The uninterrupted existence of the National Youth Service Corps NYSC is no doubt crucial to the building of a strong, united, prosperous nation where peace, love, and justice reign.
The impact of corps members in community development projects such as Roads, hospitals, boreholes, electricity, market, agriculture, education, communication, healthcare, and technology are far too outstanding to be wasted and sacrificed on the altar of challenges that affect every Nigerian.
The continuous co-existence of people with different religious and ethnic backgrounds today can be traced to the establishment of the scheme
Indeed, the NYSC has helped restore a sense of pride and identity to other ethnic minorities who hitherto would have been isolated due to a lack of contact with youths from other parts of the country.
Today, many are calling for the scrapping or suspension of the NYSC simply because of insecurity, kidnapping, banditry, religious extremism, ethnic violence; and incessant kidnapping but the question begging for an answer from such a group of individuals is that, Is NYSC security agencies?
Over the years people have been calling for scrap yet to see the light of the day from the government having known the importance of the scheme to the nation building.
The recent group was the Human Rights and Justice Group International calling on the Federal Government to suspend the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)
The group cited the rise of killings occasioned by kidnappings, terrorist attacks, and other criminal activities across the country.
But I think this group has to think about an adage that says, “Cutting off a head is not the cure for headaches, this is exactly the true picture of a Scheme NYSC that has contributed immensely to the unity, cohesion, growth, advancement, and development a nation called Nigeria.
Honestly speaking, those calling for the scrapping of the NYSC, are the real enemy of this nation and probably have not taken stock of the good fortunes NYSC has brought to the nation in the last 51 years of its existence.
Emotions understandably boiled over on the death of Promising youths. While the incidents are unfortunate, decisive action plans are needed to forestall occurrence, but they should not derail a very laudable idea.
Everyone has a role to play in the country, the objective of NYSC when set up by the then Nigerian government during the Military regime was to involve all Nigerian graduates in nation-building and the development of the country a set objective which has been achieved.
For those calling for suspension, the question is, Can we call for the suspension of security agencies? Simply because they can’t protect all the citizens as stipulated in their work description?
Can those who are hostile to the continuation of the NYSC scheme equally call for the scrapping of the nation’s economic sector because many Nigerians are poor?
Insecurity is an extraneous problem that is of global and national dimensions, and a critical challenge confronting the Scheme.
The lofty objectives of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Nigeria, upon inception in 1973, by the military administration of General Yakubu “Jack” Gowon (Rtd), were to help foster integration, reconciliation, and national unity. Those objectives were relevant at the time, given the unique circumstances of the country.
The extreme upheavals of that era precipitated the cataclysmic Nigerian vs. Biafra Civil War (1967-1970), which claimed over a million lives.
The spirit of national healing, reconciliation, and actualizing the prevailing “no victor, no vanquished” cantillation, berthed the NYSC.
From its humble beginning of 2364 Corps Members mobilized at inception, the Scheme at present, mobilizes on average, three hundred and fifty thousand Prospective Corps Members every year for service, thereby making it the biggest youth — mobilization agency in Africa.
As I earlier some challenges need to be addressed and solutions should be the concern of all stakeholders because the scheme in its 51 years of existence has no doubt contributed immeasurably to all sectors in the country and beyond.
In its 51 years of creation, the scheme has remained a catalyst for national development.
Whether will believe it or not, NYSC is vital to Nigeria’s peace, and growth, NYSC is like the raw material of a nation that needs to be nurtured, cherished, preserved, and sustained for more growth and development.
Some of the challenges include insecurity, banditry, incessant kidnapping of innocent Corps Members across the country as well as the inability of some State and Local Governments to discharge their statutory responsibilities to the Scheme, funding, and increased population amongst others.
The invaluable roles played by the NYSC are clear, with a profound impact on every sphere of development including democracy, health, education, infrastructural development, human capital development, manpower, security, environmental and road safety. The list is endless.
Talking about national integration, so many inter-tribal marriages have been contracted over the past 50 years by ex-Corps Members as a result of their exposure to the Scheme, thus, strengthening the bond of unity among Nigerians, and pulling down the obstacles of ethnic suspicions and stereotypes.
Amazingly, Corps Members are found in the remotest parts of the States, where even the natives do not want to work, imparting knowledge, and catering to the healthcare needs of the people.
Many might be seated on the seat of judgment for the one-year compulsory program for university graduates simply because of challenges in the country but it’s obvious that calls for scrapping of NYSC are pointless.
NYSC is a good stopgap for millions of young people in Nigeria who need more nourishment than scrapping.
Today, as bad as many see the Scheme, NYSC is, most fresh graduates’ first actual work experience is usually through NYSC, throwing most people directly into the labor market from our crappy public university education system and we’ll have more employability problems than we have now.
All government and stakeholders need to solve the problems associated with NYSC, bring about more jobs, and create an enabling environment. NYSC is a good stopgap. Don’t throw the baby away with the bathwater.
The National Youth Service Corps stands as a multifaceted investment in Nigeria’s future, offering benefits that permeate the youth’s personal development and the nation’s collective growth. It is a nursery for national unity, a catalyst for professional development, and a cornerstone for community transformation.