“The NYSC is an indisputable national heritage, established in 1973 by His Excellency and elder statesman, General Yakubu Gowon, who was just 39 years old at the time, to promote national integration and cohesion. Beyond this, the programme has become an important complement to national development, by making available manpower to meet Nigeria’s requirements in education, health, infrastructure development and many other areas.
“To all of today’s honourees, let me make it clear that you are not just the future of this country, but also its present. You must all see yourselves as the leaders that you are. But leadership comes with responsibility and continuous sacrifice. The successes you have achieved and are being rewarded for today should inspire you to even greater feats in your various spheres of influence.” – Vice President Osinbajo
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE (COMBINED 2015, 2016 AND 2017) PRESIDENT’S NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORPS (NYSC) HONOURS AWARDS CEREMONY, AT THE BANQUET HALL, STATE HOUSE, ABUJA ON FRIDAY, 26TH APRIL, 2019
I am delighted to be here to address you on this special occasion of the conferment of the President’s NYSC Honours Awards on these worthy young men and women who have diligently served the nation through the National Youth Service Corps.
I am especially pleased by the fact that we are gathered here to honour a time-tested tradition; the recognition and celebration of young Nigerians, who by hard work, innovation, sacrifice and selfless service, have distinguished themselves as NYSC members in various States. I commend both the Management and Staff of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the NYSC, for reviving this noble ideal of recognising and rewarding excellence and service of Corps members.
The NYSC is an indisputable national heritage, established in 1973 by His Excellency and elder statesman, General Yakubu Gowon (retd.), who was just 39 years old at the time, to promote national integration and cohesion. Beyond this, the programme has become an important complement to national development, by making available manpower to meet Nigeria’s requirements in education, health, infrastructure development and many other areas.
The NYSC has from the beginning been about opportunities; opportunities for young Nigerians to serve, to earn a living, to travel, to see and learn about Nigeria and go beyond their comfort zones and to build lifelong friendships.
The important roles that young people, especially members of the NYSC played in ensuring the peaceful conduct of the 2015, 2019 general elections, and several other elections, offer clear evidence that when positively engaged in nation-building and national activities, our country stands to gain tremendously from its brilliant sets of young people.
At this point, I invite us all to rise and observe a minute of silence in honour of Corps members whom, in their service to this Nation, lost their lives.
Please permit me to speak briefly on 3 core ideas that may be useful to remember here, especially as this is a gathering of Nigeria’s present and its future, especially you, the brightest and best being celebrated today.
One, it is the exceptional individuals in society who are the true builders of institutions and nations. These exceptional individuals like you, are not necessarily those from the wealthiest homes or most fortunate circumstances. Indeed, they may be from the most humble circumstances and they may not even be the most academically successful of their peers. But they are the young men and women who somehow, know that true greatness comes from serving others and one’s community.
Second, it is the vision, innovation and handwork of one person that would make the difference in the life of a community or a nation. We have seen this in the outstanding work of many of you here today that indeed, with your own innovation, vision and contribution, you profoundly impacted the communities you served. Just one person can make a substantial difference in the life of a community.
The third is that enduring individual success is a function of the courage and resilience we bring to our lives. I was challenged here by the remarkable courage of those Corp members who suffered various accidents while in service. They belong to the group that has been described as the ‘Hope Alive’ group.
The fact that these young men and women have gone through these harrowing personal injuries, but are still determined to engage the future with hope and confidence, is proof that they will still experience the joys of great success and fulfilment in their lives and their future is bright.
But it is a great lesson to all of us that whatever setbacks we experience in life, should be used as a stepping-stone and should not be seen as the end of our lives. Indeed, it may even be the beginning of a greater future.
To all of today’s honourees, let me make it clear that you are not just the future of this country, but also its present. You must all see yourselves as the leaders that you are. But leadership comes with responsibility and continuous sacrifice.
The successes you have achieved and are being rewarded for today should inspire you to even greater feats in your various spheres of influence.
I, therefore, charge you all to continue to be the light for others to follow, whilst also seeing yourselves as lifelong ambassadors of the NYSC.
In line with our policy of encouraging and rewarding excellence among our youths, I hereby announce immediate employment into the Federal Civil Service for all the Award winners today.
In addition, the Federal Government offers each one of you automatic scholarships up to Doctorate level in any Nigerian University of your choice.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I commend the National Selection Committee for the painstaking and rigorous process that brought these young men and women to national limelight.
The entire nation owes a huge debt of gratitude to the managers of the NYSC, and successive batches of Corps members, for the patriotic zeal with which you have collectively implemented the cardinal programmes of the scheme over the past four and a half decades.
May I also pay tribute to the founding father of the NYSC and all those who worked with him. It is those ideals that you knew would serve the youth of our country so well and we see this today, many years after you founded this great scheme, being demonstrated by these young men and women who were not even born at the time when this was launched.
I thank you very much and also congratulate you.
I also commend the efforts of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the NYSC to create jobs through skills acquisition and other youth entrepreneurship development initiatives. The Federal Executive Council has recently approved the 2019-2023 National Youth Policy presented by the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development for implementation by the Ministry and all stakeholders.
This is to enable the NYSC build on its achievements; and all stakeholders must discharge their statutory obligations as spelt out in the enabling Act. I urge all States and Local Governments to give greater support to the scheme, especially through the provision and upgrade of Permanent Orientation Camps, Lodges for Corps Members, and other welfare facilities.
Once again, may I congratulate all the honorees on this well-deserved recognition and honour. The entire nation salutes your determination, courage, selfless service, discipline, and hard work which you all exhibited during your service year.