It’s that time again when Prospective Corps Members gear up for their three weeks orientation camping exercise. Although, the camping exercise is scheduled to hold in all states of the federation, most PCMs are musing over the states they’ve been deployed to. While some states such as Lagos, Kaduna, and the FCT, Abuja are highly in demand, most other states, are better avoided. Though Prospective Corps Members have differing reasons for preferring certain states, the reasons are, to an extent, widespread.
With the low-cost food, clothing, and shelter available in the North, most Northerners prefer to serve in their geopolitical zone, no matter how scorching the sun is. Also, PCMs from the southern part of the country are averse to serving in Northern Nigeria; their reasons ranging from bad roads to Insecurity. All in all, the core objectives of the scheme should be foremost on the minds of all PCMs; to foster national Integration, even if the country has disintegrated beyond repair and to contribute to the growth of the nation, despite government officials being the stumbling block to this development.
The NYSC scheme is so mandatory for all graduates (save for the very Honourable Minister of Finance) such that it renders one’s hard-earned certificate redundant. Hence, it is crucial to have certain information crucial to survival, from the three weeks camping exercise to POP (Passing Out Parade) ceremony.
- The Early Birds Get it all
Like most public facilities in our great country, the hostels of most orientation camps, temporary camps especially, are fit only for animals. But like the one-eyed man in the proverb credited to Desiderius Erasmus's that says “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”, some hostels are more habitable than others. However, they are often one among a thousand. Since the hostels are allocated on a first come, first serve basis, arriving a day before the official opening of the camp is guaranteed to land you, if not a five-star hostel, the best among the lot.
- Volunteer for Standing Committees
All over the world, selfless contribution brings happiness and financial benefits to volunteers. In camp, different committees such as; the medical team, OBS (Orientation Broadcasting Service), Lecture, Utility, Sports, Hostel Supervision etc., exists. Volunteering for any of these committees is certain to etch your name in the good books of camp officials heading those committees. Aside from the benefit of relaxing whenever you wish to, volunteering can ensure you get a good posting!
- The Official NYSC Meals!
You thought the Maggi-sweetened 'concoction' rice was bad? Well, camp meals are hell itself. From watery beans to stone-hard yams, S. Z. Kazaure, the NYSC DG, wouldn't give his dogs any. In Femi Falana's voice "Our system has allowed it". The purchase and preparation of food are routes millions of Naira is siphoned by NYSC officials.
Most people have body systems that can detoxify the meals prepared. However, if you cannot, please head to Mammy market. Please note that not all the meals are bad.
- Guard Your Possessions
Yes, guard them. In a camp of humans numbering up to two thousand, it is only normal that PCMs with theft running through their veins exist. Some PCMs, in a bid to impress their circumstantial girlfriends, will steal your phones and wallets. Other wretched PCMs are only interested in pilfering your buckets and plates. Beware!
- Ensure You Follow Due Protocols
Some Corps members run into troubled waters when they fail to follow laid-down rules. From obeying the friendly but stern Military Instructors to getting an NYSC bank account, these rules are important.
- Make Vital Connections
The orientation camp is a great place to network with officials and other PCMs. Stories abound of how corps members got life-long partners or got a job through friendship cemented in camp. Moreover, with friends, you are always covered!
- Relocation and Redeployment
About 50% of all corps members on camp want relocation. However, relocation can only be granted on marital, health and security ground. Well, except your legs are longer than Usain Bolt's or you have enough cash to oil the hands of officials. Isn't this Nigeria?
About a week into the orientation exercise, relocation forms will be available. Therefore, put your ears to the ground to know when the forms become available.
Varying challenges confront corps members after the orientation exercise. With these tips, they can be prevented.
- Report to Your PPA Immediately
Immediately after the passing out ceremony, all corps members are posted to establishments such as schools, Local Government Secretariats etc., in the different LGAs of the state, or relocated out of the state These establishments are known as Places of Primary Assignments. Having been enclosed for 21 days, the temptation to leave for the comfort of home is great. Taking that course of action might put you at loggerheads with your Local Government Inspector (LGI). The LGIs are the NYSC officials in charge of a Local Government Area. Therefore, go to the Local Government Area you are posted to, complete your registration, and then go home for the 2 weeks leave.
Note that in most states, buses are always provided to convey corps members to their LGAs. In addition, the 'stale' corp members most times, organize mini-parties to welcome you.
- Juggle Jobs
It is sad that in the name of national service, corps members are subjected to modern day slavery. Although few PPAs pay well, others pay corps members as low as #1000. Others pay nothing! Even with the meager pay, some corps members are required to take 6 subjects! Please, do make sure to reject this inhumane treatment.
Taking after-school tutorials, managing a POS terminal (for areas where banks are rare) and retailing are great ways to make extra cash.
- Travel Less, Do your Clearance and Keep your heads low
No doubt, Nigerian roads have ended more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency. Hence it is advised you travel only when circumstances dictate. Also, always present yourselves for the monthly clearance. No matter how meager #19,800, it is better than Zilch, and clearance is the key to it. Furthermore, make friends with your employees, you never can tell, they might retain you. In conclusion, keep your heads low and respect the dos and don'ts of your local community.
Do not forget to have fun also! Enjoy your service year!