The Tale of a Corps Member who didn’t expect so much from NYSC

Name: Olasehinde OMORIWO
Industry: Construction
Breed: Turf

Education/Profession: Quantity Surveying

Real-life Profession: Hustling and Hustling

Institution Attended: Obafemi Awolowo University

Image Source: Supplied by Ola

An Adventure in Time

I resumed the NYSC camp in Ogun state just as the other persons posted there. I had the intention of burying my head somewhere, while simply spending the 21days regimented camp session in peace. I wanted to claim the profile of “staying away from troubles” (especially punishment since our daily activities are regimented, of all “by soldiers”). Little did I know I was going to have one of the best but busiest 3 weeks of my life.

I still remember the two friends I made at the point of registration; Chioma and Ogechukwu. After getting to know “Oge” (as I always love to call her,) a tad, we became so close and could discuss virtually anything (though our friendship has been tossed away by the wind of NYSC relocation). I remember that after 48 hours in the camp, she told me “Ola, you will be our platoon leader, you can do it.” This was followed by many other ‘you will be this, you will be that’. 

After a few days, it was announced by the platoon inspector that we have to start showing interest in what office we’d be vying for. “It’s going to be an election” he stated. I didn’t respond because I was not interested.

This was followed by an event I can’t forget. I had noticed a lady – a loner, she had this mood all over her that I quickly noticed and eventually walked up to her one morning and spoke with her. I told her why it’s important she socializes. Initially, she wasn’t too cool with the fact that I did walk up to her to spit those bars of encouragement and repentance (hahaha!), but she eventually found my advice useful and walked up to another guy (Arogundade Charles). 

After they met, she later came back to me and told me there was this guy and that he’s also from my hometown (that was how I met my brother from the same local government). It was supposed to be a casual thing between Charles and I until the next day while my colleagues who had earlier shown interest in being platoon leaders were canvassing for votes. It was less than 35hours to the election when Charles came and orated the similitude of Oge’s chant “Ola, you’re the only one I know who can lead this platoon (in my head I interpreted it for myself saying “Ola, Charles said you’re the only one I know who can serve this platoon and that he believe in you”).

I was really shocked, not because I could not take on the responsibility, but mostly because I knew Charles was also politically inclined as we’ve earlier discussed in our few days of knowing each other.

Immediately, I diagnosed the intent and implications of his words to me, I knew I should not take it and him for granted. I told him I was not ready for such, but I remembered what Oge had earlier said and the one coming from Charles this time, then I realized I had to accept not based on their interest alone but based on my desire to see the best for us (which was somewhere roaring in my heart) and have a message passed across to everyone I come across via that office if I get it. I made the message clear with my canvassing points less than 24hours into the election (we were 7 contestants for the post). 

Few minutes into the election, another striking event occurred. Our platoon inspector said we’ll need to give a manifesto (Obviously none of us was prepared). Then it kick-started with the first candidate (Abdul as I always love to call him) who was disqualified and later got a job into the Nigerian Army right before we ended camp for his excellent display as the parade commandant throughout the camping period and also before the NYSC DG, till the last candidate.

I could remember my manifesto statement that day was; 

“I can’t promise you guys we’ll win in every activity or sport because there was no careful selection done to attract the best in all sports into our platoon, but I can promise if I’m elected, everyone will leave as a family.” – olaomoriwo 

‘Yes, I confidently said that’

I made such a statement because I knew the essence of service and leadership. I also knew the peak of NYSC activities is the competition, which could eventually make us end up being irritated at ourselves if we happen not to perform well. I tried to eliminate such ideology in my statement and I could remember a lady walked up to me after I was declared the winner that “you shouldn’t say you can’t promise us we’ll win all the competition, that’s a low mindset,” I could understand her but I also realized she did not understand the consequence of my statement. The best way to lift the spirit of a man/group of persons, to making them do the unthinkable is to spread love first without emphasizing the need to win or not. They will always become an advocate of success in their words and actions in a short time. 

That was my motive, and the rest was magic, in about 10minutes of running election I emerged as the platoon leader which I only canvassed actively for within 24hours. I was overwhelmed and I went to my closet and rededicated myself to making my heavy statement come to pass. I appreciate that at the end of it all, my platoon became the overall best, by analysis of winning almost all major competitions (the big wins were sponsored by BetNaija and Honeywell respectively).

This success-claim of ours’, was widespread that it caught the attention of some cabals among the NYSC most influential staffs on camp. They hated us so much, they wanted to ensure we lose all our competitions but they failed. However, they became successful in one, which was our female volleyball team. We were meant to qualify for the finals. On that same day, we were having a football match and I was shuffling movements within the football team and volleyball. While at the football pitch, some of our folks ran down to inform us that they are robbing our girls of their points by having intently disqualified about 12points. We ran down and not to be amazed, we found it exactly the same as they continued doing that in our presence. It was so bad that a particular woman who was part of the sports committee started ranting “na only una wan win everything? This is meant to be for the fun not the other way around, allow others to win.” 

Then I began to think, are we the cause of anyone’s misfortune? I could remember, when we started the football competition which was the major, we started out badly by taking two whiplashes from our counterpart, but what held us back was love and harmony. So, no one saw us then, but accidentally a defining moment came for us and we had a turnaround. Why will people want us to fail again? (but that is the natural balance of nature, failure and success co-exist, you have to choose which and what you want per time).

I was happy and I felt I had emptied all I had to my colleagues. So many eureka moments which I won’t be able to put to pen, but we achieved a lot. And above all, we left every other platoon asking the 64thousand dollar question “what’s wrong with these platoon 4 members, are they the only one?” Thank God for all these and I am grateful till today for these guys, we’ve grown and bonded beyond the coast of NYSC, we are indeed a family and I believe we’ll keep getting better. I am grateful for all these. 

‘Came, saw, won!’

I met great minds, amongst which are; Olajumoke who was my assistant, Emmanuella, Gabriella, Gorfery, Coach Adedeji who took us to the Champions hall of fame in the football team, he became a certified football coach in Nigeria after two months of starting service (you can ask me for his contact and he’ll render his portfolio send a DM @_olaomoriwo on twitter), Timilehin (the greatest of all of them, this guy was spectacular all through. I’ll write his Biography someday). To see my platoon members always rallying up to ensure we are successful in all our participation was an ovation for me. I know I didn’t do much, I know I could have done better, but I’m most appreciative for the best I could do at that time. 

 

MY CAREER AND PROFESSIONAL ADVANCEMENT DURING MY NYSC PROGRAM 

  • Platoon Leader for platoon 4 NYSC Ogun state batch B stream 2, 2019.
  • Inducted into the Institute of Management Leadership and Productivity Development Nigeria.
  • Completed several online courses few are under-listed:
  1. Stay Ahead in Construction Management – A learning path 
  2. Learning Bluebeam for construction professionals 

I am most appreciative of these achievements and I am on my journey to being a Chartered Arbitrator in a few months, this is another milestone that will define a lot in my career. I will say, always learn to know when people believe in you, but most importantly, you should always believe in yourself.

 

The narration and Images; supplied by Olasehinde Omoriwo (c) 2020. 

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