President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed the details of a conversation he had with former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd) over the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.
Buhari made this known while speaking to reporters on Sallah Day in his native Daura, Katsina.
Buhari said he thanked Gowon for establishing the scheme in 1973, according to a Tuesday statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday joined the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk and other Muslim faithful, to observe the Eid prayers at Kofar Arewa Eid Ground, Daura, Katsina State.
President Buhari had the honour of performing the symbolic slaughtering of the ram at the Eid ground, signifying total obedience to the will of Allah as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim.
“After the prayers, the President shunned protocol and opted to trek some 800 metres, acknowledging cheers from Nigerians who had trooped out en masse to attend the Eid prayers and also catch a glimpse of Mr President in his hometown.
“Speaking to reporters at his residence after the walk, the President said he didn’t expect anything less from his ‘immediate constituency’ even as he thanked the almighty God for a bumper harvest and Nigeria’s steady progress towards food sufficiency.
‘‘I am very happy about it (the warm reception) and I do not expect anything less from my immediate base.’’
“The President who wished all Nigerians a happy and successful Sallah celebrations, expressed delight that the country was spending less on food imports, noting that it was a major boost to the agricultural policies of his administration.
“At a separate event, the President received members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) currently serving in Daura community- an audience that has become part of his schedules during the Sallah celebrations in the past years.
“Reaffirming his support to the scheme established in 1973, the President told the corps members: ‘‘It is better to know all the country than for people to be state-inclined.
‘‘I always look forward to meeting the NYSC team because since I served mostly in the south when I was in the military, some people in Lagos the only thing they know is the sea.
‘‘For them (NYSC members) to be brought to the desert or near the Sahel region is a very difficult thing but it will make an impact on Nigeria.
‘‘I have personally spoken to Gen. Gowon to thank him for having the initiative to start the NYSC programme. It is very good for Nigeria,’’ he said.
“The President formally welcomed the Corps members to the ancient town of Daura and asked them to enjoy their national service year.
“In his remarks, the Corps Liaison Officer, Jibrin Ishak, thanked the President for prioritizing the welfare and a secured future of the Nigerian Youths through his style of leadership and developmental initiatives.
‘‘The voice of the people is the voice of God and by the grace of God, we pray that in 2019 you will continue to be President of Nigeria to do more for us,’’ Ishak said.
“The representative of the Corps members prayed God to sustain the President with good health, long life and prosperity.
In his usual tradition, the President, in the spirit of the season, donated a bull, 10 bags of rice and half-a-million Naira to the Corps Members.”