Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
Former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has lauded the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme for its unifying role since its establishment 46 years ago.
He said though the establishment of the scheme was greeted with wide protest throughout the country when it was created, the NYSC has remained relevant today.
The former head of state made this assertion yesterday in Abuja at a one-day sensitisation workshop on the NYSC Act.
Speaking through the pioneer Director General of the NYSC and former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Ahmadu Ali, Gowon said the scheme has achieved it main aim of unifying Nigeria as was proposed immediately after the Nigerian civil war.
According to him, “This event is significant as it serves as an avenue for Nigerians to once again call to mind the bold step we took over 46 years ago to provide a platform for young Nigerians to play their part in actualising our vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“When my administration established the NYSC with the promulgation of Decree No. 24 of May 22, 1973, the objective was to ensure that Nigeria remained an indivisible entity that would be focused on sustainable development.
“It is gratifying to note that 46 years after, the NYSC has remained very relevant as one of the most enduring national institutions.”
The Director General of the NYSC, Brig. Gen. Shuiabu Ibrahim, in his address, explained the challenges faced by the scheme as a result of states and local governments’ failure to meet their obligations to the scheme
“The scheme still grapples with some challenges such as stakeholders’ obligations to it and cases of non-compliance with regulations on mobilisation and exemption from the service.
“May I, therefore, seize this opportunity to specifically remind states and local governments of their obligations to the scheme, especially with regards to the provision and maintenance of orientation camps, corps members lodges among other essential welfare facilities as well as office and accommodation for the scheme,” he added.
Ibrahim said: “While we commend states that have shown commitment in this regard, the scheme is passionately appealing to others to make the necessary facilities available for the comfort of corps members deployed in their states.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sports, Mr. Olusade Ademola, who declared the workshop open, also lauded the contributions of the scheme and corps members to the main objective for which the scheme was established.
“The scheme has largely achieved the main goal of ensuring the indivisibility of the country through the lasting bonds built among corps members of diverse ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds.
“Apart from the corps members’ contributions to the various sectors of the economy through their primary assignment, communities in all parts of the country have continued to benefit from landmark projects they execute under the scheme’s Community Development Service (CDS).
“Also deserving of commendations is the participation of the corps members in the execution of key national programmes such as elections, population census and national immunization,” he stated.