The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was established in Nigeria in 1973. The scheme was originally meant to promote national unity; it was meant to be a unifying factor in a fragile federation (like ours in its primitive state) where injustice was (and is still rife). Nepotism, federal character, quota system, institutional corruption -name them -the socio-political and economic ills plaguing the nation are legion.
Normally the NYSC is a good idea aimed at idetifying with the national cohesion and unity. Our tongues and tribes may differ but Nigeria still remains largely a ‘mere geographical expression’ more than half a century after our flag independence.
Some critics had alluded to the colonial amalgamation of 1914 by the then colonial lord, Lord Lugard. When that monumental ‘mistake’ was made our generation and those before us were not yet members of the global village of which Nigeria is an integral part. Yet we are all condemned to live with the inherent structural imbalances for which the present existential exigencies call for alteration.
The National Youth Service Corps is a youth post-tertiary service obligatorily done by graduates after their graduation from the Ivory Towars and/or other institutions of higher learning. While over time some cynics had renamed it risibly as “Now Your Suffering Commences” NYSC has contributed positively in no small measure towards the elusive search for national identity, concord and togetherness.
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Students out of the universities and polytechnics across the federation annually look up to the service as a way of familiarising themselves with other cultures and environments outside their shores. You could see a student from UNIBEN in Benin City, for example, posted to Kano for the youth service. Or another from Zaria sent to Ihiala town in Anambra starte for the same purpose. A student from Calabar could be ‘thrown’ to Ado-Ekiti to serve in any area available for service.
In a mandatory period of one year they are expected to contribute their academic quota towards the building of the federal edifice. To be employed in any sector one must have completed the service and obtained the certificate testifying to that efect. But today the patriotic objectives behind the national youth scheme appear to have been compromised (if not defeated). Some negative factors are blamable.
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