The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a scheme established by the Nigerian government with the objective to involve Nigerian graduates in the development of the nation. The NYSC scheme is not an arrangement where youths have to enroll to the army since there is no military conscription in Nigeria but since 1973, graduates of higher institutions, that is universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service Corps program which runs for one year. This is known as the national service year.
The first Director-General of the NYSC was Ahmadu Ali who served as the first Director-General from 1973-1975. The incumbent Director-General is Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim who is now the 18th D-G of the scheme and the former Registrar of the Nigerian Army University, Biu in Borno state. The former Director-General of the NYSC was Major General Suleiman Kazaure, appointed on the 18th of April, 2016 and who was redeployed to the Nigerian Army Resource Centre on the 26th of April, 2019.
History- Why was the NYSC scheme established
NYSC was created on the 22nd of May 1973 to serve as an avenue for the reconciliation, reconstruction, and rebuilding of the nation after the then civil war. In a bid to encourage and develop common ties among Nigerian youths and promote national unity, the scheme was established based on decree No. 24.
How the NYSC scheme is operated
Graduates who participate in the National Youth Service Scheme are posted to states other than their state of origin or where they have schooled. In their new place of assignment, they are expected to mix and relate with people from other ethnic groups, social and family backgrounds, and to also learn the culture of the indigenes in the location they are posted to.
It is hoped that this action will bring about unity in the country and help the youths appreciate other ethnic groups.
The NYSC scheme begins with an ‘orientation’ period or camp of approximately three weeks. This takes place in a military-controlled “camp” away from family and friends. It is after this that corp members are posted to their Place of Primary Assignment (PPA). The place of primary assignment can be institutions, organizations and most schools where they are to work just like the full-time staff. Corp members are usually exempted for one working day, devoted to the execution of community development service (CDS). After eleven months of the service year, corp members are allowed one month of vacation before their final passing out ceremony, after which they would be issued certificates of completion.
The NYSC ANTHEM
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.
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.
Far and near we come to serve
And to build our fatherland
With oneness and loyalty
NYSC for unity
Hail Nigeria, our great nation
Facts about the NYSC Anthem
The musical composition of the NYSC anthem was written by Frederick Nwosu
About Frederick Nwosu
During his National youth service, he developed and hosted a TV show called “Igbo by Television” at the Television Service of Oyo State (TSOS), Ibadan. He was also a part of the NYSC Choir. Frederick Nwosu took part in a nationwide competition to find an Anthem for the NYSC. While another Corp member won the competition in regards to the lyrics, he won the music composition.
The lyrics were rendered with his martial music and he won a national award for that anthem. The award recognition night was at the Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja Lagos where Alhaji Bunu Sherif Musa read Frederick’s citation and shook hands with him. This was how his composition won the first position and became the NYSC Anthem. Many people still remember that the NYSC Anthem was composed by Frederick Nwosu while he was serving in Ibadan.
The motto of The National Youth Service Corps
- The Motto of the National Youth Service Corps is ‘Service and Humility’
The NYSC Pledge
Every Corp member is expected to subscribe to the national pledge and sign a copy of both the National pledge and NYSC pledge during the Swearing-in ceremony at the orientation camp.
Any Corp member who refuses to or fails to subscribe to and sign the National and the NYSC pledges is to be tried by the Camp Court and, if found guilty, be decamped and sent out of the orientation camp.
Such a corp member will only be allowed to come back for the National Youth Service to join the next batch for the orientation exercise after he or she is ready to subscribe to sign the pledges.
Eligibility for the National Youth Service Corp Scheme
In order to be able to participate in the one year service which is compulsory, a graduate must be below the age of 30 years when he graduated from the higher institution. Those who are above 30 years are given a Certificate of Exemption, which is also equivalent to the NYSC Discharge Certificate.
A person who graduated before the age of 30 but skipped the service year at the time, will still be eligible to serve at any time he wants, (even at the age of 60) since his certificate of graduation reads that he graduated before became 30 years old.
The sense in which NYSC is compulsory is that the graduates of the country can’t request for exemption by themselves or on the basis of not just feeling like or wanting to serve unless for these conditions:
- If one suffers any form of physical disability
- If one has served in the military or paramilitary for a period of more than one year
- If one has exceeded the age of 30 years when they graduated
- Part-time graduates (CEP) are eligible to an exclusion Letter since they’re not allowed to serve. Most times, employers do not agree to employ graduates in possession of an exclusion letter because an Exclusion letter is deemed less than the Discharge Certificate and the Certificate of Exemption.