By Bilyamin Abdulmumin
After the ugly event between 1967 and 1970 in Nigeria that threatened to end the country’s years of coexistence, the then Federal Government sought to mend the fences by mandating one year of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for university and, later, polytechnic graduates.
The program was made effective by ruling that prospective Corps are deployed interchangeably across regions and states. This provides a platform to understand better the country’s cultural diversity and catalogue other differences among Nigerians.
To many, the NYSC scheme is a brainchild to later life achievements, building connections that lead to many things such as jobs, skills acquisitions, marriage or lifelong friendship.
However, out of not knowing, many prospective Corps members risk missing out from this one-lifetime experience in the name of redeployment or service in absentia.
At the tail ends of the NYSC three-week orientation camp, one thing that dominates the exercise is relocation application.
The NYSC commission has provided the options for relocation after completing the three weeks orientation camp from one state of service to another on the grounds of many reasons such as health, marriage, security and what have you.
Many Corp members would seek to outsmart this relocation window, intentionally citing health grounds, among many other reasons, for the relocation. Last Thursday, during the ongoing orientation camp, Gombe State chapter DG had echoed that: “There is no need to invite sickness you do not have upon yourself for the sake of relocation”
It doesn’t take careful observation to note that most applicants are typical northerners, aka Hausa-Fulani.
This leads to an intriguing conclusion; Hausa-Fulani folks are home loving-people. Therefore, they do not want to explore other regions apart from their familiar environment despite the enormous possibilities attached with that.
These home-loving youths would come home after redeployment only to continue from where they stopped; the circle of routine activities but little do they realize that the bet wasn’t worth it.
In education, unarguably where the NYSC scheme found its most important use, many secondary schools poised as Place of Primary Assignment (PPA), especially the public ones, would improve their teaching capacity with these agile youth (bubbling with fresh ideas) who came from different backgrounds. In addition, many students would get their inspiration for future careers from these Corp members. I’m a living witness, and I have come across many friends who testified to that.
Those Corps who came away from their PPAs have only the service to offer; therefore, they are the most dedicated to their service. Service at home is a deterrent to the prospective Corp members from giving their best; therefore, it makes redeployment to home non-recommendable. On the other hand, service in absentia deprives the host PPA; it will also come back hunting the Corp members involved.
Sometimes later, whenever there is a discussion on the NYSC memories period while those who served in absentia are sent into oblivion, the deployed youths will just be cut short with little to reminisce. However, many of them never hesitate to voice their regret for being deployed to their homes or even from rural to urban cities.
When it comes to having eventful memories, serving in the rural areas is the bomb. That is where NYSC youth Corps members are treated with glamour or grandeur, unlike in urban areas. Perhaps the lack of due recognition to NYSC in the urban areas is because of the high number of youths who were once members; the society became used to the scheme.
Initially, when deployed to a particular environment, primarily rural, it depends on how rural the area is; the writing will be all over the wall that a significant readjustment is necessary, the hopeless loom large on the horizon. Cortisol level overshoot, the less tough youth (female) breakdown crying. Yet, at the same time, men who are more practical with emotions keep it within them. This traumatic experience would soon make the relocation processes continue at an unprecedented rate or invoke planning ideas of serving in absentia either by showing up just during the monthly CDSs or abdicating completely with impunity.
However, the enigma of the arrival would naturally fade away; the cortisol level would come down and, after given sufficient time, the codes of living in the newfound environment begin to be deciphered. One can then manipulate the environment to his taste until at a point after settled. Then, one begins to imagine the wind-up is fast approaching or even fantasy for an extension of the programs.
Dear Corps members currently on the camps or those coming later, avoid plunging into remorse later and shortchange the PPA community. It would be best if you rethink the idea of redeployment or service in absentia.
Bilyamin Abdulmumin is a PhD candidate, Chemical Engineering, ABU Zaria. He can be reached via email@example.com.