NYSC And The Question Of National Unity, by Halimat O. Shittu
Citizens have duties and responsibilities to perform towards their country, in the same way, that it becomes binding on the nation to carry out some responsibilities to these citizens, in the spirit of reciprocity. Youths are the foundation of any society. Youth have the ability to connect with diverse groups of people in the community. So, promoting unity among these peers is easy. To this end, the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC, which brings together youth under 30 in its scheme is seen as a major tool for promoting national unity.
As enshrined in its Act, the mission of the scheme is to mobilize and groom graduate youths for the promotion of National Unity, sustainable development, self-reliance and prepare them for the challenges of leadership. National integration is a positive aspect that helps in developing, building and keeping the stability of the country. It helps in reducing the socio-cultural difference among different tribes and promotes national unity enhancing the feeling of loyalty in the citizens. It also helps people in sharing ideas and emotional bonds which hitherto were unknown to one another.
NYSC was created as an avenue for the reconciliation, reconstruction and rebuilding of the nation which was ravaged by the Biafra war in 1970. The scheme was established to create proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria. By promoting national unity, citizens would have to respect all that reflects their nation and fight for the protection of the nation.
The current state of insecurities which had claimed many lives of NYSC members has brought about debates on whether or not the NYSC scheme should be scrapped. The scheme is known for its promotion of ethnic unity amongst culturally diverse youths in the country.
As many would admit, NYSC Orientation Camp is known for its promotion of national unity with the deployment of people of different ethnicity to states far from theirs. During the 3-week orientation camp activities, corps members see themselves as one with no segregation or special treatment to anyone, despite the status, religion, or ethnic identities among them. The camp orientation activities like the inter platoon competition leave them with no choice but to mingle with one another. The camp orientation program helps youths create long-lasting friendships, builds inter-ethnic relationships, creates business partnerships, and inculcates national values, unity and understanding amongst youths.
In terms of community development, the NYSC scheme also contributes meaningfully to society by offering special or sometimes exceptional service to the communities in which the youths are posted. Corps Members work with the local communities to promote self-reliance by systematically prospecting and executing development projects and programs which impact positively on the socio-economic. They engage in projects such as the construction of roads, building of schools, lodges, public toilets, drilling of boreholes and many more. The youths could also help their host community to improve electricity, agriculture, technology, and many more.
In the final analysis, the NYSC scheme has more good than harm, especially in terms of engendering national unity. Thus, Corps members need to understand the importance of their nation to be able to promote and preserve the nation’s culture, tradition and national properties. Corps members also need to imbibe the spirit of patriotism for national unity, promote the core values of the NYSC scheme and also work for the development of the nation.
Corps members should be disciplined and law-abiding. They should form a habit of using social media in promoting national unity. Social media should be used for positive purposes rather than spreading false rumors or promoting hatred. They should also stay away from any negative behaviors such as cultism and drugs and avoid all forms of sabotage.
Corps members should always show hospitality, encourage inter-tribal relation, avoid discrimination, and have tolerance for one another regarding religion or ethnicity. They should also respect the will, aspirations and needs of the people, thereby recognizing a genuine problem and solving it appropriately.
Halima O. Shittu, NYSC Member, Wuye District Abuja