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Why Do Post Graduate Degree Holders Want To Become Drivers? 6 PhD, 704 Masters and over 8,460 Bachelor degree holders apply for Driver Jobs at Dangote Group



Recently, Dangote Group announced that it received a staggering 13,000 applications from graduates for employment as truck drivers. Of the 13,000 applications received for the Graduate Executive Truck Driver positions, there were 6 Ph.D, 704 Masters and over 8,460 Bachelor degree holders.

Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said that the company only needed 100 drivers, but received the overwhelming applications.

Vanguard reports that at a mentorship meeting of the World Bank Youth Forum recently, Mr Dangote said that most of the applicants were from reputable universities and had the needed quality.

“All these things are verifiable, and they all graduated from reputable institutions which is satisfactory; and our plan is to eventually make them self dependent.

“Despite the fact that the drivers get trip allowances on each trip along with their salaries, the arrangement is that they will own the trucks at no interests or repayments after they must have reached 300,000 kilometres, which is about 140 trips from Lagos to Kano and a hard working driver can complete in two years, while lazy ones can take maximum of four years.”

When Dangote Group first made the announcement for graduate drivers, there were speculations that the job came with a juicy monthly salary of N500,000. Whether this is true or not, it didn’t change the fact that the job position was still for a truck driver and I didn’t think so many people would be interested in it. But I was so wrong. 8,460 Bachelor degree holders, 704 Masters Degree holders and 6 PhD holders is definitely an overwhelming amount.

The general idea is that after obtaining a first degree, Masters degree or a PhD, one’s goal in life would be bigger than becoming a truck driver. But this large amount of applications has proven that theory wrong. So then, the question is this: is the high number of applications due to the high unemployment rate in the country or is it that some people just don’t know what to do with their degrees? Why do you think graduates, Masters degree and PhD holders want to become drivers?

Please share your thoughts.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. PussyBoy

    November 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    1st to comment!!! brb

  2. dont mention

    November 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    my opininon is that, there are many reasons for this,
    1..yes, the high level of unemployment is a huge factor since there r so many graduates without jobs , so if a position like this one opens up and you need to make a living, why will they not jump at it.
    2…so many people might have studied and graduated with degrees that scarcely have jobs, if in america, someone with a social studies, anthropology, liberal arts etc degrees has a difficult time landing a job , then what more of nigeria where there r fewer to no outlets to put these deegrees into use.people need to do alot of research before deciding to do a degree program bc at the end of the day, that degree will b useless if it cannot bring u employment
    3…we cannot cont to sit and wait for the government to do everything for us, since everybody wants a govt job, thats the reason for such massive number of people applying for a position as such bc they could hav started some bussiness or their own companies, be entrepreneurs and work for themselves
    4….finally, book knowledge is not always everything and infact, book knowledge with common sense goes a long way bc i do not agree with a phd holder aplying for a truck driver position. if they have commo0n sense, they should have been able to create somethingf for themselves or hav a network of friends n connections bc that is very imp too,knowing the imp people will take u a long way.
    nonetheless, i commend them all for applying bc that shows some level of humility for a phd holder to apply for a truck driver position , even though , for some, it might not be humility but frustration.
    either, i am happy for dangote to hav set the standard and show people too the value of an education in whatever aspect of life and i wish him n de applicants best of luck

  3. Camron

    November 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    ah ah so going to school and piling up degrees doesnt really matter. ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh even Masters and PhD????? its true that “money no get colour”

  4. TA

    November 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    It simply proves that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria is simply unimaginable. Thats why we should commend Dangote for this initiative…employing them with the aim of making them self reliant!!! If the infrastructure (especially Power) was present,more young Nigerians would be gainfully employed by-themselves.

    • Jennifer

      November 6, 2012 at 2:34 am

      Although I agree with you with what you’ve said about Nigeria and unemployment, it’s not only the employment rate in Nigeria that’s unimaginable. And PhD holders becoming Drivers isn’t new. It’s worse in developed countries. I live in Toronto and I constantly use taxis, many of the drivers who’ve driven me are either PhD holders or have attended renowned institutions. So this didn’t just start in Nigeria.
      Regardless, it’s sad.

