Senate to Review NYSC Scheme

Senator Ike Ekweremadu , Deputy Senate President
Irked by the post election crisis in some parts of the north, culminating in the slaying of several members of the National Youth Service Corps, the deputy senate president,Senator  Ike Ekweremadu has promised that the Senate would review the act establishing the NYSC scheme.
Ekweremadu said Saturday in Enugu that this had become imperative so as to make the scheme more efficient and to protect the lives of innocent Nigerian youths from the line of fire any time there is violence in any part of the country.
Ekweremadu also revealed that the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would meet after the gubernatorial and state assembly elections to discuss how political offices would be shared among the six geo-political zones of the country.
He said the current situation where the highest political office being enjoyed by the south-east is the position which he occupies would be reviewed at the forthcoming meeting. 
Briefing newsmen, the deputy senate president expressed dismay over the killings in various parts of the north following the outcome of last weekend’s presidential election, noting that the NYSC scheme, established solely for national cohesion, had failed woefully.
He said reform was needed to enable it to play other significant roles in nation building.
As an interim measure, he suggested the reform that could make it compulsory for youths to serve in their geo-political zones until such a time when the country has achieved national cohesion and peace, stressing that this would reduce the level of carnage recorded by members participating in the scheme.
He insisted that it was unacceptable the level of risk innocent youths of the country are being exposed to in the name of the scheme, assuring that he would personally champion the move to review the scheme to play other roles when the upper legislative chamber resumes from recess.
He said, “It is saddening and we regret what has happened, something we never expected at this level of our development.
“It shows that effort to ensure national cohesion, peace and togetherness is yet to be achieved. Yet, the essence of NYSC in the first place is to have this kind of level of integration of our people from one part of the country to another.
“So based on what has happened in the recent past and last week, where young men and women involved in the scheme end up being victims of one conflict or the other, I suggest that we have a review of the NYSC programme because the act was made part and parcel of our constitution in 1979 and is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
“So when we go back, as we continue to review the 1999 Constitution, we will take away the NYSC legislation from the constitution, so it will be an ordinary legislation and that will help us make the necessary amendments that can change the mandate of the scheme.”
Ekweremadu, who called on Nigerians to shun violence and embrace peace especially in this period of Easter, said that the uprisings in the north had thrown the country back, explaining that government was desirous of fast-tracking development in the country.
He said it was unreasonable for people to embark on demonstrations over the elections adjudged free and fair even by international observers, adding that there are constitutional provisions for redress. 
On the sharing of political positions, Ekweremadu said the ruling party was yet to take a decision on how the positions would be allocated, saying that the major focus of the PDP is to maintain its current winning streak in the outstanding elections.
“I want to assure you that once the elections are concluded, we would meet at the NEC level and decide on how to share these offices.
“Be rest assured that the south-east, which obviously played a major role in determining the victory of Mr. President would not be left behind. We are going to get our fair share in the scheme of things this time around.”