By: _Busy Brain_, Kwara
Youths obey the clarion call; let us lift our nation high, under the sun or in the rain. The above sentence is carved out of the NYSC anthem and this particular anthem is like a ginger in Corpers’ swagger on parade ground while in the orientation camp. As newly mobilised ‘Otondos’ the rhythm is sonorous and pleasant to the ears with merriness and ecstasy.
As a matter of fact, serving one’s father land is cool most especially when one is fully kitted in seven over seven or six over seven attire. Everybody sees one as government’s pikin that is on payroll. one’s parents are more happier having seen their son or daughter in NYSC khaki even when all the bonuses and allowances from them would be blocked for that period of one year. Why? because you are now a Corper receiving allawee. One can neither call parents nor brothers for financial purposes unless one promises to return the money whenever allawee drops. Only few with parental influence flex with their parents’ money and leave allawee untouched for other purpose or few ones that have already been employed or have flourishing business and only want NYSC certification for future reference. Some of these categories are rather ghost Corpers who sacrifice their monthly allowance to the Local Government Inspectors and school principals.
As interesting as the NYSC, the Federal Government seems not to have known that going out of one’s comfort zone to live on #19,800 is not easy. Most of the Corpers exhaust their money before 20th of the month and continue to count down the days left to earn new allowance. Can you imagine a living inside life.
A brother of mine earned #19,800 when he served in the year 2013. During that time, a Congo of rice was #300 while that of beans was #120. Can you imagine how cheap other cooking stuffs would be by then? As cheap as foodstuffs, he always complain of insufficient balance in his account even when he do carry raw foodstuffs from home like someone going to exile. Now we are in 2019 and Corpers’ monthly allowance still remain #19,800 when a Congo of rice is sold at the rate of #500 or more and that of beans at the rate of #250 or more. All others things involved. Tell me how one can save from #19,800 to establish business when one would not dance for the market women to get foodstuffs and other provisions.
Let’s even split the #19,800 into pieces now. By calculation, a Corper earns #660 per day. #660 multiply by 30 days is equal to #19,800. Economically, out of #660 earned daily, Let’s assume one spends #150 in the morning for breakfast, #150 in the afternoon for lunch and #150 in the night for dinner to make #450 per day out of #660 earned. If we multiply #450 spent on food daily by 30 days, it would give #13,500 per month out of #19,800 allawee. #19,800 allawee minus #13,500 spent on food is equal to #6,300. This shows that if one spends #450 daily for three square meal, what would be left is #6,300 balance at the end of the month out of #19,800. Out of this #6,300 that remains, one would pay for electricity bill monthly, one would pay for transport fare to CDS weekly or PPA probably three or four times in a week, one would have no choice than to recharge phone and buy data for subscription, friends and relatives would definitely be expecting one to give out something including girl friend or fiancee. All these expenses excluded clothes, and other petty things. Convince me on why people should not engage in yahoo yahoo out of this mess. I pay kudos to the EFCC for waging war against cyber crime but why are they careless to take note of some of the reasons behind the hiker level of cyber crime. People resort to last choice when there is none. The insufficient #19,800 is among the reasons why guys find alternative to their standard of living. Monthly allowance isn’t sustainable and employment isn’t certain. Who on earth can endure poverty?
For more than three months now, the increment of allawee have been a stunt and mirage. All hopes that the new minimum wage implementation would favour Corpers have been an unfounded rumours and rumours on the increment to #30,000 have always been debunked by NYSC DG simply because the Federal Government has not communicated the scheme on the increment. But the government had communicated the Senators and Honourables with millions of naira ‘welcome package’ even when they have not done anything. We also have some N-Power beneficiaries earning #30,000 monthly with National Diploma and NCE qualifications, This is a brilliant development by President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to combat unemployment but why are the graduates serving the nation battling #19,800 since Late President Umaru Musa Yara’dua’s regime.
For the fact that tertiary institutions in Nigeria are producing thousands of graduates who fall in the categories of youths, I think the government should invest in these graduates by increasing corps members’ allowance. if graduates earn at least, #30,000 per month, it is only a prodigal that would not have savings to set up a small scale business of whatsoever and give life to at least, one business idea. As educative as NYSC skills acquisition classes ( SAED), there are no possibilities of saving the money to start up the business and finance one or two skills acquired standardly. Many business ideas died after NYSC because there is no more savings on ground having exhausted the #19,800 during the service year. For instance, one hundred and fifty thousand naira would give birth to one business idea and make one to be self reliance but can one save one hundred and fifty thousand naira from the nineteen thousand eight hundred naira allowance? Maybe if that person use like six months to fast out of the service year.
It is high time the NYSC scheme go back to the drawing board and sit the government down on the increment without waiting for the minimum wage implementation. NYSC Scheme is the best channel to reduce unemployment . NYSC is the best avenue to empower the youths and this can only be achieved by increasing the allowance to a sustainable level. The increment in the allawee would not only reduce unemployment rate but at the same time encourage people to further with their education. If N-Power beneficiaries can earn #30,000 per month for two years, NYSC members can also earn #30,000 for that one year of service with dedication and selflessness. Allawee increment should be a must and priority. Don’t just increase the month, increase the allowance as well. Nigeria is ours; Nigeria we serve!
God bless Nigeria
God bless NYSC Scheme
God bless the Youths Corps members
_Continue to share, maybe it can get to the authority and change the narrative_
is an opinion writer. He graduated from the fastest growing polytechnic in Nigeria. ( The Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State )