Welcome To The Octagon.
We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end in 1 Hour. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.
Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ?
Ini: Hi guys, my name is IniOluwa and I am a passionate person focused on community development and nation building.
Ayo: Hello everyone, I’m AyoOluwa, a Medical doctor and I just finished youth service.
Ayotemide:Hello everyone, I’m Ayotemide. I’m a Medical doctor and writer. I just completed NYSC.
Adewale: Hello everyone,I’m Adewale. I’m an MC and kiddies event planner. I’m a Student of the university of Lagos.
Igbinoba: Hello, I’m Igbinoba Osaro. I’m a law student of university of lagos. I specialize in ankara crafting, and I’m the legal secretary of Terranexus.
Oyin: Hi I am Oyinlola Olawale… I am studying quantity surveying in the University of Lagos.
The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is an organization set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country’s graduates in the development of the country. There is no military conscription in Nigeria, but since 1973 graduates of universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service Corps program for one year. This is known as national service year.
NYSC has been met with criticism from Corpers, most of whom believe that the program is a waste of time, and does not fulfill it’s promises.
Question 1 : In your opinion, does NYSC offer any benefits ? If yes, what are the benefits?
Question 2: What are some of the De-merits of the program ?
Ini: I can’t speak of any benefit, and most of my friends who have participated in the scheme have nothing positive to show for it except a certificate that says “You’re now fully employable”. As for demerits, there are a couple I can mention off the top of my head – Squandering of the youth power and potential. You are forced to leave a lucrative and hard-fought job, abandoning your brainchild, small business that is adding value to you personally and your community. The reason why we have very good theoretical minds, wonderful policy makers and strategists, but so few implementors and technocrats. A massive waste of human resources.
Igbinoba: I believe NYSC should be scrapped, because it has lost its value and purpose in Nigeria. Government should channel the money to developing society.
Ayotemide: I feel NYSC has some benefits. The highlight of the experience for me was meeting new people, and being exposed to a whole new culture. It helped me understand some important reasons why health is still so bad in Nigeria. But the programme does not provide valuable work experience for an individual’s career path and it does not effectively utilize an individual’s knowledge and skill set. For example, it is quite painful that an engineer or lawyer is forced to teach, when he can use his knowledge and skill set to do something that he/she is more interested in doing.
I also had a few friends who had to abandon their start up businesses back home for the sake of NYSC and it was not a good move for them.
Another issue I have with this scheme is the substandard services provided, like the uniforms, feeding, and the ridiculously meagre amount of money paid as transport allowance. What message does this send to Nigeria’s youth? It’s as though there’s no standard of excellence to look up to anymore. Things are done anyhow, and we’re expected to accept this as the norm.
Oyin: There are no benefits I can think of, except the fact that some people use the one year experience to build their CV. My colleague at work Is currently serving at a popular construction firm, which defeats the whole purpose and aim of the NYSC. What’s worse, you’re unemployable for a year. I think like everything in Nigeria, corruption has affected NYSC.
Ayo: The NYSC scheme offers tremendous benefits. For one, It offers a medium where young adults are forced to think about others and not themselves, creating opportunities to really serve and at the same time make new friends you would otherwise not have met, basically increasing network. I think the initial plan for the scheme was fantastic, but over the years NYSC has become, not something to be enjoyed or a learning process, but somewhat of a punishment because it was allowed to just become a routine without value being imparted. I think that it should be remodelled to fit into now, as what was initially planned isn’t working anymore.
Adewale: I think I concur with this thought to an extent – Yes it creates a platform for meeting people, and learning a different culture. However, it has a larger demerit – I feel it has become something of Zero importance in Nigeria. Why should a lawyer and engineer start teaching, after learning in school instead of experimenting what he or she has learnt ?