NYSC THE REALITY
(Leader) Obi kererenkel
(Leader) say Allawi oo!!
(Chant) Allawi oo! Allawi ooi!
(Leader) say Ornolara!
(Chant) Omolara! Omolara!!
(Leader) chop akara dey go!
(Chant) moimoi no dey!!
(Leader) chopakara dey go!
(Chant) moimoi no dey!!
The echo reverberated along the street with an intensity equal to the passion in the voices that chanted. Feet net thudded along the ground as they jogged. Smiles of admiration shone from the faces of the children in the street as they watched bodies perspire with the vigour of youth against the morning dew. That was the early morning jogging of the Corp. members at the orientation camp. The thrills, the trainings, the sleepless nights, the activities, the injuries. To a few it was fun, to some, it was an excise, to some others, it was a burden. But no matter how anybody felt, the reality was and still is, the National Youth Service Corps.
The NYSC scheme was established by decree No 24 of May 22, 1973 by General Yakubu Gowon’s administration. The scheme was created with a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian civil war. The purpose of NYSC is primarily to inculcate in Nigerian youths the spirit of selfless service to the community and brotherhood to all Nigerians irrespective of cultural or social background . The NYSC scheme is divided into four programs. The orientation camp, the Community Development Service, Primary Assignment and the Passing out/winding up activities.
Coming down to those remote places of primary assignment of which some corp members are posted to, where children are coaxed to go to school even when the education is free and most of these children even at senior secondary level could barely spell their names. Children preferred farm labour where they could earn some money to going to school. Parents preferred that children stay back from. school and help out in the farm. A night before the market day for the children is a sleepless one, spent frying garri for sales at the market the next day, which makes the children weak to go to school the next day and the few who manage to go to school on the market day, sleep all through class hours. Goats come knocking, at the doors in the middle of the night scaring the corps member their chagrin. One has to wait for the four days market interval to get food to stuffs for a meal and even on those market days, one never got all the resources one needed. There is no electricity, not even electric poles in these remote areas. Don’t raise your brows in surprise, it’s that bad. No ironing of clothes. It could be boring as no electric/ gadget could be used to keep one entertained or even informed. Some see it as an ordeal, others see it as time wasted, a few others who have never experienced such raw conditions go to bed wishing it’s all a dream or only the figment of their imagination but when they wake up, they wake up to the reality, it’s NYSC, it’s service for the nation.
Some corps members are privileged to be serving in private establishments like the private schools or local government offices or state, where they are paid a little stipend while other themselves in government schools and states that don’t pay a farthing. Yet are all corps members, pledged to their father land to give their best of service. Some corps embers think it’s unfair, others complain, the assumed unprivileged ones get nonchalant with their duty while a few are dogged minded, determined to make the best of it, in spite of their circumstances . But whatever be the case, National Youth Service Corps is the reality each faced. At the CDS groups, intellectual minds come together to make impact in their community of service. The discussions, the arguments, the resolutions. Such meetings could be sometimes laborious, at other times educating.
The core value of NYSC is service and humility. There’s strength in humility. Strength in tolerating the views, lifestyle and behaviour of other tribes. Strength in adapting to the culture, food, language and environ of another tribe, state or people different from yours. There’s strength in influencing young minds to step into their light and maximise their potential. Yes! We are called to service, to live for the light of others, to lay down our lives for them. Not necessarily by going to the cross, but by experiencing personal sacrifices. Connections are made, love is shared. That’s the reality.
NYSC is a year reality that can be an instrument to finding purpose, self discovery and personal advancement. In those dry and boring days at the remote Places of Primary Assignment, one could utilize such quiet time to plan for the future, read books, take a professional course towards career advancement, it could be a time of spiritual renewing. I’m talking from experience. That’s my own opinion. Whatever your own opinion is, you may be right too, but the reality of NYSC, is an experience of a lifetime.