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A CHRONICLE OF NYSC LEADERSHIP

INTRODUCTION

Since its inception in 1973, the NYSC has been administered by a succession of fine military officers, each with his own peculiar vision and style of operation. Under their careful guidance and direction, the scheme has passed through many phases, growing from its controversial birth to the pivotal position it occupies today in the nationís efforts at development. Though not directly the chief executive of the scheme one will like to begin the chronicle of NYSC leadership with the profile of its pioneer chairman, professor Adebayo Adedeji.

PROFESSOR ADEBAYO ADEDEJI:

Professor Adebayo Adedeji was born on December 21, 1930 at ijebu-ode ogun state. He attended saviourís school, ijebu-ode (1944-49), ijebu-ode grammer school (1944-49), University College, ibadan (1950-54) Leicester University of London (1967).

Adedeji served as Assistant Secretary, ministry of Economic planning, Western Region
(1958-61) principal Assistant Secretary (Finance), 1962-63; Deputy Director,
institute of Administration, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) Iie-Ife, 1967-71.

He was appointed a member, Ad Hoc Committee on the Finances, United Nations and its Specialized Agencies in 1965, Chairman, Western Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (WNBC), 1966-67; member, Nigerian National Manpower Board, 1968-71 and Federal Commissioner for Economic Development and Reconstruction, 1971-75. In 1973, he was appointed Chairman of the Directorate of the National Youth Service Corps.

Adedeji was appointed member, Expert Committee on the Restructuring of the Economic and Social Sectors, United Nations, 1975; Chairman of Senate, Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), 1975-1991.

In addition to his appointive posts, professor Adedeji has been consistently active in several professional associations and related organizations. He was president, African Association for public Administration, 1967-75; Board Member, Nigerian Institute of Man-agement; Vice Chairman, Association of Schools and Institutions of Administration, International Institute of Administrative Sciences, 1970; member, Royal Commonwealth Society, 1971-72; Vice-President, African Association for public Administration and Management, 1971-74; President, African Association for public Administration and Management since 1974 and member, Board of Trustees, Department of Economics, University of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, since 1978.

A prolific scholar, professor Adedejiís publications include:

  1. A Survey of the Highway Development in the Western Region of Nigeria (1960)
  2. An Introduction to Western Nigeria: Its People, Culture and System of Government (1967).
  3. Problems and Techniques of Administrative Training in Africa (1969)
  4. Nigerian Federal Finance: Its Problems and Prospects, (1969)
  5. Management Problems of Rapid Urbanization in Nigeria (1973)
  6. Africa, the Third World and the Search for a New Economic Order (1976)
  7. The Deepening International Economic Crisis and its Implications for Africa (1982)and
  8. Towards The Dawn of the Twenty First Century (1986).
In recognition of his scholarship and contributions to national and international development, professor Adedeji has been awarded several honorary doctorate degrees, foreign honors and traditional tittles. Among these are: Honorary Doctor of Literature (Hon. D. Litt) Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1976; Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon LL.D.) Dalhousie University, Canada 1984; Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon. LL.D.) University of Calabar, 1987; Grand Office of the Order of Mono (GOOM), Togo, 1972; Commander of the Order of Merit (COM) of the Ishamic Republic of Mauritania, 1977; Grand Commander of the Order of Distinguished Service First Class (GCDS), Republic of Zambia, 1982; Gold Mercury International Award (ad personam) 1982; Asiwaju of Ijebu and Olotu-Oluwa of Ijebu-Ode.

Professor Adedeji is married to Susan Aderinola Ogun and they have seven children - five sons and two daughters. His hobbies include lawn tennis, golf, walking and photography.

COLONEL (DR) AHMADU A ALI: (1973-75)

Colonel Ahmadu Adah Ali was the first Director of the National Youth Service Corps. Born on March I, 1936 on Gbode, near Lokoa, Kogi State, he attended Elementary School, Dekina (1943-48) Middle School, Okene (1949-50), Barewa College, Zaria (1950-54) Nigerian College of Technology, Zaria (1955-57), and the University College, Ibadan (1958-63), where he obtained his M. B. B. S.

After his granduation, he served as a house physician and House Surgeon with the University College Hospital, Ibadan (1963-64), Medical Officer, 68 Armed Forces Hospital Yaba, Lagos (1964-65), Regimental MEDICAL Offucerm Furst Batallion, Nigerian Army, Enugu (February-September 1965).

In 1966, he proceeded to the Edinburgh Post Graduate Medical School, Edinburgh and later became a senior House officer, Psychiatric unit, stobhill General Hospital, Glasgow (1967-68).

In 1968, he returned to Nigeria and served as a Medical specialist at the 68 Armed Forces Hospital, Kaduna, (1968-70), Consultant physician and commanding Officer, millitary Hospital, Kaduna (1971): deputy director, medical services, (Army), creek Hospital lagos ( 1972-73).

