Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has implemented a groundbreaking policy that aims to recognize and reward academic excellence while addressing the issue of unemployment among graduates. The policy guarantees automatic employment to first-class graduates from recognized institutions within and outside the state.

Conveying the approval of the governor, Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq., described the gesture as a pace-setting and worthy move that would equip the Edo State Civil and Public Service with the best brains to engender the vision of making Edo the best place to live and work by 2050.

This policy, according to Okungbowa, has since its inception seen 50 First Class graduates and the Best Graduating Students from Nigerian universities being given automatic employment by the Obaseki-led administration.

This two-part article explores the significance and potential impact of Obaseki’s policy in promoting meritocracy, encouraging educational excellence, and reducing unemployment rates in Edo State.

First, let’s look at the automatic employment for first-class and best-graduating students from Nigerian universities.

Promoting meritocracy

By offering automatic employment to first-class graduates, the Obaseki policy promotes meritocracy in the recruitment process. It recognizes the hard work, dedication, and intellectual capabilities of those who achieve outstanding academic performance. This approach ensures that individuals are rewarded based on their merit and abilities, rather than other factors that may influence traditional employment processes. This is a clear departure from what has become a norm in Nigeria where nepotism, favoritism, and connection are the order of the day in employment processes especially in government jobs.

Encouraging educational excellence

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The automatic employment policy serves as a powerful incentive for students to strive for academic excellence. It creates a positive and competitive environment in which students are motivated to perform at their best. This focus on educational excellence can contribute to raising the overall educational standards in Edo State, as students are encouraged to pursue higher levels of achievement.

Retaining local talent

The policy plays a vital role in retaining local talent within Edo State. First-Class graduates often seek opportunities elsewhere due to limited employment prospects in their home state. However, by providing automatic employment, the policy encourages these high-achieving graduates to contribute their skills and knowledge to the development of Edo State. This helps prevent brain drain and retains valuable human capital within the local workforce. The state Head of Service alluded to this when he said that Obaseki’s gesture in giving automatic employment to First-Class graduates and best-graduating students will equip the State Civil and Public Service with the best brains to engender the vision of making Edo the best place to live and work by 2050.

Addressing unemployment

Unemployment remains a significant challenge, particularly among Nigerian graduates. The automatic employment policy directly tackles this issue by offering job opportunities to First-Class graduates. By reducing unemployment rates, the policy helps alleviate social and economic pressures, improve livelihoods, and foster inclusive growth within the state.

Enhancing workforce quality

By recruiting First-Class graduates, the Obaseki policy aims to enhance the quality of the state’s workforce. These graduates possess advanced knowledge, critical thinking skills, and a strong work ethic acquired through their academic achievements. By incorporating these talented individuals into the public sector, Edo State can benefit from their expertise, innovative thinking, and contributions to various sectors of the economy.

Governor Obaseki’s policy of granting automatic employment to First-Class graduates in Edo State demonstrates a proactive approach to addressing unemployment and promoting academic excellence. By recognizing and rewarding merit, the policy encourages students to strive for excellence while retaining local talent and enhancing the quality of the workforce, ultimately contributing to the socio-economic development of Edo State. This policy serves as a model for other states and institutions, inspiring them to adopt similar initiatives to nurture a culture of excellence and meritocracy.