  5. Onyinye

    November 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Yea….Why will a common diploma holder nt to talk of Bachelor’s degree holder and come to think of it, Masters Degree Programme and even PhD….God forbid!!!! What other reason except unemployment? But wat will they do since the works re nt forthcoming? u spend close to 7 years in school at least and after that toiling, u dnt have any good job to show for it…Good ones will look for any kind of job any and every where to keep body and soul together while the bad ones will take to kidnapping and vices like dat…..At the end of the day, they say education is the key…..Pls!!! Key to where? to Poverty? Times has gone when education is a thing of pride, u parents toil on the sun to give u a befitting degree so dat u can help raise the smaller ones immediately u are through. NO!! nowadays its just a necessity…..If u dnt have connection in Abuja…Sorry!!! Dnt bother….May God help Nigeria…

  6. ESSY

    November 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    humm interestin question, all dis is happening becos of the high level of unemployment in nigeria.
    well they ve to start from some where before gettn to their desire destination. if u ask me 5OOK per month is nt bad at all to start with. Guduck to all th applicant nd congratuations to the choosn one.

  7. Non professional opinion

    November 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    It doesn’t take a phd in mathematics to calculate that 500 k a month is a lot more than a lot of white-collar desk jobs are paying.

    • sammy

      November 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      thank you……the most sensible comment so far

    • Lara

      November 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      It also doesnt take mathematics to know that Aliko Dangote will never pay a truck driver 500k a month. Serioulsy. Haven’t you guys heard of publicity stunts. Aliko didn’t get where he is now by throwing money away. I am happy the gist of this matter has come up again. Dangote group want educated drivers, because that is a business strategy to ensure an increased level of productivity, accountability and also control of their trucks. It is quicker and easier to achieve this with graduates than the less educated. So y’all should just quit the 500K per month talk, and think like business people. If he had advertised for truck drivers, just like that, do you think graduates, masters or PhD candidates wil apply? I applaud the genius that came up with the idea. They wanted high calibre truck drivers, and they just got it. Over time, he’ll phase out the less eudcated truck drivers, and he’ll have a team of well educated, well trained drivers, to move the business forward. Smh people.

    • Non professional opinion

      November 6, 2012 at 11:59 am

      It maybe a publicity stunt but at the time of application a lot of people believed it to be true. If the salary turns out to considerably less or annual, a few of these applicants will be persuaded by the opportunity to own the truck in 2 yrs, while a large proportion might reconsider.

  8. graco

    November 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I think the major reason is unemployment, so people will take what they can get in the hope that their qualification and abilities won’t go unnoticed and take them to the level they actually should be at.

    The motive therefore would be to get in there first. I hear one of the M.D’s of a first generation banks started as a driver. So…. there…

  9. BNB

    November 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    UNEMPLOYMENT THATS IT… People need to cater for themselves and families..

  10. tinyan

    November 5, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Yes Lara; even if it is a publicity stunt, 500k will make most with 17yrs work experience in Oil and Gas sector apply for the same job.

    The cavier is that you become a truck owner in 2yrs with continued patrotrage from Dangote companies and some feel offended that 13,000 graduates applied? I am not the least surprised because THE ENTREPRENUERS JUST APPLIED not graduates.

  11. Anonymouzly

    November 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Perhaps for these degree holders, it is a business opportunity. Get the job, get someone else to drive the truck for you and pay the individual a fraction of what Dangote pays. In the mean time the owner is saving up money on the side, planning to buy a new truck to increase the size of his/her fleet but still making the payments for the truck. It may have something to do with unemployment BUT also look on the bright side; an opportunity to become self-employed in two years with a guaranteed contract has just presented itself. Not everything is doom and gloom

    • Soraya

      November 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      The only sensible response so far!

  12. notaplayerhater

    November 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Because any job na job..duh. Our educational system is so positioned to churn out employees that a large number of our graduates have no idea what life outside employment can be. Employment is the ‘easier’ way out! Sad, but true!

  13. Chattyzee

    November 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    No matter how generous Dangote is, I doubt he will pay 10o drivers 500k per month. That will be 50,000,000 being paid out per month for all the drivers …..

  14. Say the truth

    November 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    40% unemployment rate in Nigeria, that’s why. If you see how they were harassing Obama when the unemployment rate was over 8% ehn? And our own is 5 times higher!

