Nigerian government should scrap off the National Youth Service Corps Program – NYSC.
I made contact with some corp members who served in Akure, to enquire about their service year and how they had fared in the environment but I was ashamed of what they told me.
According to the first respondent, she said; ”This is the worst moment of my life. I was posted to a hospital for my primary place of assignments even though I did not study anything related to medicine. I studied sociologist. Initially, I found it unacceptable but after several efforts to change my primary place of assignments which turned futile, I decided to stay and spend the eleven months I had left.”
”It turned out to be the worst decision I ever made. My job description wasn’t specified. I would stay in the hospital all day doing nothing meaningful. I am as good as a messenger because that’s what I did all through my service year. I wished I never served because there was really nothing new that I learned other than running errands.” She concluded.
That was really unacceptable. I could imagine an environment like that. If a graduate spends 4 – 5 years in the university to be a messenger during NYSC, then I don’t think the program is doing anything to impact our fresh graduate. When you think about the labour market, the rate of unemployment, then NYSC is actually not helping fresh graduates in such situations.
I tried to broaden my research. I spoke to another corp member in Oyo state. I asked after his service year and what impact the program had on him. His response knocked me off my feet.
He said, ”NYSC na scam (meaning NYSC is a scam). I was posted to a church. When I met with the pastor to discuss my role, he told me I would act as an usher in his church on Sundays. He asked if I could play musical instruments, so I can join his choir band. I was really disappointed. This is not the life that I want. He even insisted that I must attend his church and come for weekly programs and vigils.”
I asked if he complained and asked for a change in the primary place of assignments. His response once again was really shocking. In fact, it was his response that made me draw this conclusion that – NYSC should be scrapped.
He told me, ”I met with my LI, that is, Local Government Inspector, and asked for a change. He told me to endure that the program is almost over. I tried to let him know what I studied is nowhere related to what I am doing over there. How do you expect a Chemical Engineering graduate to be working in a church as an usher and choir? I’d even clean the chairs and mop the floor of the church auditorium. Then get 5000 naira at the end of the month. This is really unbelievable and ridiculous. I later discovered that the pastor is somehow close to LI and he settles him to get corp members posted to his church. NYSC na scam!” He concluded.
I was really sad for the country. The youths are the future but what are we doing to raise them? We are too spiritual.
We do little or nothing when it comes to developing our youths which are the future, how do you expect them to be productive? How will the rate of unemployment be reduced?
It’s a shame when things like this happen. I was in the labour market for one year, looking for a job but I never got any. It was actually my talent that made way for me. If not, I would definitely still be unemployed hoping that my certificate would help me find a job one day.
Is it not a big disgrace to the nation when an LI says, ”use your service year to serve God by working in a church cleaning the floors and running errands for pastors.”
Common on! We all need to do better. There are better programs our fresh graduates can learn and become self-employed. Our government needs to start investing in this type of program.
Why not scrapped off NYSC totally and give them the one year allawee?
That seems better to me than to deploy fresh graduates into an environment that’s not helping them grow or adding valuable skill sets to their lives.
As much as I know that working for God pays well, but it’s not by doing useless works in churches. There are many ways to serve God without having to make anyone feel compelled to do so. The problem we have in the country is – ”We pray when we ought to use the brain and use the brain when we ought to pray.”
Remember, we are in the 21st century and it is only those who can think creatively that will survive the global economic crisis.