In 1973, he was appointed the first Executive director of the National youth service corps and served in that capacity till 1975.

Colonel Ali was appointed Federal Commissioner for Education (1975-78) and retired voluntarily from the Nigeria Army in 1979 and 1983, he was a member of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), during which he was elected a senator representing the Benue West District. Since 1985, he has been the Chairman and Chief Consultant, Medical clinics Limited. He was also a senator in the now defunct National Assembly for the third Republic.

Colonel Ali is a member of several professional associations and has been a member, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) since 1964; member, British Medical Association since 1965;fellow, Royal society of tropical Medicine and Hygiene since 1967; member, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh; 1968; fellow, Nigeria Medsical Collegeof Physicians since 1976; fellow, Royal College of physicians, Edinburgh, 1985. He is also a receipient of several national honors including the Nigeria Armed Forces Service star, 1976;Defence Service Medal, 1976; National Service medal, 1976; The Republic Medal, 1976; and Commander of the most Excellent Order of the Niger (CON), 1979. He was also confered with a traditional tittle:Ochada Attah of Igala in 1976.

Colonel Ali is married to Marian Nneamaka ogoh and they have nine children (three sons and six daughters). His hobby includes reading, farming, hunting, swimming and travelling.

As the pioneer Dirctor of the scheme,Colonel (Dr.) Ahmmadu A ALI, then a Lt- colonel in the Army Medical Corps, could be considered one of its founding fathers. Working diligently with Proffessor Adebayo Adedeji, the National Chairman, Colonel Ali played a critical role in designing the para-military component of the Orientation Course, in spreading the message of the scheme to a sceptical Nigeria audience and in providing the essential infrastructure for the successful take-off of the programme across the country. Proffessor Adedeji has stated that the scheme would not have taken off so smoothly in so short a time, accros so vast and diverse a country, without the hardwork, determination and vision of colonel Ali.

MAJOR- GENERAL SOLOMON K OMOJOKUN:1975-1979)

Major-General Solomon Kikiowo Omojokun was commissioned into the Nigeria Army on march 2, 1963 as a lieutenant. Born in Uara- mokin, near Akure, in Ondo state, Major Genearl SK Omojokun is a science graduate, with specialisation in chemestry, physics and mathematics. He has held appointment at the Nigeria Armed Forces Restllement Centre, Oshodi (january 1970), and at the Nigeria Defence Academy (October 1972) where he was a Princple Lecturer.

After his tenure at the helm of the NYSC in march 1979, Major- General Omjokun was appointed Director of Army Education at Army Headquarters. He was promoted Major- General Omojokunís hobby are music, reading and sports.

Then Colonel Solomon Omojokun became the director of the NYSC in August 1975. It was largely during the 4-year tenure of Colonel Omojokun that the NYSC witnessed its first major boon in intake. Amendment to the enabling decree in 1974 and 1975 had brought NCE and HND graduates along with graduates of foreign University into the scheme.. And the number of universities in the country increased from six in 1973 to 13 by 1979.

With the consequent increase in graduate entering the scheme, the NYSC also blossomed into a large parastatal, employing thousands of people in the 19 states of the federation. Colonel Omojokunís leadership ensured that these rapid developments were fully accommodated, without disrupting the smooth running of what had become a very complex national programme. His tenure certainly falls under what has come to be know as the Goldern years of the NYSC.

COLONEL PETER OBASA: (1979-1984)

Colonel Peter kolawole Obasa was born on January 20, 1938 in Kabba, Kogi State. Commissioned into the Nigerian Army in August 1967, Colonel Obasa has a combined honours first degree in Geography and History and a Masters in public Administration; specialising in International Relations. Colonel Obasa also has a Graduate Teachersí Certificate, and he was a Senior lecturer at the Nigerian Defence Academy from 1957 to 1979.

Married with six children, Colonel Obasaís hobbies include photography and lawn tennis.

Also a distinguished officer of the Army Education corps, colonel Obasa superintended over the scheme at a time when many of our third generation universities came on stream. State and Federal Colleges of Education had also grown in number, and the NYSC was again called upon to expand to accommodate them all. The NYSC was able to do this, in spite of the fact that the economic recession occasioned by drastically reduced petroleum revenues, had already set in. sadly, the final months of Colonel Obasaís tenure were marked by scandals which severely tainted the image and operational effectiveness of the scheme.

