‘NYSC online registration initiative, a step in the right direction’- President, CCSG

‘NYSC online registration initiative, a step in the right direction’- President, CCSG

In this interview, President, Coalition of Civil Society Groups, CSCG, Mr Etuk Bassey Williams  (JP) FCICN, gives a pass mark to the current National Youth Service Corps, NYSC online registration project aimed at streamlining the mobilisation and deployment of youth corps for efficiency

What is your assessment of the NYSC online registration project so far?

The NYSC online registration right from inception till date remains one of the outside of the box initiatives that should be commended.

On the assessment of this project, I can tell you unequivocally that it has been a huge success based on information available to us from our report, which shows that the scheme is now better organized especially as it borders on the mobilization and deployment of Youth Corpers who hitherto were faced with the rigorous registration processes in camps. Any project with obvious efficacy in solving problems can be termed as successful and the NYSC online registration project has proved to be one of such projects.

If you say the NYSC online registration project has been a success, why the call by some individuals that it should be scrapped?

That some individuals are calling for the scrapping of this project is strange and only goes to show that for every laudable project especially the one that is targeted at curbing sharp practices, eliminate waste and promote efficiency, there is bound to be resistance and that summarizes why some people could even conceive the idea that the NYSC online registration project should be scrapped. Little wonder the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari is facing series of resistance by this similar set of people who believe the old order should remain and this goes to confirm the saying that corruption will always fight back. At this stage, I think this project has gone past that mundane argument or thought and what all stakeholders are interested in is how to strengthen and continue to build on the gains so far recorded from this project.

The call for the scrapping of this project by some of these individuals have been predicated upon the cost, which they claim to be too expensive. Don’t you think the sum of N3000 being the sum charged for the NYSC online registration is quite on the high side for a prospective Youth Corper?

A project that is a public private partnership such as the NYSC online registration is bound to attract some cost especially when such project is at zero cost to the Government. Why I acknowledge the fact that times are hard, I can still remember vividly that a stakeholder meeting comprising of students’ unions, civil society organizations which happens to be my constituency, prospective Youth Corpers and their parents was convoked at the instance of the NYSC in order to allow for an interface on the project and also to determine an appropriate and acceptable sum to be charged. It will interest you to know that the sum of N3000 was unanimously agreed by all stakeholders after the initial amount of N4000 which was proposed was vehemently rejected. Now, an equilibrium price from my little knowledge of economics is a price where both demand and supply meet and anything above the equilibrium price can be termed as over pricing (vice versa), so if all concerned stakeholders agreed and arrived at the current sum, I think it is only fair to admit that an equilibrium sum of N3000 is not on the high side.

Is it true that the processes that led to the eventual award of the project to SIDMACH Technologies Ltd did not follow due process?

This is surprising because this matter had already been put to rest before now and why this is coming up again at this time only goes to show that some mischief makers who are totally against change are only out to truncate this laudable project. How else can you explain due process for a project that was properly advertised and the bidding process observed by relevant stakeholders of which the civil society was represented. If that is not due process, then I wonder what you call due process. I think it is high time we moved forward by focusing on things that will further help to enhance the NYSC scheme.

What are the challenges that you have noticed with the NYSC online registration?

Ironically, one of the major challenges that has been noticed coming from our report on the project so far has been more of human than technical. Human in the sense that those racketeers who were beneficiaries of the old order and who have been most affected by the successful implementation of this project, majority of whom are NYSC staff have been observed to be using all means to sabotage the process with the aim of bringing back the old practice of manual registration which promotes sharp practices, mediocrity and inefficiency.

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