Every year, billions of Naira are budgeted for Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) but like most agencies in Nigeria, it appears that top officials of the NYSC scheme rather embezzle most of these monies and leave our fresh graduates with very sad experiences that never leave their memories till death.
From foods not fit for dogs to lodging facilities that are not up to the standard of an average prison yard, the NYSC management has steadily eroded the objective of the scheme, which is primarily aimed at fostering a patriotic spirit in young Nigerians.
Probably, the earlier days of the scheme met the objective but in recent years, the scheme has served to further worsen the apathy of young Nigerians towards the country, as most of them come out with very bitter experiences to share about the scheme.
Not too long ago, I got a distress call from a friend and senior brother, who is an APC bigwig from my place. He complained bitterly about how a younger friend of his who is participating in the scheme in Bauchi State has been in the NYSC clinic for days now and the physicians at the clinic only administer paracetamol to him, even though he has diarrhea.
The young man’s sister who is serving in Kwara is also having the same sad experience, as she has been in the camp clinic zoo, and even though her complaints point to probable flu or infections, she is only given paracetamol.
Fostering patriotism in a nation goes beyond bringing youths to an environment where they have opportunities to interact with people of various cultures and languages, taking deliberate steps to ensure the comfort of these corpers is fundamental to earning their confidence in the Nigerian nation.
Different nations have different ways of ensuring that their youths are indoctrinated into nationalism. In most countries, youths within certain age brackets are required to make themselves available for mandatory military service.
The most popular K-Pop group in Asia, the BTS currently undergoing mandatory military service, hence had to put their already very successful musical career on hold. That’s how important the scheme is to the nation and the fact that this group and other relatively successful young people still have to suspend their careers to participate in this scheme also speaks to how impactful the scheme has been over the years.
The NYSC management should consider their duty very strategic in building a nation of patriots rather than handling it like normal Nigerian jobs, where anything goes. This is about the last opportunity most Nigerian graduates have to be given reasons for believing in their nation.
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Subjecting them to ugly experiences such as those narrated by these young souls at different NYSC camps would rather increase the ranks of dissatisfied youths who would come out to join the already bloated army of “anti-Nigerians” who do not believe that Nigeria is worth their love or loyalty.
- Credit: ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
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