An ode to General Ibrahim on Unijos honour
By Toby Prince
Unpretentiously, commitment and hard work in public service pays handsomely. Feasts of garlards brighten up your day from unexpected quarters. It confers on the recipient, more sense of responsibility and the patriotic feeling of self fulfilment to really hear resonations of eulogies vibrate everywhere.
The honouree is usually excited because humanity has found a breather through him and society covertly and overtly appreciates his sacrifices. There is nothing more profoundly enduring like contributing to the elevation and development of one’s country. Nation- building is a task for everyone, and obligatory to perform in everyone’s small space.
This is the proud and enviably recognized posture of the Director General, National Youth Service Corps ( DG- NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim. Sentiments apart, Gen. Ibrahim is a loveable personality, not only by his innately gifted bundle of talents, but his rare capacity to utilize it for public benefits of mankind.
Someone once described Gen. Ibrahim as a soldier of the finest breed, an intellectual/ academic don, classic administrator, innovator, reformer, goalgetter and an amazing pacesetter. Nigerians have attestably encountered Gen. Ibrahim in these neons in the various military establishments where he has served. Now, as DG- NYSC, Gen. Ibrahim has marketed himself in spellbinding excellence on the job.
Therefore, a few days back, at an event, his alma mater, the University of Jos (UNIJOS) Alumni Association feted this crack military officer, with an award of excellence in Abuja. The association accurately assessed and endorsed the decision in recognition of Ibrahim’s tremendous achievements as the 18th DG- NYSC in barely two years on the saddle.
The plethora of ecomia on the NYSC boss yawned loudly with the exceptionally positive feats and accomplishments of Gen. Ibrahim as head of the scheme. It is palpable that his choice for the award was not a mistake.
Of grippling relevance, the Chairman, Unijos Alumni, Abuja Chapter, Mr. Joseph Chukwu uttered something unique about the persona of Gen. Ibrahim as the alumni association mulled with the idea of an award to him, a man of solid credentials and unbeatable records of performance anywhere. Chukwu exclaimed to the audience that Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim’s name came topmost and got thundering ovations when he was nominated for the award.
Its difficult for Nigerians in any congregation to collectively agree and endorse anyone for honor without some protest voices. But Ibrahim broke the jinx in an association comprising professionals of different ilk, ideological persuasions and creeds. This general acceptability in itself is the first big plus and loud testimony of his credible performance in public service.
Did the University of Jos (UNIJOS) Alumni Association actually make a mistake by conferring on Gen. Ibrahim the prestigious award of excellence and a good ambassador of the varsity? Has Ibrahim really lived up to public expectations in his assignment as NYSC boss by repositioning the scheme to the status of a focal catalyst in the overall quest of Nigeria’s national development?
The answers are handy from an independent inquest of Gen. Ibrahim’s leadership of the NYSC scheme. Its needless to trumpet that Gen. Ibrahim met an NYSC scheme which was grossly underutilised, with potentials of serving corps members largely unexplored!
But he dexteriously turned around the fortunes of the scheme and changed dormant narratives to now a vibrant and beneficial scheme for serving corps members and their post – service years. Even public perception of the scheme has positively changed. Gen. Ibrahim has also excitingly laid the path of achieving finanacial independence for the scheme which will assume full effect in the nearest future. He is already partially successful in this regard.
Therefore, Ibrahim has upgraded the existing NYSC’s Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneural Development programme ( SAED) and ensured the one month training in different vocations impact on the quest for more knowledge on all corps members. Some of them actually begin to utilize such skills in their places of Primary Assignment ( PA).
And thinking out of the box, Gen. Ibrahim has gone ahead to partner with multiple financial institutions to empower corps members with start-up capitals towards self- reliance through personal investments in the post- service years. Today, Nigeria is a nation, where some corps members have become employers of labor after the mandatory service year because of the skills through SAED and the financial backing of some institutions partnering with NYSC to finance their business proposals. The Central Bank of Nigera (CBN), Bank of Industry (BOI), Heritage Bank, (HB) and Access Bank among others can attest to it. These benefits are a product of Gen. Ibrahim’s leadership ingenuity.
Furthermore, the NYSC boss has accepted, adopted and is implementing President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy and initiatives on agriculture and food security. Similarly, the NYSC under Ibrahim’s guidiance has also partnered agric-based institutions and other organisations to sponsor training of serving corps members in farming techniques, cropping and mechanized agriculture.
Today, the previously moribund NYSC farms across the federation have come up alive and new farm plantations have sprouted. NYSC alone has cultivated over 60, 000 hectares of rice fields as at 2021. The harvested rice is processed for consumption in the scheme’s owned ricemills and the investments are still being consolidated. Undoubtedly, this is an enormous contribution of corps members to food availability in the country .
The NYSC boss is not resting on his oars. Gen. Ibrahim has revitalised NYSC investment ventures across the country, such as garment, bread and table water factories, which are functioning at maximum productivity. They also double as
training avenues for serving corps members.
Its shocking and indeed novel that the NYSC under Gen. Ibrahim has started to generate and remit revenues from these investments into into the federation account. In 2020, the NYSC paid N280 million into FGN coffers and in 2021, a sumptuous sum of over N.5 billion was remitted, with plans to keep increasing its revenue generation.
And the big bang! Gen. Ibrahim has conceptualised and vigorously pursuing the establishment of the NYSC Trust Fund. He is working towards the future. Sensitization campaigns on this initiative have gone virile and received favorable endorsements from a wide spectrum of Nigerians.
When the NYSC Trust Fund comes into fruition, it will provide a wider range of corps members more access to start-up captals to finance their private business ideas as they blissfully exit the year of service to fatherland. The expected impacts of these laudable initiatives in the nearest future are truely tremendous! Gen. Ibrahim truely deserves more than the award of excellence from Unijos alumni, but a national honour.
Prince is a journalist and wrote this piece from Guzape, Abuja.