In recent time, there has been emphasis on the need to participate in the one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme mandated under the enabling Act. The calls amidst the recent realities of sacks, resignations and disqualifications (among others) of political leaders who became graduates at and/or before the age of thirty but failed to participate in the scheme.The mandatory NYSC scheme is governed by several codes and ethics, the violation of which attracts penalties, ranging from extension of service year to termination of service year and prosecution among other disciplinary actions to be determined by the designated and/or empowered officials of the Scheme.
David Adedeji Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, recently put in for the mandatory NYSC program sequel to his graduation from the University before the age of thirty. Consequently, he was mobilised to the Iyana Ipaja, Lagos Orientation Camp of the Scheme but has since taken off to do other things.
Davido is widely acknowledged and popular both home and abroad. That said, can we conclude that the George Orwell’s view about the society by his book ‘Animal farm’ is in play? Whence, he said by several allegorical syllogism: “All animals are equal but some are more equal than the other”. In other words, it seems we are all equal before the law but some are more equal than others. The question is; is Davido above all other Corps members currently participating in the program to the extent that he cannot be sanctioned, queried and/or at least cautioned if found wanting?
Davido, 26, was one of the 2,152 Batch ‘B’ Stream II corps members sworn-in at the NYSC orientation camp at Iyana Ipaja in August, 2018. Since Davido joined the Scheme, the Following are the SEVEN NYSC Rules of engagement broken by him:
1. Davido was brought into the Orientation camp a chauffeur Driven White exotic car and drove amidst fanfare among other corps members and obviously protected by security guides.
2. Davido left the Orientation camp and never participated in the activities of NYSC at the camp.
The Pop star left the orientation camp to Boston in United States ahead of his ‘Locked Up’ Concert. Afterward, he performed at the opening
day of Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival in Philadelphia, United States.
3. After leaving the orientation camp, Davido never returned.
4. Davido’s Primary Place of Assignment is unknown.
5. Davido did not report promptly to his Primary Place of Assignment or participate in activities at his secondary place of assignment.
6. Davido continues to engage in his private practice as a musician.
7. Davido fully participated in politics during the recently concluded governorship elections in Osun State.
It is noteworthy that the above listed offences attract both light and heavy penalties if some of the offences considered as reconcilable are not met with the attached condition precedents.
Davido violated the provisions of Section 3(I)(15) of the NYSC Bye-Laws (18/19), Section 3(III)(2, 3, 5 6, 7,12, 14)) of the NYSC Bye-Laws (18/19), and Section 4(9) of the NYSC Bye-Laws (18/19). For ease of reference, I hereunder reproduce the contents of the cited sections of the Bye Laws:
Section 3(I)(15) of the Bye laws provides as follows:
During the Period of orientation, every member shall not bring vehicles or motorcycles into the orientation camp.
Any member who brings vehicles or motorcycles to camp shall not be registered, and if already registered, shall be decamped
ii) Such member shall only be allowed to return to service to join the next batch in the orientation camp.
Section 3(III)(2, 3, 5 6, 7,12, 14) of the NYSC Bye-Laws (1993) Provides as follows:
During the Period of Primary Assignment, every member shall:
2. Not be late to report at duty station
Any member who reports late at duty station shall be tried by the Corps Disciplinary Committee and if found guilty, be liable to extension of service on half pay double the period he is late to station. Any member who reports late at duty station shall be tried by the Corps Disciplinary Committee and if found guilty, be liable to extension of service on half pay double the period he is late to station
3. Not fail to report to duty punctually.
Any member who reports late for duty shall be queried by his employer and the report sent to the State Coordinator for disciplinary action.
5. Not fail to carry out duties diligently
Any member who fails to carry out his duties diligently shall be queried by his employer and the report sent to the State Coordinator for disciplinary action.
6. leave his duty station or absent himself from any official activity without the written consent of the State Coordinator.
Any member who leaves his duty station or absents himself from any official activity without the permission of the State Coordinator shall be tried by the Corps Disciplinary Committee and, if found guilty, be liable to extension of service with half pay double the period of absence.
7. Not travel outside the State without written permission of the State Coordinator
Any member who travels outside the State without the written permission of the State Coordinator shall be tried by the Corps Disciplinary Committee and, if found guilty, be liable to forfeiture of allowance for the number of days absent and extension of service with half pay double the period of absence.
12. Not engage in private practice
Any member who engages in private practice shall be tried by the Corps Disciplinary Committee and, if found guilty, be liable on conviction to extension of service for a period not less than twenty one (21) days without pay.
14. Not travel outside Nigeria without the written permission of the Director-General
Any member who travels outside Nigeria without the written permission of the Director-General shall be tried by the Corps Disciplinary Committee and, if found guilty, be liable to extension of service without pay double the period of absence
Section 4(9) of the NYSC Bye-Laws (1993) Provides as follows:
Every member shall Not take part in partisan politics.
Any member who takes part in partisan politics is liable to extension of service for a period not less than three (3) months without pay.
It is clear from the above-cited provisions of the NYSC byelaws and the facts earlier relayed that Davido is in breach of the rules guiding the NYSC scheme.
Even if we were to assume that Davido obtained permission for all his engagements, the question to ask is how much permission can he take during his continuous participation in the scheme? By section 6(2) of the enabling law, Davido cannot get more than 14 days leave of absence during the entire program.
Davido similarly went overboard when he wore PDP attires and campaigned from town to town for his uncle, Senator Ademola Adeleke, despite being a corps member in active service.
Despite all the breaches, there is no record to show that Davido has been queried, sanctioned, brought before a court, suspended and/or cautioned in any way by the NYSC management. The inference to be drawn is that Davido is above the law or above all other corps members. The Lagos State NYSC coordinator and the Director General of the NYSC clearly owe Nigerians some explanations.
Richarmond O. Natha-Alade is a legal Practitioner and Principal Partner at Sun Natha-Alade & Partners (SNATHAP).