What NYSC Community Development Service Should Be Like By Ohiwerei Emilomo



Sometimes, the good we can do in oursociety are hidden until we simply attend a meeting, join a group and do something with other people. It happened to me recently through my NationalYouth Service Corps (NYSC) experience and I have a flash story to tell about it.

It happened on a Friday, the 24th ofFebruary 2012, to be precise. I had woken up with a feeling of indolence and wasentirely unenthused to go for my CDS (Community Development Service). Butsomehow, I pulled myself out of the cosy bed unashamedly and set out late for a trip to the local government. When the cabman finally pulled up in front of the building, I became a little confused because there was an unusual array of corps members (or corpers) outside the local government office. Though it was not happening for the first time, it hardly occurred in such fashion. There were corpers on both sides of the street and even in the middle of the road.

Being a natural worrier, my first reaction was to panic. But as I watched the crowd closely, I noticed there was no fuss or any form of violence. Relieved, I paid the taxi man and walked up to someone to discover what was going on. Lo and behold, it turned out that my CDS group was painting the streets of Muri Okunola in VictoriaIsland Lagos, which is where my LGA (Local Government Area) is located. They were not just painting the streets, but painting zebra crossings on two lanes!I was shocked. I mean, we sure did not sign up for an art programme during the NYSC orientation! I was a bit distraught and thoughts like, “I knew I shouldn’t have come this early”, “Why didn’t I sleep longer?” and “What does a drama CDSgroup have to do with painting streets?” sailed through my mind.

But standing there and watching my colleagues get down to paint that street made me see our usefulness to the EtiOsa 1 community. Unfortunately, some of us could not paint because there were limited tools. The paint brushes and rollers could not go round and there were a lot of people. So, the rest of us resorted to gallantly cheering our working colleagues. Nonetheless, as I observed the painting exercise, I realized that though we were not all painting, majority of us were there talking, bonding, laughing and at other times, complaining about the hot sun. At that moment I understood the essence of the NYSC scheme.

It was not an idea borne for the sole purpose of service to the nation, but to also further national unity by bringing people from different parts of the country together regardless of societal class. NYSC CDS is not only a means of bettering Nigeria but also bettering ourselves in learned humility and true service.

Ohiwerei Emilomo

Project committee member

NYSC Eti Osa 1 DramaCDS group

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