It’s a wonder why National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) staff and corp members are used as adhoc staff during elections and not Civil Defence staff and youth corp members from the now infamous Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps ‘(NSCDC) of the ‘Oga at the Top saga or other paramilitary organisations. According to word on the street, entry level graduates of the NSCDC for instance earn approximately 60 percent more than those at NYSC. So, one becomes be-wildered identifying the utmost primary roles of the former in the civic space.
The (NYSC) scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war. Historical errors gave rise to the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps by decree No.24 on 22 May, 1973. The NYSC 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”. NYSC members are a special breed of University, Polytechnic and College of Education graduates who are mandated to go through paramilitary training in order to garner work experience especially in locales beyond their places of origin or residence with a clear objective of values reorientation as a tool for National unity and Peace.
Since the past decade, the roles of youth corps members has been conscripted to manage registration of voters and the ballot system primarily as Presiding Officers (POs) and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs); A task that they have been saddled with many electoral processes. Many at times, the outcome of the aftermath of this conscription results in immeasurable losses which outrightly outweighs the gains.
The NYSC has been plagued with a myriad of problems, including regional and religious crisis which have taken lives of corp members deployed to serve their nations in northern regions of the country. While in the southern part of Nigeria, corp members has been assured security on numerous occasions but the eventual outcomes have always alienated itself from the promises. Also corp members have been caught in acts of gross indiscipline and have been harmed during elections, so much so that, as featured in The Nation Newspaper, corp members be spared the hazards of the job.
However, in the upcoming elections, the NYSC body has proven why it is the corporate body chosen to support such an intrinsically important aspect of our national democracy. With the exception of a few misguided corp members. the young people who have turned up to serve have carried themselves with dignity.
Perhaps a lesson for prospective employers of our great nation’s corporates is that corp members do not need mindless filing and adhoc chores, but better avenues and opportunities to show their leadership potential!