President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday presented awards to 168 ex-corps members at the combined 2015/2016/2017 President’s NYSC Honours Award held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, also announced automatic employment to the awardees in the Federal Civil Service and scholarships up to Doctorate level in any Nigerian universities.
A former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, who created the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 1973, was also in attendance.
About 15 ex-corps members who suffered disability during their service year were also recognised under the NYSC Hope Alive programme.
There was also the National Council for Women Affairs Award to three best female awardees.
The President’s NYSC Honours Award was instituted in 1974 to encourage corps members to contribute to the overall national development by embarking on community development projects.
Mr Buhari said that it was the exceptional individuals in society who were the true builders of institutions and nations.
According to him, the vision, innovation and hard work of one person is sufficient to make a difference in the life of a community or a nation.
The president said that enduring individual success was a function of courage and resilience. He added that he was challenged by the remarkable courage of the corps members who suffered various accidents while in service.
“The fact that they have gone through these harrowing personal injuries and are still determined to engage the future with hope and confidence is proof that they will still experience the joys of great success and fulfillment.
“To all of today’s honorees, let me make it clear that you are not just the future of this country, but also its present.
“You must all see yourselves as the leaders that you are. But leadership comes with responsibilities and continuous sacrifice.
“The successes you have achieved and are being rewarded for today, should inspire you to even greater feats, in your various spheres of influence.
“I, therefore, charge you all to continue to be the light for others to follow, whilst also seeing yourselves as lifelong ambassadors of the NYSC.
“In line with our policy of encouraging and rewarding excellence among our youth, I hereby announce the immediate employment into the Federal Civil Service of all the award winners and beneficiaries of the NYSC Hope Alive Programme.
“In addition, the federal fovernment hereby offers each of you automatic scholarships up to Doctorate level in any Nigerian university of your choice,” he said.
In his address, Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, said that nothing motivated young people than rewards for their contributions no matter how small.
He said that the federal government would continue to reward hard work and devotion to duty among Nigerian youths.
On his part, the outgoing Director-General of NYSC, Suleman Kazaure, said the award aimed at encouraging high ideals and patriotism through selfless and dedicated service to fatherland.
Mr Kazaure said the award was in recognition of teamwork, honesty, loyalty, devotion to duty and creativity.
“Though the young men and women being honoured today were the most outstanding in performance, I am proud to report that corps members deployed in 2015, 2016 and 2017 service years generally contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of our dear country.
“Their performances in key sectors such as education, health, agriculture and infrastructure were applauded by all Nigerians.
“In the areas of Community Development Service, successive batches of corps members have been adding value to communities throughout the federation with various projects.
“These include construction and renovation of schools and hospitals as well as provision of potable water,” he said.
One of the awardees, Nelson Nnamdi, in an interview, said he felt great and was giving God the glory.
He said he learnt the act of service to humanity and to the nation during his service year.
“When I was serving, I did the Virtually Impaired Electronic Working Guide; it is for the blind.
“When I executed the project in the school of the blind in Izzi, Ebonyi State, the project went far. In fact, the joy in the heart of those young blind students gives me joy.
“My advice to servicing corps members; if you identify a special need in the place you are serving, you should try to make an impact and leave the rest to God. In the right time, God will reward you as he has rewarded me today,” he said.