Osinbajo, Minister, Jega, Others Extol NYSC at 50

Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, and a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, among others have extolled the National Youth Service Corps NYSC at 50.

They all spoke at the opening ceremony of the 50th anniversary celebration of the scheme in Abuja, yesterday.

Osinbajo applauded the scheme for its contributions to national development especially the involvement of corps members in the conduct of elections since 2011.

“The heroic involvement of the NYSC and Corps members in particular, as ad-hoc staff, in conducting elections since 2011 could be described as divine intervention.

“This, no doubt, salvaged Nigeria’s electoral system which was characterised by some malpractices in the previous elections. The collaboration between NYSC and INEC since 2011 is a watershed in Nigeria’s electoral history, as that has so far institutionalised free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria,” he said.  

In his remarks, Dare, said the scheme had immensely contributed to national development over the years.

Dare stated: “As we chronicle and celebrate the unparalleled contributions of the Scheme to nation-building, this event presents to us a veritable opportunity to evolve strategies to strengthen the Scheme, make it more sustainable and broaden its scope of operations to enhance its contributions to national development.

“That NYSC has become a household name in the socio-economic development of Nigeria is not surprising because the Scheme, since inception 50 years ago, has kept faith with its objectives and mandate.

“Through its programmes, the Scheme has made invaluable impact in various aspects of national development, including providing health care to our rural communities, while its contributions to education and rural infrastructure are legendary.”

NYSC Board Chairman, Amb. Fatima Abubakar on her part said “Fifty years down the line, Nigerians have no option than to give resounding encomiums to our iconic legend, General Gowon, the founder and father of the NYSC, for his foresight in establishing the Scheme.

“This is in view of the mind-boggling contributions it has made to all spheres of our national life.”

Also, the NYSC Director General, Yusha’a Ahmed in his welcome address noted that, for five decades, the Scheme has distinguished itself as an effective mobiliser of graduate youths for the promotion of national unity and development in various sectors of our national life.

Jega, during his lecture stated that, “the NYSC in Nigeria is, no doubt Africa’s leading programme and agency for purposeful and targeted youth mobilisation for national development.

“In no other country in Africa are hundreds of thousands of educated and skilled youth mobilised annually for compulsory national service, to address national developmental gaps, as is the case in Nigeria.”

He added: “This has been on-going in Nigeria now for five decades, with millions having served in the scheme, and with tremendous value addition to national progress and development.

“Almost two generations of Nigerian graduates of tertiary institutions (at home and abroad) have participated in the NYSC scheme, an overwhelming majority of whom served in states/regions other than their own, providing them with invaluable exposure to, and lived experiences in, sociocultural contexts different from their own.”

Jega stressed that, “in the past five decades, through the NYSC, skilled and trained Nigerian youth in their millions have, in various ways, made significant contributions, and added remarkable value, to Nigeria’s socioeconomic development.”

According to him, “There is no doubt that, in the post-civil war Nigeria, i.e. since the middle of the 1970s, the NYSC has facilitated, if not catalysed, national integration, which is one of the core objectives of the scheme.”

However, Jega noted that while the country celebrates and commemorates five decades of the NYSC, there was the need for sober reflections to address pertinent questions.

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