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Statism, Youth and Civic Imagination

A Critical Study of the National Youth Service Corps Programme in Nigeria

Ebenezer Obadare

Publication Year: 2010

This study explores the service-citizenship nexus in Nigeria, using the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme as an empirical backdrop. It attempts to understand the relationship between civic service and citizenship on the one hand, and it examines the question as to whether youth service promotes a sense of citizenship and patriotism on the other. In the relevant studies on service and sociology, the assumption that service is antecedent to, and impacts positively on citizenship, is taken for granted. However, conclusions from this study call for an urgent rethinking of this wisdom. Using data from open-ended interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions, the study traces the ways in which political dynamics in Nigeria have affected the implementation of the NYSC programme. The study articulates allegiance to national ideals as an essential foundation for creating and nurturing citizenship. Although it upholds the potential of national service as a tool for national integration, this research cautions against unalloyed faith in its presumed agency, arguing that the limitations imposed by the prevailing socio-political ecology should not be ignored.

Published by: African Books Collective

About the Author

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Acknowledgements

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This research was made possible by a grant from the Global Service Institute (GSI) of the Center for Social Development, Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, with funding . . .

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

This study examines the service–citizenship nexus in Nigeria using the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme as an empirical backdrop. In the relevant sociological and . . .

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1. The Idea of Service

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pp. 9-11

In the emerging literature on service as a distinct social practice and analytic category, Michael Sherraden’s (2001) definition has become the touchstone. Sherraden describes service . . .

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2. Citizenship as Civic Duty

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pp. 13-17

Citizenship is core to the idea of democratic society. Indeed, the present age is one that considers citizenship as something of cardinal significance (Heater 1999:1). Even though the idea of . . .

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3. Interfacing Service and Citizenship

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pp. 19-20

Civic service is predicated on the assumption that service is a positive influence on citizenship. Perry and Katula (2001:336) point to Azaro’s (1993) important observation on national . . .

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4. The NYSC: History and Rationale

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pp. 21-28

Faced with a total breakdown of social harmony following Nigeria’s thirtymonth Civil War (1967–70), which followed the unsuccessful attempt by the then Eastern Region to secede from the . . .

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5. The Development of the NYSC

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pp. 29-36

In looking back at the rationale for the national youth programme, the man who set it up, General Yakubu Gowon, stated twenty-one years later that the goal was to . . .

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6. Method of Research

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pp. 37-40

We were interested in determining the extent to which the NYSC has been able to promote citizenship in Nigeria. As a corollary, we were also struck by the impact that the larger political . . .

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7. The NYSC: Meaning, Perceptionand Interpretation

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pp. 41-44

A central component of the research is the perceptual gulf dividing former and serving corps members. Thirty years after the NYSC was started as a critical component of the . . .

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8. The NYSC: Performance Evaluated

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pp. 45-48

After undertaking a survey of the extent to which former and serving corps members share a common leaning and understanding of the national service scheme, it is pertinent to see . . .

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9, The NYSC and Citizenship Values:Any Link?

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pp. 49-51

Central to this research is the extent to which the NYSC promotes citizenship values and, by extension, a civic imaginary, that is, a sense of Nigerian-ness. Does service (NYSC) enhance citizenship . . .

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10. The National Youth Service Scheme

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pp. 53-55

After a survey of the perception and performance of the NYSC, it is equally pertinent to evaluate the respondents’ opinion on the continued relevance or otherwise, of the programme. To this . . .

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11. Evaluation

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pp. 57-62

Former corps members noted that that the NYSC was a good initiative that had turned sour over the years. For one, the programme seemed to have become more exclusionary than inclusionary. For example, the . . .

Notes

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pp. 63-65

References

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pp. 67-69

Appendices

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pp. 71-74

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9782869783331
Print-ISBN-13: 9782869783034

Page Count: 84
Publication Year: 2010