I remember vividly when it was announced that the services of NYSC members will be employed during the election process, I listened in on a program on Smooth FM 98.1 where one lady vehemently disagreed that they should not be used because of the fear of ‘post-election violence’, she also argued that these were fresh inexperienced (and mostly really young) graduates, some even came from abroad to fulfill this mandatory duty, and if they have no ‘allegiance’ so to speak, to the Nation of Nigeria, why would they be expected to whole heartedly discharge this very important duty? While she was not predicting post-election violence even then, we all know the reputation of some Nigerians where elections are concerned. If something does not happen the way they feel it should, there would either be bombings or shooting or machetting; in short: death! It is just history, unfortunately.
Needless to say, the young lady (I forget her name now) was so right! Today, true to form, we are mourning, amongst many others, young men and women whose lives have been abruptly cut short.
I never served, so I do not know if I would have enjoyed it or not, but while some hated it and called it a waste of a year of their lives, others love it; that (very drab, if you ask me!) uniform just made them have a sense of purpose!
Unfortunately because of these deaths, (though this is not the first time corpers have lost their lives in their areas of posting) attention is now finally on yet one more aspect of the country that needs fixing as a matter of urgency. Gowon created the scheme in ‘a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war… with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity". And also ‘it 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.’ In fact, shey the Scheme even support NYSC members who meet and marry someone from another state on camp, abi? You would agree that the idea behind it is laudable, however, the implementation process nko? Things got worse as the years passed…difficulties experienced in camps, difficulty getting ‘good’ posting, in fact, people with the longer legs got the best posting, post-NYSC is another issue because there are no jobs waiting (depending on which category you fall of course: leg, no leg, long/longer leg!). We will not go through all the issue surrounding this so-called National Duty.
I do not know if the solution lies in out rightly scrapping the scheme. I am pretty sure some people have gained from having served, but what percentage of people as opposed to those who can only recount tales of woe? Perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board and have another look: How has the scheme fared? How far have we moved away from the vision? Is it achieving its aim or not? Off the top of our heads, we would say a resounding NO, of course, and unfortunately for the Nigeria I know, no matter what the government promises, it may not get better, biko note I said may oh. But determination can move any seemingly insurmountable mountain. It only means finding the right person whose sole aim is to make it better, not to enrich himself in the process! Dora at Nafdac deserves commendation after all., so it is do-able.
I join in mourning the deaths of every single person who died during that violence, the God that I serve is loving but He is also a God of justice and will visit evil upon those who take pleasure in it. Because they love ‘cursing, so shall it come upon them, because they hate blessing, it shall be far from them!’ (Ps. 109) and much more. Na God word.
God help us...as we strive to be free...