Why NYSC orientation camp should not be suspended

by Sanjo

The decision to reverse or tamper with any part of a national program is a very sensitive one that requires deep thinking and reflection. Historical perspective rightly provides us an insight and ideas behind any establishment or creation.

Despite being the only living asset this country has bequeathed its youth, it is incomprehensible that the Economic Sustainability Committee headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo will recommend that the NYSC orientation camp to be suspended for, at least, 24 months.

Formation of NYSC remains one good development that has kept us running as one Nigeria. Therefore, calling for suspension of first and one of its four cardinal programs amounts to erasure; a way of saying NYSC is no longer needed.

How come we are pushing hard to suspend a pivotal part of the only scheme that has given graduates across Nigeria institutions of higher learning the opportunity to see beyond their immediate societies, inculcate other peoples’ ways of life and contribute their quota to the fatherland?

While it is understandable that the coronavirus pandemic is currently shaking the world and has in fact crippled our economy in no small way, but it is still not enough to sacrifice the future of our youths on the altar of economic downturn.

Although, long before now, the scheme has met with barrage of criticisms from some Nigerians, citing the fact that the program has failed to achieve any of its set objectives.

Some have pointed out the number of corps members killed in the regions they were sent to due to ethnic and religious violence; others claim that it is now an avenue for massive corruption by government officials.

We can still map out sustainable ideas to bridge the gap of failure and negligence which the scheme has suffered in the past, rather than want to tamper with it. There’s no such establishment without flaws; perhaps, it’s our collective responsibility to plaster the leakage in our national system, and to live up to expectations.

The orientation course is to familiarize corps members with the environment in their place of posting, toughen and prepare corps members physically for the task ahead, equip them with practical, social and leadership skills that will enable them with the challenges of the service year and the nation in future.

By the time the orientation course is suspended as recommended by the Osinbajo-led committee, none of the aforementioned objectives of the orientation course will be carried out, and corps members will be directly mobilized to their place of primary assignment, without basic knowledge of where they are being deployed to — of their culture, religion and differences.

The federal government and national stakeholders must not allow this to happen. If it does happen, we have directly bowed to the sustained the criticism of those Nigerians who see the scheme as total waste of time and a way of sending Nigerian graduates to meet their demise.

Abdulganeey Abiola Adeyemi,

Ilorin, Kwara State.

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