As it is with every new child, born in all parts of the world and in all religions; it is expected that the father gives the child a name. This name is mostly to depict, either circumstances surrounding the child’s birth, or whatever, maybe the reason as the Father thinks. This is not without the mother’s contribution.
In this case, the new child born on 22 May 1973, had only a parent – Father – who happened to be the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Rtd). Whoever that suggested the name of the child is still unknown to this writer. The child’s name is the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC.
The meaning and the intention of the name given to the child, National Youths Service Corps, was because of the circumstance that happened before the child’s birth. The nation had just survived a 30 months civil war, from 1967 to 1970. A war, it was thought, would require police action and a maximum of 3 days, took almost 3 years. It ended in no victor no vanquished.
If you pick the National Youths Service Act, Cap N84, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. In section 1, subsection 2, paragraph, A, B and C; it stated the objectives, why the Father of NYSC, formed the programme, “UNITY”.
Enough of all these, let us go to the main issue of this write-up. That the reason for the formation of all the NYSC, was unity, is one of the lies our leaders continue to tell over decades. This is because; Nigerians not minding our ethnic differences are united. In the everyday life of ordinary Nigerians, there is harmonious relationship sans ethnic bias. The market exchange explains this harmonious relationship clearly.
Leadership continues to be Nigeria’s problem. The idea of posting “Corpers” outside their states and ethnic origin for integration and unity purpose has not worked. Are corps members not at liberty, to redeploy from such states, particularly northern Nigeria, citing security reasons? The extent of insecurity in Nigeria is a product of leaders’ lack of political will. Achebe concluded, the problem with Nigeria is Leadership.
NYSC has come to stay. Every corps member, graduates, guardians and parents now see NYSC from what it is. NYSC is a program that caps and certifies every Nigerian graduate as one. The idea of the programme, “UNITY”, is false. Nigerians are ever united. Since, all the deceptive modus-operandi is no longer working effectively. We cannot throw away the birth water with the child; hence, the need for new NYSC. The new NYSC will be restructured to impact the nation’s economy. Instead of wasted one year with no work; the new NYSC will create employers.
Let corps members be made to camp three weeks in orientation camps all over the nation. After that, whoever wants to serve in the state camped be optional. In the orientation camp, corps members should be made to choose a skill of their passion and comparative advantage. Their chosen skills should translate to their PPA. Kudos to the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), program launched in 2012. It should be compulsory.
Place of Primary Assignments (PPA), still puts into the minds of corps members – I will get work after service – syndrome. When there is no work anywhere. The works left are those kept by the same leaders for their children and immediate relations. SAED should serve as PPA for corps members. In the one year service; corps members should devote the time spent on PPAs to mastering their chosen skills to be employers and not job seekers. This will stop the mad rush to pay to be posted in places where they can be retained, whereas the reverse has been the case over the years. In the new NYSC, PPA should be abolished.
Community Development Service (CDS) should be retained, in the order, it is being practiced, weekly bases. It should, however, be defined as a mechanism for keeping an eye over the corps members to ensure everything is moving fine in the service year.
Aside from the allowance, – “allowee”- the Federal government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank of Industry (BOI) should make provision for loans. No interest, no collateral – except certificate of national service – five years term loan; which corps members will use to venture into establishing in the learned skills.
The government should also bring out a mechanism to monitor and support the startups. Taxes from federal, states, local governments, towns and others; the corps member should be exempted from it in the five years. This would ensure that the child, National Youths Service Corps impact, integrate and grows the nation.
Udeze Ekene, email@example.com