Today we commemorate that golden festival. National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was established in 1973 by the military government of General Yakubu Gowon. Founded just three years after the end of the civil war, it was founded to heal the wounds of a war-torn country by promoting unity, integration and solidarity among its people. A fratricidal conflict between the then Eastern Region and Nigeria from 1967 to 1970. In his Decree No. 24 of May 22, 1973, which established NYSC, its goals were specifically stated: Cultural and social background. ”
The legal framework has since mobilized every university graduate in the country for a year of compulsory national service in a state other than their home state. Out of a student population of 17,750, he pioneered 2,300 youth recruits at a time when there were only six colleges. University of Nigeria Nsukka. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Ife; University of Lagos; and University of Benin. According to Youth and Sports Minister Sunday Dare, the number of sets in 1973/74 “increased from 350,000 to 400,000 a year”.
A day like this is an opportunity to reflect on the journey so far. There is no doubt that the program was a success. Many states have found a source of cheap annual labor through this system, especially schoolteachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, pharmacists, and other professionals, many of whom are located in rural areas that do not normally attract workers. often placed. NYSC is also a treasure trove of personnel for elections, the Census, and the National Immunization Program. For example, in the 2023 general election, 200,000 YMA members served as temporary election commissioners, accounting for 75 percent of the personnel sent to national missions.
Conversely, the continuation of the plan is seriously threatened by challenges, and some Nigerians continue to argue that the plan has passed its usefulness and should be scrapped. Lack of adequate funding for the NYSC program is a major problem. Currently, in Nigerian universities he has 1,855,261 undergraduates expected to receive this service sooner or later. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved 37 new private universities in the country, bringing the total number of public and private universities to 258 as of last Wednesday, a figure that will continue to grow. . The number of students from abroad and polytechnics will continue to surge.
Corruption in NYSC and university operations has crippled the plan. Amid mounting unemployment, non-graduates are often mobilized for service by corrupt university officials in order to receive monthly allowances for those who do not qualify. The impact of this extortion on the program was so great that in 2017, NYSC Executive Director Brigadier General Shuab Ibrahim said, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) entered during a visit to President Ibrahim Magoo. “We are currently investigating some of those so-called alumni, and many of them cannot write or spell a word in English,” the NYSC director said.
On top of that, elite children decide where they are assigned through their parents. This is abuse and has been going on for years, made worse by the current wave of insecurity across the country. In some cases, these personnel complete an orientation program, are placed in their primary mission locations, and then disappear until it is time to receive their discharge certificate. These challenges, among others, have led to growing calls for the system to be now voluntary rather than mandatory in nature.
The early inclusion of National Education Certificate (NCE) graduates from the College of Education led to a sharp increase in the number of drafts for military service, forcing a rethink in 1985 on how to reduce this figure. rice field. It came into effect on August 1st of the same year. , persons over the age of 30, military and police personnel, officials of the National Security Agency, Nigerian Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and individuals awarded the National Medal of Honor were exempt from military service.
But this strategy has failed to curb the surge in illegal university enrollment. Education Minister Adam Adam, under pressure from his vice-chancellor and parents, must normalize enrollment for the nearly one million students who have already graduated in April 2022 and make them eligible for military service. did not become. At the stakeholder meeting, the minister said, “We have approved that all illegal admissions from 2017 to 2022 will be tolerated as long as such candidates meet the minimum admission requirements in the various courses of study. ‘ said. A graduate may wait three years or more before being mobilized after graduation. These are abuses of epic proportions, stressors that are detrimental to existence and require more proper handling than Adam’s recipe.
With the federal government spending 96 percent of its revenues on debt servicing, it’s time to think outside the box about how to maintain, strengthen, and sustain the relevance of NYSC. Voluntary enlistment, which is currently being recruited, is a highly recommended option in itself. Nigeria is not the only country with such youth programs. We could learn something good from Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Chile, Taiwan and others with similar plans to improve our plans.
In many of these countries, enlistment is highly competitive or most lucrative. There are 85,000 vacancies in Malaysia for the three-month program, and the selection is done by lottery. In Chile, doctors, engineers and lawyers are selected as experts through a competition and sent to rural areas for poverty reduction in rural areas for 13 months. In Israel, men and women have three and two years respectively, and only 18-year-old secularists can undergo military training. Recruitment is done through tests and interviews.
This plan, currently in operation, needs a drastic overhaul to survive. A visit to several orientation camps across the state tells stories of neglected and miserable state institutions. Many states no longer provide legal support for the scheme in maintaining orientation camps. Former Executive Director Sachari Kazaure was heartbroken by his negligence when visiting the Ikpata camp in Kwara state several years ago, exclaiming: Nothing to write home about. The camp had no fences and was an unsightly sight of dilapidated buildings, inadequate beds, poor roads and dilapidated equipment.
national discipline. Compliance with Laws, Rules and Regulations. And punishment for misbehavior is an irredeemable condition that must be strictly adhered to by all stakeholders in the years to come in order for this plan to survive. Reducing the number of participants by a well-thought-out set of criteria would greatly address the funding crisis and enhance the welfare of our personnel. With inflationary pressure mounting in the country, the current monthly allowance of 33,000 naira is not enough to take care of youth corps members. If the corps’ welfare is well arranged, they will do their best for the country.
For these reasons, the introduction of the NYSC Trust Fund Bill to the House is a welcome idea. It aims to fund more of the scheme through 1% of corporate profits. This will help scale up NYSC’s Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Department (SAED), which is dedicated to training operatives for self-reliance after national service.
According to the 2018 National Personnel Audit Report, there is a shortfall of 277,537 teachers in the country in basic education from primary to the first three years of secondary education. It will be a tragedy for education in Nigeria. teachers.
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