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Pragmatic, reserved and a deep thinker who loves family, sports especially football where am married to two wives: the first, AC Milan who has my loyalty and the second wife, Manchester United who has all my undying love and pampering, lifestyle and society parties. Need I say the law is more than a profession but a lifestyle for me.

Adekanye Adeyinka Olajide.

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You are here: Home / OTONDOS OLODO

OTONDOS OLODO

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It is compulsory for Nigerian graduates to serve their fatherland upon the completion of their university education. The National Youth Service Corps is a scheme I am in no support of. Haven fulfilled the same stipulation proscribed by the laws of the land myself, I deem it an absolute waste of time of youths in their prime that often have suffered truncations spanning years through their university curves.

Asides from the obvious rationale behind the scheme, which to me is none other than for corruption purposes, I see no concrete reason behind the creation of this scheme which has its basis on nationalism. They say an average kit of every Nigerian corp member costs nothing less than, ninety thousand Naira. A figure am sure none of us who have served or in service will readily agree with as the materials used are inferior, and usually, they are never in the right sizes.

I still wonder what benefits can be accrued from the scheme until date. A scheme that is not respected even by employers; who reject placements of corp members – an experience I had for months before I could find another place of primary assignment, and sometimes underpay them. The idea of integration of members of the corp into their host society is also non-existence, as corpers most times even have to pay more than the customary fees for housing.

The credibility of the scheme is also in doubt as no one attaches any value to it and treats them as nuisance. On my first day out with friends straight from the camp, we were completely ridiculed and molested by a common bank security who described us as loiterers. To him, he said we could have been impostors despite us being fully kitted. There was no iota of respect attached to the uniform; we proudly wore prior to the incident. Indeed countless times, security operatives apprehend impostors.

Once corp members leave the comfort of their regimented life in the three weeks camp life, they are totally abandoned by government; left only with their placement letters, they are left with the daunting task of finding accommodation, safety and food in strange lands. Worse still with the emergence of ethnic crisis constantly on a rise, the lives of corp members have never been more perilous, with anything capable of provoking host communities leading to subsequent loss of lives. This sufficiently defeats the purpose of enhancing ‘national unity;’ the reason it was introduced in the first place.

Actually, the reason I am writing on this issue is the nickname every corp member is christened as. OTONDO’ is a name given to every graduate once they step into camps by soldiers. This nickname is very derogatory as it connotes foolishness, which is clear by interpreting it as ‘mumu.’ Nevertheless, one can understand the reason behind the name. Some of us really did march or did other exercises in a clumsy way perfectly deserving the ‘mumu’ tag. What bemuses me however is that most of these soldiers do not have any form of formal education? They have learnt nothing their whole lives other than take and execute orders, they have known no other way of life than one coordinated by rules and regulations. Yet they arrogantly call learned youths, who are cultured, trained to show poise and thrive in their right to free will ‘otondo.’

A careful scrutiny of these youths reveal that indeed they may have rightly been called ‘otondos’ especially with the reprehensible and appalling behaviours they indulge in once they are thrown into this odd life. I am of the opinion that the latitude the scheme affords them turns them into unproductive youths. The NYSC, which does nothing, than encourage laziness that causes many to get involved in loathsome acts due to the ineffective scheme that allows them to be fruitless.

If one is abreast with some of the acts they get involved in, indeed any learned man will feel humiliated and understand why they are true ‘otondo’. Because of many lacking knowledge of their rights, they fall for cheap blackmail and deceit of NYSC officials and soldiers alike. Many desiring favourable posting, trade their body for soldiers and these officials and in most cases end up defrauded. Some for sheer ignorance of their rights fall into unsuspecting traps of unscrupulous officials with furtive motives.

It is no news that this unwholesome futile long one year is the peak period for a lecherous life as many end up with babies, or petrified the whole year for their precious life in the lost land their fatherland has forsaken them.

As much as it appears a castle in the air to scrap this futile scheme, it is not impossible for every corp member to insist on their rights and ensure such rights not eroded. Corp members must realise that they are ‘government pikins’ as my exemplary friend Adebola will say. Who stood her grounds against sexual harassment from an official because she understood that while they are saddled with the responsibilities of improving the nations lot, the government by extension through its agents exists to help achieve thisgoal and not by exploiting them.

ADEKANYE ADEYINKA .O.