Thursday, 5 January 2017

Should Nysc Be Made Optional, Compulsory Or Totally Scrapped

Okay, I have never given a thought to this NYSC programme until its just few months to my turn! I have never felt this nervous about going for something or somewhere and I just have to finally say my mind before I get bundled off to an unknown place! Who knows, someone may hear my cry!
    Related imageImage result for cartoon images of crying nysc
Alright, my point here is that I don’t want to participate in this Nysc scheme! I know I am also not the only one with the same feeling because I have done some research and I have seen that a large number of the prospective corp members are also not interested in participating too!
This is going to be a very long post, so relax as I take you through my train of thoughts (and maybe some other persons). This is not just a regular post! I actually did intensive research and I will be breaking it down into chapters just the way I got the data, starting from introduction to conclusion (lol).
To make it easier, I also put up a table of content of this post just so you can skip to the part that you find interesting:
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 DEFINITION OF TERMS
2.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF NYSC           
2.2 NYSC OPERATIONS IN NIGERIA             
2.3 MERITS OF THE NYSC PROGRAMME              
2.4 DEMERITS OF THE NYSC PROGRAMME        
2.5 PURPOSE OF NYSC PROGRAMME
3.1 OBJECTIVES OF NYSC PROGRAMME
3.2 MOTION TO SCRAP NYSC PROGRAMME                 
CONCLUSION
HELPFUL SOURCES

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 So, here I am pouring out my heart to the federal government of Nigeria or whoever is concerned!

1.1    INTRODUCTION
The Nysc scheme was initially set up for national integration, Today that vision has changed but it seems that the government of the Federal republic of Nigeria has not yet recognized this. Nigeria’s federal and state (excluding the private institutions) educational system is not exactly a bed of roses which is why to most undergraduates, going for NYSC is like a punishment. Once a student has managed to graduate he is required by law to undergo the programme for one year. It is not bad enough that he will be asked to survive a bit of hardship; the unspoken part of his contract says he may also not come back alive. In the past few years, Nigerians have witnessed the most unprecedented number of corps members murders in recent times. These killings have taken place as a sacrifice for democracy as the youths were killed in the line of duty. However, what place has NYSC a paramilitary programme instituted by a decree in a democratic society? At best the programme should be optional; some people find it fun and enjoyable and may choose to continue with it. Majority of Nigerian youths do not need NYSC to toughen them, the circumstances and their environment has done so already.
Nysc is not what Nigeria needs right now. There are a million and one things to channel those funds into rather than wasting it. Scrapping Nysc is going to benefit both the government and the general population. Nigeria is not yet a country to die for and this is the cold hard truth. Finally it is sad to note that Nigeria has no plans for its youth, Nigeria has no love or regard for its youth. How else can you explain the fact that after giving its youths a shabby education, changing their bright plans for their lives, it sends its youths, compulsorily on roads which are death traps to dwell in states which are hell holes, for a pittance! Obviously, this scheme is no longer helping and should be scrapped!
1.2 DEFINITION OF TERMS
NYSC: The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is an organization set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country's graduates in the development of the country. There is no military conscription in Nigeria, but since 1973 graduates of universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service Corps program for one year. This is known as national service year.
Programme: A planned series of future events or performances. A set of related measures or activities with a particular long-term aims
Nigeria: The Federal Republic of Nigeria commonly referred to as Nigeria, is a federal republic in West Africa, bordering Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. It comprises 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja is located. Its largest cities include: Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Benin City and Port Harcourt. Nigeria is officially a democratic secular country.


