NYSC: The last public institution standing? By CITIZEN EZEAKONOBI

NYsc members
NYSC members
When Timothy Uzodimma Nwala mobilised young Easterners after the Civil War to start Eastern Volunteer Youth Corps(EVYC) to help rebuild the war ravaged region he knew exactly what he was getting into, and that was to rehabilitate the environment and the people selflessly and give them hope to live again.
With the successes and acceptance they recorded in the region for their selfless service, he wrote a memo for national unity through the volunteer corps program to the then Head of State, Yakubu Gowon which the  then Governor of East Central State took him and his team to the State House in Ikeja to deliver it. A memo the Head of State praised to high heavens and nationalised it immediately in 1973, and what we know today as NYSC  WAS BORN!
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd)…His regime established the NYSC
Since 1973, the NYSC has played a critical role in fostering national unity, promoting patriotism, and instilling a sense of service among young Nigerians. These values are essential for the continued development of Nigeria as a nation.
It has helped young Nigerians to have the opportunity to live and serve outside their States, regions and ethnic groups to learn about the lifestyles of others beyond hearsay. Many have also been exposed to social and economic opportunities beyond their enclaves.
Furthermore, the NYSC has made specific achievements that are worth noting. For example, the program has helped restore  peace in post-conflict areas. In Plateau State, the NYSC helped to establish peace clubs in schools and communities, provided training in conflict resolution and trauma counseling, and organized youth camps to promote peace and understanding. In Kaduna State, the NYSC collaborated with the state government to conduct peace seminars and workshops, organized community-based projects, and established a peace and conflict resolution committee. These efforts have had a positive impact on the communities and have helped to reduce violence and promote reconciliation.
Across the country, the NYSC through their Community Development Service(CDS), which is the core duty aside the job at Place of Primary Assignment(PPA) has trained and enlightened many Nigerians on social, health, economic and  national developments. Some go as far as carrying out physical/infrastructural projects through their pet programs.
 Through its programs, the NYSC has provided much-needed services to communities across Nigeria.
The NYSC’s focus on service has not only benefited the communities it serves, but has also helped to build a sense of pride and purpose among the young people who participate in the program.
This dedication to service is something that other organizations can learn from and emulate. By putting the needs of the people first, organizations can make a lasting impact and build a stronger future for Nigeria.
The NYSC has remained committed to its founding vision and maintained integrity to date which is hard to see in many other public institutions in the country.
In 2017, the NYSC was faced with a scandal involving the falsification of its discharge certificate by former Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun. Despite immense pressure to cover up the scandal, the NYSC acted with integrity and transparency, and took the necessary steps to ensure that the truth was revealed.
Fast forward to 2022/23, when the story of  PDP’s candidate for Enugu State Governorship Election, Peter Mbah who having submitted alleged forged NYSC discharge certificate broke in 2022, because the organisation through the Freedom of Information Act provided the Certified True Copy of   the candidate’s document to an NGO that applied for it, Enugu people and indeed Nigerians waited with bated breath. Mbah denied the alleged forgery vehemently.
Enugu State Governor, Dr Peter Mbah
Enugu State Governor, Dr Peter Mbah
Determined to maintain its integrity, the NYSC remained unfazed, and issued the CTC the more to those who requested for it. On their 50th anniversary celebrations, the DG, a soldier of great character said on national TV that he told Peter Mbah that the certificate he was holding didn’t come from them. Mbah took the agency to  court, through its officers  it appeared and gave very convincing evidence backed with documents to prove her case against him.
When the agency was subpoenaed to appear at the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, it did and gave more evidences that Mbah’s discharge certificate didn’t emanate from them. A strength of character rare to find among Nigerian public institutions today.
While we are on Mbah’s certificate issue as we PUT OUR EYES ON THE #JUDICIARY, Hannatu Musawa’s case broke out, still NYSC stood her ground, taking sides with nothing but the truth, stating them clearly with evidence.
Remember also the case of former Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdulkabir.
Now, can you compare NYSC with INEC, DSS or some other publicinstitutions?
This 2023 elections has almost completely eroded any trust the public, especially young Nigerians have on the two above.
From Abuja, to Enugu to Lagos and indeed across Nigeria, INEC seemed to have sold the elections to the highest bidders. This is the election with the higest number of petitions across the country since the history of Nigeria. Those who did “wetie wetie” or the acclaimed Nigerian Wild Wild West decades ago didn’t see anything like what INEC did in 2023 yet they were angry. Imagine what would have happened if this level of electoral malpractices were carried out then.
In Enugu State, a local government, Nkanu-East to be precise with 15000 accredited voters produced over 30,000 votes and all INEC could do after money probably changed hands was to suspend collation of the results, go to Abuja, away from where the votes were cast, manipulated the figures instead of cancelling them according to the law, announced the fraudulent results and told any agrieved persons to go to court. Earlier in Abuja, while men slept they abandoned their own rules and like witches in the night declared APC winner of presidential election.
A very bad way to spend the public’s money.
It is noteworthy that 355B Naira of taxpayers’ money were given to Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and they used it to carry out this sleaze against the Nigerian people.
Talking about the Department of State Services, this is the country’s secret police that its duty includes investigating the credentials of people taking public offices.
Now, one may ask, how did they give clean bills of health to NYSC  certificates of Peter Mbah, Inuwa Abdulkabir, Hannatu Musawa, Stella Oduah, Kemi Adeosun, Bola Tinubu’s exemption certificate allegedly written before NYSC started issuing such certificates to people above 30yrs on graduation among others?
What of those with dual citizenship yet occupying public offices that such are not allowed in Nigeria? What of numerous cases of forged school/degree certificates across many courts in Nigeria? How did those people escape their scrutiny and made it to public offices, then an individual or a group discovers that later and goes to court to challenge it? Does DSS carry out thorough investigation on poor and ordinary Nigerians only and follow INSTRUCTIONS only  on “big men/women” with money and connections?
I was in court the day one Mr Ịsa Yahaya, a supposed DSS officer that should know better came to testify at the Enugu Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in favour of Peter Mbah’s NYSC discharge certificate, a document that they didn’t issue. His deposition and performance were hot slaps on the face of intelligence that the entire courtroom burst into laughter at some point before the Honourable Judges admonished everyone to be  quiet.
Is NYSC the last public institution standing?
I pray and hope that the judiciary takes sides with justice in the numerous cases across the tribunals in Nigeria with right now and remain with NYSC on the table as the few public institutions Nigerians can still look up to.
* Citizen Ezeakonobi(Ikpe Mara Eziokwu) wrote from Enugu.

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