The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, has called on political and religious leaders to promote unity among the nation’s ethnic groups.
The former Vice President gave the charge in a statement he signed to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Youth Service Corps.
The NYSC scheme was established on May 22, 1973, by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon (retd.) to foster national reconciliation following a brutal civil war between the Nigerian State and the Republic of Biafra that claimed millions of lives, particularly children.
“I use this opportunity to call on politicians, religious leaders, and other opinion leaders to continue to encourage unity among the people because disunity feeds hate, which in turn, feeds conflicts. We should always make utterances that promote love and unity and avoid statements that stoke bitter divisions and intolerance.
“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the National Youth Service Corps in Nigeria, we are reminded that the scheme remains one of the most significant policies ever conceived in the country. We must also acknowledge and give credit to General Yakubu Gowon for introducing this brilliant idea aimed at consolidating national unity after the bitter memories of the tragic Nigerian civil war.
“Unity, which is also my agenda as a politician, is essential to building a strong country because a divided country is a weakened country.
“At the same time, I urge a review of the mandate of the NYSC scheme to reflect the demands of the current reality,” the statement read.