Friday, April 22, 2011

The Service

One question I ask myself but never found a satisfying answer was, does everything happen for a reason OR do we find a reason to explain everything that happens? Most times if not every time we do not know. Psychologist say we rationalise when such events with no clear reason happen, Christians find comfort in saying "God works in mysterious ways". Like the piece I did on "Faith versus Wishful Thinking", we can't know the difference until the period had elapsed and we retrospect.

March 2011, a new service year was suppose to begin for tertiary institutions graduates in Nigeria under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. "Every graduate [corp member] was posted to a state far from their city of origin. They were expected to mix with people of other tribes, social and family backgrounds, to learn the culture of the indigenes in the place they were posted to. This action [was] aimed to bring about unity in the country and to help youths appreciate other ethnic groups." There were three batches in a year to accommodate the high number of graduates. Due to 'factors' no one clearly understood, students of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, were left out of the first batch that March. Exclusion from the Batch meant they had to find whatever to keep themselves busy till the next batch B in July. Obviously the majority, again if not everyone, were not ok with the situation. No NYSC certificate meant no job with 'real' pay. It was made worse by the fact that the institution provided no explanation/apology since they were supposed to submit names of students eligible for the service.

Few weeks later in April, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, decided to use corps members as electoral officials for the country's elections. As expected violence were recorded with these fresh graduates being the most affected especially in the northern part of the country. There were cases where corpers were either killed or their arms amputated. That left fresh graduates of UNILAG saying..."that could have been us". What they couldn't explain and initially saw as a burden was now a blessing in disguise. Their absence from service prevented them from being exposed to such violence.

So did everything happen to them for that reason or they just have to use that for a reason for what happened? Like Kanye West once said in situations like these, "We will never know". My condolence however goes out to the families of those that had been affected by the lapses in our electoral process. Maybe there was a bigger reason for these events...the NYSC programme might as well be cancelled.

1 comment:

  1. The whole corps members thing is scary and sad. When I served, we were "government pikins" and no-one dared to touch us. Or perhaps that was our perception.

    I think that the government should pay each family "compensation" even though I recognize that this will never be replacement for the child they lost.