An open letter to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Youth Service Corps and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
It has gotten to the height of tolerance that I have to write this letter with swollen heart and utter disdain to all the concerned stakeholders. I must lament that I am ashamed to say that first I am a Nigerian and second that I am a Corps member serving my fatherland in the faraway sunshine state. The negligence of duty and gross irresponsibility of these stakeholders have denied many of us sense of belonging and responsibility. My Colleagues and I have had enough of these inhumane treatment and we can no longer condone this abysmal failure called the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
After compelling us to serve in a scheme that has for so long a time, lost it relevance in relation to the contemporary national and global trends, we still face situations not fitting of educated elites and have no regard on our own fatherland. If the government of our land and our foster parent (NYSC) can not guarantee us a honourable national service, who is going to give us a befitting life during and after our service year?
The gross irresponsibility of the government of the federal republic of Nigeria coupled with the sheer hopelessness of the National Youth Service Corps and the crass abnormality in the operations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has portrayed the non regard for serving heroes of our country. Without any form of reconsideration, I must confess that these three bodies put together (FG, NYSC and INEC) are irresponsible institutions of the highest order.
The government of Nigeria has failed in delivering the needed welfarism for the corps members. Gone are those days when corpers are treated with high level of respect in their communities and accorded dignifying personalities, nowadays, being a Corper is nothing to write home about, our crested vests no longer guarantee us respects but rather make us susceptible to inhumane treatments in the hands of the government and the people of Nigeria.
I beg to assert that some community development service groups (CDS) of NYSC have done more projects and contributed immensely to the development of our communities more than most government officials or all put together. At the end of the month, we are only being paid a meagre sum of money (19,800), an amount that could not cater for our basic needs, let alone other sundry expenses. Of all the National Service Corps Groups in the country (The Armed Forces, The Police and Para Military Forces), the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), is the least ranking institutions as far as funding, relevance and welfarism are concerned.
In the name of National Service towards the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country, corps members are exposed to dangers and inhumanity of the highest order. Across all the Registration Area Centres of INEC, corps members and other adhoc staffs are camped in so called centres not in any way better than concentration camps. Some of us were stocked like fishes in dirty looking classrooms like newly inducted refugees from a war ravaged region. It is so disheartening to see corps members sleeping on damp floors and in buses, exposing us to dangers of being kidnapped, robbed, raped and at the mercy of merciless cold, mosquitoes and other insects.
The Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) committed the greatest national blunder of the year by postponing a general election at the last hour. There was no respect for the government of the day, nor for the millions of teeming electorates who were ready to exercise their franchise, nor for the hundreds of thousands of corps members and adhoc staffs who displayed patriotism and nationalism by yielding the call of national service, nor for the countless foreign observers and media organization who had journeyed down to observe the electoral activities. Postponing an election is not a new phenomenon especially in the Nigeria’s political dispensation, but why was such a grave announcement made at the last hour. Whatsoever could have been the reason, INEC has plunged the already improvised nation into national embarrassment before national and international circles. This act by INEC has portrayed Nigeria as a nation without a respected heritage where the leaders and institutions are not only inconsiderate, but also nothing better than misguided nuisances. INEC has constituted a national nuisance that will go down in history as an act against humanity and the national dignity of Nigeria.
Dear Federal government, we know that your level of irresponsibility cannot be matched and your inconsequential actions are nothing short of abuse and degradation. However, we can no longer continue to suffer in the midst of plenty. National development should be a priority and not the enrichment of your officials.
Dear NYSC Management, when the essence is lost, abuse is inevitable. The conglomeration of deceits tagged as national service is enough, it is high time a progressive modification of the scheme is fashioned out. Afterall, what is the essence of a scheme that gulps down billions without a corresponding development index?
To INEC and all stakeholders concerned, this national embarrassment has left us wading in sheer hopelessness. Our hands are crossed and we are eagerly awaiting the end result of the 2019 general election. The best way to redeem this dented pride is to conduct that election as the freest and fairest on the Nigerian soil. My Colleagues and I shall do everything possible to revive the lost glory and we do hope that the powers at the top will do the needful and rightful.
To all who are concerned, I hope my letter meets you well and you act accordingly as necessary.
Thanks and warmest regards.
ADENIRAN MUTOLYB ADEKOLA
February 16, 2019.