NYSC Trust Fund: For all Nigerians

NYSC Trust Fund: For all Nigerians

By Uji Abdullahi Iliyasu

The Bill for the proposed National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund (NYSCTF) in the floor of National Assembly is one trust fund every patriotic Nigerian must support to see the light of day. Nigerians should not see it as a one-man struggle, even if the Director-General of NYSC, Major General Shuaibu Ibrahim is pursuing it with zeal to make sure that youth unemployment is reduced to a tolerable rate.

Nigerian graduate youths are hard working, resilient and prudent, so the trust fund, if passed into law, can provide them with the enabling environment to contrubute to the Gross National Product (GNP). So Nigerians should give all necessary support the bill deserves.

General Ibrahim, like all other patriotic officeholders, has a great deal of concern for the increasing number of jobless graduates in the country,  and wants the state and powerful individuals in the private sector to put all hands on deck to make sure the NYSC Trust Fund becomes a reality, that will mop up the reserved army jobless graduates.

As a professor of history, General Ibrahim understands that the future of any country depends on its youths. The youths of the country have for long been left without a say in the economic and political landscapes. But these are the active citizens who pilot developmental strides of the nation’s economy.

Talk about the general elections in the country, it is the graduate youths that are used to conduct the elections, particularly the intelligent, impartial and nonpartisan NYSC members who toil under the sun or in the rain to reach every nook and cranny of the country, bracing security threats posed by insurgents, kidnappers and bandits in many parts of the country. These youths give their all in service of fatherland. Therefore, it is payback time for Nigerian legislators to reward them. You rub my back, I rub your back. It is time legislators in the National Assembly and politicians and beneficiaries of political offices rub the back of the youths to ensure the proposed trust fund see the light of day, and quickly too.

There is no gainsaying that all politicians in the country have passed through the general elections, and without doubt, they are alumni of NYSC orientation camp.  They qualified to come to State Houses, State Assemblies or National Assembly due to the contribution of these patriotic young graduates.

Let us reward them now; to keep them economically busy and viable, to fend for themselves, especially now that government jobs are no longer affordable by young graduates who are not connected to people in the corridors of power.
Parents who struggle to make sure their children and wards go through higher education need this trust fund especially in this era of introduction notes, job placement lists from powerful individuals for graduate job placements as well as embargo on government employments.

When an individual pursues his interest, he serves the larger interest of the society. By giving the youths a trust fund, we are indirectly pushing the country to the path of growth and development. I believe if the proposed trust fund had been instituted two decades  back, Nigeria would have achieved its Vision 20:2020 as propounded by late Head of State General Sani Abacha.

For instance, developed economies like Great Britain, US, Germany, France, Russia, Japan and recently Korea and China and most other countries in the Western Europe, became great because of the early recognition they accorded youth development as a vehicle of societal transformation. The world is inclining to national development based on knowledge economy. So empowering Nigerian youths and equipping them with the right tools will have a multiplier effects on the economy.

These intelligent men and women from various fields of learning will help Nigeria leap to economic and technological development that will even surprise Western Powers and Asian Tigers.

In terms of security, the Fund is also very helpful. When the youths are confortable, crimes and criminalities will be reduced to manageable level because the bubbling youthful energy could be used for good or bad. This class, with overflowing energy, is eager to do good as much as bad, if the good refuses to come from the expected quarters.
In one of his presentations, General Ibrahim, said the Trust Fund will make corps members self-reliant, and provide befitting facilities in orientation camps across the country. He said the Bill seeks to create opportunities for economic and social advancement for young people by offering skills acquisition opportunities and providing access to capital to actualise their entrepreneurial ambitions. So which does Nigeria want, between youth restiveness as wiitnessed during the #Endsars protests that led to untold destruction of  life and property or youth entrepreneurship that will lead to construction?

The Chairman House Committee on Youth Development, Hon. Yemi Adaramodu said the Bill would crystalize development in the youths.
Thank God, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila already said the Bill seeks to create opportunities for economic and social advancement for Nigerian youths.
“The Bill is an attempt to begin an essential and long-overdue conversation about the future of the National Youth Service Corps and the options for reforming the Corps so that in whatever form it continues to exist, it serves the best interests of our beloved country.

“I believe, and I have expressed this belief in different fora, that the most pressing public policy question of our time is how to ensure the economic, political, and social future of the teeming number of young people in the country.

“How do we build an economy that provides enough well-paying jobs and ensure that young people are adequately represented in the arena where political decisions are made? As legislators, we must continue to strive to find answers to these questions,” he said.
The Bill, sponsored by Hon. Samuel Akinfolarin, an All Progressives Congress member from Ondo state, is actually meant to address inclusive growth in Nigeria and this fact was well deliberated on during the public hearing on the Bill held on February 24, 2021.

At the said public hearing, General Ibrahim informed the nation that the Bill sought to address the infrastructural deficit in the orientation camps, ensure adequate provision of other operational logistics, as well as address the problem of graduate unemployment in the country. Unless legislators are happy that Nigerian youths are unemployed and love the insecurity in the country, the Bill should be treated with urgency and passed into law.

It is instructive that corps members are grossly underutilised and one sure way of unleashing their potential is to empower them to be able to acquire new skills and put to use their training.

“I am confident that the gains of the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme will be enhanced if the proposed National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund becomes a reality,” General Ibrahim said at a forum. So let all Nigerians rise to support the General.

Uji, a commentator on national issues, writes from Abuja

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