IN THE last four months, the political field in Nigeria has been hugely tensed. Most of the stories emanating from the political parties border on controversies. From the emergence of All Progressives Congress, APC, the killing of Abu Shekau, the Boko Haram Kingpin, the rumpus in the Rivers State House of Assembly to the unending crisis in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, the debate has been largely hot and enervating. These events tend to becloud the 40th anniversary of one of the key institutions of national unity and youth development in Nigeria.
This goes against the grain because the institution in question very recently elicited a nationwide debate on whether it is still relevant in modern day Nigeria. The debate was necessitated by the ugly experiences of the members of the institution – the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, – and their families had because of the insecurity in the country, especially in the North. As expected, reactions to the debate were mixed. Some people believed that the institution has outlived its relevance while others think that it is still very much needed given the need to maintain and sustain the structures of unity and integration amongst the youths in the country. Whichever way the argument goes, the story of the NYSC over the years, is certainly not that of a fool at 40 who is a fool forever as the saying goes. The 40 years of the NYSC is a testy chronicle of an institution which many people who passed through it have a feeling of nostalgia about the good old days. The story of the NYSC is the story of ups and downs. To put it succinctly, it is the story of a much needed institution crying out for urgent reforms to make it better.
As part of our job as the watchdog of the society, the editorial board of Realnews decided to give you a break from the tensed political chicanery in the country and draw attention to the rot in this institution which is the first port of call for most of our youths after graduation. For months, our reporters beamed their searchlights on the NYSC to decipher the reality from the fables in the institution. The details of the information Realnews gathered from both ex-corps members and serving ones are encapsulated in the cover story of this week entitled “NYSC: 40 Years of Decay”. It is a captivating story anchored by Olu Ojewale. There is also an accompanying interview with Ray Ekpu, former chief executive officer of Newswatch Communications Limited, publishers of Newswatch magazine, who incidentally was one of the pioneers of the NSYC scheme. Enjoy it.
— Sep. 23, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT