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Background of the study

Poverty has to do with deficiency or the absence of something which deprives a person the power to function effectively in any of the basic social institutions of his or her time, such as family, economy, health, welfare, among others. Poverty has many dimensions, it does not just mean having little money, and it also means having fewer opportunities in life (Oreh, 2007). Oreh added that poverty exposes people to risks as well as deprivation of human dignity and human rights. Thus, poverty and its reduction has remained the number one challenge to various governments. The challenges of poverty and its alleviation have been major issues in government policies and programmes. According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2010), the word poverty is from the French word poverte and from the Latin word paupertas from pauper meaning poor. However, WHO, stated that poverty is a state in which someone lacks certain amount of material possessions or money. It also means deprivation in well-being, and comprises many dimensions. It includes low incomes, and inability to acquire the basic goods and services necessary for survival with dignity. Furthermore, poverty encompasses low levels of health care, information and high level of illness .Thus, illness can reduce household savings, lower learning ability, reduce productivity, and lead to a diminished quality of life, thereby increasing poverty.


Globally, poverty is described as a socio-economic problem that affects growth and development. The governments of sub-Sahara Africa have designed and embarked on several measures to reduce the level of poverty and improve the economic well-being of the people, yet extreme poverty remains an alarming problem in the worlds developing regions, despite the advances made in the1980s and 1990s globally for poverty reduction; poverty still remains unacceptably high till date.

It is believed that the enhancement of information resources and productive skills will facilitate economic empowerment of the retirees. The National Bureau of statistic report (NBS, 2010) stated that Nigeria has a soaring population of 170,123,740 million with 100 million living on less than one dollar a day. However, evidence from the literatures also abound to show that various programmes such as Better Life for Rural Women (BLF) in 1998; National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in 2001 among others had been taken by successive governments at federal, state, and local government levels in order to reduce poverty to its barest minimum level did not yield reasonable results because of the lasting period of poverty in Nigeria.

In Nigeria today, the increasing rate of poverty has become worrisome to the government. The rate of poverty in Nigeria is on the high level, because about 70 percent of the total population has been classified as being poor. (Nigeria Entrepreneurship initiative, 2009). The effect of poverty among Local Government Staff (LGS) and Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) retirees are due to irregular payment of pension and most of them are not exposed to the knowledge of skill acquisition as a source of income to continue with their life after retirement.

However, the knowledge of technical skills and business management skills when acquired through entrepreneurship education will be of great help to alleviate poverty among the retirees. According to Miller (2008), technical skills comprise the knowledge and capabilities to perform specialized tasks related to a specific field. Technical skills include piggery, bakery, catering services among others. However, business management skills include those areas involved in starting, developing and managing an enterprise (Mullins, 2010). Business   management skills include communication skills like listening, writing and speaking; provision of stock at the lowest possible cost to attract customers among others. Thus, when Local Government Staff (LGS) and Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB) retirees acquire the knowledge of the above stated skills; it will help to alleviate their level of poverty.

The report released by the Federal Office of Statistics (1998) indicated that about 40% of the Enugu State retirees are living below the poverty line. Poverty line is also known as (threshold), it is the smallest amount of money a person or a family needs to live on in order to buy what is needed. People who are below this line are classified as poor. This line is used to decide who can get things like food, shelter, or medical care. In the same vein, the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) recently declared that about 70% of the above mentioned retirees in Enugu State are living below the poverty line. The UNDP resident representative in Nigeria observed that the 70% is higher than that of 1998 which puts Nigerian’s living below poverty level at 50million. The writer further stated that as poverty continues to rise, the living standard of people; especially the retirees continue to fall (Johnson, 2012).

Basically, every person in civil service must retire at some time, depending on the circumstances. A retiree according to Hornby (2005) simply means a person who has retired or who has stopped work and draws pension. Olaitan (2009) defined a retiree as a person who has stopped working because of his or her age. This definition looked at retirees on the basis of their age. Presently, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) gave the following conditions for retiring: a situation of old age (60 years or above); 35 years or above in the civil service; ill-health states; having a documented cases of indiscipline; and contracting officers whose services are no longer needed ( FGN,2010).

