The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret. ), commended Gen. Yakubu Gowon (ret.), the previous Head of State, for having the “wisdom” to establish the National Youth Service Corps in 1973.
Buhari claimed that as the program celebrated its 50th anniversary, it had “truly achieved the goal of national integration, by providing opportunities for cross-cultural interactions and establishing a bridge for improved understanding.”
According to a statement headed “President Buhari celebrates NYSC at 50, commends Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.) for the vision,” which was signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Friday, this is the case.
The New York State Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was established on May 22, 1973, to offer “an avenue for the reconciliation, rehabilitation, and rebuilding of the nation following the civil war.
The President mentioned in his message on Friday that one of the pleasures and highlights of his administration has been the yearly custom of hosting corps members at his country home in Daura, Katsina State, during Eid-el-Fitr Sallah, and the conversations that follow in which he learns about their various states, languages, family histories, and educational institutions and inquires about their welfare.
He congratulated Gowon, a former head of state, and all 21 of the Corps’ past and present Directors-General for starting and upholding a legacy that has lasted for 50 years and strengthened a web of solidarity, sparked nationalism, expanded citizens’ horizons, encouraged civic responsiveness, improved understanding of various individual and ethnic identities, their differences, and emphasized the core of the common good.
Buhari asserted that he believes the NYSC is still one of the best models for building a nation, institutionally promoting intercultural and interreligious unions, resettling members of different tribes in various regions, looking into business opportunities, removing insularity among citizens, and fostering a new culture of oneness, brotherliness, and neighborliness.
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“As the country commemorates the 50th anniversary of the NYSC, President Buhari affirms that the program must be maintained, with a constant reminder of the history, structure, and purpose that should not be misused, trivialized, or undermined for any reason. This is done by keeping an eye on the bigger picture and remembering that Nigeria’s unity is a process and a shared responsibility that cannot be negotiable.
The statement said, in part, “The President shares the joyous season of the milestone with all those who have enjoyed the adventures of the scheme and have been sharing memories and pictures with nostalgia.” It also wished potential corps members well as they moved to different parts of the country to share and explore new experiences of Nigeria’s diversity.
He, therefore, expressed his gratitude to the Nigerian Army, the NYSC Directors-General, and several other private and public organizations for creating a conducive climate for the program’s success.