By Willy Bantu
The Senate, on Wednesday, 26th of July, voted to remove the NYSC from the constitution. This bill does not mean the NYSC has been scrapped, it only seeks to remove it as a decree from the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This has once again raised a recurring issue amongst Nigerians, which is whether the federal government should scrap the scheme or not.
Happenings Magazine went round the streets of Lagos to seek the people’s opinion:
Edith Aboderin, Student
Yes, it should be scrapped because the one year should probably be used for something else, something better. The money they are giving them [19,800] should be gathered for a year and given to the graduates in one lump sum to set up a business or something else. Because to me that one year is a waste of time.
Gideon Agbaje, Student
I feel it should be scrapped because that one year exposes corps members to a lot of different things, like security threats and accidents when travelling to far regions to serve. Moreover, all the money the government uses for their uniforms, khaki, white and white, feeding corps members on camp, etc and “alawi” can be gathered and given to the graduates to start something in life.
Omorodion Otaru, Barrister
I don’t think it should be scrapped, even though some schools of thought believe it has long outlived its usefulness and essence. But it breeds unity. I schooled in the south, but NYSC made it possible for me to meet those who schooled in the North, East, etc and we blended and I learnt their culture and vice-versa. Though it can be restructured to maybe three or six months because 12 months is too long.
Daniel Dare, Corps Member
A couple of months back, before I went to camp I wanted it to be scrapped, but now, maybe I am a little selfish or biased because I am serving in Lagos, I don’t want it scrapped anymore. Although that is relative, because those who are serving in places like Taraba and Sokoto, who are not finding it funny at all might want it scrapped. NYSC has been a bridge between the university and corporate world. My PPA (Place of Primary Assignment) already gives me an insight of what is expected of me in the corporate system and it’s really engaging and I’ve learnt a lot of things. It is also an employment opportunity for a lot of people who get retained by their PPA after service. So it shouldn’t be scrapped, just restructured to make it better and moderate some of the excesses and make it more flexible.
Wale Adewusi, Banker
It shouldn’t be scrapped because it has brought Nigerians together in the sense that one person can go spend an entire year in a part of the country he has probably never been to before. And it promotes and encourages our unity in diversity, for example I schooled here in Lagos and I was posted to Imo State for my service. Till tomorrow, some of the people I met there still call me and we help each other when the need arises. So I don’t think it should be scrapped.
Odeh Emmanuel, Job-seeker
I don’t think it should be scrapped. It has some disadvantages, but the advantages are greater. Most especially the fact that I was able to work in some places I wouldn’t ordinarily have had access to if not for NYSC. Also, I met people who turned friends and may be of assistance to me in the future. I participated actively in CDS (Community Development Service) during my service year, which is a good thing because I was able to create an impact on the community where I was posted to.
Ngozi Esther Onwughara, Worker
I don’t think it should be scrapped completely because there is fun in it. I personally enjoyed my service year and I would relive it over and over again. But it should be scrapped in the North, people should not be posted to the North because of the security and insurgency issues. My younger sister is currently serving there and she says they hear explosions and gunshots at times, so we are constantly in a state of fear for her safety and panicking whenever we hear any negative news around where she is. So, Corps members should be posted to only places that are not volatile or prone to violence and insurgency for their safety.
Eunice Aigbokhan, Insurance broker
I don’t think it should be scrapped. It’s just that the objectives behind the scheme have been neglected. It should be restructured. I believe one of the objectives is to train graduates in their various courses of study. I have an experience and practical on what has been taught. So, they can have a stand and foresight on what lies ahead and be paid so they can also have something tangible after one year but the reverse is the case. It is annoying when, after studying engineering for five years you are told to go teach primary school pupils during service, as though it is charity service. That can be annoying. Not much experience can be gotten from that. My opinion though is that it shouldn’t be scrapped but remodelled.
Stella Oreke, Stylist
Yes, it should be scrapped. In fact, it should have been scrapped a long time ago because it’s just a monumental waste of time and resources. 80% of the money budgeted for youth development in Nigeria goes to financing the NYSC scheme, yet it has relatively no impact or effect on the nation. The NYSC scheme was initially set up for national integration, today that vision has changed but it seems that the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has not yet recognized this.
Magnus Aivgbokhaebo, Journalist
It should be scrapped because it is a waste of the country’s funds and resources. It has long outlived its essence and also adds little or no value to the economy.
What are your thoughts, should it be scrapped or not? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.