We Can’t Afford Another Civil War, El-Rufai Tells NYSC Members

El Rufai

Nigeria cannot afford a repeat of the 1967 civil war, which tore her fabrics, Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai, cautioned yesterday.

Consequently, the governor admonished youths to distance themselves from fanning embers of violence and war in the country.

Governor el-Rufai, who gave the warning while speaking to members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, in Kaduna, said those among them who would be participating in the conduct of the 2023 general elections should avoid being used to rig elections.

While addressing the closing ceremony of the orientation course organized for members of 2022 Batch B (Stream 2) NYSC corps members posted to Kaduna State, the governor, who was represented by the acting governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said the civil war was needless savagery that Nigeria could not afford to repeat.

He said:  “The youth must remember that the NYSC came into being after the civil war that destroyed every fabric of the Nigerian state. The war was needless savagery that we cannot afford to repeat.

“Nigerian youths must, therefore, distance themselves from fanning the embers of violence and war in Nigeria. As a country, we must avoid a repeat of that dark part of our history. And Nigerian youths must refuse to be ready tools for warmongers.

“My dear valuable corps members, I believe you have the capacity to defend what is good for our dear country and what shall build a united Nigeria and you shall not fail to do what is right for your dear country. After all, the major objective of establishing the NYSC is to promote Nigeria’s unity and enhance development.

“The national youth service is a reflection of the hope that we have placed on our young graduates as torch bearers of a greater Nigeria. You must prove to us that this is not a misplaced hope.

“We expect you to be innovative, industrious and consistently demonstrate acts of tolerance, open-mindedness and perseverance in all that you do.”

Governor El-Rufai said as representatives of the youths who were the majority in Nigeria, the corps members must shun corruption during the polls and be responsible citizens who would be said to have risen to the occasion when they were most needed.

“I am highly impressed that the youths constitute 71% of the 12 million fresh applicants for Permanent Voter’s Card in the just concluded Continuous Voter Registration exercise.

“We, therefore, expect more youths’ participation in the 2023 general elections and I hope this participation will be positive and constructive, as opposed to previous activities of disruption, violence and ballot box snatching and other illegal activities.

“The February 2023 general elections will be requiring services of the Corps members, many of you will be engaged as presiding officers at the election.

“You must remember that you shall be representing the youths during that assignment. Let it not be said of you that, the youths that manned the polling units for INEC during the elections were not current or were corrupt and they assisted to mar the popular will of the electorate.

“You must, therefore, be responsible citizens who rose to the occasion when they were most needed,” he said.

Governor el-Rufai commended the NYSC management for giving the corps members entrepreneurship skills, reminding them that there was no longer a job in the public and private sectors.

He added:  “I want to draw your attention to the reality that nothing is as it appears and that change is the only thing that is constant. Traditional jobs in the public service and the private sector are no longer available, thus only those with high emotional and social quotients are able to find their footing in this fast-changing world.

“Even though certificates do not necessarily provide bread on the table, but good education prepares you to be able to socially and economically navigate your way through society. It is on this note that I encourage young people to continue to seek opportunities to regularly enhance them so that they can be better positioned to face challenges thrown at them by modernization.

“The youths are the most productive sector of our demography. Our population is dominated by youths with the median age of the country being 18.4 years. A new World Bank report shows that 75 per cent of the global youth population growth, aged 18 to 23, will be in Nigeria and nine other countries up till 2025.

“But the question is what are Nigerian youths doing with this numerical strength? Can they convert it to gain capacity and capital?”

The Director of NYSC, Brigadier General MK Fadah, whose address was read by the State Coordinator, Mr Abel Odoba Oche, urged the corp members to build on skills they acquired during the orientation course, adding that this would avail them the chance of becoming self-reliant.

He urged the corps member to remain law abiding and warned them against unauthorized journeys and night trips.

“Travelling at night will not only increase the risk of accident but also make rescue difficult. You are, therefore, advised to always cut short your trips from six o’clock in the evening and pass the night at NYSC Lodges, military barracks and other locations officially designated safe,” he said.


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