In Nigeria, it is ideal for a person to retire after active service to the society; in line to  this, Omoresemi (2005) stated that retirement reminds people of an end of work, and also a time of adjustment socially, financially and engagement in some physical activities. Omoresemi further stated that retirement which is a sign of ageing is inevitable as well as irreversible process. In support of the above, Akinremi (2008) stated that “life after retirement in Enugu State today is hell on earth” this is because, retirees are neglected as far as payment of monthly pension and gratuity is concerned. Most LGS and PPSMB retirees face problem of finance as they do not earn the money they once did when they were in public service. Sometimes, inflation may have eroded their savings, pensions and household decision making may also alter their financial life. They are also faced with loss of old friends at work place or residence.  However, the present situations of the retirees in Enugu State are not rosy at all. Most of them are living in abject poverty. The reason being that pension are not regularly paid, hence these retirees are financially handicapped (Okenmuo, 2009). Some of them, whose children are still in schools, find it very difficult to pay their school fees. Some have been ejected from their rented houses due to the fact that they could not pay their rent, and also have the problem of opposition from neighbour which leads to development of hypertension (Obioma, 2008). In the same vein, Uzoma (2008) observed that LGS and PPSMB retirees are faced with boredom with oneself and others due to their unpleasant situations.

LGS and PPSMB retirees’ situation in Enugu State is quite alarming; most of them who retire very healthy do not have any other source of income except the monthly pension which is not regularly paid. Their entire life depends on the pension that they will receive. However, some of them die before their retirement benefits are paid. These are people who have worked all their lives for the society at all levels and when they are retired, they are dumped, and regarded as useless (Okorodudu, 2010). These situations affect the emotional, physical, psychological, and socio – economic conditions of the retirees.

 A retiree who is confronted with numerous problems encounters financial difficulty. In support of the above, Uchenna (2007) opined that there is a reduction in these retirees’ income after active services. Uchenna equally posited that these retirees encounter loss of power, achievement, and public recognition due to their present financial status. This is to say that majority of them retirees experience poverty since their source of income is from the monthly pension which is not paid on regular basis. It has been observed that over the years, payment of retirement benefit has consistently failed the test of adequacy and regularity (Akowe, 2009).

The plight of LGS and PPSMB retirees in Enugu State is unbearable. Ozor (2015) disclosed that in some countries of the world, pensioners are treated as senior citizens and this status earns them several benefits from the government. In those countries, outside their retirement benefits and monthly pensions, pensioners receive free healthcare services and enjoy certain social amenities freely. But in Nigeria, the story of these retirees is quite different as they are just called senior citizens, with little or nothing to show for it.

The chairman of Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) Enugu chapter comrade Damian Udeani, maintained that it is unfortunate that pensioners of Enugu State have been suffering for over 93 months without receiving their benefit. Udeani further stated that retirees from 2010 till date are yet to receive their gratuities; worse still, most of them are doing nothing so as to make the ends meet and these make them to continue wallowing in poverty.

The problem of poverty and its reduction is as old as human history. Poverty sets in when people can no longer provide the basic necessities of life. Poverty is described as when the resources of individuals or families, such as food, water, shelter and other basic necessities needed to make life worth living, are no longer sufficient to meet up with standard of living for individual or families (Odedele & Egotanwa, 2007).

The federal government has over the years embarked on various programmes such as: Green Revolution (GR) in 1964; Directorates for Food, and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) in 1987; Mass Mobilizations for Social Justice, Self Reliance and Economic Recovery (MAMSER) in 1987; National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) in 1989; National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) from 2004-2007 among others which have been geared towards improving the lives of its retirees. However, the above programmes have failed on their missions (Okenmuo, 2009). Okenmuo also said that it is very sad to note that the above laudable policies and programmes have not been able to mitigate poverty in Enugu State, instead, the state has been witnessing increase in the rate of poverty. This unfortunate situation has been attributed to poor implementation of polices, frequent change of government, consequent discontinuity in polices programmes, and adoption of top-down approach without active involvement of the poor (targeted beneficiaries) in the planning and implementation of poverty reduction programmes (Ajayi, 2005).

Education is fundamental to the construction of knowledge economy. There is a link between education and economy. According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, FGN (2004), education includes the acquisition and transmission of knowledge, skills and attitudes for the well being of self and society. The acquisition of knowledge and skills by individuals to solve societal problems is what leads to growth and development of society. It is the greatest investment that a nation can make for quick development of its economic and human resources. Among the main objectives of education in our country is to produce self reliant entrepreneurs.(FGN,2004).

