By Amarachi Okpunobi
Being a corps member in Nigeria has become the fear of most undergraduates as many are being butchered in the course of service. The unlucky and most unfortunate ones are sent to their early graves since they are being used as sacrificial lambs by our cruel society for the success of elections, societal crises and others. The lucky ones come out immediately to find jobs or become entrepreneurs while others sit to complain of their poor allowee. Others in the course of their service develop themselves and also give back to the society regardless of the poor allowee.
So many stories have also being told about the scheme, how that many Nigerian youths bribe their way through and skip compulsory service year.. But the truth is, the aim for the existence of National Youth Service Corps, which is for cultural integration and unity, have for a long time now being defeated and this continues to pose a great danger to the peace that once existed in the country.
Recently, Fides had a chat with an industrious, hardworking and optimistic young man who just finished serving his country, honestly, if we all could add more to our positive struggles, we will better tell stories than his, then Nigeria could be one step better than it is today.
Below are some excerpts from his interview with Fides
Can you please introduce yourself?
I am Ifeanyichukwu Victor, also known as Viktur Vital
I just passed out from the National Youth Service Corps, here in Anambra state, I taught in a community Secondary School in Isuofia,Anambra state, presently I am a gospel musician.
So, how was it like being a Corp member?
It was very interesting because I had yearned to be a Youth Corp member for so long, so getting to wear the khaki gave me a lot of joy and a bit of fulfilment, not minding the situations around me and, the ups and downs of life. I was fulfilled and I felt I could use the opportunity to inspire lives which was paramount to me.
What was the highpoint for you during the one-year duration of your service to the country?
I had a lot of achievements during the one year duration of my service. Do you know that before the first quarter of the year, I had already bought a motorcycle for myself..hahaha with the 19800 allowance, although, it was not easy at all, I had to involve myself in other skills and activities which I did with all diligence and hardwork. Someone just came one day and asked me if I could purchase it, I told him the little amount I had,and then he sold the motorcycle to me. Oh my God I was so happy! I was astonished because before then I never knew I would be a motorcycle owner.hahahaha.
Another was my first song, during the service year, I was able to release my first song, titled “Olisa'', it was the biggest hit of my life and I can never forget service year for that because of these two peculiar achievements
What Inspired your Music Career?
Hmmm…my mum told me that when I started speaking as a child I would always sing what the Igbos call Abu ndinso..it means the songs of saints, and since then I have been singing as a child in my church choir, as a youth I was a Music Director, then in the university. Each time I sang then as an undergraduate, I got accolades from friends who told me I inspired them, some will be like, Viktur, you inspired me, please keep singing. You can't imagine that I got a scholarship back then, when someone saw me singing, and he said wow… I am going to pay for your fees for two years in the university and you won't believe that it went a long way to help my family, myself and academics.
Even when I was in the orientation camp, in my NCCF, I was able to bless lives through my ministration,even from there, I got so much attention.
So in the early part of my service I decided to do something new, I recorded my first single and people started downloading my songs and I reached out to a lot of people through my song and the feedback was wow, this really encouraged me.
Recently your song has been featured in so many radio stations, vlogs and many other media, how do you feel about that?
This is me living the best of my life now, its like a dream come true. Olisa is a song that inspired me, I sang it for the people on the streets, to touch the souls of people out there.Recently someone called me from the US that Olisa really inspires him and that he plays the song every day in his house.
What prospect do you have for your career in the music industry?
If you look at Olisa, you will notice that it's a dance hall genre of music, which relates to everyone in the streets. So, my idea is to bring gospel music to the man in the streets so that everybody can relate easily with it. There is a song that I am recording now, which I believe is going to be a bomb which will relate more to the people in the streets.
What drives your passion in Gospel music
There is this fire burning in me to touch lives, inspire people and bring people closer to God. Money is good but that is not my pursuit for now.
Who is your Mentor in the Gospel Music Industry?
I love all Nigerian artistes, but I must tell you that I will love to have my first collaboration with Sinach the female Gospel artiste. Her songs inspired me a lot when I started, infact I began stage presentations with her popular song ''More of You''. I hope to sing and inspire people just like Sinach.
Do you have thoughts of delving into secular Music?
Nooo! Gospel music is what pays for me, because I want to draw souls for God.
During your service year and in life generally, would you say you have encountered any challenges?
Hahahaha…my dear, the biggest challenge I encountered, though I now see it as what made me strong, was that I suffered hunger and starvation and then developed ulcer that dealt with me.Aside that part which to me was very challenging, others were minor.
So many youths out there have this opinion that NYSC as a scheme is a scam and should be expunged, what is your reaction to that?
NYSC, really helped me as a person to grow and affect lives, connect with people of diverse cultures and tradition and utmostly, widened my horizon to life. I as an individual used to have this phobia for other tribes, but NYSC, gave me the opportunity to meet with other Nigerians of different tribes, who affected my life positively.
Then, people only see the scheme as a scam because of the way it is structured, I only think the government should restructure by empowering the youths by first of all reducing the duration to three months, then give them the money they would have been paid for the twelve months in bulk after they must have been empowered in camp in so many skills. Then, Youths can set up businesses of their choice.
Its few months after Service for you, what are your Aspirations?
I look forward to affecting lives positively, explore my music career, getting to the peak of my career, telling a bigger version of my story. Where people will listen to or read my story and then get inspired. Okay someone told me recently, Viktur you are blessed because you inspire a lot.
Aside music, what other area do you see?
I am a motivational speaker, so, I wish to explore that part of my life, I am an event host.
So how many songs have you been able to release?
I have a lot of songs recorded but I have released just one to the public, others will be out soon.
Your Advice to youths out there?
I begin with those who just left secondary schools and do not have sponsors for them to further their education. First engage yourself positively, It could be starting up a sachet water business, learn a trade and raise some money for your JAMB form. Read hard and get good grades. Trust me, explore other God's given talents, you will get attention and help will come. When you find yourself in the higher institution, be focused, diligent and explore other things. When I was in school, I did odd jobs, ushering in events, event planning just to mention a few, in order to raise funds. Most importantly I read a lot and worked hard to become one of the best students in my class. Life was not easy but gradually I have been able to meet up with life's expectations.
Thanks Viktur, its been a nice time with you