Home Youth service NYSC, Gowon and the imperatives of national development

NYSC, Gowon and the imperatives of national development

NYSC DG Major General Ibrahim Shuaibu receiving the salute from corps members

Nigeria, like most nation states in post-colonial Africa, urgently needs unity, cohesion and national integration. Much of this is due to the arbitrary demarcation of borders that divided people of the same history and descent while strongly uniting them with people of different historical and socio-cultural affinities as a country. This colonial interference created a potency for sustained mutual suspicion between nationalities in most postcolonial nation states.

In the case of Nigeria, this already shaky foundation was even more deeply and negatively affected by the civil war that lasted nearly three years. And to deal with this degeneration of our already fractured federation, the then head of state, General Yakubu Gowoni, in 1973 – three years after the civil war – decided to create the NYSC in order to foster and promote national unity and integration, reconcile and rebuild the nation.

It can therefore be said that the shaky foundations of our unity, coupled with the unfortunate event of the civil war; with its negative effects on our unity as a nation, necessitated the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps by Executive Order No. 24 of May 22, 1973, primarily with a view to encouraging and developing common bonds among the youth of Nigeria.

Since then, many Nigerians who have participated in the program and other critical observers can testify to the positive impacts and benefits the NYSC has brought in all spheres of our national life, especially in the faithful and dedicated fulfillment of its main mandate to promote unity, integration and national cohesion.

These positive impacts are evident in the level of friendship that has been cultivated across religious and cultural divides through the platform provided by the NYSC program. It is to the unparalleled credit of this program that intermarriage has been facilitated across Nigeria. Today, many eastern families have northern in-laws and western families have southern in-laws and vice versa.

NYSC’s contributions and accomplishments are also evident in the area of ​​community development projects. Many members of the corps have written their names indelibly in the hearts of many Nigerians in the communities where they have served through their positive impacts and selfless service. Many communities in Nigeria now have health facilities and other basic amenities, thanks to NYSC members who have served in these locations.

Simply put, the program has had a positive impact on almost every facet of our national life and more so on the members of the corps themselves who are generally launched into the next stage of life and equipped with the experiences necessary to excel in the career path they have chosen.

It is fitting at this point to salute the foresight and patriotic leadership of the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, who courageously designed and established the program as a major platform for unity and national integration. The focus on young people who embody the future of our nation shows the futuristic nature of the NYSC program. Today, the majority of Nigerians in various leadership positions are direct beneficiaries of the program and are living witnesses to the unifying power of the NYSC.

Speaking recently at the commissioning of NYSC television and radio stations in Abuja, General Gowon acknowledged that the program had fulfilled its core mandate and made a positive impact on the nation. In his words: “It is undeniable that the program has, over the nearly five decades of its existence, successfully harnessed the potential of our young graduates as role models in defining patriotism, credible and quality leadership as well as economic regeneration. Our nation will always remain grateful to General Yakubu Gowon for such a great legacy, even for generations to come.

Along the same lines, I would like to acknowledge the remarkable accomplishments of successive heads of the program, who, in reference to the core mandate of the NYSC, have each demonstrated excellent leadership within the limits of their job descriptions and resources at their disposal. The sustenance and continued relevance of the Plan are reasonably attributable to their respective contributions. The history of the Regime will always reserve a place of honor for all those who have served the nation in this capacity in the past.

Standing on the shoulders of his illustrious predecessors, the current CEO of the NYSC, Major General Ibrahim Shaiubu, has displayed ingenuity and outstanding leadership qualities that have exceeded all expected performance indices and have comparatively carried the program completely on another level of advancement in response to current realities and the dynamics of the 21st century.

He transformed the NYSC and repositioned it to fulfill its core mandate with an unparalleled drive for community and national integration. Among several other achievements, innovations and fine additions, it is imperative to highlight the recent inauguration of the NYSC Television and Radio Stations located at the NYSC National Executive Headquarters in Maitama, Abuja by its Founding Father, General Yakubu Gowon.

While commissioning the television and radio stations, General Gowon hailed the initiative and recognized the importance of the media, especially for effective dissemination of information and wider global reach, as well as for serve as a platform for driving the core mandate of national unity, cohesion and collective. prosperity for everyone.

It is important to reiterate that the NYSC remains more relevant today than ever. Nigeria, as a country, desperately needs national cohesion and unity, as was the case before and after the civil war. Agents of disunity and destabilization emerge daily from different parts of the country. NYSC’s modest achievements in promoting unity are under daily threat.

As such, this development instead calls for more funding and support for the Regime to intensify its efforts towards national unity and integration. This is even compelling because even the main mandate of the program is defined primarily to instill in young Nigerians the spirit of selfless service to the community and to emphasize the spirit of unity and brotherhood of all Nigerians irrespective of their origin. cultural or social. The history of our country since independence has clearly indicated the need for the unity of all our people and demonstrated the fact that no cultural or geographical entity can exist in isolation. This is the fact that I recognized earlier about almost all countries in post-colonial Africa as a result of the arbitrary creation of national borders without recourse to historical and ethnic ties.

…Solomon Semaka is the organizer of the Save Nigeria movement.