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“We made friends and are now more employable in Nigeria”
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“We made friends and are now more employable in Nigeria”

For many young Nigerians, national service is a life-changing experience. Ayodeji Morakinyo, 24, found his year-long posting was spent organising community projects – from dance and drama workshops to constructing zebra crossings in Lagos.

Following my training at Delta camp, I received my posting to Lagos state, where the second phase of my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme had been scheduled to commence.

It was July 26 2011, a day characterised by heavy rains and a very cold weather.

By the time I arrived in Lagos, it was almost 6.00pm in the evening. I was lucky to have a male cousin living in the Oshodi area, so I boarded a commercial motorcycle to his place in my rain-soaked regalia to spend the night.

Once arrived, we briefly discussed my NYSC camp experience (read an earlier diary post here about my experiences) before we settled down to demolish the kind of food I was never able to eat in Delta state.

Within two months I had started work at Alcatel-Lucent on Victoria Island where the rest of my one-year community development service (CDS) would enfold. As a corps member, I was expected to actively participate.

We were split into groups, with each group set up to focus the energy, talent and capabilities of its members toward assisting the local government. The CDS groups available in my local government area included education, dance and drama, charity, medical service, beautification, anti-corruption, anti-trafficking in person, editorial and tourism.

Through these groups, NYSC officials hope to build interaction among the corps members and develop communities nationwide.

Unfortunately many corps members initially found it burdensome and uninteresting. This was partly due to the magnitude of responsibilities they already had in their places of work. Though, the majority of so-called ‘idlers’ eventually grew more interested over time and improved their participation.

I was registered into the drama community development service group of Eti-Osa 1 LGA. Originally, I did not like it because of my preference for the editorial group. But three weeks later, I found a role to play and became very active.

I was privileged to lead the project team of my CDS group and this gave me the opportunity to interface with the NYSC officials, CDS group executives and the general public. My work was to coordinate the project team, manage stakeholders and ensure public awareness.

In due course, I was able to encourage many other corps members to join the project team and become more active. Many corps members were unwilling to take part in drama, so we formulated alternative projects outside the context of dance and drama.

Some of the projects executed in my time include: a spelling bee competition, talent hunt show, Christmas party at an orphanage, zebra crossing construction, visiting & training inmates at a prison and public enlightenment at a motor park. For me, this was the most exciting aspect of NYSC.

I and my fellow corp members were finally discharged from service on June 14 and we were issued our certificates. For many, it was a life-changing experience. Our perspectives on life and work were positively affected. We made friends with people from different socio-cultural backgrounds. And we are now more employable in Nigeria.

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About me:

I am an animated and artistic writer hailing from the southwest region of Nigeria. I hold a degree in electronics and electrical engineering and am certified as an IT professional.

On days when I am not busy with engineering and management activities, I write prose poems, short stories and journalistic commentaries. In the coming years, I hope to help other people’s lives around the world and aid in the reformation of Africa.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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