The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has named the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, as its Man of the Year.
Making the announcement on Friday in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the Centre, Comrade Isaac Ikpa, said the NYSC DG was carefully selected after an online poll that featured four other prominent Nigerians.
Ikpa noted that Brig Gen Ibrahim garnered the highest number of votes ahead of the likes of Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (rtd), Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank; Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the immediate past Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Dr Adedeji Adeleke, founder of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State.
According to Ikpa, the NYSC boss was the obvious choice owing to his trail blazing efforts in tackling unemployment through massive youth empowerment.
Ikpa said the NYSC Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) prgramme has been rejuvenated under Ibrahim, empowering hundreds of thousands of young Nigerians for self-reliance.
Ikpa recalled that about 75 per cent of graduates willing to work couldn’t find gainful employment, leading to a surge in crime.
Highlighting data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Ikpa said the country’s unemployment rate was at a point about 30 per cent while the youth underemployment rate stood at 21 per cent.
He said there was a need for drastic action by the government to check the tide.
The Centre said that with the NYSC’s SAED initiative, many young Nigerians are independent after embracing entrepreneurship.
According to Ikpa, the other nominees also made impacts in several aspects but the NYSC overwhelmingly touched a critical aspect of the nation.
He noted that thousands of graduates have gone on to become full-scale entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
“Brig-Gen Ibrahim has succeeded in steering the mindset of our youths away from the mirage of white-collar jobs to that of entrepreneurial engagement,” Ikpa said.
“It is on record that this initiative has witnessed massive gains in recent times, thanks to the support of partners such as the Bank of Industry, Access Bank, Unity Bank, Leventis Foundation Nigeria and others too numerous to mention”.
The Centre also acknowledged the efforts of the NYSC DG in flushing out fake graduates, revenue generation and infrastructural face-lift.
“Nigerians haven’t hurriedly forgotten other exceptional reforms introduced, such as the radical approach that has flushed out fake graduates from the Scheme. Nowadays, only eligible Nigerians are mobilised for service unlike in the past where the exercise was compromised with quacks, called up for nationalservice.” Ikpa added.
“There’s also another which has enhanced revenue for the nation. Nigerians pretty much still recall the role of the NYSC during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, when health workers abandoned their duties. Above all though, the Scheme is witnessing a nationwide infrastructural face-lift and enjoying widespread acceptance for innovations such as movie production, public enlightenment and social engagement”.
“The Director General equally facilitated the enrolment of Corps members into the National Health Insurance Scheme thereby improving the general welfare of Corps members and building their confidence to put in their best while on national service.”
While congratulating the NYSC boss, Ikpa urged him to sustain the momentum until every Nigerian graduate would become an entrepreneur.
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