The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill establishing the National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund as his parting gift to the Nigerian youth before his tenure expires.
Chairman, NYSC National Governing Board, Ambassador Fatima Abubakar made the plea at the opening ceremony of the 50th anniversary celebration of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on Monday, May 15, 2023 in Abuja.
Lauding the achievements of the Scheme in its five decades of existence, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu said, the story of NYSC had been that of growth, progress and expansion.
Osinbajo noted that the Scheme had recorded numerous achievements, including the promotion of national unity and integration as well as intervention in critical areas of our national economy such as education, agriculture, health, infrastructural development, science and technology, social and other economic sectors amongst others.
He further noted that there was no doubt that since its inception 50 years ago to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Civil War, the NYSC had continued to play a significant role in actualizing the role of building an indivisible nation.
“Indeed, from the humble beginning in 1973, the scheme has continuously evolved, growing from strength to strength while discharging its core mandate of promoting national unity, integration, facilitating self-reliance among others creditably.
“It is gratifying to note that NYSC has continued to renew and make itself indispensable by evolving policies and programmes that have clearly identified it as a foremost institution for development in the country”, he said.
The Vice President also stated that 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, he said, “salvaged Nigeria’s electoral system which was characterized 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 institutionalized free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria”.
In addition, Osinbajo informed that the giant strides recorded by the Scheme through its Community Development Projects had equally contributed greatly to improve the living standard of rural dwellers.
He therefore, urged all Nigerians to support the programmes and activities of the Scheme especially on community and rural development.
On her part, Chairman, NYSC National Governing Board, Ambassador Fatima Abubakar stressed that, Nigerians were witnesses to the numerous developmental efforts of Corps members, particularly in the hinterlands:
“I make bold to say, without fear of contradiction, that but for the interventions of this Scheme, our education and health sectors would have been in sorry state in many rural communities.
“Besides many intangible, yet exceptional contributions, evidences abound of countless physical projects executed by Corps members across the length and breadth of the country. To say the least, the giant strides recorded by NYSC in the last fifty years can simply be described as matchless”, Abubakar said.
Subsequently, she appealed to President Buhari to leave a ‘parting gift’ to the Nigerian Youth:
“Having been encouraged by Mr. Presidents deep rooted interest in the success of the Scheme, I wish to use this medium to passionately appeal to the father of the nation to kindly assent to the bill establishing the National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund as his parting gift to the Nigerian youth before his people-oriented administration comes to an end on the 29th of this month”, she said.
Director General of NYSC, Brigadier General Yusha’u Ahmed said 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 national life.
Ahmed averred that, a critical look at the tangible and intangible contributions of Corps Members in the spheres of Education, Health, Infrastructure, Advocacies, National duties over the years validates the centrality of the Scheme to national development.
Speaking further, the DG informed that,
in discharging its mandate, the NYSC had provided inspiration for sister African countries like Gambia which it helped establish its National Youth Service Scheme:
“In 50 years, the NYSC has effectively discharged its mandate, overcome operational challenges under several administrations to stand the test of time. This is better appreciated against the backdrop of the fact that some institutions that were established about the same time the NYSC birthed, or much after have gone under, being unable to weather the storms of existential threats.
“I am particularly happy to note that in discharging its mandate, the NYSC has provided inspiration for sister African countries like Gambia which it helped establish its National Youth Service Scheme, modelled after the NYSC, but with a different structure and operational guidelines”, he said.