According to Ezedum (2011) the word entrepreneur is derived from the French word “entrepreneur” meaning to undertake risk. The entrepreneur is one who undertakes, organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business. Ologbenla (2012) noted that an entrepreneur is one who is able to begin, sustain and when necessary, effectively and efficiently dissolve a business entity. He or she is a person who takes ideas and opportunities and turns them in to a profitable enterprise by harnessing the necessary entrepreneurial skills and resources to manage the risks involved. Entrepreneurs are not born rather they become what they are through actions and experiences of their lives. Entrepreneurs contribute immensely to most countries’ economy by being trained in skill acquisition such as technical skills. This will help to provide opportunities for new job creation and innovation

Since an entrepreneur is a person who makes money by starting or running business especially when it involves taking financial risks, it implies that when one takes up the risk of starting a business, he or she is referred to as an entrepreneur. It is not easy to become an entrepreneur even if one has interest. This therefore suggests the need to receive information on management and business opportunities in order to withstand competition. According to (Osuagwu, 2006) business management skills include those areas involved in starting, developing and managing an enterprise. He further stated that this can only be done through entrepreneurship education.

Entrepreneurship education helps to prepare the above mentioned retirees to be enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs.  According, to Shephered and Douglas (2007) entrepreneurship education is a programme that inculcates creativity, productivity, initiative and managerial skills needed in business enterprises for self-reliance and national development. Also, Emeraton (2008) described entrepreneurship education as that which deals with those attitudes and skills that are necessary for the retirees to respond to their environment in the process of conserving, starting and managing a business enterprise. An enterprise is a business establishment by one or more persons for the purpose of profit making. Entrepreneurship education focuses on developing understanding and capacity for pursuit, of entrepreneurial behavior, skills and attributes in widely different contexts. Entrepreneurship enables people to be self employed which enhances self sufficiency. It also enables   people to learn skills, problem solving, decision making abilities as well as of improving their status. Many healthy retirees suffer from depression as a result of the sudden increase in free time. There is need for activity or new social interactions in order to adjust and keep fit as well as escape from financial hardship.

Entrepreneurship education is an essential tool that will enhance these retirees’ conditions in order to achieve desired objectives of economic development. Entrepreneurship education seeks to prepare people particularly the LGS and PPSMB retirees, to be responsible entrepreneurs who can become entrepreneurial thinkers by immersing them in real life learning experience whereby they can take risks, manage result and learn from the outcome. Through effective entrepreneurship education, these retirees can access the skills and grow a new business (Brad, 2008).

The fact is that some basic attitudes and skills are essential for these retirees to respond positively to his or her environment and explore its potentials. This is why Alam and Hossan (2006) described entrepreneurship as a key role in the process of economic growth through creation of employment, increasing investment and consumption of a nation. In similar vein, Chigunta (2009) noted that entrepreneurship has received increasing recognition as a source of job creation, empowerment for the unemployed and economic dynamism in a rapidly globalizing world. This implies that when these retirees are exposed to entrepreneurship education, it will open up opportunities and bring about changes that will enable them to become creative and productive in life which in turn will help to increase their standard of living, however, this is in line with the objectives of entrepreneurship education.  Objectives of entrepreneurship education  is to offer functional education that will enable these retirees to be self-employed and self-reliant as well as to provide adequate training that will enable them to be creative and innovative in identifying profitable business opportunities ( Osuala,2010).

Entrepreneurship education can be acquired through sensitization, workshops, seminars among others. According to Afam (2008) sensitization is an attempt to make people aware of and responsive to certain ideas, events, situations or phenomenon; workshop according to Jolles (2012) is an interactive training where a group of people are organized to carry out a number of training activities to improve their life standard. However, Seminar can be defined as a gathering of people for the purpose of discussing a stated topic. Through the above means, learning the basic skills and ideas of how to improve the situations of the retirees and how to start their own businesses and keep it running will be enhanced. The knowledge, ideas, skills, managerial abilities, and capacities acquired through entrepreneurship education will help them to be self-employed when they are engaged in technical skills rather than being idle (Osuala, 2010).

