By Olanrewaju Oyedeji
Arrangements have presently been made by the National Youth Service Corps to enable prospective corps members choose where they wish to serve.
This was part of resolutions at the end of the 2015 Batch ‘B’ pre-mobilisation workshop which was held in Kaduna recently. Similarly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and students undergoing postgraduate studies have been barred from participating in the scheme until they are completely free and fully available to enlist for the service which is unlike the usual trend where even pregnant women have to serve.
The NYSC, in a communique issued at the end of the meeting, said the new system of self-deployment is aimed at addressing the fraudulent activities associated with the previous method of deploying prospective corps members. “In a bid to tackle the problem of deluge of concessional requests with which the NYSC is being inundated, prospective corps members will henceforth be given the opportunity to choose states of their choice outside their socio-cultural and linguistic areas, using ICT resources,” the communique said.
It added: “Given the negative implications of assigning invalid or wrong Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) numbers to prospective corps members during the mobilisation process, corps-producing institutions have been advised to always take advantage of the window of opportunity created by the JAMB and regularise the admission of their graduates and advise the affected graduates to activate such numbers before presenting them for mobilisation.
“For us to bring administration nearer to everybody, complaints and issues arising from the online registration from prospective corps members and corps producing institutions will henceforth be lodged with the deployment and relocation officers at the NYSC state secretariats for onward transmission to the ICT department for necessary action. “It was further resolved that pregnant women and nursing mothers and students engaged in postgraduate studies should not bother enlisting for service until they are free to participate effectively.”
The Director General of NYSC, Brig-Gen. Johnson Olawumi, had, at the opening of the workshop announced that henceforth, prospective corps members with First Class degrees and their counterparts who graduated with distinction from the polytechnics, would be posted to the universities for their primary assignment.
The workshop was attended by directors and heads of units at the NYSC, as well as representatives of stakeholders in the education sector which include the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), JAMB, the Nigerian Army, universities, polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education.
Reactions have however trailed the latest development with some Nigerians faulting the plans. According to those who spoke with our correspondent, the essence of NYSC will be lost if students are allowed to choose where they wish to serve. Isaac a student of Obafemi Awolowo University opined that students will leave some states out especially the less developed states. He further opined that the essence of NYSC is to integrate students into different cultures. ‘Who will post himself to a state like Borno in the current dispensation?’ he quipped.
Also there are fears that the youth service corps will lose some of its current prestige since anxiety as to where one will be posted is no longer there. However, some graduates who are yet to go for posting have welcomed the development. According to the, the stress of traveling to far-flung places will be reduced and also there will be a basic choice of service location instead of being forced to go to places against the graduates’ wish.