Director-General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, on Thursday, paid a courtesy visit to Dr Oluwole Adetiran who composed the scheme’s anthem in 1984.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ibrahim led a high-powered delegation of NYSC to the residence of Adetiran, who recently turned 74, at Ibafo in Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun.
The director-general said that he learnt through the social media last Saturday that Adetiran was seriously ill and he thought that the man deserved to be honoured with a visit.
“I just got to know about five days ago through a Good Samaritan who posted the message on the social media.
“I decided to follow up on the phone number that was dropped on the social media report, made my investigations and decided to come here from Abuja to visit him,” he said.
Ibrahim described Adetiran as a patriotic Nigerian whose contributions to the scheme through the composition of the anthem could not be quantified in monetary terms and which would live beyond him.
The NYSC boss noted that the wordings of the anthem were quite philosophical and had continued to be a source of inspiration to serving and past corps members that they should put the nation first wherever they found themselves.
“The wordings of the anthem have been so inspiring to our corps members and you will observe that they are everywhere serving the nation.
“The corps members are always involved in the conduct of elections and population census, while their contributions during the heat of COVID-19 pandemic and other national assignments have been tremendous.
“This visit is partly to encourage our corps members and our youths that when you serve and honour your country, your country will not forget you,” he said.
The director-general urged the corps members to continue to meditate on the wordings of the anthem so as to be propelled continually to render selfless service and be agents of unity for the country.
Ibrahim, who presented an undisclosed cash gift to the ailing Adetiran, assured that NYSC would not abandon him in his trying period.
He also pledged that Adetiran’s photograph would be conspicuously placed in the newly-built NYSC museum in Abuja.
Adediran, who betrayed emotion as he responded, said that his heart leapt for joy at the sight of the powerful delegation from NYSC.
He explained that he had been inflicted with multiple diseases, including hypertension, diabetes and prostate cancer since 2018, adding that he had once fallen into coma for two days.
Adediran, who said that he studied Music at University of Nigeria, Nsuka, recalled that he composed the anthem in 1984 while he was serving as a corps member in Oyo state.
“I was the leader of an NYSC group called ‘the anthem group,’ and the then chief inspector saddled us with the responsibility of raising an anthem for the scheme.
“It was nothing difficult for me because while my friends went to study various courses in the university, I went for what I had passion in, which was music.
“While other corps members were not showing much interest in the assignment, I went home and spent quality time to compose the anthem, to the admiration of all, and I still have the manuscripts till today,” he said.
Adediran who said that he rendered the anthem with a special choir that he had raised, commended the NYSC director-general for the visit, which he considered as a mark of honour to him.
The NYSC anthem composer, who is now the National Music Director of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), said that he could not believe, in his wildest imagination, that a person in the status of NYSC director-general would one day visit him in his small abode.
“I thank God for opening a book of remembrance concerning me for my labour of love,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adetiran had served as the Head of Music Department of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, between 2003 and 2007 before his retirement from the institution in 2008.