President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday restated the importance of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to national unity, saying it also offers the youth the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the diversity of Nigerians’ culture.
Buhari who charged Nigerian youths to uphold the country’s unity spoke when the corps members serving in Katsina visited him shortly after he performed this year’s Eid- el-Kabir prayer in his hometown, Daura.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the President, who arrived the praying ground at 9:30 a.m., was cheered by Muslim faithful who thronged the venue for the prayer.
The Chief Imam of Daura, Mallam Salisu Rabiu, who led the prayer, in his sermon, stressed the need to respect constituted authority.
He also stressed the importance of discipline, especially among youths, adding that it was paramount to the peaceful co-existence of any nation.
The Emir of Daura, Alhaji Farouk Umar, used the occasion to call for sustained prayers for the socio-economic development of the nation, as well as the good health of the President.
He described some of the negative comments on the health of the President as unfortunate, adding: “He is with us today, we welcome him back home.”
The emir called on Nigerians to put the unity of the nation at heart, saying it is sacrosanct and urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the economic growth of the nation.
The president later charged corps members who visited him after the prayers to uphold the country’s unity.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who addressed the corps members on behalf of the President, assured them of government’s commitment to the unity of the country.
Buhari said the NYSC scheme was the best reconciliatory scheme and would remain relevant, adding that his administration would continue to uphold the unity of the country.
Speaking to newsmen at his country home after the prayers, Buhari said the NYSC scheme had over the years continued to pursue the purpose of integrating the country, noting that diversity of cultures remained Nigeria’s greatest strength.
He said: “I am always pleased to see corps members in Daura and other parts of the country.
“From the postings, we get to learn more about other cultures.”
The President said the large number of corps members in Daura, mostly from the southern part of the country, was an indication that the dream of a unified Nigeria remains a reality.
He noted that graduates from the north, who served in southern states, also learnt a lot from the diversity that had made Nigeria a unique country.
While recalling his experience of working in various parts of the country as an Army officer, Buhari said serving in some southern parts of the country, such as Lagos and Ibadan, offered him very rich experiences.
Nnamdi John, who spoke on behalf of the corps members, commended the President for granting them audience.
He said that as corps members, they would continue to promote the unity of the country through enlightenment and community development services.
The corps members were presented with 10 bags of rice, a bull and N250,000 cash for their Sallah celebration.
Corps members in Daura always thronged the President’s residence for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
Many worshipers thronged the prayer ground to catch a glimpse of the President, who cheerfully waved to the crowd.
At the end of the prayer, which commenced at 10:00 a.m., the President slaughtered his ram to mark the yearly sacrifice.
The President was accompanied to the Eid-el-Kabir prayers by presidential aides, members of his family and neighbours.