I am highly delighted to address you as you commence another phase in your lives as members of the National Youth Service Corps, a Scheme that parades a pool of enlightened and sophisticated class of Nigerian youths, drawn from diverse backgrounds, with a united purpose of building a strong, indivisible and egalitarian entity.
On behalf of the NYSC family, I most heartily welcome you aboard the ship of nation building.
It is my earnest expectation that you will find the twelve-month voyage quite fulfilling and exciting.
Before proceeding further, may I congratulate you on the success that you achieved in your various final examinations which qualified you to be called up by the Nation for service.
Doubtlessly, the success was borne out of hard work, perseverance, discipline and focus. It is my earnest expectation that you will bring these sterling qualities to bear in the course of the mandatory service to the fatherland.
The National Youth Service Corps has four cardinal programmes which every Corps Member must successfully pass through to qualify for demobilisation at the end of twelve months.
The first is Orientation Course, then Primary Assignment, Community Development Service also known as Secondary Assignment and Winding Up/Passing-Out Ceremony.
As the name connotes, Orientation Course is designed to equip Corps Members adequately for the task of nation-building. Primarily, the course contents involve Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme, training in physical fitness; series of lectures, social activities, games and sports, all geared towards imbuing you with the spirit of discipline and patriotism, and getting you prepared for the leadership roles that you will assume in the polity in the nearest future.
In the three weeks that you will be encamped, there will be observance of regimentation in all your activities. Therefore, you will not have absolute freedom as that will be curtailed. You are expected to conform to the rules and regulations guiding the Orientation Camp.
On this premise, my dear children, I charge you to ensure active participation in all the camp activities. I am equally encouraging you to join the different camp committees such as Social, Sports, Cultural, Security and Sanitation Committees, among others, so as to be fully involved and abreast with camp administration.
Membership of these Committees is a sure way of learning the rudiments of leadership and administration, a rare opportunity I am deeply convinced you will grab with both hands.
At the end of the Service Year, deserving Corps Members will be bestowed with some awards in the form of Chairman’s Award, State Honours Award and the highest – President’s NYSC Honours Award. Details of these recognitions shall be unveiled to you by the State Coordinator. However, it is pertinent to state that grading of recipients starts from the camp which makes it incumbent on you to distinguish yourself in whatever role that shall be assigned you in the course of the Orientation programme, and indeed the other cardinal programmes of the Scheme which I had earlier enumerated.
Dear patriotic Corps Members, the NYSC in the last few years recorded a paradigm shift in the Orientation Course content, aligning it with the prevailing security and economic realities. The prevailing security threat which is a global issue, as well as shrinkage of white collar jobs made this phenomenal change germane and very compelling.
This shift witnessed the introduction of Martial Arts training into the course content so as to equip Corps Members with basic self-defense skills. It will be wise to take this training seriously in order to enhance your personal security. That notwithstanding, the Scheme is always in constant touch with the various security agencies in order to ensure that your security is not compromised.
In an attempt to stem this tide, the Scheme introduced Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme into the Orientation Course content. Prior to this intervention, the Scheme had been in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, now SDGs.
My dear virile youths, your sojourn in the ship of nation-building is a life- time opportunity, and I implore you to utilise it maximally. Some of your predecessors who heeded this counsel are today business owners, doing very well in their various businesses and contributing positively to the growth of Nigerian economy.
At the end of the three-week programme, you will be posted to all the nooks and crannies of the state to commence the second, third and final phases of the service. Posting to areas of primary assignment will be to four key sectors; Education, Health, Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure.
For those of you seeking relocation on the basis of marriage or serious health challenge, I assure that each case will be treated based on its merit.
My dear youths, the Nation that has called you up for service expects so much from you and you must never disappoint the people of Nigeria. The motto of NYSC is Service and Humility. Let this be your guiding principle all through the duration of the programme.
I charge you to love and co-exist harmoniously with members of your host community. As much as possible, try and make a positive impact in the community by leaving it better than you met it. Get integrated into the community – learning the language and culture of the people, knowing their norms and avoiding their taboos. Please, never get involved in their local politics or show partisanship in national politics. Involvement in partisan politics is only permissible after your demobilisation from service.
I hasten to add that you avoid embarking on frivolous journeys whether within or outside the state. Many have gone through such unnecessary journeys, thereby putting their families in grief. If there is a need for you to travel outside the state, permission must be obtained from the State Coordinator, using the right channel.
I want to passionately appeal that you break any journey extending beyond 6 pm. You can take shelter in NYSC, Military or Police formations. You must not endanger your safety.
Finally, I welcome you once again aboard the ship of nation-building. You are wished a resoundingly successful voyage.
God bless you.
Brig Gen S Ibrahim Assoc Prof DSS PhD MTRCN FHSN
National Youth Service Corps