By Gabriel Agibi
The country has been inundated with the proposed NYSC Trust Fund, a vehicle intended to pool funds to enhance the Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Programme for corps members to actualize their dreams even after the service year.
I must add that initially, I was sceptical about the desirability of establishing the NYSC Trust Fund. But not anymore, after extensive research on the pros and cons regarding the benefits derived if such initiative is established.
As a start, the idea is such a brilliant one and can address the critical issue of unemployment in the country. The benefits would also transcend all segments of society because the multiplier effect would trickle down in ways too numerous to mention.
That the bill proposing the establishment of the NYSC Trust Fund came up for first reading in the Federal House of Representatives is the more cheering because it indicates that the prospects are high regarding its establishment. The implication of the above is that Nigerians are coming to terms with the vast potentials of the NYSC Trust Fund if established.
However, there another twist that escaped the attention of critical stakeholders. This is the fact that the NYSC Trust Fund would go down in history as one of the legacies of the Muhammadu Buhari in harnessing the vast potentials of the teeming youths in the country.
The growing number of young people in Africa could offer enormous potential gains to the continent, but only if their needs are met, and their rights are fulfilled. In buttressing this position, Corinne Woods, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, stated that Africa is home to the world’s youngest and most productive population. This is added to the fact that today’s fastest developing economies are in Africa. And this presents enormous opportunities for growth and transformation. Africa’s present and future belong to its youths.
The above summarizes the need to establish the NYSC Trust Fund in my considered opinion to support corps members trained under the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme with start-up capital to develop their businesses as harnessing youthful energy is a sure pathway to peace, prosperity, and growth.
This is one opportunity we must grab with both hands if we desire to attain sustainable growth and development because employment opportunities are few. Governments must do more to ensure young people have the opportunities and tools necessary to succeed. And the NYSC Trust Fund has all it takes for the government to change the narrative.
This is on the heels that, by most accounts, Nigeria’s burgeoning youth population provides a huge social, economic and political capital that is required to drive the nation’s development. Therefore there is the need for government at all levels to show more political willpower by ensuring the effective implementation of the laws to foster youth development in the country.
I must commend and encourage the National Assembly members to take proactive steps in ensuring the speedy passage of the bill proposing the establishment of the NYSC Trust Fund. That Hon. Ahmad Abdullahi Kalambaina from Sokoto State has taken the lead in this regard is very heartwarming. And it behoves on other members of the National Assembly to see this as a national concern. But it doesn’t stop there. And this is essentially the reason for this piece for all and sundry to work collectively in the national interest.
I think it also buttresses the fact that the NYSC has continued to play a critical role in the country’s socio-economic development. Its contributions to the vital sectors of the economy have been invaluable. And the NYSC Trust Fund is indeed the game-changer.
We must also commend the current leadership of the NYSC for the display of ingenuity. I recall that I was one of those that expressed excitement with the appointment of the NYSC DG. I knew he would hit the ground running with brilliant ideas from his antecedents. And today, he hasn’t relented despite the myriad of challenges. Instead, he raised the bar in leadership and service to the country.
Today, the operations of the NYSC have been transformed to that medium where corps members actualize their dreams. I am particularly impressed that corps members have been enlightened to see the bigger picture. Nothing can be more reassuring that the country is indeed on that path of greatness.
In the health sector, the services of NYSC doctors have been invaluable. In the educational sector, corps members have been very active and other areas of national concern. I am most glad that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has placed a premium on harnessing the vast potentials of our youthful population through the instrument of the NYSC.
The NYSC Trust Fund is an initiative that would stand the test of time and might go down in history as one of the legacies of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. If all goes as planned and the NYSC Trust Fund is established, Nigeria and Nigerians would be the ultimate beneficiary.
I salute the leadership of the NYSC for this brilliant initiative, and I wish to give a charge to the relevant institutions of government to see to the actualization of this laudable initiative.
Agibi is a public affairs analyst and wrote this piece Abuja.