President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, for the effort of setting up the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) in 1973.
The president, in a statement issued on Friday by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, 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 him, 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.
The President believes the NYSC remains one 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 neighborliness.
He affirmed that the scheme must be sustained, with a constant reminder of the history, structure and purpose, that should not be abused, trivialized 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.
The President shares 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.
He thanked 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.
The NYSC scheme was created by Gowon in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity.