The NYSC Corp Member who turned a CDS Project into a Statewide Academic Competition

Shot by Adaeze Obi-Obasi

NYSC is an acronym for National Youth Service Corps. The NYSC scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war. The unfortunate antecedents in our national history gave impetus to the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps by decree №24 of 22nd May 1973 which stated that the NYSC is being established “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”.

It is a mandatory service or exercise that all Nigerian graduates must undergo. As long as you have graduated from the university, polytechnic or college of education, you are eligible to and must serve the country. This service lasts for a year and the corpers (humans who engage in this exercise) are posted to a different state in the country; other than the one they live on or originated from. For example, I am originally from Anambra state of Nigeria and currently live in Lagos state. Therefore, NYSC would post me to a completely different state. In my case, I was posted to Benue state.

Part of the drill of this compulsory national service is that the corpers have to join CDS groups. CDS stands for Community Development Service. The Community Development Service (CDS) is aimed at harnessing the skills, creativity, and innovativeness of corps members. Corps members are expected to identify the needs of their host communities and mobilize members of their host communities to embark on the projects.

Through this program, many innovative and distinct corps members were able to construct bridges, health care centers, classroom blocks, market stalls, culverts, etc. they had also carried out projects like HIV sensitization, adult literacy campaign, extra-mural classes for students, road safety campaign, etc. One of such corps members is Aisha Hussaini, who served in Oyo state Nigeria was a member of the Sports CDS group. She wanted to make a long-lasting impact in the community and among its people. That’s where the idea for a spelling competition for all secondary schools in Oyo came to be.

When asked how this idea came to mind she said “It was mostly about creating an impact. I also have a burning passion for development and I chose to begin with education”. When the ides was birthed, the next step was finding a way to fund this and get sponsors. As of the day of this competition, the sponsors were Eyowo, MOD IELTS, and The Book Club Africa.

Aisha Hussaini said that giving back to the community brought about the program and finding the zeal to see it through was paramount. She said that she felt the need to show love and encourage pupils in public schools. “It occurred to me to do something nice for the community and I felt students in public schools would appreciate the spelling Bee competition more,” she said.

NAN reports that eight schools and one orphanage participated in the competition which held at the Lead City International School, Jericho, Ibadan. Other schools that participated in the competition included Army Day High School, Nawair-Ud-Deen High School, Anwar-Ul- Islam Grammar School, Community Secondary School, Urbanday Secondary School and Community Grammar School, all in Ibadan. Tabitha Homes was the only non-educational institution that participated in the Spelling Bee competition.

Shot by Adaeze ObI-Obasi

The winner of this first edition was Timilehin Lawal of Tabitha Home, an orphanage. Quadri Oladoye of Ansar-Ud-Deen High School, Ibadan, came second, while Emmanuel Fayese of Army Barracks Grammar School, Ibadan, emerged in the third position. Lawal received a laptop and a cash prize of N50,000 while Oladoye got N25,000, with Fayese going home with N10,000. Other participants received medals and certificates of participation.

L-R: Winner of competition; Timileyin Lawal and Aisha Hussaini, Founder of the competition.

With innovative and educational progress like this, the future of education in Ibadan is looking brighter and better.

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