The question 'should NYSC be scrapped' has been a potent topic among corp members with divergent views and opinions from them. On the 7th of April, 2016 during the debriefing of the 2015 batch A outgoing corp members at Ohafia zone, Abia state. This question was one of the issues raised at the event which was organised to get feedback from the corpers to the National Youth Service Corps Management.
I was almost late but fortunate enough to meet a corp member serving at Arochukwu L.G rounding up his speech with the saying "for every business you venture into, you always expect a return", as a justification of the fact that the NYSC is " Bad business" for the government, because, despite the resources allocated in paying for corpers welfare, there is no return for the government, the corper said.
On hearing this statement, I was shocked, i could count several reasons why NYSC should not be scrapped,
Also, i was furious at what the corp member said in concluding his speech, i felt he only considered the material return to the government and not the greater good of all. I was almost going to stand up and counter him in rage when the second speaker was called upon.
The second speaker, a foreign graduate serving at Isikwato L. G, started by saying "The fact that our education system is bad, does it mean it should be scrapped? " and he went ahead to outline how the program fostered in him the spirit of unity by bringing him in contact with different people of different ethnical background in Nigeria and how to relate with them as well as tolerate them.
How NYSC has made it possible for him to be able to feel the pain of others, for instance, he made mention of how badly lacking his place of primary assignment(PPA) is, how he had not experienced power failure where he came from and had to learn to cope in his PPA which is constantly in darkness, how the experience has given him the opportunity to witness firsthand the hardship of the people and put him in a better position to serve them, because, you can't serve well if you don't understand the pains and aspirations of the people you are meant to serve.
These statements by the two speakers made me think about the Nigerian value system. The Nigerian graduate from foreign university has more respect, belief and appreciation for our notion of "Unity in diversity" and he's willing to preserve it.
Also, he understands the notion of "service and humility" and how service to humanity is for the greater good.
While the Nigerian graduate from a Nigerian university, though talked about the risk associated with being deployed to an unknown and faraway state, concluded by stating the point about the lack of return(material) to the government, also tagging it a waste of time thereby ignoring the main objective of the program which is service to humanity.
This made me conclude that Nigerians abroad tend to appreciate the notion of "One Nigeria" and are more patriotic more than Nigerians living within Nigeria. The Nigerian society is so corrupt and polluted to the extent that people no longer perform their responsibility to the government and do not expect from the government due to the fact that few people amass wealth at the detriment of the majority and the situation where every man for himself and exploitation of the weak and poor has become an official thing.
In my opinion, i think the same way we can not scrap our educational sector and health sector just for being inefficient, we can not scrap NYSC.
The National youth service corps is still one of those programs that hold Nigerian youths together and groom them for leadership positions despite its deficiencies and the youths as we all know are the engines of the society as well as our future leaders and i say "Long live NYSC, long live Nigeria".
Your comments will be highly appreciated.