What proposed scrapping of NYSC entails
The sanctity of life in Nigeria has long lost its sacrosanct. It makes no news anymore when supposedly precious lives of say 30,40 or minimally 50 able body souls are cut shut either by the dastardly acts of the daredevil bandits, kidnappers, Fulani killer herdsmen, fatal commuter/vehicular accidents or inexplicable tanker (with high inflammable liquid) explosions.
Sharp turnaround to the present topic under discourse…but still not totally disconnected: The hitherto national program that any graduating high school student institutions yearn to experience or experiment is heading to the brick wall, the boundary. If all things become equal, by this time next year, at most, it will be referred to as the defunct NYSC.
The most enduring post-Nigeria-Biafra civil war efforts to enliven the spirit of the letters of the 3Rs (Reconciliation and Reintegration Reconstruction) and which is arguably efficient is the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). It was established by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon on May 22, 1973, under Decree No. 24 of 1973 as a way of accomplishing the set goals encapsulated in the 3Rs stated in the foregoing statement. The deadly Nigeria-Biafra war lasted between July 6, 1967, and January 15, 1970, and gulped millions of people’s lives at both sides but especially Biafra’s. Barely 55 years down the drain, what instigated that ravaging internecine war and which Aburi Accord was billed to permanently put paid to, largely remains unresolved till date. However, the matter at hand now, specifically speaking is about how to engage the disintegration process and the scrapping proposal of the NYSC structure is considered by the left-wingers at the lower chamber (House of Reps) as a requisite tall order undertaking.
Interestingly, the sponsor of the bill Mr Awaji-Inombek Abiant is not struggling too hard to lobby or convince his colleagues who are ever willing and disposed, as the motion has passed the second reading. Just about the same material period, the Southern Nigeria State Governors had on May 11 2021 convened a meeting in Asaba in what is now called the Asaba Declaration in Delta State in their concerted efforts to find strategic solutions to the rising security challenges confronting Nigeria which tellingly could tear the now distress nation asunder.
Even such authentic intervention communique has been fervently and instantly demurred by the presidency, unsurprisingly though. The hitherto tacit or unspoken support of the Nigeria presidency to a certain group of privately owned cattle rearing businessmen notoriously known for challenging state government authority policies is now an open secret reality. Be that as it may, only time will adjudge the double-speaking stance and posture of our incumbent political leadership, if, as it were, goodwill ultimately be conquered by evil or as always the reverse is sustained.
The scrapping of NYSC may be expedient and the now ensued process deserving to be expedited. Being a necessary evil to rubbish a brainchild patriotic institution of the then military President Yakubu Gowon bequeathed to Nigerians three years after the fratricidal war and which was meant to gain mutual reintegration across the land, is strongly gaining momentum. The alibi adduced by the promoter of the bill is both tenable and cogent.
In a nutshell, he remonstrates the fact that the abject disregard for the lives of unsuspecting corps members involving incessant killings either by the bandits, triggers of ethnic crisis or violent religious extremism, unremitting kidnapping that is peculiarly focused on these national youth representatives across the federation and other unheard-of atrocities meted out to these innocent segments of the nation’s burgeoning population, must not be allowed to continue, unchecked. Moreover, he bemoans the practice that “public and private agencies/departments are no longer recruiting able and qualified Nigerian youths, thus relying heavily on the availability of corps members who are not being well remunerated and get discarded with impunity at the end of their service year without any hope of being gainfully employed.” As if his lamentations are without limits, he goes on to lambaste the escalation of insecurity engulfing the length and breadth of what used to be a peaceful country whereby the resultant effect being “the National Youth Service Corps management now gives considerations to posting corps members to their geopolitical zone, thus defeating one of the objectives of setting up the service corps, i.e developing common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration.”
A critical consideration of these heavy existential matters of concern will expose the rot in the system and the infiltration of the mixed multitude of weeds among the wheat residents in our society. Most importantly, these perplexing realities need not be trivialized or handled with any sense of insouciance or lethargy but with a deliberate and diligent approach that it deserves. Perhaps, an example of that is indeed the already bold step embarked on by the concerned Nigeria House of Representatives member geared to preempt the moves of the bloodthirsty troublers and terrorists of Nigeria State. But this may just be part of what needs to be reviewed with the intent to crumble it conclusively as an establishment that has deviated from its primary purpose of programming, ab initio. If the lives of our vibrant youths, of whether the Southern or Northern extractions, will be sniffed out like some tobacco smokes evaporate into the sky, then we can as well in unison trash any platform that provides the room for such self-imposed terminal punishment.
We cannot continue to self induce ourselves with this sort of corporal and mortal affliction and still hypocritically claim to be pursuing a Nigeria Project of an indivisible entity. If we cannot embark on an instant restructuring process of the current status, state and system operational in Nigeria, I bet the hardiest bigot that, with the pace of incidences of random crisis here and there, Nigeria will doubtfully survive the next couple of months as one united nation. It is not my wish, but by default, the ugly skirmishes developments loudly declare this with verifiable proof.
If the government is not truly a reactionary regime, then it behoves the accountable handlers of governance to take proactive measures to forestall a total breakout of law and order while deescalating tension that is steadily yet rapidly overwhelming what used to be a cynosure of all eyes in the comity of nation.
Before it becomes a banana republic enclave when or where illegality becomes the social norm and malpractices and embezzlement is endorsed fiscal ethics, a responsible government must stamp their feet on the ground and matching their words with actions, arrest the situation in good time.
Without endeavoring to conclude what has become an ongoing brainstorming subject and task running until we know peace, a lasting peace, let me drive this point home, sorry to our hearts centers. The writing off or jettiosining of NYSC is a child play compared to the impending national upheaval that, if proper administration of fair justice, equity and accountability is not seen and known to be rendered and prevail over the present practices of nepotism, cronyism and sectarianism, then as we say in Nigeria parlance, ‘kasala go burst.’
Apparently, even as we speak, things are no longer well with our beloved nation. She is besieged and invaded and the current president has no compunction whatsoever to admit and announce it at the global space any given opportunity as if he is selfly crediting himself with good performance that foreign mercenary flocking from the Sahel, beset us. Such weeping approbation is repugnant as it is abhorrent. While the sane nations are competing with each other on who sets the record relocating to other human habitable planets, this our estranged brothers yet burdensome sect of self-acclaimed political leadership birthright yanked upon the resourceful others by the selfish covetous and colonial taskmaster – Britain; coupled with other worthwhile projects resolutely pursued by these other nations of sound minds, we are here beating about the bush or as Igbo unethical and disparaging saying says, ‘ina aru aka n’ike ma na esi ya n’imi.’ It all denotes engaging in fruitless and worthless ventures. The young Nigerians are naively expectant of a greater future.
The youths are halting between two opinions, whether to undertake. The adults have realized their past mistakes and want to remedy the same. But the geriatric, I mean the elderly, statesmanly and gracefully advanced in age parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties are imploring for necessary cautions to calm nerves and tensions. Can we bequeath them wholesome and blissful passage to the great beyond while we enjoy the earthly portion of that blessedness on this part of the eternity doing the needful things dutifully? Yes, we can and so let it be!
Orajiaku freelance journalist and social activist
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