How Biafrans started NYSC and Gowon Hijacked it - Prof. Nwala
Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, a philosopher and academician, has said that the idea of establishing National youth service, NYSC was a Biafran ideology founded under the name East Central State Youth Volunteer Services Corps, ECS-UVSC, but was hijacked by the Gowon led government.

According to Nwala, The scheme was basically establishment to be an instrument of national integration after civil war in 1970. Successive governments has also embraced the scheme as instrument of national integration. The scheme has had its success stories but in recent times, numerous Corp members have been killed in an outburst of political and religious riots in the North, while many have experience serial kidnappings in the Southern part of the country. The fall out of these have been the calls in some quarters for the abolition of the scheme in that the major aim of being an instrument for national integration has been defeated.

 Prof. Nwala at different fora has been saying that the establishment of NYSC was his initiative, insisting that Gen Gowon has not debunk his claims rather according to him the former head of state has been avoiding making statement on the issue.

Recently, he reechoed his claims in a paper he presented at a forum of coalition of Igbo youths in Abuja titled ‘The Origins Of The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) And The Making Of A Nation: An Excursion Into Nigeria’s Social History.

In his presentation, he made the issue a subject matter. noting that he is not against the hijack of the scheme which to some extent has serve as a unifying factor for the country, but that for the sake of history, preference should be accorded to him and other Biafran patriots of the then East Central State Youth Volunteer Services Corps, (ECS-YVSC) who work tirelessly to established the volunteer scheme on who’s blue print Gowon’s government hijacked to establish the NYSC.

Stating his points, he went down memory lane on Nigeria’s history and the eventual civil war, emphasizing on the overbearing destructive effects the war had on the Igbo ’s which he said engendered the need for an ideal reconciliation, re-construction of infrastructures and reintegration in the zone, which compelled him to come up then with the voluntary organization.

He aligned his thesis in segments starting with Divisive Tendencies in the Country: The rivalry between Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Awolowo, between Awolowo and Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, and among the three major ethnic groups, as well as the struggle of the ethnic minorities to free themselves from the strangle-hold of the major ethnic groups in their various zones, added major centrifugal forces tearing the federation apart. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe could not assume power as Premier of Western Nigeria following the Victory of his party = the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) because he was not a Yoruba man.

"The Igbo presence in the North and dominance in many parastatals of Government because of their social mobility and higher level of educational attainment were resented by the leadership of the North who aroused anti-Igbo feelings."

" The slogan of the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) One North One People was symptomatic of the divisive spirit of the politics of that time. The Party formation followed exactly the same ethnic divide, with the N PC in control of the North, the Action Group (AG) in control of the West while the NCNC controlled the East and the Mid-West."

The lgbo Predicament in Nigeria

"The Igbo’s were mostly in the forefront of the anti-colonial struggle in Nigeria. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Igbo, was the doyen of African and Nigerian nationalism, others were Mbonu Ojike, Mbadiwe, Amanze Njoku, Jaja Nwachukwu, Okpara, etc. such incidents as those associated With the Women Uprising of 1929, the Enugu Colliery Workers Strike in 1949 and the Zikist National Vanguard noted for it vociferous radicalism.

The British colonial authority saw the Igbo as their number one enemy, therefore, resented Igbo political ascendancy in Nigeria and to punish the Igbos by ensuring that they were politically marginalized in Nigeria."

1966 Coup

"Ironically, the young majors led by major Kaduna Nzeogwu, who carried out the January 15, 1966 coup, did so in order to install Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Prime Minister of Nigeria. So if that coup is to be defined as anybody’s coup, it is appropriately to be called Awolowo coup. There is no way Chief Awolowo could be ignorant of the coup for which he was to be the principal beneficiary. Unfortunately, it A was called Igbo coup by both the British agents who knew better and their collaborators."

 The Nigeria-Biafra War

"The high-tide of the instability of the Nigerian Federation was the Biafra-Nigeria war of 1967-70, the bloodiest civil wars in Africa. It claimed over two million lives and displaced thrice that number. Consequently, a national and international coalition was brought under the leadership of both Gen. Gowon and Chief Awolowo against the Igbos in a bloody war that lasted over 30 months and claimed over 1 million Igbos and devastated the entire Igbo territory."

"For 30 months, Biafra was subjected to land and air bombardment. Life in the war-ravaged zones of Biafra was horrible -sea blockade, land and air bombardments, destruction of lives and property, displacement of millions of people who became refugees with nowhere to go; kwashiorkor and mal-nutrition, hunger and disease, rape of women and girls, thousands of disabled soldiers who fought on the side of Biafra, massacre of thousands of ablebodied men and youths, etc. During the war, some of us worked in the Biafra Propaganda Directorate. Mr. Ekeanyanwu from Atta and I set up the Propaganda Directorate in the old Owerri Province, covering the present Imo State."