This is a compilation of the 2 posts I made on Facebook on December 3rd, 2016 on two related and burning national issues. Enjoy:
On the Deaths of Corps Members
There was a furore in the news Friday (02/12/2016) that a female corps member, Ifedolapo Oladepo, died in the Kano orientation camp. No doubt, her death is unfortunate and very heartbreaking especially for her loved ones, but how the story was/is told left me dumbfounded and shocked. The whole saga was territorialised, regionalised, and localised as if the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme was a state business. Thus, Kano is blamed. It’s, after all, Nigeria, and the North is almost always portrayed in bad light. To some southerners, nothing comes out of this ‘Almajiri-populated’ enclave.
My suspicion was corroborated with the reaction ‘generated’ by yet another death of another female corps member identified as Miss Elechi Chiyerum. This occurred not in the North but at the Bayelsa orientation camp. There was/is silence; no uproar, no condemnation of either the state or even the federal government. Rather, the deceased is blamed for “non-disclosure of ailment”. The NYSC officials in Kano said the same as the cause of Miss Ifedolapo’s death, but her mother, sister and largely the public disagreed. Therefore, many, including some highly educated people on the social media, are blaming the state, and, technically, the people of Kano.
I believe such myopic look at national problems will not help us a bit. If there is a broken health care system in the Kano camp, the same is very likely to be obtained in all other camps. I served in Katsina in 2011. I swear the camp felt a lot like one was in Enugu, or Rivers or any other southern state for, we, the northerners, were the significant minority. Likewise, if it’s the drills given to the Otendos (the new corps members) by their soldier-trainers, the same/similar is what others all over the country go through. And, if, as also alleged, it was the absence of a doctor to attend to her at the local hospital she was rushed to at Gwarzo LG was the cause, it’s a general, even normalised practice, a wrong one though, that doctors don’t stay in the rural hospitals except during work hours, etc. There is no rationale, whatsoever, to shift the blame squarely at the state. Let us, rather, talk about the overall problem bedevilling the nation, and seek for ways to address them squarely.