By Prince Francis Chilaka
The appointment of the current DG of NYSC was a prophecy long foretold when he was still a young Major in the Nigerian Army, so to most of his close friends and associates, we were not shocked when he was eventually appointed the DG. This is one appointment this government should be very proud of, it’s a round peg in a round hole.
Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, is not just any kind of military officer, he is disciplinarian, God fearing and an Associate Professor. In appearance, he is unassuming; but his personage is an embodiment of multiple military and administrative talents that can never be questioned. He is one man governed by a doctrine of excellence anywhere he finds his feet and believes in making the best use of all human resources.
Since his appointment he has shown high level organization skills. It’s on record that he is the first DG of the scheme that has thought out of the box by tinkering with ideas to make the scheme support the Federal Government in funding its operations while at the same time maintaining high standards, discipline and the unification agenda of the founding fathers of the scheme in 1973.
Listening to his speech just after his appointment, it was crystal clear that he was more than prepared and ready for the work ahead, hear him “I appeal to our corps employers to take care of the welfare of members and mentor them.” Mentorship is what drives the world today.
Take it or leave it, the truth is that the scheme is rated as one of the best performing federal government agencies today, because a motivated staff leaves nothing to chance in the performance of their official functions. It is natural that when the worker is motivated to work, he goes the extra mile excitedly.
Brig. Gen. Ibrahim has capitalized on this weapon, by his undiluted and undistracted attention to issues of welfare and remunerations. Timely payment of salaries and legitimate allowances ignite the ambience of a workplace, anywhere in the world. Even the Holy Scriptures admonishes that a worker deserve his wages. The corpers have never had it this good. Even when some state government are finding it difficult to pay the minimum wage, same cannot be said of the scheme.
The relentless efforts of the Director General has been able to catapult the Scheme to a comfortable pedestal through investment initiatives. These investments have continued to generate internal revenue for the Scheme, which partly funds her operations.
Under his able watch, the Scheme has invested in Poultry farms; hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice plantations and milling as well as feed mills in different parts of the country. He has equally resuscitated some previously abandoned NYSC water and bakery factories to consolidate on its investment profile.
With the returns yielded by these investments, coupled with the federal government subventions to the agency, payment of salaries and allowances to Corp members have been prompt and ceaseless. His favorable disposition to this has earned him the epaulet “Mr. Alert, Mr. Welfare” in all NYSC offices and formations across the nation.
With special reference to the corps members, he did not waste time upon resumption of office to implement the New National Minimum Wage of N33, 000 (thirty-three thousand) as monthly allowance of serving corps members. He boosted the monthly allowance of corps members with an additional N3, 000 (three thousand) to serve as incentives to corps members and encourage personal savings. He operates on Lailah Gifty Akita’s the doctrine that “If people are paid well, there should be no poverty.”
He has been in the forefront of relentlessly Lobbying State Governments and employers of the services of corps members to pay them additional monthly stipends. He has successful blighted the doctrine of discretionary payment of stipends to serving corps members through gentle persuasion of employers.
As a loving and caring father, he has demonstrated a relentless commitment to the health and well-being of the staffs and Corp members. For instance, at the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria, Gen. Ibrahim ensured that the monthly allowances of corps members were paid without the usual clustering for clearance in order to forestall the spread of the disease.
His efforts in the fight against COVID-19 cannot be thrown under the carpet, we all are witnesses to how gallantly corps members rose to the national call via production and distribution of Nose masks, Sanitizers, ventilators, including distribution of palliatives to some communities and the aged amongst us.
Conversely, Gen. Ibrahim instantly complied with the directive of the Presidency by enlisting all serving corps members into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). He does not hesitate in approving medical bills and has expended huge resources on critical health needs of corps members by footing medical bills where necessary.
The unalterable truth is that Brig. Gen. Ibrahim has changed the fortunes of the NYSC amazingly. He is indeed, a national asset both in intellect and capacity to do things differently. But as usual, the Nigeria system have never been kind to such persons.
Thus, the bill by the House of Representatives calling for the scrapping of the Scheme is ill wind and not in the best interest of Nigerians, especially the Nigerian youth. It’s time for patriotic and right thinking Nigerians to speak out and ask the members of the House of Representatives especially the sponsors of such wicked and obnoxious bill if they are truly patriotic Nigerians.
Did they ever think of the effect such action would have not only on the economy of the country if upon graduation, there is nothing to keep them occupied, we all saw how crime escalated whilst the universities were on strike. Our leaders need to stop toiling with the lives of our youths.
Prince Francis Chilaka
Political Analysts/Social Commentator