The landmark achievements of the director-general of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Maj. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim have once more demonstrated the role of effective and transformational leadership in organizations, public or private. He clocks 3 years today but the NYSC surely needs him to be around for a pretty long time to come.
The Nigerian Army general and an academic as an associate professor of military history, assumed the position of director-general of the Scheme on 10 May 2019. Earlier to his appointment as the 18th DG of NYSC, he was the Registrar of the Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno state.
The NYSC Scheme, since establishment on May 22, 1973, is one Nigerian Institution that has stayed the course and at the same time in great need of organizational renewal and redesign, and that is precisely what General Shuaibu Ibrahim has done for the Scheme. NYSC is being comprehensively overhauled and repositioned for the challenges of 21st Century Nigeria and now in a better position to discharge its core mandate through the implementation of the 5-Year Strategic Plan instituted by the foresighted general.
For emphasis, the NYSC Scheme has fifteen main objectives, and the numero uno is: inculcating discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work, and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves. Another is: raising the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement; and another: developing in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training, which will make them more amenable to mobilisation in the national interest. The fourth and fifth are about self-development and nation building: empowering Nigerian youths to acquire the spirit of self-reliance by helping them to develop skills for self-employment; and getting them to contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy. The rest of the objectives can be summed as inculcating in the Nigerian youths patriotic zeal, sense of unity and nationalism.
Traditionally, even the worst critics once calling for scrapping of the Scheme, would admit that, despite the formidable challenges, the NYSC has impacted greatly on the socio-economic development of Nigeria through its various programmes. The impacts recorded by the Scheme are mostly seen and appreciated by well-meaning Nigerians in the real sectors of the nation’s economy, especially in education, health, agriculture and rural infrastructure as well as in corps members’ huge participation in the implementation of national programmes such as elections, population census and mass sensitization of the rural populace, which have earned the Scheme a lot of accolades. The signature impacts of the Scheme have been escalated and modified, and new dimensions introduced by egghead director general.
When General Shuaibu Ibrahim took over the reins at the NYSC in 2019, he unveiled his 5-point policy thrust, which were: sustaining effective utilization of the potentials of Corps members for optimal benefits; pursuit a technology-driven organization to deepen effective service delivery; improving on the welfare and security of Corps members and Staff; strengthening existing collaboration with stakeholders; and reinvigorating the NYSC Ventures and Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme (SAED) in line with the NYSC Act for greater impact.
General Shuiabu Ibrahim’s scorecard spans over thirty-six fundamental achievements, but only a few of them can be reviewed here for obvious reasons. Under him, new Permanent Orientation Camps have been set up in Edo and Bayelsa States and several existing ones have been upgraded with the aid of state governments. Part of the key component of both the new and the upgraded Permanent Orientation Camps is the ultra-modern skill acquisition equipment, which is part of the reinvigoration of the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme of the Scheme that has also received a great boost.
Also reinvigorated is the NYSC Ventures, including the registration of a number of them already incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission. These include NYSC Garment Factory, Mgbakwu, Anambra State; NYSC Garment Factory, Minna, Niger State; NYSC Rice Mill, Ezillo, Ebonyi State; NYSC Bakery and Water Factory, Kubwa, Abuja; NYSC Feed Mill, Ipaja, Lagos; and the NYSC Entertainment Company Limited, which comprises the NYSC National Band, NYSC National Cultural Troupe and the NYSC Movie.
Under General Shuaibu Ibrahim the NYSC Ventures and the NYSC Integrated Online System and other revenue generation efforts have generated unprecedented over N1.2 billion remitted to the Federation Account within the last two years and another N761, 798,479.50 also remitted to the Federal Government as the revenue generated in the year 2021. This feat is pointing to the NYSC Scheme becoming financially sustainable and becoming a major revenue earner for the Federal Government.
One other area of interest is the enrolment of Corps members in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), a feat that has further elevated Corps Welfare. Funds have already been released by the Federal Government for its take-off.