  15. Lara

    November 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I never said I was offended that graduates applied. Which part of the comment did you read that from. I said, we should not keep believing he will pay 500K a month as salary. So far, no official statement has been released to confirm this, so it is a publicity stunt, simple and short. I am not querying his motives. I am even applauding it, if he wants to employe educated drivers.

    • Yup

      November 5, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Well said ! No official statement has been released on the monthly salaries……..

  16. Keffe

    November 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    “Where work is economized, its because there is an unworking economy”. Now looking at d height in which unemployment has eaten deep into nations economy, one has no doubt but 2 state that the principal controller of a nations resources is the Goverment. Here i say, that the Government has failed in its core duty and responsibily to build a productive economy via employment of Nigerians in both the 3 arms of Government, in that they lack ideas, directions, and focus. As a Goverment, “when you have dream, gear the drive”. In this, what plans have the Goverment put in place to cocktail the annual outflow of graduates from over 3000 Educational institutions in the nation? Should we have to rate in percentage the work the government has done towards resolving issues of unemployment in the nation, you can agree wit me that its below fair. Now, everyone cannot be fool at the same time; graduates around the nation have got ideas, but the structures and elements needed to implement this plans are major factor and cause of this unresolving and unending problem. But, the solution is simple, if we only stop talkin about it, and “put square box in square holes”, then “other boxes will begin to fit other holes”.

  17. missA

    November 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    This is not due to Unemployment, this is due to Under-employment which must be the percentages you guys are quoting on here.
    Definitely PHD holder is under employed as atruck driver but a PHD degree holder doesnt also work in work place, you find in Research and Development institutes which is what we lack and why it looks horrible that they apply for a Truck driver position.

    Also, many of these degree holders continue going to school when they do not find jobs in the hope that a ‘bigger job’ will come to them because they have a Master’s degree or a Phd and that is not usually the case. Degrees without experience means nothing to a potential employer.

    to reduce incidences like these, we can make our selves even more employable( to be honest, many graduates are un-employable) by developing ourselves and this doesnt lie in just acquiring degrees and certifications. This is outside Govt ‘creating’ jobs. My view is, Govt doesnt only just create jobs but creates an enabling environment for Job creation. This is where the Govt should be rightly blamed.

  18. Akindele @ Cheapest bulk SMS in Nigeria

    November 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    So sad! After spending many years in higher institution of learning! The major reason is UNEMPLOYMENT.

  19. i no send

    November 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    TINYAN AND ESSY and anonymouzly……Thank you that there are still people like you left who think and make informed comments Thank you again….

  20. Soraya

    November 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    What is wrong with being a driver??? Nigerians really need to change their attitude- not every degree holder will sit in an air conditioned office or be a manager- even here in the UK, graduates are employeed in restaurants as chefs, waiters and cleaners, so Nigerians need to change their attitude- there is no harm in doing ‘menial’ jobs. If u are flexible and willing enough you will go far no matter what your work is!

  21. mm

    November 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    big deal! my pastor is a phd holder (his degree is from a reputable college in uk- imperial college) but he worked in d uk as a driver for a while before getting his present office job and he is even overqualified for d job…and no he isnt nigerian but his own sha issacrifice

    • mm

      November 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      lol d downside of typing with a phone. i meant his own is sacrifice as he doesnt want a job that is far from where my church is located.

  22. KK

    November 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    The bigger picture —— this is a devaluing of the education system in Nigeria. Simple!

    And just to clarify, i understand all the reasons why people at such levels would apply, unemployment etc. But at the end of the day, if this turns out to be a trend in Nigeria, where companies are looking to employ graduates as drivers, it will progressively devalue the educational system, along with graduates in years to come.

    *We need to always think of the bigger picture before supporting certain things

  23. M

    November 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    It’s hunger in the land. Anyone who has felt hunger will apply regardless of status, also education is very cheap in Nigeria that’s why we have so many graduates, they continue to go to school when they have nothing else to do

  24. keechi

    November 6, 2012 at 5:02 am

    I must commend Mr. Dangote for trying to give pple something to look up to for their source of income. But I must say that this is quite saddening to see that all these degree holders are vying for a spot to be a DRIVER! That has to say something about the unemployment rate in Nigeria. Our government really needs to sit up and find a way to reduce the unemployment rate. Or does it mean that we all should say “screw education” and look for menial jobs bcos thats what the society can afford to give us?? Not good…but kudos to Dangote tho.

