Does Buhari love NYSC? Part 2
President Muhammadu Buhari on his own in a related development congratulated renowned hip-hop artistes, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, a.k.a WizKid, and David Adedeji Adeleke, a.k.a Davido, on their awards at the Music of Black Origin (MOBO).
In a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina, President Buhari joined the teeming fans of the two Nigerian artistes in Nigeria and all over the world to celebrate the highly deserved and meritorious recognition. WizKid won “International Best Artist’’ award, while Davido picked the “Best African Act’’. The President affirmed that both singers have showcased the rich talents in the country, and brought pride to the nation through their many songs and performances. He commended their dedication, hard work and charity works. President Buhari also called on the upwardly mobile artistes to be cautious and mindful of likely distractions to their careers, urging WizKid and Davido to serve as ambassadors of the country and role models to upcoming musicians. In the award on Wednesday night, Wizkid beat a strong field including Jay-Z, Drake, Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar to net the best international artist prize. Other artists edged out by Wizkid are Cardi B, DJ Khaled, Migos, Solange Knowles, SZA.
Davido, also emerged the best African Act for the year, beating a field of artists, including Wizkid to get the award. The other artists in the pack were: Eugy, Juls, Maleek Berry, Mr Eazi, Sarkodie, Tekno, Tiwa Savage and Wande Coal. Wizkid won the award in 2016. The MOBO awards, which started in 1996, is Europe’s music award event. It is the most important and influential event for music makers and fans, perhaps Europe’s equivalent of Grammy. It recognizes and honours the artistic and technical achievements of exceptional British and international talent in the musical fields of Hip Hop, Grime, RnB/Soul, Reggae, Jazz, Gospel, and African music. The President affirmed that both singers have showcased the rich talents in the country, and brought pride to the nation through their many songs and performances. He commended their dedication, hard work and charity works. I’m convinced that the much talked about enabling environment reportedly created by Buhari has made it possible for the management of NYSC to implement the programmes that ensure that Corps members are given the opportunity to learn vocational skills of their choice starting from the Orientation Camp and through the service year, to prepare them for self-employment at the end of their national assignment.
A source with vast knowledge of the NYSC told me that the man General Kazaure, through deepening of the existing partnerships between the scheme and the private sector, expedited the building of integrated skills acquisition centres in the six geopolitical zones of the country to facilitate post-Camp skills training. The source noted that two of such infrastructures are in Ekiti and Gombe States and that they have been completed, while that of Delta State is ongoing. The NYSC must also erect similar facilities in the South East of Nigeria and the Niger Delta region given that these zones produce the largest pool of graduates of Nigerian origin.
Another source who volunteered information told me that the DG further facilitated the provision of credit facilities for Corps members through collaboration with banks and the launching of Job Portal as well as SAED connect platforms which have expanded opportunities and created alternative platforms for training and mentorship of Corps members nationwide.
Asked to evaluate the DG in the last two years, my source said as follows: “A good manager of human resource, General Kazaure’s belief that motivation of staff, through enhancement of welfare provisions, is the surest way to get the best out of them apparently informed his unwavering commitment to evolving confidence building measures aimed at engendering industrial harmony. It is on record that on assumption of duty he immediately cleared the backlog of unpaid staff entitlements and restored other statutory staff allowances. In addition, a greater percentage of staff of the Scheme that sat for promotion exam in the past two years was promoted.”
Whilst researching on this piece, I stumbled on another knowledgeable commentator who doesn’t work in NYSC but has extensive interest in the affairs of youth stated that: “A monumental achievement recorded under Kazaure’s administration; include the resuscitation and revitalization of vital but moribund projects and programmes of the NYSC. In line with the Federal Government agenda to diversify the economy through harnessing the country’s potentials in the non-oil sector, the Scheme under Kazaure’s leadership has begun resuscitating its moribund agricultural projects through the establishment of Integrated Farm Settlements in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country. Four of them located in FCT, Bauchi, Kebbi and Oyo States are already operational, equipped with modern farm implements, Corps lodges, storage and other facilities required to facilitate optimum yield as a strategic support for the food security initiative of the Federal Government. These farm Settlements produce various crops including rice, cassava, maize and cowpea as well as poultry. The farms serve the dual purpose of contributing to Government’s objective of actualizing self-sufficiency in food production and training grounds for corps members interested in the agricultural component of the NYSC Ventures programme.”
I ran into an official who told me that: “In order to increase the visibility of the Scheme, the NYSC DG has invigorated the existing programmes and collaborations of the Scheme with many Government and Non-Governmental organizations and brought on board new ones including the partnership with European Union and the Pan African Institute for Global Affairs and Strategy (PAIGAS) aimed at checking, through proper enlightenment, the increasing number of Nigerian youths involved in illegal migration to Europe and other parts of the world in search of greener pastures”.
According to her, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has also expanded its partnership with the NYSC to enhance the credibility of her UTME using the services of Corps members for its newly introduced ICT based tests. “Other new robust partnerships include NYSC/SDGs Champions programme, Great Green Wall project with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Peer Group Education on Financial inclusion project with the CBN as well as Engaging Nigerian Girls in New Enterprise (ENGINE) collaboration with Mercy Corps.” A media consultant stated that: “Indeed, the NYSC has become a beautiful bride to many Government and private organizations who fall over themselves to partner with the Scheme as a result of the realization that the active presence of the NYSC in all the Local Governments of the Country puts it in a better position to domesticate any programme or project at the grass root level.”
Lastly, my appeal to the President and the National Assembly is to improve the funding status of the NYSC scheme. I also think that since NYSC is in the ministry of Youth and sports, the NYSC should deliberately establish viable sporting clubs in the track and field so talented youthful sports professionals are groomed. The current NYSC management should set up amateur and professional football, basketball, lawn tennis, table tennis teams and Athletics teams who can be sponsored locally and internationally to compete in tournaments even as football academies should be established by NYSC to groom and discover talents for exports so the scheme can generate incomes from such financially rewarding and profitable football league’s in Europe and America and even China.
• Onwubiko is head, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria.
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