NYSC and Nigeria’s Rebranding


Saadatu Ovosi




National Youth Service Corps was born as a child of necessity, established as part of the reconciliation effort of the government after the Nigerian civil war. That was the initial objective but the present national realities has even made more imperative. National reconciliation and integration are continuous efforts and process which the agency has been spearheading.  Through the NYSC, Nigerian youths are brought together, posted from one part of the country to the other and given the opportunities to offer voluntary and selfless services.


 The scheme was introduced by the administration of the former head of state General Yakubu Gowon administration through decree 24 of   May 1973. At the take- off, a total of 2,364 youths drawn from the existing six universities were mobilized, trained and deployed to different parts of the country other than their states of indigene. Ever since, it has consistently impacted absolutely on our socio-economic development mainly in the area of patriotism and gallant sacrifice by the youths towards the development of the country.


The take off of the scheme became possible through the determination and spirit of the then military regime to ward-off solid opposition mounted by undergraduates of Nigerian universities who were being besieged as the eventual beneficiaries. Having survived in the past 35 years, the scheme has since recorded massive improvement in different aspects of its operations. As well, the system has in addition contributed extremely to the nation's socio-economic development efforts. For instance, the NYSC, as a scheme has witnessed in terms of structure and modus operandi amidst some terrifying challenges.


In the nation today most national programmes involve the Corp members especially where voluntary service is given or required prominent attention.  For instance, during elections members are usually engaged as ad-hoc electoral officials. Also, the National Emergency Management Agency introduced its Emergency Management Vanguard (EMV) programme in collaboration with the NYSC. The programme involves the use of the corps members in the voluntary services of promoting awareness on the social economic impact of disaster and risk reduction at the grassroots. Though a t the pilot phase in only six states and the FCT, its full implementation would definitely promote disaster management and really impact on every  tribe, community in the 774 local government  areas.


The scheme could also be very useful in the present re-branding drive of the federal government. Indeed the Director General of the NYSC Brigadier General Maharazu I. Tsiga moved for the recognition during his recent visit to the Minister of Information and Communication Professor Dora Akunyili. He said the active collaboration of the NYSC would yield positive results within the shortest possible time as "corps members are the most effective foot soldiers that can spread the message of the initiative to over 10 million Nigerians, particularly those at the grassroots in no time."


As a scheme with the reach to almost every corner of the nation, the corps members would be made to set up re-branding Nigeria clubs in secondary schools and tertiary institutions so that through interactive sessions they can play a major role in its success, said Tsiga.


Responding, Minister of Information acknowledged with satisfaction, position of the NYSC on the re-branding project and the desire to engage the corps members in the campaign, saying it would boost the project.


All said, for the engagement of the youth corps members, they should be put in proper understanding of the project.