Dear Compatriots in National Service
I feel highly gratified to address you as you commence another phase in your lives as members of the National Youth Service Corps, an elite Scheme that parades a pool of enlightened and sophisticated class of Nigerian youths, pulled together from diverse backgrounds, with a united purpose of building a strong, indivisible and egalitarian entity.
On behalf of NYSC family, I most heartily welcome you aboard the ship of nation building.
I most sincerely apologise over the late commencement the Orientation programme, arising from the impositions of COVID-19 pandemic which was most anticipated across the globe, and a great challenge to human existence.
I am particularly grateful to God that in spite of the ravaging effects of the virus, God spared you to be alive today to contribute your own quota in nation building which has been the main focus of the National Youth Service Corps in 47 years of existence.
At this juncture, I congratulate you all for passing your various qualifying examinations which gave you the ticket to be called up by the Nation for service. The success, no doubt, 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 twelve- month 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 discharge at the end of twelve months. They are: Orientation Course, Primary Assignment, Community Development Service also known as Secondary Assignment and Winding Up/Passing-Out Ceremony.
As the name implies, Orientation programme is designed to equip Corps Members adequately for the task of nation building, as well as the challenges that lie within and ahead of the Service Year. Primarily, the course content involves 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 future in the polity.
In the three weeks that you will be encamped, there will be observance of strict 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. The Coronavirus that we are collectively battling has further imposed a new regime of regimentation in the camp.
Accordingly, you must ensure social/physical distancing, appropriate use of the facemask, washing of hands in a running water for at least 20 seconds and the use of alcohol- based hand sanitiser. Gratifyingly, adequate taps have been provided in the 37 camps of the Scheme in order to ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols.
On this premise my dear children, I charge you to participate actively in all the camp activities, I am equally encouraging you to join the different camp committees such as Social, Sports, Cultural, Security, Sanitation Committees among others, so as to be fully involved and abreast with camp administration.
Quite tellingly, membership of these Committes is a sure way of learning the rudiments of leadership and administration, a rare opportunity I have no doubt 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 – NYSC President’s 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 points of the Scheme which I had earlier enumerated.
Dear patriotic Corps Members, 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 precarious state of national security and shrinkage of white collar jobs made this phenomenal change germane and compelling.
This shift witnessed the introduction of c 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 to ensure that your security is not compromised.
A corollary to the above is the issue of financial security. It is quite worrisome to note that a lot of ex- Corps Members who got discharged from service as far back as ten years are yet to be gainfully employed. This sorry state of affairs has brought about despondency and dejection on the part of some serving Corps Members. It equally fans the embers of criminality and depravity such as robbery, advance fee fraud, prostitution, drug peddling and abuse to mention but a few.
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.
These collaborations bordered on impartation of entrepreneurial skills to Corps Members for self reliance. NYSC is desirous of raising a crop of youths that will be employers of labour, rather than an army of restive job seekers, trudging the streets of Nigeria in search of scarcely available white collar jobs.
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 want to assure you 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 remains: Service and Humility. Let this be your guiding principle all through the duration of the programme.
I admonish you to love and coexist harmoniously with members of your host community. As much as possible, try and make 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 when you are done with service.
I hasten to add that you should avoid embarking on frivolous journeys whether within or outside the state. Many have gone through such gratuitous journeys thereby putting their families in grief. If there is need for you to travel outside the state, permission must be obtained from the State Coordinator, using the right channel. This also will be explained to you in detail by the State Coordinator. Remember, the Nation and your family need you alive to complete the service.
Finally, I welcome you once again aboard the ship of nation building. As you sail for the next twelve calendar months, you are wished a resoundingly successful voyage.
Please, my dear children, remember to always stay safe. At all times, put on as apron the COVID-19 safety protocols. Your parents, the Corps and the Nation need you to be alive to fulfill your life purpose.
God bless you.