How to Live as a Corps Member in Sokoto State
Written by Adefemi Oluwatobi Oje
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a national scheme organised under the administration of Former Head of State, Rt. General Yakubu Gowon to preserve the unity of the nation and ensure the peaceful coexistence of Nigerians. This scheme today is fulfilling her mandate in such manner as the mobilization of corp members to states outside their states of origin, education and residence. This has led to corps members’ exodus from their known haven to strange lands, cultures and tribes where they must now find a way to survive for the next one year of their lives.
From this trauma, Sokoto State corps members are not excluded. In the advent of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, extra-judicial killings in the nation, nevertheless, Sokoto State is relatively known to symbolize peace and tranquillity in the northern region. However, in the words of my people, “one does not go to bed while his roof is on fire” while “the crab safeguards his head with his ten fingers”. It is therefore important for corps members to acquaint themselves with the practical principles and methods to be imbibed in ensuring that in the process of achieving the aims of the NYSC scheme, they do not fail to live their dream lives.
Below are the eight (8) ways to survive as a corps member in Sokoto State.
*1) ACCEPT YOU ARE HERE:* The first step of survival to be embraced by the corps member is the willful acceptance of his new home. While it might be extremely difficult to come to such life saving conclusion, it is very hazardous when jettisoned. The mind is the first weapon in winning the battle of life. Your realities and experiences lie solely on the state and output of your mind. If you insist you aren’t meant to be in Sokoto State, you will never truly survive in it; you might be at the verge of experiencing a wasted one year. You are like a man who suddenly finds himself in a desert. His impulse tells him to find an escape route immediately or die. He begins to seek a way out but discovers the more he searched, the more lost he became. Disillusioned, his brain tells him, you will die here without food and a safe place place to lay your head.
*2) GET A SECURED SHELTER:* You are lost in this jungle – I call it jungle because it’s a strange environment from that you are familiar with – but rather than occupy yourself with the fruitless efforts of impulsive exodus, it is time to get a shelter. You most certainly won’t build the best of shelter in the jungle immediately, it’s as time goes on that you get to improve the safety and quality of your shelter. Even as time goes on, your brain sends you a message, “Kingsley, you won’t stay here forever. Someday you will be rescued”. Hence, you don’t outrightly care about lots of comfort but of necessities. There are religious family houses, from both faiths, that you may run to for shelter; there are corpers’ lodge in primary places of assignments that you may also embraced; or you may rent an affordable personal lodge. In all, place more emphasis on safety than comfort. Along the line, you will learn to create the necessary comfort for your survival.
*3) LIVE ON A BUDGET, AVOID IMPULSIVE SPENDING:* Finance is an essential part of human living and so it is for the corps member. He must learn to master his finance if indeed he will survive in his mobilized state. Allowances are paid to the corps member to help him survive and not to help him live the life he desires. It is his responsibility to create the finance for his craved life. Ensure you have a budgeted feeding, a budgeted transportation and a budgeted freewill giving. No salary or allowance will ever be enough for you! This justifies the foundation of human greed. You give not because you have, but because it’s a necessary principle of human dignity.
*4) EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES, MAXIMIZE OPPORTUNITIES:* The anxious man sees not the opportunities in his new environment because he lacks the willpower of survival. Opportunities are everywhere, not only in your state. There are opportunities in Sokoto State but they are hidden. Sometimes, common sense is not common, if that isn’t the case, we shouldn’t have abnormal behaviours in our societies. The rich man is he who is grateful for every seemingly fallow land, for in it lies gold untapped. To cater for your wants outside your necessities which NYSC does not cater for, you must be wide awake to find the hidden treasure. Hard work is not at all times the exertion of energy but the rigorous work of a thought process.
*5) CREATE HAPPINESS, BE HAPPY:* Truly, this isn’t your state nor are you amongst your tribe or ethic group, but you can be happy; You can create happiness, you can embrace happiness. Sadly, not everyone knows happiness is a choice. You may either choose to be happy or to be sad, but one is fruitful than the other. If you are set your mind to discovering the hidden happiness in the way of life of your mobilized state and her people, you will find it extremely worthwhile. There are tourist attractions and historic sites you may visit, classic eateries to visit with friends, fellow trusted corp members to hang out with, and several social service initiatives to partner with. Your happiness is determined by your actions.
*6) UNDERSTAND THE WEATHER:* Every geographical location has it’s unique weather and so does Sokoto State. You might be from the east or the west where the sun isn’t as hot as it is here, yet you must set your heart to understand the climatic conditions of your new abode. First, the corps member must choose his or her clothing wisely. There are appropriate fabrics for a sunny atmospheric condition and vice versa. While Sokoto could be extremely hot or cold, wisdom in choice of dressing can do a lot in ensuring your survival in the state. Secondly, the corps member must wisely consider his or her exposure to extreme sunlight or cold; if not compulsory, staying indoor when not discharging his or her primary duties should be considered. All fun-seeking moments should be pursued in the evening.
*7) LOSE YOURSELF IN TRUE WORSHIP:* Humans are known to turn to God when in trouble or chaos, however, when they are in a state of tranquillity, they do little in worshipping God. One of the ways to survive in a strange land is to lose yourself in service to God. Whether you are a Muslim or Christian, you must strive to seek God at all times. It is in places of worship that God speaks to us and encourages our souls in refreshing promises. When you are down and all seems disastrous, get yourself the company of fellow worshippers. However, avoid castigating other religions and their religious practices. You must set yourself to the unity of the nation, regardless of tribe, ethnicity or faith.
*8) LEARN THE LANGUAGE AND CULTURE OF THE PEOPLE:* One way to enjoy your stay in any community is the embrace of such community’s language and culture. Learn to speak Hausa; even if not fluently. A man’s pride lies in his language and his peculiar way of life, therefore don’t persecute them. Deliberately commit yourself to acquiring more knowledge about your host community. The more you know and value them, the more acceptable you become. Communicate in Hausa to make purchases in their markets. Do not insult them in your local language or criticize them in our official language, English. Embrace their dressing, love their meals and celebrate their good virtue.
These 8 principles discussed above, when made practical, will result in a productive, satisfying and memorable service year.