Does this fresh directive have the blessings of President Goodluck Jonathan? We are talking of the latest directive emanating from Inuwa AbdulKadir, minister of youth development, on the posting of graduates to violence-ravaged states in the North. Two weeks ago, General Nnamdi Okore-Affia, director-general, DG, of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, had reluctantly agreed that corps members posted to embattled states where Boko Haram militants are holding the nation hostage are free to seek redeployment to other states of their choice.
The DG’s directive actually came on the heels of a motion by the House of Representatives asking that the lives of fresh graduates should not be endangered on the platform of the youth service scheme. For many concerned parents, that was a welcome relief. Now, with Minister AbdulKadir’s directive, the nightmare is back. Unfortunately, not many would agree with some of the premise on which the minister based his position. Said he: “Talking about the National Assembly’s resolution vis-à-vis our position here. My position is that of the law. The fundamental thing is that the NYSC is a constitutional issue; the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is supreme…. In that regard, posting of corps members to states, apart from their own, except in some special circumstances, is governed by the law and must be adhered to.” So AbdulKadir is saying in effect that the fears of the corps members and their parents are not justified.
That is at a time when people who have lived in some of the Boko Haram-ravaged states for decades are fleeing for their lives. Those are the states which AbdulKadir finds nothing wrong in posting hapless youths because they must serve their country. Still trying to justify the new thinking in government, AbdulKadir added: “Don’t forget that a number of people went to the civil war…, they were killed, they left families.” Those who fought in the civil war were soldiers who entered the Army on their own free will. They were not forcibly conscripted. With the latest diktat on the NYSC, the scheme has now become a forcible conscription. The minister espoused the ideals of the scheme in his press conference as a tool to harmonise and integrate Nigerians. Yet, there is an Inuwa AbdulKadir born in Sokoto, had all his education, except the Law School year, from primary school through university in Sokoto. He is believed to have even served the nation as a youth corps member in Sokoto. Is he the same person now talking down on Nigerians and pretending to be preaching the virtues of serving the nation to youths in the face of extreme danger? If the minister is the same person, then he is not a role model as far as the youth service scheme is concerned. Thus it is better for him to keep quiet.