By Kadiri Abdulrahman
Abuja – Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, a former Head of State and Founder, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has described the scheme as “a catalyst of Nigeria’s socioeconomic development”.
Gowon gave the commendation on Tuesday, when the Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, in a statement quoted Gowon as saying that the scheme was “a catalyst of Nigeria’s socioeconomic development”.
Gowon recalled that the scheme, which was initially rejected at inception, had turned out to become the largest youths mobilisation agency in Nigeria.
He commended the management of the scheme for grooming successive batches of corps members for national development.
Gowon also lauded the NYSC management for providing youths with necessary platform to contribute to the national development through health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and other national assignments.
He said that the security architecture that was provided for corps members during their recent participation in the Bayelsa and Kogi elections was laudable, noting that there was no casualty involving any of the corps members.
The former Head of State said the introduction of Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme into the orientation course content was another feat recorded by NYSC management.
He described it as an effective tool for youths empowerment and direct answer to youths unemployment.
Gowon lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry and other stakeholders that had assisted enterprising corps members with loans.
He said the loans had helped the corps members to establish their businesses, thereby transforming them into wealth creators and employers of labour.
While briefing Gowon, the director-general said that NYSC management had intensified efforts aimed at sanitising the scheme’s mobilisation process.
Ibrahim said that this was to eliminate the prospects of unqualified Nigerians from being mobilised for service.
He added that some of the unqualified graduates that were arrested during the 2019 Batch ‘B’ Orientation Course had been handed over to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution.
The NYSC boss further disclosed that during the last verification of credentials of foreign-trained graduates, out of over 20,000 that uploaded their certificates, only 3,420 showed up for the exercise.
Ibrahim attributed the non-presentation of these graduates to having been forewarned to steer clear of the exercise if they paraded questionable credentials.
He added that the scheme had also intensified efforts at sensitising the various tiers of government on their obligations to NYSC Scheme, particularly in respect of establishing NYSC State Governing Boards.
The director-general said that the scheme had enlightened state governments on the need for provision of befitting orientation camps and regular maintenance of the facilities, which would ensure hitch-free orientation course.
He hinted that awareness was also being created on the NYSC Act and the need for qualified foreign and Nigerian-trained graduates to make themselves available for service immediately after graduation as enshrined in the Act.
The NYSC director-general said that he would like to leave behind a scheme that the generality of Nigerians would be proud of and happy to identify with.