President Muhammadu Buhari has commended former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), for the wisdom of setting up the National Youth Service Corps in 1973.
He said the scheme must be sustained, with a constant reminder of the history, structure and purpose that should not be abused, trivialised or undermined.
According to the President, the NYSC has truly achieved the goal of national integration by providing opportunities for cross cultural interactions and establishing a bridge for improved understanding.
He, therefore, congratulated the former Head of State, and all Directors General of the Corps, past and present, for inspiring and sustaining a 50-year legacy that has strengthened a web of solidarity, ignited loyalty to the nation, broadened the horizon of citizens, promoted civic responsiveness, created a better understanding of various individual and ethnic identities, their diversities and underscored the bottom-line of the common values of fairness, justice, peace and unity.
In a statement on Friday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President said the NYSC remains one of the strongest ideals of nation building, institutionally encouraging inter-cultural and inter-religious marriages, resettling of people of various tribes in different parts of the country, exploration of entrepreneurship and business opportunities in places, removing insularity among citizens and enabling a new culture of oneness, brotherliness and neighbourliness.
President Buhari affirmed that as the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the NYSC, the scheme must be sustained, with a constant reminder of the history, structure and purpose, that should not be abused, trivialised or undermined for any reason, by keeping a focus on the larger picture that Nigeria’s unity is a process and a collective responsibility that must not be negotiated.
He also shared the joyous season of the milestone with all those that have enjoyed the adventures of the scheme, “and have been sharing memories and pictures with nostalgia, while wishing potential corps members all the best as they move to different parts of the country, to share and explore new experiences of the diversity of Nigeria.”
President Buhari further recalled that one of the joys and highlights of his administration has been the annual ritual of receiving corps members in his country home in Daura, Katsina State, during Eid-el-Fitr Sallah, and the conversations that follow in getting to know their various states, languages, family trees and educational institutions, and asking about their welfare, noting that two visiting Presidents from Niger Republic and Guinea participated and enjoyed such interactions.
He commended the Nigerian Army, Directors General of the NYSC, and various private and public institutions for providing the enabling environment for the success of the scheme.