By Ernest Adadu
Certain arguments are really silly, by its immaturity, dulled by its fluid contents, meaningless and devalued by the writer’s creative disingenuousness. It’s the subject of the rejoinder as captioned in the heading of the analysis published on July 31, 2021, concerning the NYSC scheme. Perhaps still, some analyses are a bit of unbridled prose obscenities and the article in question fits into its finest category.
Foremostly, my heartfelt condolences to the Federal Government , the NYSC and the parents of the Batch “B” 2021 corps members whose journey in life was guillotined by a fatal auto crash near Abuja enroute their orientation camp destination in Katsina state. May their souls rest in perfect peace, amen!
Admittedly, it is too early to drag the souls of these demised corps members into any national discourse, hence their remains have not even been committed to mother earth yet. But an author , opened his excessively lengthy piece on the latest corps members who passed unto eternal glory in their quest to serve our fatherland in the mandatory one-year NYSC scheme for Nigerian graduates.
Therefore, the discussion centers around it because the analyst challenged the ultimate power of life and death which only resides in the discretion and determination of God Almighty. It is at the core of the doctrines of virtually all religions.
Even one of the most famed English dirgic poets, Donne John never secured an answer to the mystery of death, reflective in the series of rhetoric questions in his poems. He resigned to his fate and simply exclaimed in nostalgic pains for loss of beloved ones as; “death, thou are wicked!”
Most significant lessons on issues of life, destiny and death have been mindlessly punctured by the writer’s ferocious reference to the unfortunate power of death as it concerns the corps members in an auto crash. Thereafter, he amused and sloppily juxtaposed reasons why the NYSC is no longer relevant in the light of Nigeria’s current challenges of insecurities.
But it is difficult to pin his mindset based on the disjointed coordination of his arguments and thought-process. When one thinks, he is arguing for the cancellation of the NYSC; he also projects his preference for its suspension in another breath. Or when he is toed as someone who thinks the NYSC has lost its relevance completely, he stages back in another paragraph eulogizing the scheme to high heavens.
And the moment one thinks the analyst’s displeasure with the NYSC is because corps members are targets of kidnaps or eliminations by insane forces in Northern Nigeria, he again recounts similar experiences in the Southern part of the country or elsewhere. And the writer’s greatest dilemma is whether to blame the Federal Government or the NYSC management or parents for the vulnerability of serving corps or that the NYSC is no more relevant because even after the service year, those who pass through the scheme remain jobless for years.
Such internal confusion flowing from the ink of a pen on a piece of paper could be quite tragic. But on the writer’s campaign centered on, “Corps members and the alluvion of mishaps,’ insultingly tempered with Voltaire’s prime wisdom; which describes the phenomenon as, “Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.”
It is implausible and infantile reasoning that corp members who meet untimely death, through auto crash, terrorism, banditry, armed robbery, communal clashes and other such security realities in the course of service to fatherland should be enough reason to canvass for the suspension or scrap of the NYSC scheme. Is the writer aware kidnappers or bandits or terrorists are now targeting the abduction of secondary school students all over the Northern part of the country? Should Nigeria now ban secondary education as a solution to it? It sounds like tales by moonlight.
And at a point, the writer resonated that there is no cause for corps members to be posted to serve in very distant places from their homes. Such suggestion defeats the cardinal objectives of the NYSC, designed to stimulate a greater and profound understanding of the ethnic, linguistic, religious, and socio- cultural components of Nigeria by youths.
So, of what essence should anyone think, corps members should keep rotating within their known communities? The writer’s outburst that privileged parents either cause the exemption of their children from service or influence their postings to special/safety areas is mere conjecture and hallucinatory imagination.
Besides this reason, which village or community in Nigeria has no mix of natives from other places? Is it the North or South? Do they appear to domicile in such communities protected by charms or talisman? The Federal government has MDA’s which have state offices in almost all the states. So, when public servants are posted to work, for instance, in Federal Secretariats or agencies located in states of the federation, do they reject the transfers and resign from such employments on account that they might meet death in such locations?
There is really no cogent reason to bellyache over any unforeseen misfortunes because people believe in the words of Douglas Adams who once said; “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
But the writer has forgotten that with the spate of insecurities in the country, the NYSC especially under its present management led by the Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim goes to extreme limits to secure the safety of corps members serving in every community. So, it is safe to say, anything that happens to a corps member in such locations could have happened to them even in their parents’ abodes as part of their fate.
That’s the unpredictable work of destiny. Nigerians must imbibe the wisdom of Washington Irving, who reasoned that “Great minds have purpose, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them. “Indubitably, the analyst is a poor harvester of events around him. Death is an inevitable end to all mankind and meets anyone wherever it wishes.
The author of the slovenly piece smacks as one of the latest recruits into the camp of campaigners and activists in the National Assembly (NASS) who are hellbent on the scrapping of the NYSC. It is learnt from reliable sources that some members of NASS have committed various infractions over the NYSC certificates they flaunt. Most of them are afraid of being caught like others, and disgraced out of their plomb positions. Consequently, they have passed a verdict of “death sentence” against the continued existence of the scheme and so, recruited pen warmongers for the campaigners.
In the House of Representatives earlier in the year, Hon. Awaji-Inimbel Abiante (PDP Rivers State), led the assault on Nigerians by sponsoring a proposed bill to repeal the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act, but it crashed on arrival. The senseless reasons the lawmakers adduced for the undesirability of the NYSC scheme, akin to the ones advanced by writer of the odious piece were flushed down the drain together with their intentions. It is needless to resurrect it in any form or guise!
Like most Nigerians argued earlier in favour of the NYSC, the gains outweigh the temporary hiccups faced by the scheme. The NYSC Director General has reinvigorated the previously dead training and investments ventures of the scheme. He has revitalized the NYSC’s Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme (SAED), which has been of tremendous assistance to young and determined Nigerians in the post service years.
Multiple Nigerian youths who have passed through SAED at the orientation camp, coupled with personal savings in the course of their service year are proud owners of private businesses and investments throughout the country. These are the relics and legacies of the NYSC today. They are self-reliant, independent and employers of labour and not employees.
Those waiting for white-collar jobs can continue to hope, until the day God answers their prayers, while their peers make steady progress in life through the support of NYSC. Haruki Murakami has counselled the confused analyst with this memorable wit; “That’s how stories happen — with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes,” because like Robert Frost intoned, “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
Adadu wrote this piece from Gwarimpa, Abuja.