Youth obey the clarion call
Let us lift our Nation high
Under the sun or in the rain
With dedication and selflessness
Nigeria is ours, Nigeria we serve
Far and near we, come to serve
And to build our fatherland…
As we stood in our thousands on the parade ground to recite the NYSC anthem that hot sunny morning while battling with distractions from a hot Sahara cap-blowing wind, a sense of responsibility for Nigeria dawned on us. “Take patriotism away and the nation’s soul has fled”-Edward Mark Deems. Patriotism is defined as love for or devotion to one’s country. Ones conviction that his country is superior to all other countries because he was born in it according to George Bernard. Armed with this understanding, youths across the country yearly sacrifice personal interest for public welfare. Corpers assisted peers with heavy luggage and shared same hostels, while Christians and Muslims woke each other up for morning prayers. We took turns to sanitise the camp, cook, and assist the security team 24/7. There was even a camp court granting just verdicts, a broadcasting team giving accurate information and a team of voluntary health workers caring for the sick. It was common to hear about the return of misplaced valuables, sharing of meals at MAMI market and cheering during platoon competitions. NIGERIA within Nigeria I thought!
However, this was interrupted as posting for place-of-primary-Assignments were released. Gunshots, kidnapping and killings were frequent occurrences post-camp yet we remained resolute. My lodge became a safe haven as kids flocked me for free home lessons, to run errands and teach me Hausa. We volunteered to control traffic, sanitize the town, organize outreaches and create road-safety awareness.
At GDJSS-Dandume, my students numbering close to 500 never understood English language as expressions like “Mallam! Explain Hausa” became a norm despite my effort to dramatize and translate using google-translator. As a patriotic builder, I organized a summer holiday English lesson while my peers travelled for holiday. With an encouraging turn-up, the communication skills of students within the locality was sharpened. It’s over 2 years but students like Abu-Bakr calls frequently to thank me using English language.
Despite my meagre stipends, I sacrificed to produce some destination billboards for a local motor park to aid stranded travellers. NYSC: Patriots creating the Nigeria of our dreams.