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Frances Okoro: Youths Obey The Clarion Call




DSC01092Youths 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.
~Nigerian Youth Service Anthem.

I was posted to Ekiti State for my Nigerian Youth Service Corps Year and it has been one bad news after the other from the lips of others.
Ekiti State does not have money oh…
Ekiti State Government nor dey pay well…
Ekiti State nor dey do this and that…

The reports have generally been the same from youth corpers serving in other States, and sincerely, it is just tiring.

The negative attitude from most youth corpers coupled with the belief that nothing good will come out of NYSC for them is terrible(for lack of a better word)

Is the clarion call meant for what we can get from our PPA (Primary Place of Assignment) States or for what we can give out?

I do not intend for this article to be turned into a debate on whether or not the Nigerian Youth Service Corp scheme has lost its usefulness in Nigeria, but I would also love to point out that we have corpers whose lives never remained the same after their service year.

I had read about Otto Orondaam and saw him for the first time when I went for an event while I was in Nigerian Law School. No, let me correct that, I didn’t see him before I recognised him; I saw his name on the list I was holding and I recognized it immediately.


Because he had made a difference; one which started from his NYSC year. The same service year some youths engage in, angry and filled with indignation at the thought of serving Nigeria for one whole year.
The same service year that others come out from with nothing but kids smarting from the strokes of their cane and no positive impact made in their lives whatsoever.
You sit there and grumble about the yoruba kids who cannot speak English language in your class while others are bring up innovative ideas to help.

There are kids who will never forget another corper just like you because of the seeds that were sown in their lives by that youth corper.

Again I ask…
Is the clarion call meant for what we can gain from these States or for what we can give out?

Who would recognize your name on a list after your service year? Not for things you have taken but for impacts you have made?

Youths are making waves… Strong might waves… youths just like us.
What exactly are we doing?

If I hear one more “there’s no money in Ekiti State”, I swear, I will throw up. This is not the time to moan and cry. It’s time to THINK and IMPACT

We (youths) need a total overhaul of our mind sets. Youths have served in NYSC like us and emerged with sustainable indelible footprints in their PPA States. We think NYSC is just for a year but if we take this negative thinking into the world, then we are practically done for.

This is not just about allowee of 19,800Naira, this is more than that. Whose life can we touch in that so-called dry State we were posted to? If that State is indeed as dry as we say it is, then how can our entrance make it better? After all, we chant ‘I am the light and salt of the earth” from the Bible each day.
Does the light shine only in selective places or in everywhere it goes? Some persons went to NYSC Camp to have fun and that is not bad in itself, but I always say that I was inspired beyond bounds during in my time at orientation camp. Yes, the lectures were boring but still, they stirred something in my spirit.
In as much as terrible news and views abound about NYSC, there also abound greater stories of youths who made impact in their PPA States before they left.

Which would we be? The whiners?
Or the winners who will fight to leave imprints on the sands of time in these States?
Not for the awards, but for a genuine interest in impacting lives positively.

It depends on us.

You could waste the one year and trash your khaki with furious indignation afterwards…
Or you could invest positively in some lives and look back fondly at your time spent during NYSC.
It is your choice.

You could take out these last days of the year to plan how you will make an impact during your service year in 2015 or you could go back to your PPA State angry at the Nigerian Government for not scrapping out NYSC.

Either ways, you have one year laid out in front of you. To bemoan and waste it?
Or to impact and leave footprints on the sands of time and hearts?

Which one would it be? I hope you chose wisely.

Hephzibah Frances is a Lawyer and author currently based in Lagos Nigeria. She is an author of more than 15 books including the best-selling book “Prayers for your future husband”. She is a Voice for the Lord. She proclaims God to the Nations through her songs, books, podcasts, talk-shows, movies and the new media. Carrying God’s word to her generation on the wings of the wind. She is the founder of two women ministries, The Women At The Well and The Deborah Generation She is also the founder of Awakening Youthful Seeds For Christ Initiative a Non-Governmental Organisation focused on raising purposeful youths. She runs a business to help authors and aspiring authors BIRTH THEIR BOOK DREAMS at Beautiful Feet Publishing - Email: [email protected] for help with all things publishing and marketing your books. ***** KEEP IN TOUCH: Email her at [email protected] Follow Her On Social Media: On Facebook: HephzibahFrances On twitter @Hephzibahfran/ On instagram @hephzibahfrances Listen to her Podcasts At: Podcasts By Hephzibah Frances Watch her videos on her YouTube Channel at - Hephzibah Frances Read her blog at Download FREE eBooks written by her from here


  1. mrs chidukane

    December 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    What an article. So who is Otto…?

  2. Simsi

    December 22, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I’m also a youth corper serving in ibadan right now. I agree with the fact that you can impact in people’s life and try to enjoy the nysc year and all. That’s what I plan on doing. But we can’t ignore the fact that the alowee is really small for maintaining oursleves for an entire month. Impacting in people’s lives will also need some amount of money. Some of these youth corpers are married and have families already. I don’t think the scheme should be scrapped yet because I’m having the time of my life. But the govt should increase the allowance

  3. Bam Bam

    December 22, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Hmmmn… I’m not trying to be a pessimist oh. But this is exactly what I said when I went to serve. Sometimes, you can only do your best. I tried impacting those students, taught them well, gave extra classes, spoke, encouraged and motivated them. But what did I get? The Principal disliked me and said I was ‘too serious’, the parents of the students said I taught them too much (apparently, the parent’s plan for their kids was to go learn a trade and marry…), the teachers hated me cuz I didn’t ‘pass their students well by ‘dashing’ them marks’, the children hated me too cuz I was strict? (Like what does that even mean???). Basically, my PPA did not make sense one bit. And I still think this NYSC ish is a waste of one year, a very big waste! (well, not unless you are a member of the NCCF! that part is really fun!!!)