2.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF NYSC

Nigeria gained her independence on October 1st 1960, as a federation of three regions (northern, western, and eastern), under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary form of government. The British Monarch- the Queen of England, was still the head of state of Nigeria. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe became the first indigenous Governor General. Though, he was only representing the Queen of England, while Alhaji Tafawa Balewa was the prime minister. He exercised the real executive power as the country was still structured after the British Parliamentary system of government. On October 1963 the country, became a Federal Republic. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the last Governor General, became the country’s first President, while Alhaji Tafawa Balewa remained the Prime Minister. The British Monarch- the Queen of England ceased to be the Head of State of Nigeria. However, the First Republic was replete with corruption, ethnic politics and sentimentality, nepotism, etc. As a result of these, on January 15, 1966, a small group of army officers, mostly south-eastern Igbos, led by Major Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu, in a bloody coup, overthrew the government and assassinated the federal prime minister and the premiers of the northern and western regions. The federal military government that assumed power under Major General Aguyi Ironsi, was unable to stop the ethnic tensions or produce a constitution acceptable to all sections of the country. Matters exacerbated when through Decree no. 15 (the Unification Decree), Ironsi abolished Nigeria’s Federalism and established a Unitary Form of Government. As a result of the existing tension and fears, there was a counter-coup masterminded by Northern officers. This counter-coup ousted Aguiyi Ironsi from office and established the leadership of Major General Yakubu Gowon. The subsequent massacre of thousands of Igbo in the north prompted hundreds of thousands of them to return to the southeast, where increasingly strong Igbo secessionist sentiment emerged. Lt. Col. Ojukwu, the then Military Governor of the Eastern Region described the counter-coup as ‘’brutal and planned annihilation of officers of Eastern Region. Hence, as a result of Gowon’s inability to abate the incessant murderous attacks launched against the Easterners in the North, Ojukwu on May 30th, declared the Eastern Region an independent State by the name the Republic Of Biafra. Secession was not an option, as the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the leadership of Lt. Col. Gowon saw Ojukwu’s declaration as a rebellion against Nigeria. This led to the Nigeria Civil war which started in the early hours of July 6, 1967. The Civil war which lasted for 3 years (July 6, 1967 to January 13, 1970), ended with Gowon’s declaration of a no winner no vanquished policy. Gowon in an attempt to rebuild the Country, embarked on what is known as the 3R’s- Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation. It was in pursuance of the 3R’s that Gowon in 1973 under Decree no. 24, established the National Youth Service (NYSC) Scheme. The Scheme is aimed at encouraging and developing common ties among the Youths, and to promote national Unity. I iterate, the NYSC Scheme was established to promote National Consciousness and Patriotism among Nigerian Youths, and to enable Young Nigerian graduates interact with their peers outside their States of Origin and also to avail them the opportunity of residing and working for the Country other than their States of Origin. The Ultimate aim is to promote national Unity and Integration. The NYSC scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war. The unfortunate antecedents in our national history gave impetus to the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps by decree No.24 of 22nd May 1973 which stated that the NYSC is being established "with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity".
As a developing country, Nigeria is further plagued by the problems attendant upon a condition of under development, namely; poverty. mass illiteracy, acute shortage of high skilled manpower (coupled with most uneven distribution of the skilled people that are available), woefully inadequate socioeconomic infrastructural facilities, housing. Water and sewage facilities, road, healthcare services, and effective communication system. Faced with these almost intractable problems, which were further compounded by the burden of reconstruction after the civil war, the government and people of Nigeria set for the country, fresh goals, and objectives aimed at establishing Nigeria
2.2 NYSC OPERATIONS IN NIGERIA
Corp members are usually posted to cities far from their city of origin. They are expected to mix with people of other tribes, social and family backgrounds, to learn the culture of the indigenes in the place they are posted to. This action is aimed at bringing about unity in the country and to help youths appreciate other ethnic groups. There is an "orientation" period of approximately three weeks spent in a military controlled boot "camp" away from family and friends. There is also a "passing out ceremony" at the end of the year and primary assignment followed by one month of vacation.
2.3 MERITS OF THE NYSC PROGRAMME
Corps Members nationwide have been urged to take advantage of the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme initiated by the NYSC Scheme to enable them become self-reliant after the Service Year. The Director-General of the Scheme, Olawumi highlighted the different skill sets, which Corps members could choose from namely; Agro-Allied, Culture/Tourism, Cosmetology, ICT, Construction, Power/Energy, Food Processing and Preservation, Construction, Environment, Horticulture and Landscaping, Education, Automobile and Film and Photography. He said the Scheme intends to expand the Skill sets during the year. He added that the Scheme, out of its determination to make the Corps Members self-reliant and become employers of labour, went into partnership with the Bank of Industry to come up with an empowerment package called the BOI – NYSC Graduates Empowerment Fund (GEF). He recalled that one thousand Corps Members, who scaled through an online Business ideas competition, were recently trained under the GEF. “The trained Corps Members will be required to submit their applications for loans under the GEF, and each of them will be qualified for a loan of between five hundred thousand and two million naira”, he added.
