09 February, 2011
In the sweltering hot sun for 3weeks they poured out their souls laying the corner stones for a new Nigeria. It was not because the pay was great, it wasn't. But those youth corpers astounded themselves with unparalleled patriotic fervor as they embarked on the INEC 70million voter registration feat.
The ink catridges ran dry, the printers jerked, the biometric machines wouldn't acted up, the materials were delayed, security was porous, the terrain was unbeaten and eerie. But they braced the odds and improvised. They shared and combined not only their resources to beat deadlines, they shared their sweat, their purses and their dreams of a common future.
I pay tribute to the restless men and women of our National Youth Service Corps who took upon themselves the destiny of a festering nation and marked the path we must all tread as we head to reclaim our destiny in the April polls.
Seeing this brave men and women in the blistering African sun, it is heart piercing to realise that they belong to a generational bracket that has never been in a system that worked. Yet against hope they believed in hope. Their sacrifice is a great reminder of mightier days past and how slowly but surely we are reclaiming those days.
Their work may not have seen spectacular to the cursory onlooker but for the trained eye, it is these acts of patriotism and selfless volunteerism that has kept us from falling apart as a nation. The photo stories of their fatigue, their clashes with men and devils, their crack wisdom in the face of pressure and their patience when their stipends were delayed tell us that we have been reading the young Nigerian wrong!
They may be products of cracked school walls, dilapidated libraries, comatose systems and successfully failed education management, yet hiding deep in those scorched African hearts is a battle-marked resolve to succeed. And nothing can take that away from them.
On a chilly saturday morning some time in the future, I'd like to slouch into a balcony sofa astride a skycraper overlooking the skylines of what would be known as the world's most desirable destination. A nation of dreams and possibilities. For that future Nigeria, these incredible Corpers have helped laid a foundation, may we all now arise and build in hope as we vote, participate and protect our mandates.
To those unsung heroes of the change process, I salute thee!