By Philip Agbese
After thorough examination, further being excluded from the list of inconsequential matters, and moved to the top relevant section in the nation, The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Trust Fund bill has been a topic on the tongue of many great visionary leaders in this country. It is said that, “In a stronger Youth, lies the strength of a great Nation”. One would wonder how much exploration, and greatness that would emanate from a nation that have taken time to invest in her youths. What great expectations await such magnanimous task, or investment?
It’s no myth that for long have ethnic, political and religious differences been too frequently weaponized by those seeking to obtain or retain political power. Given this history, expecting a program to bring national unity, is a tall order, one that NYSC has proven to fill and also brought to realization its many benefits and importance as a developmental factor in our beloved country. The basic fact that a young graduate who has spent most of his or her life in the south-west graduates and is posted to the North Western part of the country, courtesy of the NYSC to explore and contribute to the community is indeed very important. It launches such an individual to his next stage in life and equips such individual with the necessary experiences needed to excel in his career path. It’s no surprise that Nigeria as a nation is closest to its revolutional-breakthrough in massive progress which would be witness soonest among the youths. This feat has been made possible by great minds who have invested their time, commitment, and resources in ensuring that Nigeria becomes a greater nation than it used to be.
Putting different views on a test of time and candid watch, perpetual evidence over time has fully trashed the misconception of different arguments on the NYSC scheme having outlived its usefulness. However, standing the test of time and season, it is now evident with rigid facts that there is no contesting the fact that the NYSC plays a critical role in fostering the country’s economic and social development. It is because of the impact of the outstanding influence of the NYSC scheme in different sectors across the Nation that has now made it well-convincing that recent efforts to set up the NYSC Trust Fund deserves the full support of all and sundry considering the fact that it will provide the impetus to boost the Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Programme for corps members. While noting great numerous streams of success in various sectors already in record under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, there swiftly came an additional great initiative by the National Assembly, which is considering the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Trust Fund Bill, and ensuring seamless passage of this proposed bill that would give firmness to the clarion call for the creation of the NYSC Trust Fund. This heroic support given by the two Chambers of the National Assembly in passing the NYSC trust fund bill has remained a positive game changer for the Nigerian youths. The unpoliticized moves taken by this visionary leaders in power has further solidify the unity and hope of a greater future for our Nation. These are leaders that have continued to seek for ways to put out the flame of ethnic and religious tensions by proffering solutions to the healthy survival of the youths in this nation.
This bill is meant to power sustainability in all ramification as pertains to everything that needs to help actualize the goals and vision of Nigeria Youth Service Corp. The bill sought to address the Infrastructural deficit in the orientation camps, ensure adequate provision of other operational logistics, as well as address the problem of graduate unemployment in the country.
Furthermore, it is worthy of note that when passed into law, this Trust Fund bill would also have a positive impact on the Nigerian youths and citizens in general.
X-raying the immense benefits of NYSC scheme and the Trust Fund bill to our great nation, these expectant contributions are worthy of note:
*IMPROVEMENT IN GENERAL WELFARE*
With this bill in full implementation, the corps members welfare would become better, there will be better maintenance of existing NYSC facilities, and more orientation camps extension to better accommodate youth corps. This Trust Fund bill runs with the vision of enhancing the improvement of the general welfare of corps members and personnel of the scheme and their preparedness to effectively discharge their statutory duties of promoting national unity, integration, self-reliance and accelerated development of the national economy.
*INCREASE IN LOW STEREOTYPICAL RATIO AND GOOD INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP*
In considering the yearnings on unity in this nation, we cannot be oblivious of the fact that there have always been stereotypes and Prejudices view which one ethnic group may have about another. It takes more experience, and moral influence of the life of other ethnic groups to see the lack Of objectivity in such false assumptions. Knowing well that Stereotypes are characteristics are mentally imposed upon groups of people because of their race, nationality, and sexual orientations, it would take more than just educational enlightenment, but an integration into a cultural wellbeing, and this is the revolution NYSC has provided. These characteristics in different groups involved has strengthened the absurdity of human personification in relation to their judgemental reasoning. However, this action has further strength the arm of nepotism in different sectors occupied by people with this stereotypical traits, forgetting that they are not necessarily representative of all people within that group. This syndrome is partly responsible for monumental disunity of the country. The Trust Fund bill would further help to build good interpersonal relationships, galvanize, and strengthens the bond of unity amongst ethnic groups. The experience of ethnic diversity in all forms has helped to appreciate and learn other people’s cultures. This pleasant encounter often dispels whatever myths they may harbor against any other ethnic groups, therefore helping them to transact, and relate better together.