It is worthy to note that Nigerian Graduates are ineligible for employment till they have completed the mandatory one year service, Graduates who are exempted from the service include those above the age of thirty (30) and those with physical disability, therefore completing the service year entitles one to employment. During the service year, Corps members have the opportunity of learning of the cultures of other people an opportunity many Nigerians never get in their lifetime. The program has also helped in creating entry-level jobs for many Nigerian youth. An NYSC forum dedicated to the NYSC members was built to bridge the gap amongst members serving across Nigeria and also an avenue for corpers to share job information and career resources as well as getting loans from the National Directorate Of Employment.
Some other advantages of the programme include:
-          You get to meet people from all over the country and make new bonds and friendships.
-          It helps an average Nigerian youth to appreciate the diversity.
-          It helps to create a better understanding of other peoples and cultures.
-          It exposes rural areas to ideas from urban centres.
It also offers the corps members a year to figure out career choices and the labour market while being on the government’s payroll.
-    It creates lasting friendships between people from different families, backgrounds, social standing etc
2.4 DEMERITS OF THE NYSC PROGRAMME
The program has been met with serious criticism by a large portion of the country. The NYSC members have complained of being underpaid, paid late or not paid at all. Several youths carrying out the NYSC program have been killed in the regions where they were sent due to religious violence, ethnic violence or political violence. It gets dangerous every year, and the experience isn’t always pleasant, rather than scrapping, an open and honest review should be done.
The benefits of NYSC are dwarfed by its challenges and modern realities. Some disadvantages include:
-          Its objectives and goals have failed.
-          So many establishments that naturally should employ graduate and pay full money now see corpers as cheaper labourers, so when they are supposed to hire one graduate and pay more, they hire 10 corpers and pay less; causing these corpers to struggle to get retained but its always in futility.
-          The risk of life involved is too much without any security measures in place.
-          Also the professional experience needed atimes will sometimes limit the career of the corper e.g a non trained corper teaching in a secondary school.
-          It has failed to instill discipline among Nigerian youths.
-          Corruption is rampant in all offices and camps.
-          Nysc officials collect bribes and sleep with female corps members for good postings.
-          Among corps members, sexual immorality is so rampant; married women fornicate in camps and in their place of primary assignment.
2.5 PURPOSE OF NYSC PROGRAMME
The purpose of the scheme is primarily to inculcate in Nigerian Youths the spirit of selfless service to the community, and to emphasize the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of all Nigerians, irrespective of cultural or social background. The history of our country since independence has clearly indicated the need for unity amongst all our people, and demonstrated the fact that no cultural or geographical entity can exist in isolation”. The National Youth Service Corps was instituted by a decree in May 1973, to fulfill all of the above and more.
3.1 OBJECTIVES OF NYSC PROGRAMME
The objectives of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme are clearly 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.
  • To raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement
  • To develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training. which will make them more amenable to mobilisation in the national interest
  • To enable Nigerian youths acquire the spirit of self reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self employment
  • To contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy
  • To develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration
  • To remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance and confirm at first hand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups
  • To develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the people of Nigeria.
  • The equitable distribution of members of the service corps and the effective utilisation of their skills in area of national needs
  • That as far as possible, youths are assigned to jobs in States other than their States of origin
  • That such group of youths assigned to work together is as representative of Nigeria as far as possible
  • That the Nigerian youths are exposed to the modes of living of the people in different parts of Nigeria
  • That the Nigerian youths are encouraged to eschew religious intolerance by accommodating religious differences
  • That members of the service corps are encouraged to seek at the end of their one year national service, career employment all over Nigeria, thus promoting the free movement of labour
  • That employers are induced partly through their experience with members of the service corps to employ more readily and on a permanent basis, qualified Nigerians, irrespective of their States of origin.