BRIGADIER-GENERAL EDET AKPAN: (1984-1988)

Brigadier-General Edet Akpan was born on December 20, 1940 in Iwok, in the Ekpe Atai local government area of Akwa Ibom State. He did his secondary school in Qua Iboe Mission School, Etinan, before proceeding to the University of Ibadan where he studied Chemistry, graduating in 1967. He also has a post-Graduate Diploma in Education from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Brigadier-General Akpan was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in the rank of Lieutenant on January 30, 1968. He has held several key positions in the Army, including: Chief Instructor, Nigerian Military School, Zaria, Chief Instructor / Deputy Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Education, Ilorin; Assistant Director, Army 1 Mechanised Division, Kaduna; Colonel General Staff, Army Headquarters Education; and commandant, institute of Army education, ojo, lagos. He is now the Director / commandant Nigerian army education corps and school.

Brigadier-General Akpan is a member of the national institute for policy and strategic studies, and he is married with children.

Brigadier-General Edet Akpan a colonel in 1984, was charged with the daunting challenge of redeeming the image of the NYSC and re-directing its staff and participant to the original mandate of the scheme. He diligently reorganised the programme, placing greater emphasis on fiscal discipline, and then moved to consolidate the gains of the scheme. The NYSC adopted a flag and an anthem to constantly remind the participants of the enduring ideals of the enduring ideals of the scheme.

In addition, he completely re-vitalised the community development service (CDS), introduced sports and drama competitions, and established the revolutionary NYSC farms across the country. The farms have been very successful, for they have helped both to conserve resources and expose corps participant to the realities of life on the farms. It can be safely stated that Brig.General Akpanís tenure helped to redeem the somewhat tainted image of this important national programme.

Recounting his experience during his days at the helm, the former NYSC boss had this to say.

ďI assumed headship of the scheme amidst floodgates of public outrage against the scheme because of the unbecoming acts of fraud and mismanagement by some former key officials of the scheme. Hardly could one scan through the pages of our newspapers then without embarrassing and demoralising stories of condemnation, rage and apprehension against the NYSC management. A number of people called for the scrapping of the National scheme! Morale of staff and corps members dropped to a dangerous level, with consequent loss of courage and confidence. With the police picking up one former key staff after the other, fear and despondency set in among the remaining staff.

Given the above background, the need to restore morale, confidence and accountability among the staff and corps members became the immediate challenge. If the scheme must survive and make progress, we needed to enjoy the support and cooperation of the government and the entire national community; to do this we had to restore the image of the organisation and re-dedicate ourselves to the attainment of the lofty goals of the founding fathers.

Another important issue that adversely affected staff morale and productivity was the problem of inadequate and out-dated management structure. By the time I assumed office in 1984, the scheme had grown in corps members strength to over 44,000 from the inception figure of just over 2,000 in 1973. Unfortunately, the management structure had not changed in relationship to the growth of the scheme, in spite of efforts of the previous NYSC management, for the government to approve an enhanced management structure. The NYSC started with borrowed staff from the states-these were seconded to head the state secretariats as Chief Inspectors. The State Chief Inspectors were on level 14. Between 1973 and 1984, the only additional management structure was the creation of three area offices (North, West and East) with area coordinators on level 15. With this stunted career arrangement it was difficult to motivate staff or retain good staff, let alone attracting new hands into the orgainsation.

The problem of getting the government to approve an enhanced management structure was therefore recognised as a major challenge.

Another major problem was the increasing growth trends in the corps member strength without corresponding increase in the facilities and employment opportunities for their effective mobilisation thus leading to under-utilisation of corps members.

At this time the NEC holders. We either had to find ways of controlling the growth trends in relation to existing facilities and employment opportunities or provide additional facilities and employment opportunities or provide additional facilities and job avenues to cope with the number of participants. This posed another serious challenge.

On the problem of low morale among the staff and corps members, we were happy to observe that our commitment and rededication to accountability and service goals paid off earlier than I had anticipated. In this direction, I had immense joy and sense of fulfillment from the then president, General Ibrahim Babangida. He told me that he was impressed that I was able to restore the morale and confidence in my staff and corps member and also improved the image of the scheme. To put it in his own words, he told me ďI donít know how you did it, I am happy to observe that you have not only restored morale and confidence among your staff and corps members but also in the entire national communityĒ.

On the problem of enhanced management structure for the scheme. This problem had been recognised by my predecessors in office and they had made proposals to government to approve a new management structure for the scheme. Given the usual constraints of bureaucracy and resistance to changes, this problem remained with the scheme into the eighties. During my tenure I made persistent effort for the vertical and horizontal up-grading of the management structure to provide for a Director- General (in place of Director ) for the headship of the scheme.

We succeeded in getting the government to give approval in principle for the up-grading during my time. However, the final fine-tuning approval and implementation caiman 1988 during the tenure of my immediate successor. This collective achievement was a millstone for all those who contributed to its realization.

