Former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon has urged Nigerian youths to embrace vocational training and skills in order to be self-sufficient and employers of labour.
Gowon made the appeal on Wednesday in Abuja, while inaugurating the NYSC Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre.
Gowon, who is the Founder, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), also inaugurated the scheme’s Skills Acquisition and Empowerment Development (SAED) Programme exhibition.
According to him, embracing vocational skills was the best avenue to achieve financial independence instead of searching for the non-available white-collar jobs.
“The introduction of SAED into the orientation course content of the NYSC since 2012 has been a blessing especially the acquisition of skills by a large number of corps members that passed through the scheme.
“The programme has created lots of job opportunities for many of our youths who are now business owners in different locations and also employers of labour.”
He added that the digitisation of the NYSC mobilisation process since 2014 was another attestation to the improvement of the scheme operations.
Gowon said that digitisation has made the registration of prospective corps members from any part of the globe a seamless exercise.
“The monthly clearance for corps members and other numerous ICT related activities on the NYSC NIS platform are worthy of commendation.
“I have no doubt that this ultra-modern ICT Centre that will be inaugurated today would be a major boost in this regard.”
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the proposed NYSC Trust Fund Bill.
He said that the fund would make a possible turnaround of events for the scheme especially in the improvement of training facilities.
It would also provide start-up capital to corps members to finance their businesses in line with the skills they acquire through the NYSC SAED programme among other benefits.
The founder of the scheme congratulated it on its 50th anniversary, describing it as “a golden jubilee of selfless and laudable contributions to the development of our dear country”.
Gowon appealed to Nigerians and relevant stakeholders to provide necessary support that would enable the scheme consolidate on the successes recorded in the last five decades
“I call on respective state governments to intensify efforts in setting up and upgrading the facilities in their orientation camps towards provision conducive environment to enhance a hitch-free training of corps members during the three weeks orientation period.”
The Director-General of the scheme, Brig.-Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, explained that the role of ICT in the 21st century cannot be over emphasised.
According to him, most organisations and corporate entities have been transiting their processes and procedures from analogue to digital platform.
This, he said, was to promote delivery of excellent, fast, efficient, world class services with minimal errors and less human interference.
“NYSC has no reason not to lead the way. The vision of the scheme is to become the leading light of youth organisations in Africa.
“This is premised on the fact that the youth as the vibrant segment of the national demography has over the years been championing the use of ICT in bringing about a more efficient society.
“Undoubtedly, the NYSC programme has since become an integral part of Nigeria’s national development strategy.
“It has provided a platform for these ICT savvy graduate youths to gain practical work experience, contribute to the development of their host communities and promote understanding and cooperation among Nigeria’s diverse ethnic and cultural groups,” he said.
A beneficiary of SAED, Miss Angela Okplewu, said that the programme has changed the course of her life.
She said that it had broadened her knowledge and gave her an opportunity to learn how to produce skin care products.
She said she also got a grant from the bank which boosted her business and she is now self-employed.
“I have been able to add more products to what I can produce and get more equipment and the registration of my products is already in the process, all thanks to SAED.” (NAN)