3.2 MOTION TO SCRAP NYSC PROGRAMME

A critical analysis of the objectives of the NYSC (National Youth Service Corps), shows that the scheme which has been in existence over the past four decades has failed to a large extent to achieve these objectives. Instead the scheme has led to the wastage of human resources, as most corp members are not gainfully utilized during this period. Also as seen in the events of the last crisis and similar ones, corps members are unnecessarily exposed to risks. Hence the Scheme has become more of a problem than an asset and hence should be scrapped! In spite of several calls for the Nigerian government to review the NYSC scheme, the 43-year-old scheme has remained the same. It is no longer fashionable with modern realities. The programme was primarily created by Nigeria’s former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon to “reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil War.” Many Nigerians believe these reasons are no longer tenable, more than 40 years after the war.
NYSC is a pure waste of time. One can’t imagine how the programme negatively affects graduates. When someone graduates from the university this year, you’ll have to wait for a whole year sometimes before you are mobilized and you don’t have a choice because it is compulsory. It has also been made a prerequisite for graduates who want to be admitted for postgraduate programmes in Nigerian institutions. Most establishments also request for evidence of participation in the youth service programme before they are considered for employment opportunities. As it stands now, the Nigerian government is not doing anything to address the challenges of the scheme or improve it. Apart from the fact that the N19,800(or less) monthly stipend given to each corps member cannot cover the expenses incurred by these serving youths in a recession time like this, a scheme that makes Nigerian youths vulnerable to unfavourable circumstances can be scrapped to save money for other sustainable projects because it is no longer relevant. With recent developments, it is very difficult to refute the unfavourable assessment of the NYSC scheme. This period is a perfect time for both the executive and legislative arms of Nigerian government to look into the scheme and, in fact, scrap it to save money the country can’t afford to waste right now.
Not downplaying the importance of the 40-year-old initiative, today, there are more arguments against continuing the practice. The NYSC senior officials, however, do not conceal the difficulties they are faced with: growing number of participants and decreasing funds. In a recent interview, actress, singer and activist Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde was straightforward about the scheme, saying it is useless and should be scrapped. Every year, thousands of Nigerian universities graduates participate in the year-long engagement, joining the National Youth Service Corps. But today, it is obvious that there are no much funds to sustain them! Nigeria has a well-documented history of public services and agencies becoming black holes into which critical funds vanish, and the NYSC could easily be another one of those — given how much money and how little supervision is involved. While the huge cost of running the NYSC is one issue, accountability is another as there have been several claims of corrupt practices around the scheme. With the 2014 budget listing amounts like N2.6 billion for “kitting" corps members, and N394 million for "security services", an audit of the NYSC’s books might be as revealing as the recent PwC audit of NNPC.
People often go into argument of how it provides first time job opportunities, national integration, economic benefits etc, I’d like to point out that if graduates didn’t have to wait for an NYSC posting, they would have started job hunting and placements from their final year of university. This is not 1970. People are traveling more, watching more TV, listening to radio even across the country; the internet is bridging a great deal of integration gaps. And by the way, decades of NYSC has not integrated us any more than before then. The economic benefit of NYSC is also a myth. N19,800 monthly is just minimum wage, the equivalent of unskilled labour! If these graduates were employed, they most likely would have been better paid. The average wait period for an NYSC call up is about 6 months. In most cases, this is time spent doing nothing but waiting. Because a lot of graduates know they can’t hold a job without NYSC discharge, they just wait, while their brains rot. In the past, one could at least get posted to a good enough company to get decent exposure, or a company which has recognized talent could pull in a graduate pre-NYSC, and simply get them to serve on the job. But now, that’s about impossible. Nigerian graduates are not competitive because instead of getting sharp for the market after graduation, they spent their most significant post college years waiting for a posting that turned out to be a waste of time. Gone are the days when the scheme was developed to establish Nigeria as a land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens. It is just a delay tactic from the inevitable unemployment phase that awaits most graduates!
The most worrying of this NYSC scheme is the actual work the corpers get to do. More often than not, graduates are being posted to workplaces that don’t relate to their degrees at all! You can see someone who studied Chemical Engineering working at a local government office, filing paper and running errands for older staff. They are not learning any practical skills that will help their future careers. In order words, they are wasting time and effort that could be used in doing something productive and worthwhile. It is no wonder some people have “agreements” with their zonal officials and abscond to do other meaningful things. Another worrying thing is the amount of people being sent to teach in schools. What made these corpers qualified to teach? Just because you’ve gone to school and finished doesn’t make you equipped to teach others. Why are we not concerned in giving our future generations the best education there is? It’s a fact that the strength of a good economy lies in the skills and abilities of its labour force (workers). So if we’re giving our young ones subpar education, what then can we look forward to in the future? The rich sending their children abroad for the quality education everyone should be getting, and the poor being served fifth best? And to top it off, most of these corpers don’t get any training. They simply get the term’s syllabus and are left to their own devices. Is this how we want our future leaders to continue growing?

CONCLUSION
NYSC really is not integrating anymore. Maybe it can be reformed or changed but as for right now, it is not fulfilling the purpose for which it was created. Obviously, the scheme is no longer relevant. If years after the civil war, it hasn’t accomplished the goal of reorientation, integration and progress, it is enough for the scheme to be scrapped; we can as well say it has failed. Many people feel joy in meeting people from other parts but you only need to be on any social media platform for a day and you’ll discover that joy is only on the surface with the amount of ethnic trolling and abuse directed at various ethnic groups. People still hold on to their perceived prejudices regardless of what their experience(s) has been with people from other parts. If the scheme hasn’t corrected this in its long years of existence, then it has actually overstayed.
Truth be told, it’s only being kept alive by people who benefit from it: those who supply khaki, meals and so on. People are clearly not gaining the experience they hope to; and neither are they equipped to be teaching secondary/primary school kids. Perhaps it does need to be scrapped for today’s society. Hopefully the future generation can begin to think and analyse the things and institutions in our societies to bring about positive change, not just following the status quo. The scheme should be put to an end and save graduates from undue hardship all in the name of re-integration.

HELPFUL SOURCES

  

So, over to you, what's your own take? Do you think NYSC should be made optional, compulsory or totally scrapped?

Let's here your thoughts below!
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Model, Computer Techie, PR, Social Media Marketer, App Developer, Freelancer, Blogger! . . . Oh, I forgot to add Social Worker! Plus, I like writing my thoughts down! . . AND . . I LOVE making new FRIENDS! . . . Contact me on social media -- Rosy Omeje

3 comments:

  1. it should be scrapped!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please! Someone should tell the government to remove this death trap of a scheme!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think making it optinal is better! It has helped a lot of people and is still helping!

    ReplyDelete

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