By Adejumoke Alebiosu
Start with good people, lay out the rules, Communicate With your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss”.-LEE LACOCCA, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO OF CHRYSLER.
The above opening quote which incidentally I took from the first book to have been authored by one of Nigeria’s most successful banker, Mr. Jim Ovia titled “Africa Rise and Shine: How a Nigerian entrepreneur from Humble beginnings Grew a Business to $16 Billion”, seems to also be describing graphically the exemplary leadership of Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
My Constituency which is the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) decided to hear directly from serving members of the NYSC all across Nigeria and also from those who had served about what endear them to the NYSC with a view to reaching an empirical conclusion that the praises being heaped on the hierarchy at the NYSC now are no flukes but are merit based and that the management of the NYSC have manifested profound levels of competence and professionalism. We got over a dozen entries with few hours but I decided to showcase only very few. Read on.
My name is Monye Chidinma, a serving corp member in Anambra State and a graduate of English Language and Literary Studies, Imo State University. I will start by writing about the wonderful experiences i had at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Umuawulu/Mbaukwu Awka South L. G. A, Anambra State.
I saw the orientation camp as a nurturing ground for prospective gentlemen corp members(PCMS) from different ethnicity, cultures and beliefs, thereby promoting unity and diversity which is one of the aims and objectives of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Camp introduced me to the regimented lifestyle where I had no other option but to adapt to the rules and regulations guiding the camp. For instance, Obeying the bigul sounds which presupposes that there’s time for everything.
Time to sleep, Time to wake, Time for morning devotion, Time to raise the Nigerian flag, Time for morning drills organized by the Man O’war officials, Time for parade, time for lessons /Skill acquisition and entrepreneurial development (SAED) Time for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and light out.
I participated actively in the Man’O war activities where I learnt leadership qualities and principles through the Man O’war leader, Comrade Egbo Asuqo. During the Man’O war drills I encountered some challenges as we were being prepared for the unprecedented circumstances ahead of us as future leaders.
Some of the activities includes walking on the symbol of justice, Which presupposes that nobody is above the law and justice must prevail without prejudice. Crawling under iron net, The net symbolizes the masses and this means that me as a leader must humble myself before the people I’m leading, failure to do that, the masses will pull me down.
Another one is climbing a rope where we were expected to turn over, this particular task came as a big challenge to me, because I found it difficult turning over. It taught me PERSEVERANCE, There are life challenges that may seem impossible to overcome, keep pushing and be determined to excel. We also passed through a tunnel where I learnt that there is light at the end of every hurdle.
Another aspect of the NYSC scheme I enjoyed so much is the Skill Acquisition And Entrepreneurial Development classes (SAED) which was a golden opportunity for corp members to acquire skills which includes Catering and crafts, Agro-farming, Makeup, ICT, paint making, Etc.
Instead of depending on white collar jobs, Our State Coordinator, Yetunde Baderinwa (Mrs) ensured that we took the SAED classes seriously by providing experienced facilitators in all the fields. The SAED training sessions further enlightened me in my already acquired catering skill, I’m super proud of that.
We also had numerous training sessions like Security Awareness where i learnt Threat Assessment, Risk Assessment, Negative Acculturation, Vulnerability Assessment, Indicators Of Terrorism And Counter – Action, Action On Sighting Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’S), Personal Safety Against Covid-19 Pandemic, Home security, Traveling Security Etc.
We were also engaged in career development training sessions organized by YOU WIN CONNECT, They issued us a book titled ‘Successful Nigerian Entrepreneurs’ (How they started), The book revolves around the fascinating stories of some of Nigerian most popular business brands and how they conquered insurmountable odds at different stages of their business, Their struggle s, trials and triumphs.
The YOU WIN business development manual taught me a lot after reading the success stories of some of the influential business brands like Zaron cosmetics, L&Z integrated farms, Luxe, Health plus, The Okunoren Twins, Printivo, Flutter wave, Home of Theresa (Hot) etc.
Furthermore, During the lecture session I learnt some of the secrets to a successful business, ‘As a business owner, Your staff is your number one fan, Take care of them, Look out for their welfare, teach them the best and watch them stand in the gap for you’, This particular statement of caring for workers further strengthened the existing relationship i have with my workers and as a result of that, They handled business contracts successfully in my absence (Catering).
At the YOU WIN CONNECT business training sessions i also learnt the following : Don’t squander profit to impress individuals, Spend carefully and save.
Know yourself, Believe yourself, Talk positively to yourself because you are your biggest fan.
As a business owner you should be a solution provider through the services you render.
Enjoy what you do, and have fun with your business.
Make your staff happy because they represent you and your business (Very important). I must say that the YOU WIN training sessions was a wonderful one for business owners and aspiring business owners, I’m grateful to NYSC officials for giving me such a rare opportunity.
At the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp Umuawulu/Mbaukwu Awka South, Anambra State. We were also introduced to the customs and traditions of different ethnic groups in Nigeria through the performance of the platoons as each platoon showcased the culture and traditions of the ethnic group which they represent, It was indeed an experience that has reshaped my thoughts about some tribes, The NYSC had done marvelously well in promoting culture and diversity as we experienced other peoples way of life through the platoons presentation in camp.
The experiences I had at the camp alone are so endearing and can make a novel if I pen everything down because every moment in camp is worth writing down for archive purpose.
OUTSIDE CAMP EXPERIENCES SO FAR.
I left the NYSC camp prepared and ready to put everything I learnt into practice, especially the Man’O War Trainings, The security Trainings, Career trainings, You Win business Development Trainings etc. When i received and read my PPA letter which read ‘Girls’ Secondary School Ogidi, Idemili North LGA’, What came into my mind was the snake in their tradition (Eke Idemili), Some people were rejoicing while people like me were uncertain of what our PPA have to offer.
I remembered my Man’O war training sessions and raised my head high straight to the NACC church altar to present my PPA letter to God, NACC is the acronym for National Association of Catholic Corp members. After that I became positive and ready to enjoy Idemili. I reported to my LGA immediately and was also accepted by my school principal, I was taken to the corpers lodge which was nothing to write home about.
So I went house hunting that same day till I secured a suitable environment for my sanity. On getting to the school i was posted to, I introduced myself to the principal as a corp member and also issued my business card to her as a corp caterer. You can imagine the boldness and confidence.
To be continued ….