19 Nov 2012

NYSC: Tales of a Kwara Corper - 2

Opeyemi's NYSC Images
 The general belief when one leaves camp (I presume it is general because everyone thinks it) is that after the orientation corp members would be ferried away to places comfortable enough to be called a house, not necessarily a home, but a house nonetheless. Most corp members never expect what is coming when they leave camp. Especially pertaining to accommodation. Some corp members who have relatives in the states where they are posted to serve might not really understand what it is to be stranded in another man's land, if I might use such a term, without a place to lay ones head. In Kwara state here, the issue of accommodation is one that needs to be addressed.

In most of the Local Governments here what they call "Corper’s Lodge" in reality is not fit for even farm animals. I mean I have seen barns that present better housing conditions than the lodging provided for corp members in this state. It is very sad that the NYSC as an organisation can not look into the provision of proper accommodation for corp members who might have just been visiting their states of primary assignment for the first time. Most corp members who are not financially capable to pay for accommodation elsewhere end up moving from place to place searching for a place to stay. In addition, corp members are berated on end whenever they are unable to report early to their PPA's owing to their inability to get proper lodging.

As I had stated earlier, in places where this accommodation is provided, the living conditions are really nothing to write about. Especially here in the Local government under which my PPA falls. The corper's lodge in Asa Local government is a total eyesore! Then I ask myself, what does the NYSC do with all the funds provided for the upkeep of corp members? In camp, the food was horrible, there were no welcome parties, and as I confirmed from corp members that came after my batch, the same was obtainable when they were in camp. So where does all the money go?

On my first day at the corper's lodge, I almost wept. It was very appalling that the nation's "future leaders" were condemned to the fate of living like refugees for the one year they were supposed to serve their fatherland. To some, the plight of corp members is restricted to the classes they teach, or the places they work, but what about where they live? Yes, we are adults, (at least some of us are), and it is expected that we be able to fend for ourselves and all, but what of the duty of the NYSC to us as Nigerian youths/graduates?  Is it that the NYSC does not see corp members as important? Or why is it that in most places, corp members are housed in the most deplorable conditions?.

I believe the NYSC as a body owes graduates more than just the "camp experience". Someone should care about what happens to corp members after they leave camp. In some cases, NYSC just posts graduates to schools that are "registered", some of which don't even exist!. Some corp members are posted to schools that don't even have a common "signboard" or direction to their locations! In some places in Kwara here, you would see corp members teaching in schools that are situated in abandoned uncompleted buildings! Is this the true essence of serving one's country?. NYSC as an organization should take up the responsibility of looking to see that corp members are not only comfortable in their PPA's, but also are carrying out their duties as is expected. I personally can not recall seeing any inspector here in Aboto Oja where I serve, and I have a feeling I would never see one even till I pass out in February 2013.

It boils down to the "Nigerian problem". It is not enough to continue a scheme based on the lofty ideas of our "fathers", when the scheme has lost its "steam". Most NYSC officials loathe graduates in some places, and would never even raise a finger to help one in distress. Attention needs to be paid to the accommodation of corp members, if there need be corper's lodges at all, I feel it has to be housing fit for a human being, not places that look haunted!. It is important to note that when a corp member is not treated well, the essence of the scheme is lost on him/her, because things like "Community Development Service" would not interest such an individual. How can one give back to a community that made life seemingly miserable for one?. I appreciate states where their local governments treat their corp members with respect, some go out of their way to provide enough comfort for their corp members. I do hope that in the near future, the local governments in Kwara state, vis-a-vis the NYSC, would see corp members as important enough to be treated well. This would no doubt improve the participation of corp members in community development activities.

by Opeyemi
2012 9JEducation.org work study


  1. NYSC OSUN STATE. This is to Inform newly posted corps members to the state that, it has lunched its official websites:

    NYSC OSUN MAIN WEBSITE: www.nyscosun.org
    EMAIL: info@nyscosun.org

    NYSC OSUN SAED WEBSITE: www.nyscosunsaed.com
    EMAIL: info@nyscosunsaed.com

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