In response to a statement attributed to the Director General (DG) of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Yushau Dogara Ahmed, claiming that the scheme has fostered national unity, former Kaduna Central lawmaker, Shehu Sani, expressed his view that the NYSC has not fully united Nigeria, but has made significant and commendable contributions towards that goal.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday morning, Sani shared his perspective, stating, “The NYSC has not completely succeeded in uniting our country, but it has made significant and outstanding contributions in that direction. It has established lifelong relationships, partnerships, and marriages that transcend our ethnic and religious identities. It serves as a cementing force across our diversities and divisions. Without the NYSC, many individuals would not have had the opportunity to explore and experience other parts of the country beyond their own.”
He extended his appreciation to General Yakubu Gowon, the former Head of State, and also extended warm wishes to NYSC on its 50th anniversary.
In response to calls for the abolition of the NYSC, the Director of the South West Area Office of the NYSC, Amusan Oluwole Julius, deemed such calls unnecessary. Julius made this assertion during a Unity Walk organized to commemorate the scheme’s 50th anniversary in Osun over the weekend. Representing the NYSC Director General, Brigadier General Yushau Dogara Ahmed, Julius reminded Nigerians of the numerous achievements and milestones the scheme has attained in its 50 years of existence. While acknowledging that challenges have been encountered along the way, Julius emphasized that these challenges are not substantial enough to warrant the abolition of the NYSC.
Julius stated, “The NYSC has greatly benefitted our nation. Its impact is felt in all 774 local governments across Nigeria. Calling for its abolition is not the most appropriate course of action at this time. You will agree that the NYSC has made significant strides in the past 50 years. Since its inception in 1973, it has made notable contributions in areas such as education, healthcare delivery, social service campaigns, and national programs.”
He reaffirmed that the NYSC has met the expectations of its founding fathers, highlighting the positive outcomes resulting from the scheme, including inter-ethnic marriages, mobility of labor, and the establishment of businesses by Corps members in states other than their own. Julius acknowledged that financial constraints remain a major challenge for the NYSC, but commended the government for its support over the past 50 years, while emphasizing the need for continued improvement in funding.
Overall, while acknowledging the NYSC’s accomplishments, the debate continues regarding the extent of its impact on national unity and the best way forward for the scheme.