The entrepreneurial skills needed for poverty reduction which could be adopted by retirees include the following, poultry farming, fishery farming, piggery, soap making, detergent production, cooperative societies, catering services, bakery production, and book binding, among others. These hopefully will no doubt reduce poverty and help to increase per-capita income in the State and the country at large which is one of the cardinal points of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However,  entrepreneurship education appear to be  confronted with a lot of challenges which seem to be a setback in the effective education of the LGS and PPSMB retirees  and it seems the challenges have not enabled these retirees to enjoy the benefits of this education as expected. Some of the seemly challenges have been pointed out by eminent scholars such as Gana (2006) and Aiyeduso (2008) to include poor funding by the government and non-governmental organizations.

In order to achieve viable entrepreneurship education in Enugu State, some strategies according to (Ayodele, 2006) may help to alleviate the problem of entrepreneurship education. Such strategies could be creating an economic friendly political environment; and improving on the government taxation on small scale business.  As a result of irregular payment of pension; Local Government Staff (LGS) and Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB) retirees in Enugu State experience poverty. Sometimes they are not even paid at all and their low savings before retiring also leads to their state of being poor. It is believed that if these retirees are educated and trained through entrepreneurship education, they will be economically empowered thereby reducing their level of poverty. It is against this backdrop that the researcher deems it fit to investigate the entrepreneurship education for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State.

Statement of the Problem

Retirement is the dream of every civil servant in the society where he or she served.  Life after retirement is supposed to be embraced with satisfaction rather than being fraught with numerous problems. The Local Government Staff (LGS) and Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB) are the retirees of the country, who had served the public for years with their human capacity. They are not meant to be poor after retirement, but report has shown that majority of them are living in abject poverty.

The present situations of LGS and PPSMB retirees in Enugu State are not rosy at all. The reason has been that, when pensioners are not regularly paid, they face the problem of financial handicap which leads to destitution. Most of them appear not to have any other source of income after their public services. Their entire life depends on the pension that government will pay. However, some of them die before their retirement benefits are paid. It is sad that the chances of these retirees securing their livelihood through retirement pension that would help in shaping their future has gradually disappeared for a large number of them. Apparently, if these retirees are trained with business management skills such as provision of stock at the lowest possible cost and packaging  products and services properly to attract customers; technical skills such as bakery, piggery among others through entrepreneurship education their standard of living might improve.

The level of poverty rate among these retirees appears to be alarming; this is because many of them seem to lack the right perception of self-employment and “employability” skills that are often acquired from entrepreneurship education. Many of these retirees seem to leave public service ill-prepared for the challenges of work and adulthood. Majority of the LGS and PPSMB men and women are not motivated, they lack boldness and competencies to carry on learning throughout their life time. Retirement into penury, abuse, stress, and frustration has posed a serious threat to these retirees and their dependents on one hand and their communities on the other hand. More so, the fear of retirement has made the serving workers to embark on a number of corrupt practices such as falsification of their ages, self-replacement and other compromises which are opposed to the principles of organization productivity and efficiency.

The failure of the government of Enugu State to pay these retirees their gratuity immediately and pension regularly has sent many of them to their grave without receiving their monthly pension .These retirees in Enugu State are dying, crying over abuse, negligence and exploitation of their condition; due to the fact that, after retirement the main source of livelihood is terminated and life becomes more difficult. Some of the difficulties faced by these retirees in Enugu State include long years of waiting for gratuity, irregular pension payment, social isolation, dependency syndrome and depression. These obvious difficulties result in economic hardship of the retirees, abject poverty, hunger, loneliness, idleness among others. It is believed that if these retirees are trained on entrepreneurship education; they will be equipped economically or otherwise with knowledge, skills, and competencies to face their challenges. Therefore, the researcher seeks to determine how entrepreneurship education could be used to alleviate poverty among these retirees in Enugu State.

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to investigate the entrepreneurship education for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State.

Specifically, the study seeks to ascertain:

  1. The extent to which entrepreneurship education enhances the technical skills for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State;
  2. The extent to which entrepreneurship education enhances business management skills for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State;
  3. The challenges that hinder entrepreneurship education for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State;
  4. The strategies for enhancing entrepreneurship education for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State.

