Shock Value

Shock Value

The Nigerian economy, like any other, experiences “shocks”— events or policy decisions that can send a ripple of changes through the system. This column zooms in on these ripples in a range of sectors to explore how and why these shocks matter.

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Why Nigeria Needs NYSC

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi is an avid reader seeking insights in unexpected places. Her research interests include economic development, political economy and trade.

Nearly two months since we learnt that Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun probably scammed her way through NYSC, and the Minister remaining silent through that period, the importance of NYSC has been questioned. Even the head of the President's anti-corruption body deemed the story irrelevant

The NYSC debate is not just theoretical. Last year, the National Assembly voted to remove the decree establishing NYSC from the constitution, making it easier to change the scheme by amending the law.

But what changes should be made?

Critics of NYSC often argue for one of three things: that it should be made voluntary, turned into a job creation scheme or terminated altogether. But each of these may be counterproductive at best. Nigeria needs national unity now more than ever, and the problem with NYSC lies not in its mission, but in its implementation.

 

To Unite a Nation 

For all of Nigeria's existence, ethnic and religious differences have been too frequently weaponised by those seeking to obtain or retain political power. Given this history, expecting a program to bring national unity is a tall order, one that NYSC has struggled to fill. Some would argue that Nigeria is no more united now than it was in 1973 when NYSC was created. Even if this were true, it is an invalid comparison. What we should be asking is: would Nigeria today be less united if NYSC did not exist? That question may be difficult to answer, but looking abroad could lend us some perspective.

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