By Lawrence Olaoye and Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Armed Forces are the national institutions uniting the country.
In a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President made the remarks yesterday in Daura, Katsina state while receiving the youth corps members at his country home in Daura during the Eid el-Kabir Sallah celebration, alongside the President of Republic of Guinea, Prof. Alfa Conde.
He challenged members of the NYSC to live up to expectation of the founding fathers by utilising their education and privilege of visiting different parts of the country to unite Nigerians.
Buhari said the primary focus of the NYSC was 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 said they should always emphasize the common values of peaceful co-existence, kindness and hospitality that cut across all cultures and religion in Nigeria.
The President 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 President noted that in every meeting with former Head of State, Gen. 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 the Eid el-Kabir 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.
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.
In his sermon, Sheikh Yusuf stressed the importance of sacrifice in the cause of humanity, noting that, it was the hallmark of service to Allah as demonstrated by the Prophet Ibrahim when he attempted to sacrifice his son in deference to God’s command.
“Sacrifice in all forms must be made to earn the rewards of the Almighty and advance the cause of humanity”, he maintained.
Yusuf, however, implored those that are able to sacrifice animals during the Eid to share part of the meat with the less privileged and needy to enable them receive the blessings of the Eid.
In a related development, the Emir of katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman in his sallah message enjoined the people to continue to pray for leaders at all levels to enable them surmount the challenges facing the nation.
The Emir also directed people to pray for continued peace and stability in the state and the country at large.
He commended the security agencies for their efforts to end the menace of cattle rustling, kidnapping and other social vices in the state.
Alhaji Kabir Usman, however, advised youths to desist from all forms of drug abuse to become useful members of the society.
The Emir who noted that, the provision of security is the responsibility of everyone and not government alone, charged district and ward heads as well as other members of the public to ensure the proper monitoring of the movement of people in their domain to avert any breakdown of law and order.