President Goodluck Jonathan has again blamed Nigerian politicians for the problems bedeviling the country.
The president, while delivering a speech at the 2012 NYSC national awards to outstanding corps members from 2009 Batch ‘C’/2010 Batches ‘A’ and ‘B’ service years, admonished politicians to desist from acts that are capable of distracting the government and compounding the current security challenges in the country.
Mr. Jonathan said the government could not continue to borrow money to ‘subsidise fuel for people who have 10 or 15 cars and all their under-aged children will be driving the cars around Lagos.’ The president said that many of the evils confronting the nation were created by politicians.
“Nigerians elected me and I remain committed to transforming Nigeria in a way to engender the greatest good for the greater number of us.” He said whatever his government was doing currently especially in the area of economic transformation is for the future.
“If we cannot build good roads for our children; if we cannot leave hospitals for them, then one thing we must not leave for them is debt, for them to come and pay,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan thanked Nigerian youth for not taking part in the just-concluded mass protest against the deregulation of the petroleum sector which he described as political riot. He expressed the hope that the present crop of young people would lead the vanguard for change.
He also offered automatic employment to 52 former members of the National Youth Service Corps for their extraordinary performance during their service year.
President Jonathan said the beneficiaries would also enjoy scholarship for their master’s and doctorate degrees.
He said the scholarship is applicable to any institution in any parts of the world.
He said the decision to add scholarship and automatic employment to the certificates and medals received by the ex-corps members was meant to encourage them and other youth to continue to work hard. The beneficiaries are expected to gain admission within two years to enjoy the scholarship.
He directed the Ministers of Youth Development, Education as well as Mineral Resources to coordinate the exercise.
He said the scholarship for those in sciences and petroleum-related fields including Petroleum Law or Petroleum Economics would be funded by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund while the Education Tax Fund would fund the rest.
He asked the Minister of Youth Development to liaise with the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission to make sure that the beneficiaries get their appointment letters within one or two months.
Earlier, former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, during whose tenure the NYSC was established, opposed the argument that the scheme should be scrapped.
Mr. Gowon said the scheme was still relevant to the unity of the country, pointing to the roles its members played during the April 2011 general elections as ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He however commiserated with the families of those who were killed during the post-election violence, saying they did not die in vain.
The Director-General, NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Nnamdi Okore-Affia, said a total of 235 nominations were received from the commission’s secretariats in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.
He said the 52 winners were selected after detailed and thorough consideration of the nominees by the selection committee.
He said six of the winners were adjudged the best. They include Chinaeke Ejike (Enugu), Dr. Ofodile Emeka (Abia), Dr. Onuigbo Ernest (Abia), Nwanosike Chinasa (Abia), Ezeoba Adaobi (Anambra) and Babajide Akinrinde (Oyo).
He said Ms Chinasa was also adjudged Best Female Corps Member for the National Council for Women Societies award for the best female corps member in community development.