Here are the 12 things you need to know about NYSC, as written by Ekaete Bassey.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a programme set up by the government to involve graduates in nation-building and the development of the country.
Upon its creation, graduates of universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service Corps program for one year.
Below are 12 important facts you need to know about NYSC:
1. NYSC was created May 22nd, 1973 as an avenue for the reconciliation, reconstruction and rebuilding of the nation after the civil war.
2. The military regime of General Yakubu Gowon had established NYSC based on the decree No. 24 that states that the scheme was created “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity.”
3. Corps members (participants in the National Youth Service Scheme) are posted to states other than their state of origin where they are expected to mix with people from different ethnic groups, social and family backgrounds, and learn the culture of the indigenes in the location they are posted to.
This action is aimed at bringing about unity in the country and helping the youths appreciate other ethnic groups.
4. Meanwhile, graduate posting is done in three batches in the course of the year. We have the: Batch A, Batch B and Batch C.
5. To be eligible to participate in the compulsory one-year service, a graduate must be below 30 years upon graduation else he/she will be given a Certificate of Exemption, which is also equivalent to the NYSC Discharge Certificate.
Although a person who graduated before 30 years but skipped the service year, will still be eligible to serve even if he/she wants at the age of 60 since his/her certificate of graduation was dated before he/she clocked 30 years of age.
6. The National Youth Service Corps Year comprises of four (4) main segments in which every corps member must satisfactorily participate before he/she is qualified to be issued a certificate of National Service. It includes Orientation Courses, Primary Assignment, Community Development Service and Winding – Up/Passing –out.
7. A National Youth Service Corps year starts with a 3-week orientation course and it is compulsory for all graduates mobilised for national service across the 36 states of Nigeria.
The orientation course opens with a swearing-in/opening ceremony presided over by the executive Governor of the State/FCT Minister. The Oath of Allegiance and the National Pledge are administered by the Chief Judge of the State/FCT.
The orientation course content involves physical training, drills, lectures on the people and tradition of the host State, professional lectures for Corps health personnel’s, lawyers, teachers and Skill acquisition training e.t.c. Corps members participate in social activities designed to create opportunities for them to interact.
Like dance/ drama competitions, Miss NYSC and Mr Macho, inter platoon competitions on football, volleyball, table tennis, cooking, sanitation, competitions on inter-platoon drills and tug of war.
8. At the end of the orientation, Corps members are posted to their Place of Primary Assignment (PPA). While the NYSC Management takes into consideration the areas of specialization of Corps members carrying out the posting exercise, emphasis is placed in rural posting in the areas of Agriculture, Health, Education and Infrastructure.
It is expected that Corps members should accept their posting and be agents of change contributing towards the development of their host communities.
9. Corps members also engage in Community Development Service (CDS) aimed at harnessing the skills, creativity and innovativeness of Corps members. Where they are expected to identify the needs of their host communities and mobilise members of their host communities to embark on the projects.
Through this programme, many Corps members able to construct bridges, health care centres, classroom blocks, market stalls, culverts etc.
They also carry out projects like HIV sensitization, adult literacy campaign, extra-mural classes for students, road safety campaign etc.
Corps members also get to participate actively in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) through the War Against Poverty (WAP) programme of the scheme.
10. At the end of the service year (usually at the 12th month) corps members are gathered in their respective zones for assessment of the service year and de-briefing.
It is the period when Corps members present their final clearance letters from their employers and submit same to their Zonal/Local Government Inspectors in order to be issued their Certificate of National Service.
Parade rehearsals are conducted in readiness for the passing-out ceremony which is usually presided over by the Executive Governor of the State.
During the ceremony, those with outstanding performance during the service year are given State Honours Award. For a Corps member to merit an award, he/she must be outstanding in the orientation course, primary assignment, community development service and winding-up exercise.
11. Nigerian graduates are ineligible for employment in governmental establishments (and most private establishments) until they have completed the mandatory one year service or obtained the relevant exemptions.
12. However, the second chamber of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives is considering discontinuing the National Youth Service Corps Scheme, as the bill pushing for the scrapping of the NYSC gets the 2nd reading on the floor of the House.
The sponsor, Mr. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, in the explanatory memorandum of the proposal, listed the various reasons why the NYSC should be scrapped, top of the reason put forward was insecurity.
He noted that due to insecurity across the country, the National Youth Service Corps management now gives consideration to posting corps members to their geopolitical zone, thus defeating one of the main objectives for which it was established i.e. “developing common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration.”