Perspectives, even comments of people as regards the one year NYSC Scheme, a mandatory exercise for graduates, have been different yet, interesting. While many detests the idea, others have got something unique to project about the whole thing.
The experiences garnered were out of this world as I may not have been opportune to engage such if I wasn’t a graduate. Hmmnn… though I walked through the valley of the shadow of the scorching sun of Lokoja, i feared no defeat.
I may not have gotten to the peak of what others got to during their service year, I didn’t even receive any State or National award from NYSC but, I wasn’t useless and my time wasn’t wasted, for I made some decisions of great importance that I’m really proud of today and can boldly call myself a man. I’d come back to this later.
Still basking in the euphoria of my posting letter from Camp to Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation (a radio station), I quickly ran through my mind, how I was going to enjoy my service year in a more familiar field and not the popular school PPA thing. Disappointment was what I got in return for my expectations at the station as I couldn’t find anything to write home about the station. There was no atmosphere to be engaged in the station, nor opportunity to gather such expected experience, save IT students and two corps members serving in the news department. The two corps members in the news department were the only ones there as it is a normal cliché in that station that the news department is filled up and no other corps members is allowed to join, till now it’s still the same. Majority of us were dispersed to Programmes Department where no program is allowed. But, I found solace elsewhere.
One of the huge decisions I made was to volunteer as a State Youth Ambassador under the ambience of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library’ Youth Development Centre for the fight against Youth Irregular Migration in Nigeria. Among many applicants, I opted and was selected to represent Kogi State; as a sign of patriotism and love for my nation irrespective of the state or region. The assignment was numerous yet, gladly carried out for the purpose of social and youth engineering, serving my fatherland in another better dimension.
With support from a great colleague, I engaged youths, spoke with them, educated them about the cons and pros of Irregular Migration and made them understand how they can be great working in Nigeria without necessarily wasting their lives on the Mediterranean Sea and evil prisons in Libya, Sahba, Agadez and the rest. As if that was not enough, I voluntarily traveled down to Abeokuta, Ogun State for a Summit held on Youth Irregular Migration organised by the said Centre where several youths were in attendance as well as organisations concerned about the issue of discourse while escapees from the prisons and Migration brouhaha gave sad testimonies in order to discourage those craving for it in the minds.
Being an outstanding State Ambassador, I was recognised and awarded by President Olusegun Obasanjo with oodles of accolades submitted by friends, colleagues and seniors. Let me put it here that all efforts to reach S.A Youth Empowerment, Sports and Student Affairs and the Commissioner for Youths and Sport Kogi State proved abortive, nevertheless, I was unperturbed as it was a selfless service.
Also, I got my articles and poems published on Graphic Newspaper of Kogi State without minding the protocols it may take. Aunty Josie is a nice woman over there who usually receive my write-ups without even seeing me physically till a week to passing out of the NYSC Scheme. She was so instrumental allowing me to showcase my writing skill in the State Newspaper.
One family I became identified with in a very different land from mine, which I can never forget is the Winners Corpers’ Fellowship (WCF). This is a place where I was accommodated, fed, catered for and fired up spiritually. The many experiences gained here I know, will remain with me till the end of my life. Here, I grew to become the Uncle of the family after the order of Papa and Mama, the third spiritual leader in hierarchy. But that’s not the point. I’ve learnt largely here to have a family spirit where we look for the good of each other and counter any unruly attitude from ourselves. We served God and we know! The support I got before, during and after my campaign against Irregular Migration in Lokoja was second to none. A really great family. I love you! Papa Peter-Wealth will forever remain crested in my heart.
One of the best thing that ever happened to me was Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative (TBHI) and Madam Petra Onyegbule (Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State Governor). It’s really painful that I became part of this great NGO when my service year was almost winding off and…. I’m beginning to get really emotional right now. Though I’ve heard that some children were being delivered of by their parents before 9 months, I’ve never imagined how they look like or what pain the parents go through to fight for the lives of their lovely children. It’s a thing of agony to see the seed you’ve been carrying in your womb slip away from you due to complications, pocket-tearing bills or bad health care and this initiative have opened my eyes to know that Nigeria ranks the second highest in the world where neonatal mortality thrives which is very disheartening. For this cause has TBHI risen to reduce mortality from complication of prematurity. Here, we see premiees as rubies because every beating heart counts!
Like seriously, my first visit to Abuja was with the help of TBHI when we took the goodnews of the NGO to a man of great repute; Barr. Irukera of the Consumer Protection Council, in order to get more support for the cause.
I can’t forget TBHI. In fact, instead of putting on my NYSC crested vest to the point of collecting my certificate, I wore my TBHI vest to show my allegiance and love for the initiative.
Yes, I would continue to make TBHI known in my next destination to ensure the fulfilment of our goal and strategic objectives.
Madam has within this short period, blew my mind and imparted my life. She may not know but on the backdrop, I’ve learnt some things from her which certainly is the cause of the smoothrunning of her life. Giving is Living! I’ve met great people here, the likes of Victor(baddest writer), Priye (writer too), Aisha, Ene, Nene, Dr. Abraham, Dr. kel, Mr. Umar too mention but few. Mr. Umar brought me to TBHI because of how he saw my drive to volunteerism during the irregular migration time. A very friendly man. Dr. Kel is a very amazing woman whom I’ve learnt resilience from. As in, this woman doesn’t sleep, always working to improve on herself everytime which shows of course, when she’s featured on DSTV health programmes, Twitter and all of those.
Her assistance rendered to one of my family members in WCF; Alexander Alexandra, CEO of Alexandra Stop Sickle Cell Initiative (ALESSI) during the awareness walk on the World Sickle Day was equally amazing. She’s beautiful and helpful.
Of decisions I made was one that really shook me; a relationship. (…to be continued)