The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program is a compulsory military service for Nigerian graduates under the age of 30. The program has become the center of debate amongst Nigerians, as to whether it has outlived its course and purpose. One school of thought is demanding for an end to the program, another school of thought deems that the NYSC program simply requires a couple of adjustments in its operations and procedures.
Having taken time out to analyze these respective perspectives, latter school of thought is more likely to get the attention of government and respective authorities. There are reasons as to why this would be the case, reasons such as;
- The NYSC program is a decree enrooted in the constitution of Nigeria. By decree No.24 of 22nd of May 1973, the National Youth Service Corps was established “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”. The program is strongly backed by the constitution of the country and bearing in mind how difficult it is to make constitutional amendments in a third world country such as Nigeria, an end to the program does not seem to be in sight.
- The NYSC program was created with the intention of reconstructing and rebuilding the nation after the Nigerian civil war. The Nigerian civil war remains enormously significant till date and the government is still on the path of reconciliation of all geo political zones around the country. Obviously the country has moved on from the ugly incidence of the war, but there are agitations amongst some sectors across the country as some feel they are still not satisfied with the political structure and organization of resources in Nigeria. The NYSC program involves sending youths from various areas of the nation to states quite distant from theirs, thus providing a platform for the interpolation of different cultural backgrounds. This would definitely foster peace and unity, all things being equal.
- Some Other countries worldwide (including third world countries) also have in place, a compulsory military service program, and it’s working perfectly for them. The NYSC program is Nigeria’s compulsory military service in this regards. Countries such as North Korea, South Korea, Denmark, Austria, Ukraine, Turkey, Tunisia, and even the likes of Israel and United Arab Emirates, in spite of deep religious backgrounds, all have a compulsory military service program in place. These countries have various reasons as to why such service is compulsory and must not be avoided by any citizen, asides in exceptional cases. For instance, the South Korean government does not make the program compulsory for sportsmen and women that participate in continental or global competitions and win gold.
Benefits Of NYSC Program In Nigeria
The NYSC program also has lots of benefits for its participants and officials as well. Asides promoting national unity,
- it upholds the military force and provides beneficial skills for both participants and officials.
- The government is also actively involved in the program, which is not something we get to say everyday about the Nigerian government. There is also an obvious sense of belonging and equality amongst participants.
- The program also provides employment opportunities for its officials, and some participants also get their life jobs from this program during the course of serving the nation.
These are reasons why scrapping or ending the NYSC program might be too much of a request. People with the perspective of the program being scrapped would give reasons such as desecration of free will, interference with other forms of education, putting lives of participants at risks; amongst others as some of the reasons why the program should be scrapped, but all these issues can be properly addressed with a couple of reforms in the NYSC syllabus, an end to the program does not seem to be in sight.