    • Tosin

      December 24, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Looks like you learned a lot, accomplished a lot, had a lot of fun.
      I’m trying to understand…trying to put myself in your mindset, the farthest I can get is that you don’t like adventure and so you view the negatives as negative, not as fun shit that happened. Something like that.

    • Frances Okoro

      December 26, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      Bam Bam… sounds like you did your best to me.
      Whether you were appreciated or gave of yourself…time…and that’s what matters.
      Merry Christmas!

  4. Miss_Flygerian

    December 23, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Lool @ bemoan and waste it. NYSC is already a year wasted.. ‘m not buying all that sentimental crap in the article.

  5. Damsel

    December 23, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I served in the north in 2007 and I must admit that it was a good year. I dont have my name written anywhere tho but somehow I know I reached out to the people I reached out to. Life in itself has taught me many lessons one of which is the fact that these attitudes goes way beyond the said “dry states”. Its a personal thing. Well said dear.

    Compliments of the season Bella Naija and Bellanaigerians… God bless the new year for us all. You guys are the best

    • Tosin

      December 24, 2014 at 11:57 am

      I insisted on going up North too (2008) and it was more amazing than I’d dreamed. In every way. Cried like mad when I was leaving. Was going to go back but my parents…come and see intervention. Part of me blames myself for listening to them.

  6. Teggie

    December 23, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Some of u guys re getting it all wrong… Frances is trying 2 explain dat NYSC z more like garbage in, garbage out, u get wat u give. If u go in with d notion dat it’s a waste den it’s gonna turn out 2 be a huge waste of time 4 u. But if u go in, with d notion 2 make it worth d while, against all odds, whether allawee come or not, with d drive 2 impact on people”s life, establish urself 4 d nearest future, train urself 4 wat is coming den u definitely get something out. Stop d negativity… And besides if it does nt work out 4 Peter, does nt mean it won’t work out 4 Paul. I used 2 think it’s a waste of time myself, but since I started my service year, I started having d notion dat #itwillendinpraise. Trust me, it has been good so far. Though with challenges oh, but still good.

  7. Frances Okoro

    December 23, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I should probably add your comment to an updated version of this article Teggie.
    You just took my thoughts and voiced them out in words.
    Thank you.
    I wish you an awesome year ahead! 🙂

  8. dha'rey

    December 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I’m also a corp member(Batch A,2014) serving in Zamfara state and will be passing out in February 2015. I used to have a roommate who passed out with the last set(batch C). He never liked the program and continued to lament how NYSC wasted his one year. I”m not condemning his attitude though. I really feel for him. But for me, I”m definitely enjoying my own service year. To me, it’s more about teaching the hausa students in my PPA my subject even though the school no dey give a dime.It’s more about doing some sensitization for the public on my CDS day. It’s more about knowing, understanding and associating with the Hausa people, their culture, and lifestyles. It’s more about speaking the Hausa Language the little way i can and watch the people smile back at you for making effort to use their mother tongue. It’s more about having some beautiful smiles on your face anytime the young kids shout “Kofa” and thumb u up. It’s more about drinking Fura dey Nunu, and yes!!! it’s more about serving my fatherland.

  9. Teggie

    December 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    The irony of the matter now is if u give some of these youth dis 1 year dey re complaining about, like okay don’t serve, do whatever u like with dis 1 year, lie lie dey won’t use it 2 do anything productive… some people just dey hide under NYSC. Lazy asses! There is something called time management, if only dey knw… well, God help us all.

  10. vicky

    January 30, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    so much negativity on here. i guess not a lot of people want to impact lifes but more like enrich their lifes only. anyways, i resonate with the write up, simply states ignore the challenges and the government (though hard) and make a lasting impact both on your life and that of others.

  11. Tosin

    October 19, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I came back after reading your post-NYSC piece (which I just reblogged, by the way.)

    I want to let you know that your message here (if I hear anyone say Ekiti state is poor again…) has just helped me.

    I teach in uni, and one of the many ways my NYSC was a big blessing to me is that it was my first work experience in teaching full university classrooms, which helped me move on to other jobs doing the same thing (I’ve ALWAYS LOVED teaching and acada) and like you, I had to be stubborn to 1. do NYSC in the first place in spite of being legally exempt 2. go to Adamawa which a million people thought was poor, in the North, so maybe I was seriously daft or maybe them don swear for me 3. insist on going to FUTY when there were banks and a private university that I could have accepted.

    Basically, I’m moving from my current job, to rest a bit and get a new job, in state government. The usual thing where there is possibly no swagger and no big money and among the warnings I’ve just heard is that they don’t pay even the salary or they delay (I don’t know if it’s true. But I have many reasons for wanting to do this anyway. And I know it seems stupid that I keep taking “small-money” jobs. But I live well. I pay my rent. I love my neighbourhood, I actually can’t stand expensive neighbourhoods. I want to build, not just to dey chop.

    Essay 🙂

    Just saying thank you. PS I love Otto Orondaam’s work. I love people like that sooo much. Hugs.

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