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NYSC: Troubled states versus parents/kids

By Dele Sobowale
“The NYSC Director General was not the chief security officer of Plateau State and incompetent to speak so authoritatively on the matter”- Mr Greg Nyelong, Commissioner for Information and Communications.

If you are wondering what that palaver is all about, let me tell you; because if you are a parent or guardian, with a kid likely to be called for service, this concerns you.

If you are a kid, likely to be called up, this concerns you even more. And the courts in Nigeria from the Federal High Courts to the Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court might soon have to intervene in this matter.

The Director General of the NYSC had recently directed that all those going to serve in Plateau State be redeployed. That, to me, was the most sensible thing the House of Representatives and the NYSC ever did in a long time. Plateau State is, to put it mildly, now the killing fields of Nigeria. The Federal House of Reps and the NYSC-DG have simply said that they were not prepared to send more kids to the slaughterhouse after those massacred in previous battles. Mr Greg Nyelong, speaking on behalf of his Governor, would have none of it. According to the state government, the Governor is the chief security officer. That is constitutional balderdash. And Mr Nyelong knows it.

Yes, according to the written and grossly defective constitution, the governor is the chief security officer – on paper. But, in reality, all the governors, including Jang, have repeatedly told Nigerians that they are not in control of the security of their states. Indeed, if Jang were in complete control of security, he would not have been calling, vainly, on the army and police chiefs when several hundred people were being turned into suya in a village close to his house.

So, Mr Nyelong, knows that he is peddling falsehood and he merely wants the rest of Nigeria to continue to send their kids to Plateau State for sacrifice while Plateau State kids are safe in Lagos, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Kwara etc, etc. That is total selfishness masquerading as state policy. And let me be quick to assure Mr Nyelong and his state government, that we (including me), the parents of those kids, and the kids themselves, will not allow the NYSC to send our kids to Plateau State. Even the constitution, which Mr Nyelong quotes rather
glibly, recognizes right to life, of all citizens, as the first among all rights and no state government can take away that right by asserting a defective principle. At any rate, if my kid is sent to Plateau State, I would simply refuse to surrender her and head for the courts and I urge all the parents in that predicament to do the same. Why?

Because, the NYSC was created for man and not man for the NYSC. No government has the right, nor should ever have the right, to send anybody’s kids to a place where value for human life has been eroded to zero; government would have become an accomplice to murders committed by mad people and the parents who docilely send their kids would also have been accomplices before the fact. And that goes, not only for Plateau State, but, for every other state that might degenerate into this level of barbarism which we have experienced in that state for more than a year.

This explanation has become necessary because Mr Nyelong and his governor appear to be operating under the mistaken notion that this is a matter between the state and the NYSC alone. On the contrary, the parents/guardians as well as the kids themselves are strong parties to this controversy. In fact, we hold the trump cards. If Plateau State wants our kids, let the people stop killing those sent to them. It is as simple as that.


“(There is) never a shortage of clowns who want to be president…..”.

John Grisham, in THE BRETHREN.

… Or Governors, or Senators or Federal Representatives even when godfathers have already decided the outcome in advance. Over 30 jesters came out for the presidency in 2007; the recent Governor’s election in Anambra State brought out another 25 or more comedians. In 2007, over 30,000 individuals considered themselves worthy of being elected to various offices. Invariably, every one of them attracts court jesters who pretend to believe that he is really electable material in order to separate him from his money. And when they lose, they rush to the courts, with a SAN or two in tow, to blame INEC for their self-induced misfortunes.

Even people considered serious minded make the same mistakes. The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi was a presidential candidate who failed to request for a REALITY TEST to be conducted by an objective researcher. Nevertheless, I sent him a letter asking him to forget the idea. He called back to tell me that he did not need my advice since “the people” have asked him to run for the office.

Somehow, “the people” deserted him in droves as I knew they would on election day. He headed for the courts and lost there too – because even in the freest and fairest election there was no way Gani could have won the election. He conducted the campaign as if elections were organized by the National Debating Society where soundness of ideas and “big grammar” would carry the day anytime. Nothing could be farther from the truth. And that explains why some of our professors who ventured into campaigns often lose; and will continue to lose…

To be continued..


“A fool and his money are soon parted”.

Old adage.

The decision to run as a candidate whether with one’s own money or that of supporters is an investment decision. Yet, two things are remarkable about candidates for elections in Nigeria. One, few realize that by running for office, they are taking a risk not really different from drilling for oil. Two, they undertake these investments without the most elementary cost and benefit analysis.

By so doing, they become hostage to the staff they hastily assemble; and who proceed to help them waste their funds. Unfortunately, the waste of private funds, on the aggregate, has a major impact on the economy as scarce funds are devoted to a project which for the most part will yield zero returns to the individual candidates.


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