One recalls the stench on the parade ground the night camp opened. It is one of those moments that are impossible to forget. For whenever a reflection is cast back to such moments, the moment is relieved in its live majesty: rowdy, barely lit and a stench that abides through time. But that was a mere welcome to what we were to witness in the coming days: dry taps across the dorms, dysfunctional toilets and a shoddy disposal network, never mind the entitled disposition of the receiving staff of the Corps. With a few like minds, we held conversations about the state of our country, the state of education, the state of our camp. It wasn’t long into the three-week exercise when we reached a conclusion that bears strong patriarchal and feminist qualities all at once.
Our conclusion read thus: “for any loving father, the NYSC camp is a no-go-area for his daughter”. Whereas this sounds unconsidered and shallow, we, the analytically occupied boys in camp spoke from first-hand knowledge of where the shoe pinched. For us, the implication was simple: based on the conditions of the facilities across camp and on the overall temperament of the camp itself, if a man loves his daughter, he would do anything within his power to ensure that she evades NYSC camp. It is within this backdrop that one is compelled to appreciate the love of Pa Adeosun for his daughter. For all intents and purposes, this love guaranteed that she evaded the inhumane spell masquerading as NYSC camp. Methinks this is something to be cheerful about as every female reader whose dad permitted a 3-week leave to be in NYSC camp surely must begin to reconsider her dad’s purported love.
Meanwhile, please don’t ask how I managed to serve in the same state I schooled. An NYSC rule after all indicates that a corper would be dispatched to any of the states of the federation excluding her/his state of origin and the state where s/he schooled. In a thinking cap society, such an inquiry may lead to far-reaching implications for ‘arranging one’s service’ to a preferred city (e.g. Lagos, Abuja, PH and several other coveted spots for reasons of yore; including proximity to one’s home, facilitation of work in a firm one had prior contact/interest etc.); as an arranged exception certificate has proved in the case of erstwhile Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun. It is necessary to clarify here that Adeosun’s crime was not the evasion of the supposedly compulsory NYSC, but her presentation of a fake document with a sole meaning to be found in its original copy. Exemption, after all, isn’t service to nation, is it? I wager that the certificate is issued in its original copy once it has been verified that the applicant is over 30 at the time of application. If such an applicant happens to arrange a certificate, knowingly or unknowingly, to verify that she is indeed over 30 – since that’s all it’s really about – where is the disservice? This is in relative terms to the quantum of service a holder of an original exemption certificate would have rendered to fatherland by obtaining an original exemption certificate for being over 30! The fluidity of the matter has been exploited in spheres of the ridiculous. It is why Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu has proudly owned his own evasion of the NYSC, insisting that his service to the country far outweighs 12 months of NYSC.
Minister Shittu and the rest of the band of Buhari’s scapegoating government may pretend all they want and continue their attempts at playing up a used up and over flogged integrity mantra with the sacrifice of Minister Adeosun. However, in an electorally sensitive season, their action only strikes masterstroke chords with the undiscerning. Many are all too aware that the sacrificing of Minister Adeosun was only but a convenient tool in a seemingly fixable rupture. There are just too many instances when the government would have carried on indifferently. The expediency of this episode is more a commentary of the dispensability of Adeosun than one on the integrity of the president and his government.