In Nigeria, the National Youth Service Corps is a compulsory scheme for all college graduates. This scheme helps to provide an avenue for such graduates to gain work experience in their various fields and also to let them mix with other cultures and be more aware of their heritage. To this end, after one’s degree, one is posted to a state outside of one’s residence and college location to another state in the country.
I was privileged to be a part of this scheme and here is my experience.
Collecting my call-up letter was in itself a biggie even though I didn’t know I was in for a much more ‘bigger biggie’ (pun intended). I’ll try to be as vivid and lucid as possible ‘cos I’ll want you to feel exactly what I intend as I write this.
Now, on collecting my call-up, I was suddenly in no hurry to find out where I was posted to. I can’t tell you how strong my faith was that I was going to be posted to Lagos because I was supposed to start working. Eventually, I opened it and I saw the word ‘KEBBI’ written in the space indicating what state in Nigeria one was going to partake in the National Youth Service Corps exercise. Hmmph! (I really wish I could sigh in writing). Please follow this train of thought.
I opened the letter, saw Kebbi written ‘innit’ and closed it.
I opened it again hoping if the paper made a mistake in showing what was originally written in it, it would remember.
I saw it was still Kebbi, then I closed my eyes.
I opened it hoping if my eyes didn’t see clearly then it would see clearer.
I saw it was still Kebbi, then I got confused. Confusion was the first feeling I had.
Was the NYSC exercise not supposed to be carried out in a state in Nigeria?
I was sure of the answer so I asked the next possible question.
Is Kebbi in Nigeria?
It would interest you to know that I couldn’t answer that question until I remembered my ‘state and capital recitation’ in primary school (pls tell me you still remember). Then I concluded, yes, Kebbi state is really in Nigeria.
I called everyone I could to inform them of the terrible calamity that had befallen me. No one, and I repeat, no one gave me any hope or succor. They either went ‘What? That place is far o! Ehn? What are we going to do now?’
or, for those that were close to giving succor, ‘That’s not possible! You will come back to Lagos. You can’t go o!
Don’t worry. You’ll be in Lagos!’ Now I can say the rest is history. But I won’t say that. (Did I already say it?)
I flew to Sokoto from Lagos two days before we were to report at the orientation camp. Seeing Sokoto completely devastated me and I didn’t dare hope Kebbi would be any better because Kebbi was carved out of Sokoto and didn’t even have a functioning airport. I left Sokoto for Kebbi in a cab the next day and confirmed my worst fears. Kebbi as I saw it then was void of life – this statement would only be wrong if you’d include cows, goats, camels, sheep and dogs in the ‘life’. The weather made matters worse. It was so hot and hilariously it was rainy season. It would rain heavily and flood the entire place and yet it was very hot with scorching sunshine. There and then I made up my mind. I would not stay in Kebbi. For no reason at all. I was going to apply for relocation.
Strangely, during camp, I, somehow, decided to let it go. If I was posted to Kebbi, then I’d stay. Maybe it’d be for the best. And you know what, I didn’t even care about the job. My parents thought I had run amok. I sha made up my mind to stay.
Well, I’ve been staying in Kebbi for about 6 months and some days and I’ve realized certain things. The government actually intended for youths to contribute in some way to the development of the country wholly, hence the NYSC scheme. Ironically, in most places like Kebbi where it is priority for this lofty aim of the government to be established, it holds no sway. But I’m beginning to see God’s plan in this.
For those who get posted to somewhere, where it seems desolate and of no benefit to one’s career, I see a divine plan of God to prepare you for your world. See it this way. You went to school for 4, 5 or maybe even 8 years to prepare yourself academically for your world and your future. Then you get one year to prepare yourself spiritually too. Even though you engaged in spiritual activities in school, you need to take the God-course as a major to graduate into life.
I’m benefiting here as I’m learning things I would never have thought it necessary to learn if I was in Lagos. I’m also making mistakes I would never have made if I were in Lagos. Mistakes that have affected my reputation and almost my walk with God but I’m learning from them daily.
And I know that for the simple reason that I obeyed and came to Kebbi, I’ll be gold when I leave. I’ll be beautiful in and out because the Holy Spirit would have fully worked on me.
So maybe the Nigerian government is not achieving its set goal for the creation of the NYSC scheme but I can assure you that the Heavenly government is shaping, forming, molding and recreating lives – a means to the glorious end of eternity in heaven.
For those who are yet to be called up for the NYSC stuff, this is not a plea to you to leave your posting to God and not influence it in anyway. Rather, it is a strong conviction in the heart of one who is grateful to God that He created Kebbi State – The Land of Equity.