Significance of the Study

Theoretically, the findings of this study will be anchored on the theory of continuity. This is because the theory posit that older adults who retire being healthy should maintain the same activities, behaviors, personalities, and relationships as they did in their earlier years of life. According to this theory, older adults should try to maintain this continuity of lifestyle by engaging in something they love to do in order to adjust effectively on skills that are connected to their past experiences. Therefore, entrepreneurship education can help retirees to continue their life style, and adjust effectively on skills that are connected to their past experiences of productivity. The creation of such effective entrepreneurial skills will help to minimize the level of poverty rate, increase economic growth, self employment and improved welfare among the retirees in Enugu State.

Practically, the findings of this study will be of immense benefit to retirees, civil servants, government and pension’s board, unemployed, and school dropouts.

The findings of this study will be significant to the retirees in the sense that the study will provide the opportunity for the retirees to be involved in skill acquisition of their choice in order to be self-employed. They will use the knowledge inculcated in them through entrepreneurship education to improve their standard of living. Furthermore, the entrepreneurial skills imparted under the pre-retirement training will empower the retirees after retirement to create job for themselves and others thereby minimizing the level of poverty in the society.

The findings of this study will be relevant to the civil servants presently in employment. The study will provide opportunity for them to acquire knowledge and skills on how to plan in advance before their retirement time comes. Thus, this study will help those presently in employment not to experience the possible problems associated with retirement. The study will also help to expose the civil servants to a wide range of preparation towards retirement and to know the specific entrepreneurial skills to be involved in when he/she retires. Moreover, the study will help the civil servants to plan ahead of time effectively for the future; adequate preparation will also enable the civil servants who are going into retirement to make elaborate preparations in order to ensure a stress-free retirement period and reduction of poverty.

The findings of this study will be beneficial to government and pension’s board. The study will help them to understand well how the retirees are suffering in the society. Furthermore, the study will also help the government and pension’s board to have knowledge of the challenges facing retirees. This knowledge will help the government and pension’s board to articulate appropriately for the pre and post retirement services for civil servants. The findings will also be useful in sensitizing the government and pension’s board on the hardship the retirees are passing through in Enugu State.

To the unemployed, the findings of this study will be beneficial to unemployed in the sense that it will be an eye opener to them. However, the study will educate them to know how they could be self-reliant and self-employed thereby exposing them on different entrepreneurial skills suitable for them. The study will provide them with useful information with which they could use to improve their standard of living; furthermore, the study will also help them to be better informed on the importance of pre-planning towards retirement once they are employed. This study through awareness creation will enable the unemployed to embark on entrepreneurial skills before their employment, during employment and after their retirement age. Such awareness will be very important to them because the acquisition of skills will help to minimize the level of poverty in the society.

Finally, the findings of this study will be beneficial to school dropouts. The findings will assist them to be actively engaged in income generating business establishment which will in turn alleviate poverty and reduce their level of armed robbery, kidnapping, drug abuse and other social evils in the society. Also, this study will enable the school drop-out to be creative, innovative and to develop their potentials into productive ventures rather than being ideal. It will also motivate the above mentioned to understand that, their future ahead is still bright.

Research Questions

The following research questions are formulated to guide the study.

  1. To what extent does entrepreneurship education enhance technical skills for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State?
  2. To what extent does entrepreneurship education enhance business management skills for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State?
  3. What are the challenges that hinder entrepreneurship education for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State?
  4. What are the strategies for enhancing entrepreneurship education for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State?


The following null hypotheses will guide the study and be tested at 0.05 level of significance

HO1: there will be no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female retirees on the extent to which entrepreneurship education enhances their technical skills for poverty reduction in Enugu State.

HO2: : there will be no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female retirees on the extent to which entrepreneurship education  enhances their business management  skills for poverty reduction in Enugu State.

Scope of the Study

The study will cover the extent to which entrepreneurship education can be used for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu State. It is intended to cover the retirees from the Local Government Areas. The content and scope of the study will focus on the extent to which entrepreneurship education enhances the technical skills for poverty reduction among retirees, the extent to which entrepreneurship education enhances the business management skills for poverty reduction among retirees, the challenges that face effective entrepreneurship education for poverty reduction among retirees, and the strategies for enhancing effective entrepreneurship education for poverty reduction among retirees in Enugu

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