Am almost done with my National Youth Corp program in Nigeria, for those that have no idea what that means, the National Youth Corps program (NYSC) is a program designed for all Nigerian graduates home and abroad within the ages of 18- 30 to serve by accepting to be posted to different parts of the country to share what they have learnt in school, impact on the society which they find themselves and also learn from that particular society.
Nice, ehn! Yeah it is and along with that you will be paid #19, 800 by the government at the end of every month. So am almost done but am really scared, the fear lives with me every passing day as the reality of the end of this program dawns on me.
This fear also applies to over 100,000 Nigerian graduates in different parts of the country but the question you want to ask is, why are we afraid? For the majority of us, the answer is simple; we are scared, because we are unable to answer the question; what happens after NYSC? Let me narrate my experience to you.
Some day ago, I met this fellow who had passed out of the program and on seeing him; he was looking so dejected and stressed out. So, I approached him and we talked, I asked about his job , he said he was still seeking for one , which was the obvious reason he was exhausted. Then he lamented about missing the #19,800 allowance. one thing is for sure, the Nigerian government never jokes with the corper’s allowance. It is paid promptly every month. So we talked a while and then he left to continue the job of Job seeking because it is a job itself and I stood here, with all kind of thoughts running through my head, with the question of, what happens after? Still “echoing “in my thoughts.
Then again, I saw an old school mate of mine ( he was not serving because he was above 30) days after meeting the ex-corper, although he didn’t see me but I noticed he was carrying a file with lots of documents in it, and for a minute I paused on the road , because I knew that was certainly his CV, how do I know? You just know a job seeker when you see one, don’t you?
Ok let’s say it was, so I paused and memories of our universities days came rushing back, and by the time I got to where I was going I was dejected and asked myself, which way for the Nigerian youth corper, whose parents or who independently struggled to go to the university and finished with a second class degree or a first class or worse a second class lower degree.
To be frank, Most Nigerian youth in senior secondary school and tertiary institution always relish the moment they would also serve their fatherland ( that's what most people call the process) but when they get to the NYSC that’s when the true reality hits them. The program is a bloody waste of time! At least this is what most people say at the beginning until the last 100 days of the program when the fear of having to return home with no Job and NO #19, 800 which is essentially the most important for most corpers in the country.
In the first 90 days, the fear is strong, and the question, a corper begins to ask, what next after Nysc? In the second 60 days, the fear grows stronger, and the question changes, where can I find a job?
On the last day, the fear along with memories form an accord in the corper’s mind, he is scared but not for long as the last month of the service of a corper is one of the happiest days of his service year because in the final month, he would get double his allowance. Why? It is the procedure to pay the allowance for the last month in a new month, so allowance of the last month is going to be paid alongside the allowance of the new month. So the euphoria of completing the service and the double allowance weakens the fear until he boards a bus headed for home. Then all thoughts of the double allowance vanishes , replaced by the true meaning of finishing the service year which essentially mean Joblessness for most and that is one thing any serious corper does not want. So which way, Nigeria, does the corper go? Before I conclude, this final part is addressed to the federal government; please you need to gauge the relevance of this thing, what revenue has it brought in ? What expenditure has it incurred for the country? What effect has this service had on us and the country as a whole? Seriously to scrap the program is indeed out of the question! If you are reading this and you are new corper, you might disagree but when you approach the final days of your service you would understand what am saying. Scrapping the program will only create more jobless people, because the staffs and people who worked for the program also depend on the service every year.
So, government get that cabinet together and think! The Nysc has an advantage, it is the assemblage of almost every educated youths in the country and abroad (even those that went to Benin and Cotonou institutions).
Recommendations Consider the program as an opportunity to reduce unemployment and am not talking about SAED, that is a complete joke, and a waste of time because in my opinion, the program which is expected to empower youths is actually a fraudulent money-making scheme.
What is the essence of a SAED which the government cannot fund, instead corpers are made to pay from the meager yet important allowance which they collect. How is it really empowering them, when you teach a person such handiwork such as tailoring for 3 months and conclude you have empowered somebody? Please scrap this program! and hold a conference of National youth corps, in fact a live television discussion across various parts of the country where you would only hear their views and note it down , then deliberate on it or invite representatives of each states every year to get the ideas, wants and dreams for Nigeria and themselves. Also sponsor project by some of these youth corps who are geniuses, in fact retain them. Don’t leave these guys to waste away and veer off into the arena of Joblessness, because it kills talent! The NYSC in fact should be a program that should be held in high esteem by both state and federal government and local government It shouldn’t be a viewed as a program where youths are just sent off to somewhere and given an allowance at the end of the month. We have to review the ideology that surrounds the program, other than the “Unity in diversity” clause, how can the NYSC help the country? Has it contributed to the country? What can be done to reduce this unemployment? To be frank, it is a fact, if you can settle the issue of Joblessness of corpers, the Job question/ dilemma of Nigeria is half solved. So to my fellow youth corpers, what do we do? As a corper , all I can do is implore you guys not to give up even though the pressure threatens to break you to do certain things to meet up with the standards your society, family and friends expect you to meet. Please don’t do Yahoo Yahoo! Don’t hasten to make money, because remember this line “money slow to enter money quick to go” Just work hard but work smart!!! To be frank, most of us find it hard to learn a trade, all we want is a white-collar job and am not against it but take this with you, take opportunity to learn what you can and please be humble because it is a perquisite to success. Now over to you, Nigerians especially those reading this, who have a job or who have an idea on how to help these corpers Please drop a comment or reply to this article, we would surely forward it to the right authorities and hopefully they listen.
So drop your recommendations.