  25. pynk

    November 6, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Oh God do folks read? Dangote isnt paying any trucks drivers N500k per month. It is per year! if he was paying N500k per month, he would be running his operations at a loss. Drivers generally get paid an average of N30k per month. Simple Economics. Secondly the person that even wrote the article comes across as very inexperienced and narrow minded. Because someone has a Phd doesnt remotely make them any smarter than a High school graduate, we see this all the time. For the person to have a Phd and apply to be a truck driver shows you their low level of entrepreneurship – its obvious the person cannot see beyond working for someone else. The problem with Nigeria’s educational system is not a lack of knowledge, because we are master cramers, but we are extremely dull at applying the things we know. You find a 10 year old American kid that can articulate the reason behind something, and u find a 10 year old nigerian kid that can tell you the something. We need to focus less on actual knowledge because it is useless unless you can apply it to life. otan. Thats why inventions come out of America and the Chinese and other build it. simple and short.

  26. Sharon

    November 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Some of the comments I’ve read on blogs on this issue is rather mind boggling, and a true state of the mentality of an average thinking Nigerian. Why can people not see things are they are?? nigeria is in a BAD shape and people are hungry ! Why make those who are brave enough to apply, feel like they have failed in life because they have applied for the positions?? This is a business stragegy for both the dangle group AS WELL as people who are ready to dig their heels in to become self sufficient. I shake my head at the ignorance of some of us. The minute we stop looking down on drivers, cleaners and street sweepers, the better we will become. These people are determined to DO SOMETHING, instead of sitting their asses at home, or becoming armed robbers, and should be applauded. Nigeria is a HARD place to survive in if you are lazy or not as opportuned to have “long leg” Good luck to everyone.

  27. Sharon

    November 6, 2012 at 8:39 am

    *excuse my typos *

  28. lalasky

    November 6, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I wonder y all these debate…..its a simple case of offer and acceptance…….if u want to do it. PHD or not…go for it, if not remain in mysery with ur certificate.. sometime before the world comes to an end ur dream job will come…..person wey dey drink garri get plan ooo * SoundSultan* fades to black

  29. Fuck'em All

    November 7, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Goodness.. PhD for driving truck?? I mean!! NAIJA go suffer.. Una go suffer reach una bone…

  30. Tessa

    November 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Unemployment i guess
    they would be better off starting their own businesses sha.
    That’s what i think.

  31. Cjay

    December 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Well, the typical Nigerian graduate has been wired to think ’employee’ rather than ’employer’, however considering that capital to start small businesses in a very vibrant economy isnt available, i guess one would be inclined to take the money first, then be an employer second…

  32. Ms Pedro

    December 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I know a guy that went to Unilag and Law school and is a lawyer in a one man firm. This guy earns N35k/month.

    Please if Dangote is going to pay his drivers N70k+ (not even N100k o)and get the truck after the 30000km as promised, dont you think my Mr. Lawyer friend should apply too???

  33. Chidi

    December 6, 2012 at 11:14 am

    This is not just a Nigerian case. However, it clearly depicts the signs of our economic times: Acquiring a Degree and becoming competent at a skill is fast loosing its economic power. Therefore, people must carefully chose their career options. Going to school and thinking you will have a job afterwards is fast becoming an illusion. We are more likely to succeed in our areas of strength and creative ability.

  34. sam

    December 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Mostly unemployment. Besides, gap between requirement and the avaialability; a Foundation may help them to link with the graduates and opportunites. The visionary man only can do this!

  35. Solomon 'Niyi

    January 8, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I strongly believe that point you made that the said amount is just publicity stunt that trigger unemployed ones;the said sum of #500k can not be paid, we do not need any arithmetic solution to get this into our scull. Two things I thought of happening; one some of these applicants may just wants connection with Dangote business empire to build their individual CV; as we all know that what Nigeria believes in is certificates and work experience(where when) and etc. Secondly, Dangote Groups may just want to brake records in this section of the whole of the Group, with this lolly-pop offer for others to emulate or envy.
    Note: who in Nigeria recon with Driver or Fleet Managers?this is a powerful unit we look down on. We only respect and remember tanker drivers when there is fuel scarcity. Let wait and see what Dangote would do to bring fulfillment to hustling one destiny

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