The advantages of the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC, scheme far outweigh any other consideration anyone may think of, the newly appointed Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development in Ondo State, Barrister Akindotun Olubunmi Owanikin, has asserted.
He said in view of the advantages and its tremendous contributions to national growth, the scheme would continue to remain.
Owanikin made the assertion on Wednesday when the NYSC management in the state, led by the state co-ordinator, Mrs. Grace Akpabio, paid a courtesy call on him in his office.
The new Commissioner who, during the 1979/80 service year participated in the mandatory service to the nation in the old Cross River State enumerated some of the benefits of the scheme.
According to him, the scheme had done much in the areas of education and rural infrastructures.
Said he: “Corps members have continued to support and give their best to all the tiers of government in ensuring that standards of education is maintained in line with what is obtainable in other parts of the world.
“There is no community you will go in all the nooks and crannies of this country that you will not see at least two or more corps members giving out their best to impact positively on their host communities.”
According to him, in view of its advantages, NYSC had become an household name and it remained one of the few institutions uniting the country.
He charged corps members to see the time of national service as a period to develop themselves for the challenges ahead of them.
“Let me use this opportunity to charge the corps members to see the mandatory one year service to our fatherland as a transition period from dependency to independence and not a period to enjoy the much touted national cake.
“It is unfortunate that majority of the participants see the service year as a period of liberty where they can do as they wish, but far from it, the period should be used to develop their skills and prepare for the imminent challenges ahead of them,” he said.
Owanikin, pointing out the advantages of the scheme, said the practical lessons learnt during his NYSC service year had been a driving force behind the modest achievements he had recorded in life.
The new helmsman who is taking over the mantle as the Chairman, NYSC Governing Board in Ondo State promised to partner with and add value to the scheme during his tenure to further promote the advantages in it.
“I want to let you know that government cannot provide for all the needs of the NYSC in Ondo State but I want to assure you that based on the mutual understanding already existing between NYSC and the ministry, we shall do our utmost best to build on the achievements of my predecessor,” he said.
Owanikin said he looked forward to “working closely with NYSC and together we shall take the scheme to enviable heights.”
Speaking earlier, the State Coordinator, NYSC, Mrs. Grace Akpabio, on behalf of the Director General and the NYSC Family nationwide congratulated and welcomed on board the new commissioner whose responsibility is to see to the wellbeing of the operations of the scheme in Ondo State.
The state coordinator, while wishing the new board chairman a successful tenure pleaded for enhanced relationship and better understanding of the programmes and activities of the scheme in the state.
Mrs. Akpabio enumerated some of the functions of the governing board to include making recommendations to the state government for the statutory provision of permanent orientation camp and conducive office accommodation for easy administration of operation in the state.
“My Chairman Sir, I want to use this opportunity to appreciate specially the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu (SAN), for approving and releasing funds for the construction of perimeter fence at the camp. This will further protect and secure the camp from encroachment by outsiders.
“However, I want to make a passionate appeal to the State Government to improve and upgrade the facilities at the camp. This will guarantee our hosting rights and at the same time put a permanent stop to dislodgement to other states which does not speak well for our image as a state,” she said.
The NYSC boss, during the visit called on the chairman to use his clout and influence to mobilise funds from stakeholders and philanthropists in the state for the Camp Clinic project initiated by some corps members who saw that the present arrangement lacked basic facilities and space to compete in a modern era.
She expressed confidence that the coming of Owanikin at would be a blessing to the scheme as all eyes were on the state government to provide a bus to NYSC Ondo State to enhance its operations.
She also appealed to the new commissioner to use his connection in the state to enhance corps welfare as the present situation where corps members serving with government establishments were not enjoying stipend or motivation of any sort was not good.
Mrs. Akpabio, while appreciating the immediate past commissioner who had been reassigned by the governor for his support, assistance and encouragement promised to continue to intimate the new helmsman with the challenges the scheme was facing from time to time.