplement the provision of other necessities.


Unfortunately many Nigerians are made to see public sector employment as settlement for kinsmen, friends and loyalists, instead of seeing employment as investment for productivity. The militarized government[8] confiscates and auctions all sizeable deposits of mineral resources that could have been used for production in Nigeria. The Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act states that:


“… all lands in which minerals have been found in Nigeria and any area covered by its territorial waters or constituency and the Exclusive Economic Zone shall, from the commencement of this Act be acquired by the Government of the Federation…”[9] “No person shall search for or exploit mineral resources in Nigeria or divert or impound any water for the purpose of mining except as provided in this Act.[10]The property in mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery in accordance with this Act.”[11]


Thus, the Nigerian government collaborates with the foreign-allied private sector to export crude resources, and to import finished goods. With this, the major employment opportunities from the primary and secondary sectors are taken away from Nigerians. After selling away mineral resources that are essential for production, Nigerian-government is limited to buying and sharing depreciable foreign goods. Thus, Nigerian government mainly employs people for buying and sharing foreign goods which could have been produced in Nigeria.


Nigerians do not work to obtain money through any real production, they just sell any available crude resource and share the money, while the private sector import and sell foreign products to Nigerians. Since the main job is to share the money from crude resources, public offices are created to settle political loyalists and natives. More posts are created in different public sectors for taxation, security, office aides, distribution, unserious schools and healthcare centres. All that the loyalists and kinsmen need for employment (sharing without production) is the most basic academic qualification from any field. What you studied in school is irrelevant provided that you have been loyal enough for settlement with a post.


When people are not given employment as investment but as settlement, there is no pressure on them to develop themselves, nor to be productive. They do not have any real product that can be used to judge the level of their output and productivity. They do not add to the economy of their society, but continue to suck on the proceeds from crude resources. Since they have not learnt to produce anything, they resort to crime when they are threatened or sacked. But when a society aims for productivity, they see employment as investment that deserves the best people in order to obtain the best results. Hence, they encourage, train and employ productive people, who make huge returns on their efforts in social productivity.


In summary, the difference between employment in Nigeria and employment in progressive societies is productivity. Progressive societies pursue employment as investment in the society’s labour force for more productivity, while non-productive societies like Nigeria create employment as settlement for political manoeuvres. The confiscation and auctioning of all mineral resources in Nigeria by the federal government renders the public workforce unproductive. Hence, the job of sharing proceeds from crude resources portrays employment as settlement instead of investment for productivity.


Any employment that does not lead to sustainable productivity is a waste of resources and an approval/reward for laziness. And until different sections of Nigeria retrieve rights to their resources for meaningful production, Nigerians may never see employment as investment but as settlement.


[1] Cf. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan Ed. Michael Oakeshott (New York: Macmillan, 1962).p187

[2] Leonard Read, I Pencil, https://fee.org/resources/i-pencil-audio-pdf-and-html/

[3] https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/employment

[4] http://www.learnmanagement2.com/industrialsectorsprimarytertiarysecondary.htm

[5] Ibid

[6] Cf. Ibid

[7] Cf. Ibid

[8] S. O. Oyedele, Federalism in Nigeria, In Issues in contemporary political economy of Nigeria. edited by Hassan A. Saliu. (Ilorin: T.A. Olayeri Publishers, 1999). p57

[9] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2

[10] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[11] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3