- West Africa
- Politics - Disaster - Election
The Nigerian Youth Service- A Tribute to many ‘Unknown Soldiers’
I do not want to write about the Nigerian elections. A million words have been written already . There’s a glut of articles on the many sides to the subject. A few people chose to be objective, ‘some I-never-chop’ writers have as expected gone about writing their praise singing epistles, while a few articles I read actually helped to show that like football referees, journalists and columnists have their own preferences. I don’t do what others do, so this rare piece of work is on a group of people who have suffered pain, agony and death just so these elections hold. The members of The National Youth Service Corp (NYSC)
Long before the elections, these Corp members had been at the receiving end of the several ills and anomalies of the Nigerian society. Nigeria’s most recognised symbol of peace and unity, corp members die year in and out just for making compulsory appearances at their State of deployment. The irony of the scheme is that, the proponents of the scheme and the elite never get to release their children beyond their chosen state. In essence, no Minister or Senator has his/her child in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jigawa and all of those volatile regions and states (except when it’s their state of residence or origin). There’s a standing order that allows International Nigerian students who are willing to serve, serve at either of Abuja FCT or Lagos. Considering where our power brokers have their children attending University, it means they have their children in Lagos and Abuja by default. They need not press buttons for that. It’s the order.
The NYSC scheme has become an opportunity for people without university education to decimate and maim the population of young Nigerians with that privilege - most times people from different tribes and regions.
It takes grit, determination and sheer will to graduate from a Nigerian university, after which they are subjected to a compulsory one year of purposeless suffering all in the name of "enforcing" national unity. This is the height of madness. You can’t force peace. Policies don’t force peace, Justice is a necessity for peace. There can be no Justice without dialogue but those are arguments for another day.
The yearly casualty rate of Corp members is unacceptable! One death per year is a problem, many deaths a bigger problem, having to deal with several unaccounted deaths is a disaster! This must not continue! This must not be allowed to continue! Young Nigerians cannot continue to be the sacrificial lambs of blood sucking political vampires.
Think of the many families where all of these deaths make more meaning beyond manipulated death statistics. Think of the single mother having expended resources just to eat the fruit of her labour and just when she thought "time to reap my harvest", the child gets harvested off the earth by those who deserve no space amongst our common civilization. This is 2011, but it’s sad to say that we still have as compatriots savages, living fossils of mentally deprived cavemen whose right to existence can only be at a zoo.
Several futures ended yesterday, sadly, many worlds will yet end on Tuesday the 26th of April when these Soldiers step out to the war front of conducting elections. There’s time for everything, today, right now is the time to question the NYSC question. For many, the Future has ended but we can still save today for those that are still alive. We can’t continue to have our young people sacrificed especially for a purpose that is not worth a spill of water let alone the blood of Nigeria’s future. Stop the blood flow, stop the tears, Mothers are crying and they eventually die without consolation. Nigeria, your hand is bloody! It’s time to set our Future free.
May the souls of the Corp members lost in the course of serving Nigeria Rest In Peace. God bless our living Corp members and may God forgive Nigeria.
Japheth Omojuwa is an associate of AfricanLiberty.org