NYSC AT 40: ANOTHER MILESTONE


Despite the multitudes of controversies that have bedevilled the NYSC Scheme, it is a great feat of achievement that the scheme has survived through all these years. The National Youth Service Scheme was established in 1973 by General Yakubu Gowon. Its introduction was part of efforts by the then military government to unify and integrate every parts of the country after the 30 months bloodbath that was the Nigerian Civil War. Since 1973, graduates from all parts of the country have been posted to novel environments in a compulsory one year service to fatherland. Without mincing words, the scheme has made outstanding and exquisite feats over the past four decades, and any call to scrap it is not just preposterous, but entirely baseless. Indeed, the most remarkable achievement of the programme is the unifying and integrating factor it has brought to our largely divided nation. Owing to the scheme, youths across the country has been able to imbibe different cultures and appreciate the values and norms of diverse tribes and ethnic groups. It is not an exaggeration to say that the language barrier has been brought to its bearest minimum due to the NYSC programme. It goes without saying that inter marriage between people of different tribes have been fostered because of it. In a nation with over 250 ethnic groups and numerous languages, the NYSC scheme provides unity in this diversity. In addition, the scheme has continually provided viable manpower for overall development. It has been said, and not without reason, that rural development that has been witnessed in different parts of the country can be traced to the intellectual provision that the Corps members provides. Perhaps, it should be mentioned that the Corps members are a form of cheap labour which can always get the job done. Thus, by rural and urban development pioneered by Corps members across the county, the disparities in development between different states are curtailed. What was more? Education in itself entails individual adventurism, and the NYSC scheme affords a sublime platform towards achieving this. This adventure prepares the mind, body and soul of graduates towards embarking on the outer world. Moreover, the scheme has been so designed to drill and improve the discipline of youths, through the mandatory three weeks of orientation camp. Furthermore, it does not require a stretch of the imagination to see that the NYSC programme has grossly provided employment opportunities for its many staff across the federation. Though the stats are not absolute, we know that thousands of people are gainfully employed by the scheme across the country. However, employment is not just limited to the NYSC officials. Some of the Corps members have found themselves as adhoc staff and officials during such programmes such as census and elections at all levels. Suffice it to say, some corps members have found meaningful employment in their states of service after their programme. Thus, the examples of corps members that have found employment after service at their posting states, is too numerous to rehash here. This has dual benefits. One, it solves the unemployment puzzle to an extent, and improves the Gross Development Product (GDP) of the state in question. Consequently, the NYSC scheme has truly helped in terms of population redistribution. As a nation, some states would have further suffered from population congestion, if not for the NYSC scheme. The scheme ensures that youths are evenly distributed. Hence, reducing the growing menace of population explosion witnessed in some states. As a scheme that is truly pragmatic, the NYSC programme has evolved some restructuring and implemented innovations to improve it. One of such is the entrepreneurial initiative being introduced in all the orientation camps across the federation. This training has armed youths on knowledge on how to not just be job seekers, but also job employers. Some of these trainings include bead making, soap making, tailoring, shoe making, barbing etc. It is salient to mention that the scheme has also been refocused under the dynamic and effective leadership of Brid. General Okorie Affia to meet four pertinent sectors of the nation. These are education, health, agriculture and rural development. The scheme has also introduced distress phone calls lines to increase efficient communication between corps members and officials across the nation. Having said that, there is still room for improvement for the NYSC scheme to ensure greater output. Security of Corps members should always be a priority and more pragmatic ways to improve the programme must be encouraged. Any calls from different quarters to dismiss the scheme must be vehemently kicked against. In conclusion, thumbs up to the NYSC scheme for forty remarkable, outstanding, and illustrious years. Long may it continue!

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