Background of the study
The national youth service corps was established by decree 24 in May 1973 and amended by decree 51 in June 1993 to instill in Nigerian youths a spirit of selfless service to the community and to promote a spirit of oneness and unity in a nation of diverse cultures, economic and social backgrounds. It was one of the tools through which Nigeria hoped to achieve some of her post-civil war objectives of a united Nigeria.The National Youth Service Corps was established with the intention of rehabilitating, reconciling, and rebuilding Nigeria in unity.The major goal of the programme is to foster in Nigeria’s youth the spirit of selfless service, patriotism and brotherhood of all Nigeria irrespective of cultural or socioeconomic background (NYSC, 1992) mentioned in Yemi Balogun (2015).
However, because of the insecurity and other hidden considerations, the plan has observed a commotion in recent years. Discourse on the importance of the National Youth Service Corps has continued to create diverse views and emotions, since the terrible experience of the 2011 post-election violence, in which numerous lives and properties were lost, including those of corps members. Nigerians, both at home and abroad, highly and poorly situated, via the instrumentality of the mass media, have aired varied opinions and concerns regarding the imperativeness or not of the Scheme. This was against the background of the request for the revision of the Act creating NYSC by the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (Okafor C. & Ani, J. 2015).
However, most of the people who advocated for outright dismantling of the system as a remedy also advocated for review or reorganization as an alternative. A Human Rights activist and Executive Chairman, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwubiko, Saturday Punch, June 4, 2011, p.2, on his part, canvassed for the replacement of the scheme with compulsory military service for the graduates, saying that it will eradicate the killing of innocent corps members posted to other states. In his argument, “since the NYSC program, which was designed to unify the nation, had outlived its purpose, there was the need to dismantle it and replace it with a far better program.” He stated the plan no longer plays a crucial role in the unity of the nation, thus a required one-year military duty like what happens in industrialized climates such as the United States. He feels that via this, corps members will still serve the country. “A scenario where our innocent corps members are slain periodically in the guise of national assignment is no longer acceptable,” he cautioned. (Yemi B. 2015).
Also, Even the Founder of the OPC, Dr. Federick Fasehun in the Sunday Punch, May 8, p.19, also recognized that the program has fulfilled the purpose for which it was founded and urged for its elimination or reform. To him, Gen. Gowon launched the NYSC plan right after the civil war so as to reconcile the nation. “Now we are no longer prosecuting any war; why keep the scheme? And if you want to preserve it as a uniting spark, then it must be modified. ” He determined that corps members should complete their duty in their geographical zones. “Abuja is the core of unification and it is there to unify us. If the government is not ready to achieve these improvements, it should abolish the scheme “(Sunday Punch, May 8, 2011, p.19) quoted in Okafor C. et’al (2015).
Therefore from the above premise, this study is set to examine Clamour for the scrapping of NYSC Scheme (A case study of public perception).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There are many challenges that have threatened the existence of the NYSC programme.The complexity and dimensions of the program’s security risks have expanded as a result of the country’s waves of insecurity challenges. The scheme has witnessed a lot of clamoring about whether to retain it or to scarp it out. While the cons appear to be greater than the pros, it is pertinent to understand the implication of this move on the main reason why the scheme was established. Although both government officials and private individuals have chipped in their own own quota concerning the scheme in recent times, no one is talking talking about what options would be given to the million graduates who leave school every year. Not only does the NYSC scheme serve an integration purpose, little do they know that it provides serving corp members with the opportunity of saving or raising a little fund they can use for mini start ups while waiting for a white-collar job in a country where unemployment is on the increase.
One Mr. Oluwagbemiga Olakunle, General Secretary of the National Prayer Movement, on behalf of his group, said: “We are recommending a comprehensive review of the scheme in its entirety. While we are not recommending the total scrapping of the scheme, we strongly suggest that corps members should be restricted to their Geo-political zones, while participating in the 1 year mandatory scheme. ” To him, “this will save their parents and the nation as a whole unnecessary agonies” (The Nation, May 29, 2011, p.13) cited in Okafor C. et’al (2015). Olakunle’s submission may have been the reason why, on the eve of the 2011 Batch B posting, members of the Unilag Parents Forum in The Punch, June 25, 2011, p.13, article titled “Don’t send our children to death zones” took the following position: “We take our stand against the posting of our children to the northern states of Nigeria. We want them posted either to their states of origin or within their geo-political zones. We are also calling for an urgent modification or repealing of the decree setting up the NYSC as we have since become a democratic nation (Okafor C. et’al (2015).
There is much more clamor that has irritated the bill of canceling the scheme.And as in April, the National House Assembly was set to move the second reading of the bill. However, it is against this backdrop that this study is set to investigate Clamour for the scrapping of the NYSC Scheme (A case study of public perception).
Objective of the study
The main focus of this study is to to investigate clamour for the scrapping of NYSC Scheme (A case study of public perception). Specifically it seeks
1. To ascertain if corps members support the scrapping of the NYSC scheme.
2. To ascertain if they would want the scheme reorganized.
.3. To find out if corps members still consider the scheme useful.
4. To determine factors that contributes to public outcry for the scrapping of the NYSC scheme
5.To investigate if there will be any implication attached to the scarping of the scheme on the youth
The following research questions guides the study
1. Do corps members support the scrapping of the NYSC scheme?
2. Do corps members still consider the scheme useful?
3. What are factors that contributes to public outcry for the scrapping of the NYSC scheme?
4. Will there will be any implication attached to the scarping of the scheme on graduate youths?
5. Will scrapping out of NYSC scheme heighten unemployment rate in Nigeria?
6. Do you think Scrapping out the scheme without a supplementary policy is the best considering the rate of unemployment in Nigeria?
Significance of the study
This study will be significant to policy makers, NYSC officials and graduates. This study will enlighten lawmakers and the government on the importance of evaluating the bill repealing the NYSC, taking into account the implications for increasing the unemployment rate and deepening the grins of criminal activity in the country.According to NYSC officials, the study will allow them to advise policymakers on the complexities of the program and the importance of the program in general, which may change the repeal movement.The study will be helpful to graduates and expose them to seeking other meaningful ways to survive, either by going into entrepreneurship in the absence of a white-collar job. Finally, the study will contribute to the body of knowledge and serve as reference material to researchers in policy studies.
Scope of the study
The scope of this study borders on clamoring for the scrapping of NYSC Scheme a case study of public perspective. it will examine NYSC act and a review of the programme. It will investigate the role of the scheme and it will examine the factors that is compelling the public outcry demanding for the repeal of the programme. The study is however limited to selected corp members and NYSC Officials in FCT, Abuja.
Limitation of the study
The following posed to be a constraint to the study
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
However in the midst above mentioned limitation the researcher devotedly ensured that the purpose of the study was actualized.
Definition of terms
NYSC: The National Youth Service Corps is a program set up by the Nigerian government to involve Nigerian graduates in nation building and the development of the country.
Unemployment: Unemployment, according to the OECD, is persons above a specified age not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for work during the reference period.
Scrapping: Scraping in this context means to discard or remove from service
Clamoring: Clamoring in this contest means to make a complain or demand.