By Ngozi Nwankwo
As the National Youths Service Corps,NYSC, celebrates its Golden Jubilee, the former Head of State, General Dr. Yakubu Gowon prayed for Presidential assent of the proposed NYSC Trust Fund.
Gowon, who said this at the commissioning of the NYSC Information Communication Technology, ICT, Centre on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Scheme held on Wednesday in Abuja, said the NYSC Trust Fund would make possible a turnaround of events for the Scheme, especially, in the improvement of training facilities of the Scheme, provision of start-up capital for Corps Members to finance their businesses in line with the skills they acquired through the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, programme among other benefits.
He said the introduction of the SAED programme into the orientation Course content of the NYSC since 2012 has been a blessing to Nigeria, especially the acquisition of skill by a large number of Corps Members that passed through the Scheme.
“The NYSC SAED programme has created lots of job opportunities for many of our youths who are now business owners in different locations and also employers of labour,” he said.
Gowon, however, appealed to youths to pay serious attention to vocational training and skill acquisition, saying it is the best avenue to become financially independent instead of searching for non-available pay jobs.
While commending all the past and present managers of the Scheme for their selfless efforts in building on the legacies of the founding fathers of NYSC, he also congratulated the successive batches of Corps Members from the inception till date, who obeyed the clarion call to National Service and gallantly contributed immensely to the success of the Scheme and the development of Nigeria.
“ It has become necessary to reiterate the fact that the establishment of the National Youth service Corps on the 22th of May, 1973, was one of the most far reaching decisions we took while in office, necessitated as of that moment, when the unity and peaceful co-existence of our country was just recovering and at a low ebb. Today, I am sure all of us alive today are very happy to join all well-meaning Nigerians within and outside this country to celebrate the laudable achievements of the NYSC which has remained a vital reference point and a tool for fostering National Unity and integration,” said the former Head of State.
While expressing hope that the commissioned Ultra-Modern ICT Centre would be a major boost, Gowon said the digitalization of the NYSC Mobilisation process since 2014 was an improvement of the Scheme operations which has made the registration of prospective Corps Members from any part of the globe a seamless exercise, adding that, the monthly clearance for Corps Members and other numerous ICT related activities on the NYSC NIS platform are worthy of commendation.
He therefore called on the respective State governments to intensify efforts on setting up and upgrading of the facilities in their Orientation Camps in order to provide conducive environment that would enhance hitch-free training of Corps Members during their three weeks Orientation period.