When I left a place I call home in April, 2017, I had no main picture of where I was going to, how it looked like and the tales that awaited me, I took my life with all care. Like one writer said, you must face life like a mirror and keep burning like flames of fire.
I spent the night at Ikot-Ekpene and from there the story to life, impact and realities of being a youth corps member was birthed.
More than anything, writing and seeing budding writers become better have been one of my greatest passion. More so, in the pursuit of impact on the young minds and with the desire to promoting Nigeria’s Literature, I knew I had to do this. Do what?
All plans had been thought out before the beginning of the scheme. I had hoped to have a Personal CDS Project (which some people whispered to me as impossible). In proving every impossibility wrong, I walked the streets of Uyo, Akwa Ibom under the rain and in the sun (Coincidentally, that’s also a line from the NYSC Anthem). I also jumped in and out, from different taxis and Keke marwas in search of sponsors and literary enthusiasts.
Many of these tales were filled with heart breaks. Although, there were no pieces. I had some people look in disdain without believing in the proposal I had in hand. Interestingly, I had written and reprinted the proposal about 5 times before it was finally approved by the NYSC. That could have kept me down but I kept on with it.
What had kept me inspired were these tough times. One of such was when I wrote a poem in dedication to the state’s 30th anniversary. I had hoped I would perform it but I couldn’t due to one reason or the other.
I therefore knew a lot had to be done. I needed to challenge the stereotypes in the community and metropolis I was. I therefore adopted a Personal CDS Project named “Write Now” which successfully:
1. Trained over 150 young students on the art of Writing.
2. Empowered them with different writing materials from books to pen.
3. Provided close-watch writing workshops, feed-backs as well as virtual writing aids/prompts.
4. Helped the students discover and nurture their writing prowess.
5. Revealed the various genres and elements of writing to the students.
6. Published an anthology as written by the students themselves. Copies are available in Uyo. Many of the poems focused on themes such as feminism, girl child, education, politics, motherhood, justice, corruption, leadership and lots more.
All these would not have been possible without the wonderful team of writers, poets, photographers and lovers of art. One of them exceptionally is Oluwa Olamiposi Omoyelei. Yele and I had been friends on Facebook and Badagry shildreeen until NYSC made it a real time friendship. When I saw her writing her name on the list of those that had just arrived then, I called upon her and she was left in awe. Indeed, this was some of the reasons why God had brought us together in words, rhyme and rhythm. She was instrumental to this project, touring with me from school to school. She is selfless and could give her love in a million liters if it was fuel.
Adeoye Adebayo Bajo would become a greater part of the journey in Nysc Akwa Ibom State. Many poems I wrote during the service year had been inspired by his Camera. He was part of this project and contributed immensely. I want to appreciate Badiru Idowu Adebusola who knew all of these since its start, Ojo Oyenike Feyisola Rachael Egberis, Meni Roland, Biodun, Olapeju Nifemi and Gbenga who were on ground most times to ask of the project’s progress. I will save you the stories; you can read a lot more in the memoir set to be out soon.