Those calling for the scrapping of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) because of its varied challenges may need to have a rethink following some ‘giant strides’ it has recorded, especially in recent times.
The scheme has continued to live up to its mandates of developing a sense of corporate existence and common ties and destiny of the Nigerian people, particularly the youths, as well as promoting national unity and integration.
It has also removed prejudices, eliminated ignorance and confirmed at first hand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups.
Just recently, twelve corps members deployed to Anambra State for their one-year compulsory national service were celebrated by the scheme for locating their missing ribs in course of service to their fatherland.
The celebrants include Eze Obinna and Oluchi Peace, Henry Nwachoko and Charles Ruth, Oluchukwu Davis and Ahedo Etiosa.
Others are Nsofor Obianuju and Ohale Nkemakolam, Ogburie Collins and Nwokearu Chinyeremaka, Bernard Faith Amarachi and Okafor Chukwudi.
The corps members in an epoch-making event held in one of the hotels in the capital city, could not hide their joy and excitement as they took turns to share their testimonies of how they found their loved ones while serving their fatherland
They said they would remain grateful to God, the NYSC and the state government for providing them with the platform, enabling environment and mentorship for courtship that eventually metamorphosed into marriage.
Narrating how he found his wife, Mr. Oluchukwu Davis from Delta State said he found his heartthrob Aghedo Blessing, a native of Edo State at the Delta State Polytechnic, but said they parted ways after graduation.
He said they were later reunited when they suddenly, but divinely met during their service year in Anambra state.
“As God may have it, the NYSC orientation camp in Anambra reunited us, paving way for the relationship to be consummated into marriage.
“We were initially posted outside Anambra for service; but were divinely redeployed to the state where we met again and continued,” he said.
The wife, Blessing, said it was unbelievable how the paths of both of them crossed again after the last time they parted ways back in school.
“Since we departed Delta State Polytechnics, I never knew I will meet him again. But, surprisingly, I finally met him in Anambra and got married to him,” she said with an alluring smile,” she said.
She noted that the husband’s style of talking was the primary attraction to him.
Blessing further revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic season contributed immensely to the cementing of the relationship, describing it as a blessing in disguise.
“The lockdown enabled us to have access to each other very well as we got to know and understand ourselves much better before we eventually accepted to be husband and wife,” she added.
Another couple, Ogburie Collins and Nwokearu Chinyeremaka, both from Imo state said they got married while in service.
The husband, Collins, said he found his wife when they boarded the bus together from Anambra to their state and they introduced themselves as corps members.
“The relationship got started and we later got married while in service,” he said.
For the wife, Chinyeremaka, she said she was simply speechless when the husband first mentioned marriage to her.
She revealed that Collin’s height was one major quality that attracted her to him.
She said: “How can a corper be talking about marriage, can he take care of a family with his small alawee? I never took him seriously until he demonstrated the quality I have always wanted in a man.
”I never knew he has a quality that any woman could never resist. I thank God that we got married. His height is one of the endearing qualities. I had prayed to God to give me the husband I desire. Above all, he is a very caring and loving husband.”
For Ohale Nkemakolam, another corps member that got married to Nsofor Obianuju, it was mere questions for direction to his destination that connected him to his wife.
“I met my wife at Onitsha park and asked her for the direction to Anambra NYSC camp and she directed me. That was all. From there we exchanged phone numbers. That was how the relationship started, one thing led to the other which culminated into marriage.”
Another celebrant, Henry Nwachoko, said she met her wife, Charles Ruth while she was praying at the family house of the Christian Corpers fellowship, thanking God and the government for creating the NYSC platform.
“Without NYSC I wouldn’t have met my wife,” he added.
The stories were not different from the rest two: Eze Obinwa and Oluchi Peace as well as Bernard Faith Amarachi and Okafor Chukwudi.
Speaking during the ceremony, State Coordinator, NYSC, Mr. Kehinde Aremu described the event as unique, saying there had never been an assemblage of marriage in the history of the Scheme.
He said: “It’s been a wonderful feeling. I feel fulfilled that some of the things and environment we deliberately created and togetherness we built among them is yielding this kind of results.
“It’s been yielding, actually, but we’re celebrating these ones because of the number. But it happens always. They walk together in groups, discuss together in their CDS groups, we accommodate them in religious houses where they discuss their faith.
“This period is when young people form opinions and impressions about their life partners and dreams we’ve created that kind of environment and I’m excited it’s working.”
Attributing the success story to the conducive environment and the friendly disposition of the people of the state and the government, the Coordinator called on the celebrants to reciprocate by investing in the state.
He said: “We thank Governor Willie Obiano for creating a conducive environment and his commitment towards the welfare of Corps members in the state.
“This success story doesn’t end with the service year. Anambra is conducive for everything. If the environment was unfriendly, this couldn’t have been possible. You’ve invested emotions, but invest money in developing the state.”
Aremu allayed fears over the possibility of the marriages crashing with time, expressing confidence that the unions would stand the test of time.
He added: “Absolutely no fears at all. It’s marriages like these that last because both parties know they are starting afresh. Marriages that crash are those we call celebrity marriages; marriages based on money and fame.
“But these ones made up their minds to start from scratch. They have trust and hope in themselves. That’s why they’re building from the scratch, and when you start from the scratch, expectations are minimal. You hardly have crashes in this kind of marriage where the foundation is solid.”
The NYSC boss urged them to continually build on the trust and confidence they earlier had for each other to ensure sustenance.
“For these ones, it is marriage, for others, it’s business, for some, it is connections. But whatever it is, my humble advice, especially for those in marriages is to continue to build on the trust they have in each other. They’ve seen tomorrow, hard work, commitment and those are the virtues that will build and sustain them.
Aremu said: “I can confidently tell you that because of the age groups, a large chunk of married people today, started their union from youth service.
“All those calling for the scrapping of the scheme don’t make sense anymore. If you had gathered those that started their businesses during youth service and they share their testimonies, it’s the same thing you’ll be hearing.
“Whether business, connection or marriage, so many foundations are laid during the service year. I’m sure those ones can’t be part of those canvassing for the scrapping of the scheme. They would champion the cause of dispelling such notions. The NYSC scheme has made a lot of laudable achievement since its creation. Nigerians should continue to support the scheme for its many benefits.
Assistant Director, Corps Welfare and Health Services Mrs. Ify Nwafor said one of the reasons for the establishment of the scheme was for integration, including chances for corps members to meet the love of their lives.
“Marriage as a journey can be both fun and hell. You came, you served and married. Always try to make your marriage joyful and to be happy in your marriage. Always tolerate and love each other to have happy homes,” she added.
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