Is NYSC Still Relevant?


Quite often, truth is an unwelcome pal, an unpleasant, unacceptable whistle blower and disgustingly bitter than the bile in human body. But then, it has to be told – blunt, plain, simple and naked, no matter whose ox is gored or whose oxen are gored.
The problem of man on planet earth started far back into the space and time, specifically, when mother Eve appeared on the scene, and sadly enough, acted the innocuous script written by the arch and spiritual enemy of man, the Devil. Right there in the Garden of Eden, the Devil, in a subtle way and manner, turned the truth into lies and fables and the original prototype of God fell from grace to grass.
Consequent upon this was the divine sentence of death handed down to all men from generation to generation and would continue till kingdom come.
Ever since, homo-sapiens traversing the whole wide world and living on this terrestrial ball had, for the umpteenth time, tried to unravel the mysteries and challenges of life to no avail. Little wonder then, that the early settlers of Ancient Greece resorted to consulting the “Delphic oracle” and the god Apollo, to find answers and solutions to the immense and immeasurable problems staring them on their faces.
Away from what the Ancient Greek City States did and how they lived their own lives. Here in Nigeria, from the volatile North to the oil-rich South South, and from the commercial –hub South East to the cultural-centre South West, many people, including the high and the low, are daily visiting evil forests, juju houses, occultist shrines, invoking marine spirits and darkness powers, all in the desire to peer beyond the veil of the future and to proffer solutions to the myriads of problems confronting mankind.
There is no gainsaying the fact that our political, socio-economic and academic landscapes are in the doldrums and in shambles. Once upon a time, we woke up to the welcome news in the media that the Boko Haram insurgents rampaging and ravaging the North East had been technically defeated. Alas, the news turned out to be a figment of someone’s imagination and a white lie. Boko Haram’s enclave, from all indications is yet to be dismantled. Examples still abound of Boko Haram’s unrelenting onslaught. One of such examples was the recent abduction of 110 school girls in Daptchi, Yobe State.
But what does the scripture say? “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. It is only the truth and nothing but the truth that would salvage this country from the shackles and fetters of greed, fraud, blatant lies, extortion, money laundering, financial shenanigans etc.
A situation where a policy has failed and the truth is being swept under the carpet calls for a serious concern by those at the helm of the nation’s affairs. Do we require a soothsayer and the marabouts of Pharaoh’s Egypt to tell us that the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) scheme which was formally promulgated by a decree and established by the then military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon in 1973 is no longer feasible in all ramifications?
Succinctly put, the NYSC scheme, if you ask me, is no longer workable as a matter of fact. For the interest of those who do not know anything about the NYSC scheme, I provide you some of the laudable aims and objectives of the scheme.
Decree Number 24 of May 22, 1973 that established the scheme states inter-alia, that the NYSC scheme aims at inculcating discipline in our youths, by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work and of patriotic and loyal service to the nation in any situation they may find themselves; raising the moral tone of our youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement, and to develop in our youths attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training, which will make them more amenable to mobilization in the national interest.
The scheme was also aimed at developing common ties among our youths and promoting national unity by ensuring that as far as possible youths are assigned to jobs in States other than their States of origin and that the youths should be exposed to the modes of living of the people in different parts of the country with a view to removing prejudices, eliminating ignorance and confirming at first hand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups.
Other objectives include to encourage members of the corps to seek at the end of their corps service, career employment all over the country, thus promoting free movement of labour and inducing employers, partly through their experience with corps members, to employ more readily qualified Nigerians irrespective of their States of origin, and to enable our youths to acquire the spirit of self reliance.
Noble as these aims and objectives might sound, it is sad that the NYSC scheme in Nigeria today is not only a shadow and ghost of its former self, but also not fit or ready for the knackers yard.
Looking at the aims, objectives and advantages of the scheme from the eagle eyes, and after thoughtful analysis, there is a strong conviction and belief that the virtues, benefits and advantages of the scheme as contained in Decree Number 24 of May 22, 1973, have been completely eroded and the aims and objectives defeated by political exigencies, lean and fragile economy, poignant insecurity, snide comments, remarks and insensate hatred of one ethnic group for the other.
Owhorji wrote in from Omademe.


Christian Owhorji