National Youth Service Corps: A standing ovation for an outstanding public institution By Josephat Agadihe

THE outbreak of the Nigerian civil war between 1967 – 1970 brought incalculable damages to the lives and property of Nigerian citizens. Both the economic, psychological aswell as the political structure in the war ravaged country were left in despicable barbaric ruins.The South East region were nonetheless, the worst hit in terms of the quantum of several innocent lives lost to the barrels of gun.
At the seemingly end of the war which lasted for about three years, the need for national reconciliation and reconstruction of the damaged country cannot be over emphasized. As such, the then head of state, General Yakubu Gowon in his thoughtfulness and honest desire for national unity and intergration through enactment of *Decree No 24 founded the National Youths Service Corp in 1973.* The compulsory one year national service on all Nigerian graduates was meant to address the frayed nerves that followed the three years needless war. For effective result, potential student corpers were posted to regions outside their own region or tribe. No doubt, the programme, lived up to the high standard of its core aims and objectives and Nigerians were most happy for it.
It is worthy of note that NYSC since inception, has demostrated high level discipline in the management of its affairs to the cheering applause of Nigerians. As corruption and corrupt practices were taking its tolls on Nigerians, the Nysc has remained unbent, dispassionate and maintained an untainted hands while delivering on its statutory mandate. The reason for such an unprecedented record may not be far fetched hence at the helm of affairs of the body is an incorruptible Army General who is not ready to play the usual Nigeria illicit ball.
NYSC as a federal institution remains an outstanding agency of the federal government which has readily disgraced and humiliated the political class adjudged to be main engine oiling the wheel of corruption in Nigeria. In many instances than one, Nysc had boldly and most courageously botched criminal attempts by politicians to smear its intergrity and fame.
The first case which came to limelight was a Minister, Kemi Adeosun who suffered cold humiliation as the body made bold to expose her false Nysc certificate. All frantic efforts made through prominent persons who matter in Nigeria to save her face ended in a terrible fiasco as Nysc refused to yeild to any gratification. She finally lost the battle and honourably, resigned in the interest of national intergrity and institutional wellbeing of Nigeria.There are yet more other notorious cases but the recent case in Enugu state appears to be the one attracting both national and international glamour.
Sequel to the build up of the 2023 general election, Mr Peter Ndubisi Mbah, a governorship candidate, in forwarding his documents to the Independent National Electoral commission for clearance, submitted a copy of his purported Nysc discharge certificate to the commission. Elections were held and result declared by INEC who held out Mr Mbah as the winner of the March 18th Governorship election of Enugu State. The city boiled with serious condemnation and attack against the Enugu INEC especially giving the fact that the result after serial manipulations was taken to Abuja for reconciliation.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, Hon.Barr. Chijioke Edeoga who contested same governorship election under Labour Party proceeded to the court where he filed his objections before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Enugu. Ground one of his petition was that Mr Peter Mbah was ab initio, not qualified to run for the office of the Governor having submitted a forged NYSC certificate contrary to S.182(1) & (j) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria( as amended). At the trial, the Nysc made it to the court whereof its Director of certification testified to the effect that the NYSC discharge certificate being paraded by Mr Peter Mbah was indeed, not issued by the body. He tendered both the original copy which Mr Mbah was to collect had he finished his service year and juxtaposed same with the forged copy. The body stood its ground especially giving the fact the Mr Mbah had dragged her to the court for a Twenty Billion naira defamatory suit. What a ridiculous action of a desperate man seeking to lead his people.
Unlike the Nysc, a corruptibly driven organisation called the Director of Security Services(DSS) shamelessly appeared before the Enugu tribunal to justify Mr Mbah’s forged certificate. The agency has since then received acerbic criticisms from Nigerians who wished for the complete scrapping of the body for being an incubating ground for corruption in the system.
It is therefore submitted with respect that a new Nigeria can be possible if all federal institutions can emulate the enviable track record of the National Youths Service Corp while entirely closing down the office of DSS as they obviously serve no purpose than strenghtening the evil root of corruption in Nigeria.
Enough of their rougish antecedents!

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