Another step we took to motivate staff and improve on control and discipline of staff was to do away with the practice of seconding civil servants from states to head some of the state secretariat. As a policy we insist that any civil servants from the state who wants to the work for the NYSC must transfer his service to the NYSC and meet required standards.

Along with this step, we put a police in place for the states that didnít have senior staff in the scheme to encourage their indigenes to take up permanent jobs in the scheme.

This police went a long way to provide a Federal spread among the senior staff. Regarding the problem of inadequate facilities for effective mobilization of crops members, we addressed this problem in a number of ways - approach was to request government to reduce the number of participants by excluding the NCE holders finally secure degrees, they will therefore still have chance to serve that Government accepted our proposals and excluded the NCE holders from participation from the 1985/86 service year. Thus the strength fell from some 44,000 in the 84/85 service year to under 25,000 in 85/86 year this trend has allowed gradual and manageable growth trends.

Another approval we took was to work towards expanding the facilities and avenue for effective mobilization. Thus we expanded the community development aspect of the service to make it an all- round project as against the previous arrangement whereby the corps members only embarked on a community project for a scheduled period of 2 weeks during the service year. We also expanded the scope of the projects to include farming. Thus, by 1985, all the then 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja had established arable farms. these new projects provided more opportunities and avenue for crops membersí deployment and utilization.

We also addressed the issue of provision of permanent orientation camps for the NYSC as none existed anywhere in the country. We were happy we got permanent camps in a few states as a start. Even though the above measures didnít solve the problem of under-utilization of corps members completely, they helped to minimize the problem.

As to the legacy I left behind, I can only say that I put in my very best in the service of the National scheme and the nation in general. No doubt, those years at the helm of affairs in the NYSC will remain some of the most glorious years of my military career. I thank my country and God for the opportunity to serve.Ē.

COLONEL ANIMASHAUN BRAMIMOH (1988-1990)

Colonel Animashaun was born on November 21, 1939 in Oyo, Oyo State. He attended Aladura Mission School, Ibadan (1947- 48), Islamic School (1949-53); Ibadan Commercial Academy, 1954 Molus College (1955-58); Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan, 1959-61); and the University of Ibadan, Ibadan (1961-64 and 1972-73.

In 1977, He was appointed Acting Commandant, Nigerian Military School, and Zaria. He served as Supervising Education Officer, Nigerian Army Artillery School (1977-79) and as Chief Inspector of Army Education, Institute of Army Education, (1979-81).

Between 1981 and 1982, he attended the Command and Staff College Jaji. He became the General Staff Officer, Grade 1, Army Headquarters (1982-84); Commandant, Institute of Army Education, (1984-86) Acting Director of Army Education (1986-87) and proceeded to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos in 1987.

In December 1987 Colonel Braimoh was appointed National Director, National Youth Service Corps served in that Capacity till December 1990.

Colonel Animashaun Braimoh took over the leadership of the NYSC in 1988. Although he was again confronted with the problem of severely diminished resources, he was able to consolidate the gains of his predecessor. A quiet and efficient administrator who looked after the welfare of his staff and corps participants, Colonel Braimohís great legacy is that he successfully moved the Headquarters of the NYSC from Lagos to the federal capital of Abuja.

BRIGADIER-GENERAL HAFIZ MOMOH, DIRECTOR-GENERAL (1991)

Brigadier-General Hafiz Momoh was born 49 years ago in Auchi, Etasko West Local Government Area, Edo State.

He studied at Government School, Auchi, Holy Trinity Grammar School Sabongida Ora, and Hussey College Warri (all in Edo State). In 1964, he proceeded to the University of Ibadan and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1967. He also obtained a post-Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Lagos (1972) and another Diploma in International Relations from the University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo) in 1978.

On 4 August 1972, Momoh was commissioned a Lieutenant in the Nigeria Army under the Direct Short Service (DSSC) programme. Four years later, in 1976, he converted to Direct Regular Commission.

During the 21 years he has served in the various capacities. He was an Instructor at the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna from 1972 to 1975, Education Officer, 2 Infantry Division, Nigeria Army Garri-son from 1976 to 1877. From 1978 to early 1982, he was General Staff officer 11, Training. Operations, Army Headquarters. Between February and August 1982, he was Assistant Director of Army Education at the Army Headquarters Garrison Signal Group. He was Commandant, Command Secondary School, Ibadan from 1984 to 1989 and Commandant, Institute of Army Education from 1989 to December 1990.

On December 31, 1990, Brigadier-General momoh was appointed National Director (now Director-General) of the Nigeria Youth Service Corps, becoming the sixth Chief Executive of the Scheme.

Brigadier-General Momoh has been decorated with medals including the Force Service Star. He was married with four children - three girls and one boy. His hobbies included Golf, Squash, Photography and Gardening.