BENIN CITY –  Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has advised Youth Corps Members who will work as ad-hoc staff in the 2015 General Elections to shun politicians’ advances to rig the elections.
Oshiomhole gave the advise at the opening of the NYSC Annual Management Conference in Benin City.
According to him, “this is easily the toughest election Nigeria will have over the past 16 years and NYSC is providing the bulk of the presiding officers and polling unit officers at critical levels in the electioneering system. I want to appeal to Corpers that they must refuse to be compromised by very desperate politicians.
“We have a political class who, if they have the opportunity, will even bribe God that they go to heaven even if they are actually candidates for hell and the Corpers will require God’s help to resist these desperate politicians for the votes to count and I think the Corpers must find sufficient encouragement to identify that the issues at stake is not the future of those seeking power but the future of those who are not seeking power particularly the younger ones.
“What is at stake is their future, their place on this continent and on this planet. Every day that is mismanaged is opportunity lost, therefore, regardless of the intentions of those seeking power, the Corpers must understand that their own future cannot be measured with N5,000, N10,000 or N20,000.
“The good news is that the Corpers have been playing this role and there is no evidence in the past that they have been a problem. Even where elections were allegedly rigged or actually rigged, from the proceedings in the court, that rigging wasn’t done most of the time by Corpers and therefore the Corpers have been playing their roles as true Nigerians who believe in the unity of our country.
“As young men, they should be more idealistic which means they should see things done perfectly and with all the innovation that INEC promises to introduce including the Card Reader, I expect that this elections will be much more free than the previous ones”.
Oshiomhole said, “I remain a firm believer that the country we are in is greater than any of us. Whatever we do, Presidents will come and go, whatever we do, Governors will come and go and Local Government Chairmen will come and go and like I told the GOC 2 Mechanised Division the last time, even Military Leaders will come and go. What is permanent is the institution of the Presidency, of the Governorship and of the Armed Forces. Once we distinguish between the person and the office, there should be no problem.
“But my advice to everyone is that even under temptation, we should recognize that when nations fail, everybody is in trouble whether you are responsible for it or not.
“So we all need peace. To be defeated in a country that is peaceful is to be preferred to a country that is riotous. Absolutely nothing should influence any of us not to put the country first. Nigeria is greater than anybody and I am a firm believer in the unity of this country and nobody should do anything to threaten our unity.
“It is the fact of our diversity that makes us a promising leader of our great continent and that promise will be fulfilled in my own life time and this Corpers will inherit a country where nobody cares whether you are a Christian or Muslims, Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa”, he said.
In a goodwill message, the Minister of Youth represented by a Director in the Ministry, Alhaji Waziri Lamini said the conference should brainstorm and come out with fresh ideas to enhance performance of Corpers and keep them safe while the federal government will continue to play its part to ensure the scheme is well provided for.
Also, Chairman of the NYSC Governing Board, Chief Godwin Bozimo said Annual Management Meetings are crucial in the calendar of every establishment because they afford the organizations the opportunity to assemble for stock taking, re-evaluation of their strength and weaknesses and mapping out strategies to break new grounds.
In a welcome address, the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brigadier General Johnson Olawumi said issues of insecurity, rejection of corps members in places of primary assignment, funding and inadequate infrastructure now pose critical challenge to the scheme.