Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, has called for the transformation of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme into a voluntary program for Nigerian graduates. Speaking at the NYSC’s 50th-anniversary commemoration, Jega argued that the scheme should be redesigned to be more favorable to Nigerian youth and aligned with global best practices if it is to remain mandatory.
The event, themed ‘Five Decades of Fostering Unity and Development,’ was attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, represented by Minister of Power Abubakar Aliyu, as well as the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, Chairman of the NYSC Governing Board, Fatima Abubakar, service chiefs, and corps members.
In his lecture, Jega acknowledged the achievements of the NYSC but stressed the need for appropriate repositioning to ensure its continued relevance in contemporary times. However, not all participants agreed with Jega’s proposal, as some argued that the NYSC had fulfilled its purpose over the past five decades, particularly in terms of community development.
Chairman of the NYSC Governing Board, Fatima Abubakar, emphasized the importance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the NYSC Trust Fund Bill, believing it would bring about significant positive changes to the scheme.
While recognizing the scheme’s significant contributions to national development, there were also calls for its repositioning to align with global best practices. The anniversary celebration provided an opportunity for participants to reflect on the NYSC’s core objectives, namely national unity and integration.