One other major feat the NYSC Scheme has achieved under General Shuaibu Ibrahim should be the production of the first ever NYSC Movie with the title “A call to Service,” which premiered on 4th December, 2021 in Abuja. This will serve as a tool for sensitization of the public about the Scheme and give the prospective corps members the foretaste of the Scheme and get them psychologically prepared for service to the fatherland.
General Shuaibu Ibrahim also led the Scheme to establish the NYSC National Cultural Troupe to develop the talents of Corps members and also serve as a source of revenue generation for the Scheme. Also established is the NYSC Museum, which is domiciled in the NDHQ, Abuja, for effective preservation of the Scheme’s artifacts, including Corps members’ inventions and fabrications. There is also NYSC Bakery in Keffi and the NYSC Table Water Factory also constructed in Keffi, Nasarawa State and another in Kubwa, Abuja.
Perhaps quite revolutionary in this era of e-media and ICT-driven world is the establishment of a Radio station at the NDHQ as well as the approval that has been secured for the establishment of NYSC Television station by the hardworking transformational leader and scholar.
NYSC under General Shuaibu is about completing a state-of-the-art ICT Centre at the NYSC Headquarters and has also introduced a nationwide live broadcast by Corps members through the virtual platform.
General Shuaibu understands that in this era of e-media and ICT-driven world, corps members needed to be trained and retrained in ICT and tech to be able to benefit maximally from the unfolding 4th Industrial Revolution, which has already unraveled in many countries like China, India, and here in Africa; in Rwanda and Kenya. Shuaibu also wants to ensure fully equipped ICT Centres to optimize the digitization and digitalization process of the Scheme.
Apart from the NYSC Skill Acquisition Centres spread round the country, as part of its efforts to be self-sustaining, the NYSC Garment Factories are being established and that of Keffi, Nasarawa State, has already come on stream under his watch.
General Shuaibu Ibrahim has also led the NYSC to immortalise the “Bauchi Eleven,” who lost their lives during the post-election violence of 2011, through employment and scholarship for their siblings as well as employment for a sibling of Corps member Precious Owolabi, who was hit by a stray bullet during a religious crisis.
In appreciation, the Scheme has received commendations from the Presidency on the role of Corps Medical Personnel in the fight against COVID-19 in the Presidential Villa and a 4-Star Service Provider award by the SERVICOM National Office. In further recognition of the Scheme as a leading light of youth organizations in Africa, the Scheme was invited to send 10 (ten) Corps members to India to participate in that country’s 75th Independence Anniversary; and receipt of Award of Excellence from the Federal Ministry of Justice for the Scheme’s consistent implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.
General Shuaibu has been thinking out of the box on how to address the perennial paucity of funds drawing back the projects of the NYSC Scheme and came up with the NYSC Trust Fund. Apart from hosting one or two symposiums on its imperative, the proposed NYSC Trust Fund Bill has scaled through the second reading at the House of Representatives and stakeholders’ support for the establishment of the Fund is also gathering momentum.
With reinvigoration of the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme to train a greater number of youths, especially those that are not educated up to tertiary level, establishment of six (6) Garment Factories, one in each geo-political zone; expansion of Orientation Camps to 5,000 carrying capacity; establishment of arable farm settlements and animal husbandry in every geo-political zone to produce 50% of the initial food requirements at the Orientation Camps; establishment of NYSC Radio and the TV already approved, establishment of NYSC ICT centers round the country and with the NYSC Trust coming to power the Scheme, the present NYSC director general, General Shuaibu Ibrahim has indeed restored the NYSC Scheme to its lost glory and master image.
The Scheme is now fully reinvigorated, rebranded and repositioned to be able to carry out its salutary statutory responsibilities and help to push the country into being part of the 4th industrial revolution. The nation appreciates, and a united and developed Nigeria shall be your reward.
The editorial board of the Nigerian Insider News Limited, publishers of TNIN wishes him many more years of fruitful services to the NYSC and the Nigerian youths. Congratulations Sir.
MAY 10TH 2022