President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to live up to expectation of the founding fathers of the scheme by utilising their education and privilege of visiting different parts of the country to unite Nigerians.
Receiving the youth corps members at his private residence in Daura, Katsina State on Sunday during the Eid al-Adha Sallah celebration, alongside the President of Republic of Guinea, Prof. Alfa Conde, President Buhari said the primary focus of the NYSC is to expose graduates to the beauty and diversity of the country, and return to their states or any part of the country to share their experiences.
The President advised them to always emphasise the common values of peaceful co-existence, kindness and hospitality that cut across all cultures and religion in Nigeria.
President Buhari said the entire nation depends on past and serving youth corps members to bridge the country, since they have the first-hand experience of living with different ethnic groups in various parts of the country, studying their cultures and traditions, and enjoying hospitality, which underpins every community in Nigeria.
“From Lagos, Port Harcourt and other parts of the country, you are at the end of the country. This posting will make you know this place, Daura, and you can disabuse the minds of those who are not educated about the other side of the country.
“It is only the NYSC that is merging us together and of course, the police and soldiers,” he said.
The Nigerian leader noted that in every meeting with former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, who initiated the programme in 1973 to promote unity and understanding among Nigerians, he always remembers to appreciate the ingenuity of the programme and need for continuity.
In his remarks, the President of Guinea said the diversity of Nigeria remains its greatest strength, urging the youth corps members to always see themselves first as Nigerians, before identifying with their ethnic background.
“First, you are Nigerians before you are from any other part of the country. So promote the unity of the country regardless of your tribes,” he added.
The Chief Liaison Officer of NYSC in Daura, Aliyu Abdullahi, said it was a privilege to serve in the hometown of the President, and also meet with him and his special guest, President Conde, urging the President to intensify the fight against corruption.
Abdullahi commended President Buhari for the efforts to restore peace, security and unity in the country, assuring him of the prayers and support of the corps members.
President Buhari donated two cows and ten bags of rice to the corps members, and some money, while the President of Republic of Guinea also complemented with two cows.
President Buhari had earlier in the day, participated in the Sallah congregational prayer at the Daura eid ground alongside the President of Guinea, Alfa Conde as well as the Governor of Kstsina Stste, Aminu Masari.