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History of NYSC in Nigeria: Objectives & Benefits Of The Program

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The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a scheme established by the Nigerian government to encourage and promote national unity. It was created in 1973 as a way to bring together graduates from various ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds and promote integration among them.

The NYSC program requires graduates of Nigerian universities to undertake a one-year compulsory service to the country in different parts of Nigeria. The program aims to achieve several benefits, which we will discuss below.

Brief History of NYSC

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a scheme established by the Nigerian government to encourage and promote national unity. It was created in 1973 as a way to bring together graduates from various ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds and promote integration among them.

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The NYSC program requires graduates of Nigerian universities to undertake a one-year compulsory service to the country in different parts of Nigeria. The program aims to achieve several benefits, which we will discuss below.

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was established by the Nigerian government in 1973 under Decree No. 24 of 1973, as a way to promote national unity, integration, and development in Nigeria.

The idea of establishing the NYSC was first proposed by General Yakubu Gowon, the then Head of State of Nigeria, in 1973. The proposal was aimed at creating a platform for Nigerian graduates to serve the country, promote national unity, and acquire practical skills and experience in various areas.

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The NYSC was modeled after the National Service Corps in the United Kingdom, which was established after the Second World War to rebuild the country and promote social cohesion.

The NYSC program was initially designed to last for nine months, but it was later extended to 12 months in 1985, to enable corps members to have a more meaningful impact on their host communities.

The program requires Nigerian graduates who are below the age of 30 to undertake a one-year compulsory service to the country in various parts of Nigeria. During the service year, corps members are posted to different states, where they are required to work in schools, government offices, and other institutions.

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The NYSC program has evolved over the years, and several changes have been made to improve its effectiveness and relevance to the Nigerian society. For example, in 2012, the program was restructured to include more entrepreneurship training programs to equip corps members with the skills and knowledge they need to start and run successful businesses.

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Despite the challenges that the NYSC program has faced over the years, it remains a crucial platform for promoting national unity, building leadership skills, acquiring new skills, enhancing employability, and promoting entrepreneurship among Nigerian graduates. It has also become a rite of passage for Nigerian youths, and many graduates see it as an opportunity to give back to their country and make a positive impact in their communities.

Aims and Objectives of the NYSC

The objectives of the National Youth Service Corps Program are clearly enumerated in Decree No. 51 of 16 June 1993:

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  • To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work, and of patriotic service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves.
  • To raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement
  • To develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training, which will make them more amenable to mobilization in the national interest
  • To enable Nigerian youths, acquire the spirit of self-reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self-employment
  • To contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy
  • To develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration
  • To remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance and confirm at first hand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups
  • To develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the people of Nigeria
  • The fair distribution of members of the service corps and the effective utilization of their skills in national needs
  • As far as possible, youths are assigned to jobs in the states other than their states of origin
  • That such a group of youths assigned to work together represents Nigeria as far as possible
  • That the Nigerian youths are exposed to the modes of living of the people in different parts of Nigeria
  • That the Nigerian youths are encouraged to eschew religious intolerance by accommodating religious differences
  • That members of the service corps are encouraged to seek at the end of their one-year national service, career employment all over Nigeria, thus promoting the free movement of labour
  • That employers are induced partly through their experience with members of the service corps to employ, more readily and permanently, qualified Nigerians, irrespective of their states of origin
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Benefits of the NYSC

Promoting National Unity

The NYSC program was created to promote national unity and integration among Nigerian youths. By bringing together graduates from different parts of the country, the program aims to foster understanding, tolerance, and respect for each other’s cultures, beliefs, and customs. During the service year, corps members are usually posted to states outside their place of origin, where they can learn and appreciate the culture and way of life of their host community.

Building Leadership Skills

The NYSC program provides an excellent opportunity for graduates to develop their leadership skills. Corps members are usually posted to schools, government offices, and other institutions where they are required to take charge of various projects and activities. This responsibility helps to build their confidence, decision-making skills, and ability to work with others.

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Acquiring New Skills

The NYSC program offers corps members the opportunity to learn new skills and gain practical experience in different areas. This includes teaching, healthcare, agriculture, and community development, among others. Corps members are usually posted to areas where they can apply their academic knowledge to solve real-world problems and make a positive impact in their host communities.

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Enhancing Employability

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The NYSC program is also designed to enhance the employability of Nigerian graduates. Many employers in Nigeria require applicants to have completed the NYSC program before they can be considered for employment. The program provides corps members with an opportunity to gain work experience and develop skills that are relevant to the Nigerian job market.

Promoting Entrepreneurship

The NYSC program also aims to promote entrepreneurship among Nigerian graduates. The program offers several entrepreneurship training programs that are designed to equip corps members with the skills and knowledge they need to start and run successful businesses. This is important because Nigeria has a high rate of youth unemployment, and entrepreneurship can help to create new job opportunities for young people.

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NYSC Anthem Lyrics

Although, it may no longer be needed after camp. During recitation, it is expected that all PCM must stand at attention, face upright, NYSC cap on, and sing along.

Stanza 1

Youths obey the clarion call
Let us lift our nation high
Under the sun or in the rain
With dedication and selflessness
Nigeria is ours, Nigeria we serve.

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Stanza 2

Members, take the great salute
Put the Nation first in all
With service and humility
NYSC for the noble youths
Make Nigeria a great nation.

Stanza 3

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Far and near we come to serve
And to build our fatherland
With oneness and loyalty
NYSC for unity
Hail Nigeria, our great nation.

In conclusion, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program is a crucial initiative that has contributed significantly to promoting national unity, building leadership skills, acquiring new skills, enhancing employability, and promoting entrepreneurship among Nigerian graduates. While the program has its challenges, it remains a vital tool for promoting the development of Nigeria’s youth and building a more cohesive and integrated society.

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