From Adetutu Falasade-Koyi and Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Youth, Honourable Yemi Adaramodu, has assured Nigerians expressing apprehension over the Bill to scrap the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) before the lower chambers that it will not see the light of the day.
The Committee chairman spoke during the official unveiling of nine books on NYSC and maiden NYSC firm in commemoration of the 48th anniversary of the scheme on Thursday in Abuja.
Emphasising that the scheme defines unity of Nigeria, the House Committee Chairman said that though any member is free to sponsor any bill, however the Speaker and the entire House members will not support the scrapping of the the scheme.
According to him; “Anybody is free to sponsor a bill, but the Speaker and the rest of the House members believe that the scheme has come to stay in Nigeria.
“The scheme is going nowhere and it is not the plan of the National Assembly to scrap it. I want to let you know that we are with you and for you. We are fully with you, we are together,” he said.
Speaking virtually during the event, the founder of the scheme, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) described NYSC as the best thing to have happened to the country.
The former Head of State maintained that the scheme has contributed more than any other organisation to national development, pleading that efforts should be made to strengthen the scheme.
“I make bold to say that NYSC is one of the best thing to have happened to Nigeria. The scheme has contributed to national development more than any other organisation. I appeal that greater efforts should be made to strengthen the scheme. I want to say that creating a trust fund is the way to go,” he noted.
Speaking earlier, the Director-General of the scheme, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, had chronicled the challenges confronting the scheme, corroborating the appeal by Gen Gowon for a Trust Fund for the scheme.
“I consider it appropriate to use this forum to acquaint you with facts on the proposal for the establishment of the NYSC Trust Fund. In spite of its success story, the scheme faces myriads of challenges mainly arising from the gap in the discharge of the obligations of stakeholders.
“Problems such as inadequate facilities in Orientation Camps, lack of or inadequate corps lodges, inadequate office accommodation for state secretariats as well as zonal and Local Government offices of the scheme, amongst others, are faced in some States,” he noted.
General Ibrahim also used the opportunity to disclose the plans of the scheme’s management to embark on medical outreach to rural dwellings this month.
“I wish to use this opportunity to inform Nigerians that in line with our commitment to adding values to our host communities, we have concluded arrangements to conduct nationwide medical outreaches under the NYSC Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) from June 21 to 24, 2021,” he revealed.
On the achievements so far, the Director-General highlighted some of them as: “reinvigoration of the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), revamping of the NYSC Ventures, registration of NYSC Ventures with the corporation affairs commission, successful conduct of orientation courses after the COVID-19 lockdown, completion of the production of NYSC movie, successful conduct of the 2018 and 2019 President’s NYSC Honour Award ceremony.
“Others are publication and launch of books on the NYSC, Executive of the federal government ecological projects in some NYSC Orientation camps, development of five-year strategic plan for NYSC, securing of ICT Centre for NYSC Rivers State secretariat from NITDA, initiation of farewell parade for out-going Director-General,” he said.
In his goodwill message, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr Abdullahi Sule, commended NYSC DG, insisting that the scheme has witnessed a turnaround in the last two years he took over the mantle of leadership.
“NYSC has defined the unity of Nigeria. The Director-General has arrested the teething challenges of NYSC in the last two years. We are proud of him for performing outstandingly in entrenching the scheme. I will launch the books with N10 million,” he promised.
In his own, the president Historical Society of Nigeria and lecturer with Nasarawa State University who reviewed the books, Prof Okpeh O Okpeh, chided those calling for the scrapping of the scheme.
He further argued that if corps members are removed from elections management, a critical aspect of election management would be affected, stressing: “without the NYSC our health sector would have collapsed. The books are dashboards for national integration.”