It is no doubt that the history of our country since independence has clearly indicated the need for unity amongst our people in all ramifications and in every sense of human endeavor. The demonstrated fact that no cultural or geographical entity can exist in isolation paved way for the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme (NYSC) scheme, which was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war.
The General Yakubu Gowon regime in 1973 capitalized on the unfortunate antecedents to establish the NYSC, which is one of the functional national schemes today.
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Gowon’s priority to ensure peace, unity and national progress after the war consequently gave rise to the birth of the scheme. Undeniably, the establishment of the scheme materialized in the reconstruction agenda of the then government for the fact that it projected the reality of a united, strong and self-reliant nation. The NYSC scheme actually solved the disunity problem, which was the major issue in the Nigerian polity. However, the scheme is not loudly applauded today in the sense that issues in the Gowon military era, which over time have become secondary problems of the country is being prioritized by the scheme instead of focusing on the primary problem of the country, which is unemployment.
Yes, the youths have answered the clarion call to serve their fatherland under the sun or in the rain but how about their future? Should they go to their villages after the service, empty-handed?
What then is the benefit of risking one’s life in a strange land without enough food? How can the youths do better when they are aware of what will encroach them after service year? What and where are the dividends of serving a father at a youthful stage? I expect the Federal Government to deal with these and many more questions and use the scheme to address if really the government has the interest of the youths at heart.
The number of graduates is increasing rapidly on daily basis in Nigeria so also the number of unemployed youths. I begin to wonder if the government is pro-actively ready to limit the ever-growing number of the graduates.
After the 21 days of NYSC orientation programme, the government should use the over N700,000 that is budgeted for a corps member per year to make them financially independent by settling them to start any business of their choice afterwards. If this is done 70 percent of the students that graduate yearly will become financially viable and through that, the primary problem of the country, which is unemployment will be drastically reduced. Until this is done the Nigerian youths will continue to lose the benefits from the NYSC scheme.