……Promotes double standard
There is no denial that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), established by the Nigerian government during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon in 1973, was created out of necessity to strengthen the country’s national unity in the midst of cultural diversification and the circumstances brought about by the country’s civil war at the time.
However, the question of whether or not it has lived up to the standard of being emulated by a young scheme after 49 years of being birthed has been a critical issue of debate in several fora by knowledgeable elites across the country. In order to put the icing on the cake as to whether or not the scheme has performed beyond the purpose for which it was set up, there is a need to re-examine the objectives of the scheme and the modern-day realities of present-day life.
Some of the objectives of the NYSC scheme are spelt out in Decree No.51 of 16th June 1993 as follows:
To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves. I wonder if the scheme takes time to evaluate corp members to have a clearer view of how effective and efficient this objective has been.
Another such objective is to raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by allowing them to learn about higher ideals of national achievement and social and cultural improvement. An objective that has been defeated by the corp members The majority of corp members are no longer interested in the ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement due to the belief that if the bureaucrats and elite children can go as far as not even serving those who just pay their monthly allowance to their zonal directors (or zonal directors as the case may be), others should also be able to enjoy the largess as what is good for the geese is equally good for the gander.
Another objective is to develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training, which will make them more amenable to mobilization in the national interest. The question that comes to mind here is whether the NYSC scheme is giving or providing the corp members with such training, a situation that goes against the mandate of the scheme.
As the Nigerian economy seems to be striving towards moving away from a mono-economy income generation away from crude oil, it makes one wonder what the objective of enabling Nigerian youths to acquire the spirit of self-reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self-employment as stipulated by the scheme stands for, if there is nothing as such going on in most of the states where the corp members are posted for their primary assignment.
If one must critically analyse the objective of “contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy”, the question that arises is, what is the definition of growth in the context of the scheme, if the scheme in itself is not assisting in propelling graduates towards positive activities that can result in tangible economic growth for the nation, beyond being posted to a PPA, which does not align with their course of study?
Royal News learnt that the majority of the corp members, either originally posted or redeployed to Abuja, find it difficult to get a place in the PPA. A situation that has placed many of the women stationed in the city’s capital in hazardous situations.
A vivid example of how the NYSC scheme has not lived up to its objective of being a propeller of accelerated economic growth can be seen in the case of Salamat Ajansare (not real name), who happens to be a graduate of taxation and was posted to one of the taxes regulating agencies in Nigeria, but was rejected from where she would have made a positive contribution to the accelerated growth of the country by bringing to fur the knowledge she has acquired in school to real-life situations but was rather told she couldn’t serve in the agency since it wasn’t her “sugar-daddy” that got the posting for her. In a second, though, she jostled to get a place where she could just do her compulsory one-year service, not minding what the aim of the scheme was.
Of what use is a scheme that can’t live up to expectations? The Nigerian government is just wasting our time with the response of Joseph Anachura, who stated that he would have preferred the aggregate of what he would have earned in 12 service months be given to him at a go for him to say he is serving the country, which he described as an unproductive year.
According to Anachura, who is currently living in a batcha, a security house made with roofing sheets at an annual rental fee of #50,000 in the suburbs of Abuja, he would have preferred to serve in his village where he wouldn’t be subjected to such ridiculous exposure to vices and all forms of insecurity, as he feels he doesn’t need to be in a state where he would have to go an extra mile to afford a living.
Anachura stated that he is aware that other colleges serving the same scheme in other parts of the country are experiencing the same hardship that the scheme has met on them, as they are constantly communicating on how they are coping in their various states of posting.
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ROYAL NEWS eCopy March 28, 2022
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