Today, 23rd of May 2018 makes it exactly a year since I embarked on my journey to Ondo State; Not for luxury or relaxation but to serve Nigeria.
I arrived NYSC Orietation, Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State with a lot of mixed feelings.
I was happy to have left the comfort of my parents, I was anxious because of the uncertainties I had staring in the face.
What does this one year have in stock for me? What does the future hold? These and many more questions cropped up in my mind.
After one year, all I could say is that NYSC was sort of a bittersweet experience for me.
Just like I had some some positives from the scheme from the scheme, I also have some reasons why I feel NYSC may be considered for scraping.
1) Poor Welfarism of corps members
From the orientation camp, to my place of primary assisgnment, welfarism of corps members was never given top priority.
Camp meals were awful. The tea we were served at camp was referred to as “dirty water” by a room mate; showing you the extent to how bad things were.
As per accommodation, I recall a senior official of NYSC telling me that – “No employer was under any obligation to provide accommodation after paying a stipend of 5000 naira”. I was left in awe.
Several thoughts went through my mind. So, what this official meant was that corps members were expected to leave their houses were they had places to put their heads for unknown places without any plans for their basic welfare.
Shelter is a basic need of life. I believe NYSC could do better.
Let me not talk about the 19,800. That one is a generational topic.. Lol
2) Nigeria and her Fraudulent tendencies
I had always heard of corruption stories as a Nigerian but i got exposed to corruption on a total new level.
The first form of corruption that left me dazed was the lobbying for posting to preferred areas.
I had 2 guys come to meet me asking me to bring little cash to influence my posting to the state capital.
Both sounded so confident! I really didn’t give them audience since I wasn’t really desperate about being at the state capital.
To my greatest shock, I came across both at the state capital before the end of my service year.
The second form of corruption I saw was what people called “GHOSTING”.
Ghosting is simply a process whereby corps members leave their places of primary assignments and go to other better organisations; receiving good pay while also receiving their monthly allowances.
This is in most cases not without the knowledge of some NYSC officials.
I looked forward to an exciting one year of service by young citizens of the country.
At least the first part of the primary purpose of NYSC is to inculcate in Nigerian Youths the spirit of SELFLESS SERVICE to the community.
So tell me, where is the selfless service where a corps member decides to ghost because he has some sort of influence with an NYSC official?
Truth be told, a mess has been made of the NYSC scheme by some of her officials and the corps members. A scraping of the scheme for the time being may not be out of place.
3) National Disunity
The second part of the purpose of NYSC states that it is “…to emphasize the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of all Nigerians, irrespective of cultural or social background”.
The NYSC scheme was established in 1977 against the backdrop of the civil war that had almost incapacitated the nation. Yakubu Gowon saw the scheme as the way to emphasize national unity.
Over forty years later and you ask yourself why the nation is as divided as it is today. Nigeria is divided along ethnic/tribal, religious and even social lines.
Without denying the fact that it would maybe have been worse than this if the scheme was not in place, one cannot also say who united we may have become if other alternatives/avenues were explored for national unity.
In all I do not try to paint the scheme in a bad light as I had stated earlier some positives from the scheme, I believe if these areas of the scheme cannot be addressed , then a total scrap of the scheme may not be a totally out of place.
As the saying goes, “It is foolishness to keep doing the same things and expect a different result”.
Kindly leave your thoughts in the comment box below.