The clarion call, our unity call
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The National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) is an organization created by the Nigerian government in 1973 to involve every youth who graduated before the age of 30, in the development of the country.
Nigeria is a country in Africa, made up of 36 states and its capital. It has 776 local government areas. Nigeria is made up of about 500 tribes with over 520 languages.
NYSC is our clarion call and we must obey. It was set up to promote national unity, reconstruct and rebuild the country after the Nigerian civil war.
This is my experience, I'm from Abia State and of the Igbo tribe which is one of the major tribes.
As a Doctor, after one year of internship, you must answer this compulsory clarion call which will last for one year.
The first three weeks is spent in an orientation camp away from your state of origin, family, friends; away from comfort zone. This camp has a super mini market, camp clinic and camp court.
In the orientation camp, we were about 2800 Corp members.
On arrival, we are given accommodation to share with total strangers for the next 3 weeks. You live under the rules and regulations of the camp. You are instructed to keep your wrist watch off because the bugle horn becomes your time keeper and to also keep your phones away. The Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS) keeps you updated with news in camp and the world at large
Wake up time is by 4.30am, lights out is by 10.30pm.
The purpose of these three weeks is to develop the spirit of oneness and brotherhood irrespective of our cultural, social or religious background or even our professions.
During these three weeks, we had orientation courses such as security courses, courses from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Red Cross, Agro allied, and on topics like the Sustainable Development Goal and a lot more.
We had to acquire a skill too. Well, I chose bead making and hair fascinators.
The NYSC has four cardinal programs.
The first program is the swearing-in ceremony which occurs on the third day in the presence of the Governor and Chief Judge of the state and NYSC officials. After which you are no longer addressed as Prospective Corp members but as Gentlemen Corp members. Then informally addressed as Otondo, Ajuwaya, White fowl, Corper shun.
During the registration, we had ten different platoons. I was assigned to Platoon 8 and elected as the Vice President by my fellow Corp members. We had to put aside our religious, cultural, social difference and work as a creative formidable team to defeat other platoons in the various competitions.
We won some like the drama and cultural dance, and got a bronze medal in volley ball, carnival, golden voices. And we lost some.
We had a day to cook as a platoon for the camp, and we created a shade with palm fronds and baboon sticks. During the carnival, we made a throne seat for our king and queen from palm fronds and baboon sticks. And we made skirts for the dances from straws and cork.
We always had to think outside the box and use the things around us.
The second program, comes after the orientation camp, and it's your place of primary assignment. It could be a rural or urban area. It could be an area worse than you've imagined, and this is where you will work and be trained for the next one year depending on your profession.
The third program is Community Development Service. I joined the Sustainable Development Goal group, and was trained to become a Development Knowledge Facilitator. With this I can go into our community of primary assignment and offer selfless service and development.
The fourth program is the Passing Out ceremony which happens at the end of Service year.
So, in camp, I was that Doctor who gave health talks in Orientation Broadcasting Service after the military drills and the Vice President of my platoon.
The orientation camp was a beautiful experience, getting to meet other tribes, different professions, learning from them and working as a team.
United we stand.
Our Clarion Call.