The most significant events in a university graduate’s life: the NYSC swearing in ceremony, and the passing out parade. These two events are filled with hours of marching practice, flag saluting drills, sweat and exhaustion, but the youth loved them, for some reason. Maybe it gave them a sense of great achievement. After all being a graduate isn’t easy.
But, over the years, the passing out parade (or POP), signaling the end of one’s mandatory one year service in the NYSC, has become less ceremonious. Because of the crisis happening in the north, youth corp members in those states were discouraged from having any passing out parades, but now it seems the COVID-19 pandemic has made this necessary for all NYSC members across the 36 states.
Contrary to the passing out parade of before- speeches, performances, and actual parades- this year’s POP was a total opposite to the former – demure, uneventful, with passing out corp members simply going to their NYSC headquarters and collecting their certificates. With a lot of social distancing and face masks to control the spread of the coronavirus, ex-corpers were just minding their business and waiting for their turn to get their certificates.
This made the whole POP process more efficient, as days are designated to a group of people and in a day, 10 different points for a smaller percentage of the said group. One would think this is the answer to the former suffocating and tiresome method of old, but some actually wish they had that experience.
One tradition that still stands is taking pictures and making videos for social media, something that most corpers did. Others simply waited to collect their certificate and move on, as though to say if nothing was happening, let nothing happen.
It definitely wasn’t a passing out parade; more like a passing out meeting.