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Prospective Corps Member Calls For Scrap Of NYSC

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on: October 08, 2018, 08:56:58 PM

Ugonna Utulor

 NYSC must be scrapped and soon too.

In the last couple of days we have been inundated with scandals concerning many public officeholders who did not participate in the compulsory national service. Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun has resigned because of this. Now Shittu,  Minister of Communication is embroiled in a fresh scandal. There have also been accusing fingers pointing at the President of the Senate.

Against the backdrop of the civil war and the need to heal Nigeria of its murderous wounds, some military adviser told Yakubu Gowon that it was expedient all University and Polytechnic graduates had a one year stint of national service. This one year, the adviser claimed, would reinforce in young graduates the need to appreciate their Nigerianess and see all Nigerians as one irrespective of tribe or religious inclination. This, he added, would foster unity and produce a new generation of Nigerians who may never wish to secede from the federation.

 Thinking about it now, I imagine Yakubu Gowon adding that it was the brightest idea to make his 3R mantra a reality.  Young Christian Igbo men and women, he muttered mischievously, would soon start marrying Muslim Fulanis.

Whether the NYSC achieved its intended aims and objective are open to argument but the realities of the past few years have made it necessary that the NYSC become a part of our history.

Why? You ask.

We remember very well  that as part of this treaty for a compulsory national youth service, it became law that one cannot get work or post  graduate studies any where in Nigeria without his or her NYSC discharge letter. This in itself has brought many futures and aspirations to a standstill with several wasting years at home because their universities or polytechnics for one reason or the other were unable to mobilize them on time. On the waiting lists are youths who have been at home for a year, two years and sometimes more. And this is a disgrace considering that time is going and youths elsewhere are doing exploits with no time wasted. Children of the high and mighty, on the other hand, find ways to bypass this rule.  After a job is already waiting for them upon graduation.

 For those who choose to serve the nation, the monthly allowance of N19,800 paid to "Youth Corpers"  is barely enough for them to feed on,  buy new clothes or recharge their phones not to think of saving or sending some for their parents who expect their "graduate" children to support them. The insufficiency of this allowance means that Corpers are forced to look elsewhere including borrowing money for little expenses.

I personally don't believe NYSC is achieving it's purpose of national integratio. After all if you have legs you can serve any where you like. Besides, one year is not enough to make a Niger Deltan accept an Hausa man as his brother or compel a Yoruba demon to suddenly see an Igbo asa as his missing rib. Nor has Nnamdi Kanu and his equally educated colleagues been stopped from championing Biafra's secession despite having served Nigeria for a year.

I suggest the federal government  scraps NYSC  totally or make it voluntary rather than mandatory. Even if we must have it, there's need to make it more appealing. Increase the salary and ensure graduates don't have to waste extra years before going to serve. I'm sure many will agree that the National Youth Service Corp has outlived it's usefulness.