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Nigeria definitely is moving, even if it seems that there is no movement. It is believed it seems there is no movement simply because substantial and critical operators and institutions in the country are yet to properly key-in to the use of ICT as an enabler in whatever their business is.
Several institutions of higher learning in the country have already used and are using ICT to manage things; one very good example is the Rivers State University of Science & Technology under the leadership of Professor Barineme Fakae as vice-chancellor.
Another institution that has digitalized operations is the National Youth Service Corps; which leaves one wondering whether these institutions are succeeding with ICT because their core population are youths.
The digitalization of registration process in NYSC orientation camps nationwide has brought relief to many corps members who can now register within minutes of entering the camps.
Abiodun Lawal, son of a retired policeman was initially apprehensive that he would “suffer”on a long queue after a fairly long journey from Lagos to the camp in Benin City, Edo State. With a scowl on his face, he trudged with his luggage to the registration centre at the camp, where what turned out to be a pleasant surprise, to his eternal gratitude awaited him.
“I thought I would I would spend hours on the queue,”Abiodun narrated, “but I was surprised because registration and allocation of bed space lasted less than thirty minutes. It was so easy!”
Abiodun’s experience, including that of his peers in orientation camps nationwide indicate how far the use of ICT has helped the NYSC to achieve this time around. Gone are the days of corps members struggling in camps to register and then get their kits before settling to life inside the camp.
An NYSC official of the NYSC at the Kubwa Orientation Camp in Abuja disclosed that many corps members usually fall sick immediately they finish their registration because of the stress they go through.
“Don’t forget that most of them are coming into the camp as freshers and they are exposed to what they were not really used to before.
Therefore, the stress of analog registration usually takes its toll on some of them and the next place they visit after registration is the camp clinic because they usually fall sick immediately after. We have seen many cases like that.”
If the NYSC has successfully used ICT to eliminate the stress and difficulties corps members go through while registering at the camps, it is clear that more could be achieved if institutions embrace ICT in managing their operations.
Few institutions, relative to the population in Nigeria have so far successfully keyed into this trend, while confirming the appropriateness of such technological advancement in aiding their organizational activities.
The new process allows corps members to be swiftly processed, confirmed and certified in seconds as opposed to the tedious processes of filling multiple registration forms and standing on queues for hours. In many instances in the past, not all corps members are able to complete registration the day they arrive camp.
NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Johnson Olawumi, during a visit to the camp in Kubwa, Abuja expressed satisfaction at the clockwork easy with which registration was proceeding, while commending the registration team at the camp.
General Olawumi, started a nationwide tour of NYSC camps with the Kubwa camp to ensure effectiveness of the automated registration process was impressed that it was going very well, fast and convenient for corps members and staff of the scheme as well.
“This digital registration is going very well. It is fast and convenient for staff and corps members. This is the first time the hall will be empty by the second day. But we will continue to modernize and improve our processes. Registration used to take two days with a lot of stress. Now it is a matter of seconds. My dream is to improve further so that when corps members arrive camps, their rooms and kits are already assigned based on prior information.”
He also added that this is the first time the registration hall will be empty by the second day of camp resumption, while also assuring Nigerians that the NYSC would continue to modernize and improve the processes.
As at the time of his visit to the Kubwa camp on Monday, more than 2,500 of the expected 2.700 corps members for the November batch had already completed their registration process and settled into their accommodation.
FCT coordinator of the NYSC, Alao Olanipekun, also attested to the goal of the NYSC towards ensuring convenience for the corps members and allowing for efficiency in such activities.
He added that even pregnant corps members are also benefiting from the new system as it allows them a shorter period to go through the registration process while they can now wait to receive a short message prompt confirming the status of their registration.
“When I served in the 83/84 service year, it used to be excruciating and stressful. But now registration is seamless, fast and enjoyable. Let me also inform you that there is adequate security at the camp with fully-armed soldiers and checkpoints.”
The digitalization of the registration process at NYSC camps across the country was one move that was long overdue. A couple of months back, the scheme announced that it would be charging a sum of N4,000 for prospective corps members that would like to download their call-up letters online.
Before, prospective corps awaiting mobilization always had to go to schools where they finished to pick up their call-up letters there. However, the NYSC devised a means whereby the call-up letters could be downloaded online where the prospective corps member could register, complete with biometrics.
However, this idea met with considerable criticism as many Nigerians felt the N4,000 fee being charged for the service was on the high side even if majority of them agreed that it was a brilliant idea on its own. The speed with which registration is being done at various camps across the country has vindicated the NYSC concerning its decision to digitise its operations.
While those who did not take the option of downloading their call-up letters online still registered online, the digitilisation idea has benefitted every corps member that reported for camping. And that is why the fears of the likes of Kehinde Oladele turned out to be unfounded.