*DRASTIC LOW RATE OF GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT*
In accessing the Trust fund by all corps member, there would be massive reduction in the rate of graduate unemployment, as this bill would help enhance the Gains of the SAED Programme. This Trust funds will surely provide many source of funds for the Nigerians Youth Service Corps in terms of skill acquisition training like Web Development, Cyber security, Graphics Deisgn, Content writing, Digital marketing, Mechanized farming, and many more. Considering Capital; being the greatest challenge of every prospective entrepreneurs with great ideas, it’s obvious that this bill is a prayer-answered solution. Apart from providing adequate facilities for more impactful vocational and entrepreneurship training, it would also be a sustainable source of business financing capital for the corps members. This way, greater feats would be achieved in empowering our graduate youths for self-employment and wealth creation. Curbing unemployment among graduates is one of the aim of the Trust funds. Just as the same manner like Tet fund (Tertiary Education Trust Fund), Police Equipment Trust Fund and Petroleum Technology Development Fund, which help in aiding full operations of tertiary educational institutions.
*REDUCED INSURGENCY AND YOUTH RESTIVENESS.*
Taking a peak look at the statistical age range of those actively into terrorism, Insurgency, Banditry, and all other evil vices, it can be undoubtedly concluded that the Youth dominates in numbers. From previous encounters the Armed forces had in combating Insurgency and Banditry, reports were gotten that the Youth made a great number of those involved in this vices. Confession from most of the repentant Bokoharam and the Niger deltan militants revealed that, most of them laid claim to their inability to secure a good job, little to no grant support for their business ideas, the high unemployment rate, and the lack of capital to start something for themselves that made them ventured into causing mayhem and unrest around the country, due to the short-lived promise made to them. This has made them a menace to the peace and unity of the nation.
Moreover, in the issues of funding and many infrastructural decays, the NYSC Trust Funds will help to harness smooth running and operations of the scheme. It would also serve as seed money for many young graduate entrepreneurs after their service. This will not only benefit the youth alone, but would also help secure a good future for the coming generation, and also prepare a good rest for the older generation. There is no doubt that when the NYSC Trust Fund becomes operational, the number of corps entrepreneurs will increase drastically, and they will in turn help to provide jobs for millions of other youths of the country. This will equally help to reduce the issue of security challenges faced in the country. It is instructive that the majority of the lawmakers are products of the scheme as most of them are graduates of tertiary institutions who have participated in the scheme. From their varying and variegated experience going through the scheme, they will agree that corps members are grossly underutilised and one sure way of unleashing the real potential of the corps members is to empower them to be able to acquire new skills and put to use their training. No wonder their speedy approach in passing the bill. They are keen on rejuvenating the 1973 mandate of the NYSC scheme created by the Yakubu Gowon regime.
To face these herculean challenges, the corps members only need to be empowered. The NYSC Anthem to Nigerian youths to obey the clarion call, to lift the nation high, under any circumstances (sun or in the rain), with dedication and selflessness, and to serve a great Nigeria. But, many great ideas have died without requisite enablers, or a light of hope which is funding, mostly for the NYSC. So, when Nigerians call for a trust fund for the scheme, it is to ensure that a dream should survive its purpose.
It would be a great achievement and landmark in history by President Muhammed Buhari’s administration if the bill is imported, and the act signed in the next few days. Therefore, this need to be duly considered by Mr President.
The joy of a Nation to the world is its impactful Productiveness and growth. The growth of a nation is the growth of its youth. Therefore, Passing the NYSC Trust Fund bill into law, will be a Chronicle that will forever remain in the legacy of history Worldwide, and would be known as, _“The move that changed the sovereignty of every Nigerian youth’s Existence “._
Agbese is the All Progressives Congress Candidate for House of Representatives, Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency writing from Agila.