A SPROUTING BUD AMONG THORNS

(EDUCATION IN ZAMFARA STATE)

A CLARION CALL TO CORPS MEMBERS
OSHO OLUWAFEMI

DEDICATION To the government of Zamfara state: for its commitment towards the institution and progress of formal education in the state.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT To the One who sowed the seed and taught my hands to war, all glory is reserved.

I will not fail to acknowledge the indispensability of the following materials: The Power of Positive Living, Norman Vincent Peale, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc; How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, Pocket Books; The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkinkson, Multnomah Publishers Sisters, Oregon; Article titled, “Who Will Feed the World” (Should You Believe in Miracles), The Watchtower, published by Watchtower bible and tact Society of New York, Inc); Increase your influence: Ethos, pathos, logos, Business Day, Tuesday September 11th, 2007; Career Ahead, published on June 2005; NYSC Handbook, revised in 1999; Hints on NYSC to prospective National Youth Service Corps members; Weekly legacy, pg 16, Monday, October 29th 2007; Vanguard, Wednesday September 5th, 2007, pg 13, and Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved I also appreciate immensely those who believed in and supported me all the way. First, I thank my family, without whom there would be no me; my sweetheart, Mercury, without whom I am not complete; friends at home; my able Zonal Inspector, Mr Chika Osuagwu; Local Government Officers, Mr Emmanuel Ogbu, Mallam Abdullahi Sani, and most especially Mr Rufai Sabo; NYSC, Zamfara state chapter; the school authority and staff of Government Technical College, corps member friends, and other fellow corps members. I am also indebted to the State Coordinator/Director of Budget, Ministry of Finance, Gusau, and the Staff Officer; Education Secretary, Universal Basic Educaiton Authority(UBEA), Kaura Namoda local government; and others whose valuable contributions I will forever cherish.

A SPROUTING Bud Among Thorns
Through the veins That spews no support;

In the midst of a race Of thick religious natureFrom the womb Of a dot conducive pedigree, Largely guided by tombs Still sucking underneathCame forth a sprout: Tender, still tender; Its branches so loud, Some sure wings it flaps. A bud indeed is born: An ambition: of heaven height; Armed with a saving touch, Beaming universal might. ‘femi osho

NATIONAL ANTHEM Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey; To serve our fatherland, With love and strength and faith. The labor of our heroes past,

Shall never be in vain; To serve with heart and might, One nation bound in freedom, Peace and unity. NYSC ANTHEM Youths obey the clarion call; Let us lift our nation high, Under the sun or in the rain; With dedication and selflessness. Nigeria is ours, Nigeria we serve.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Dedication Acknowledgement A Sprouting Bud Among Thorns Anthems Prologue Chapter 1: Youths obey the clarion call Chapter 2: Let us lift zamfara high

Chapter 3: Under the sun or in the rain Chapter 4: With dedication and selflessness Chapter 5: Zamfara is ours, zamfara we serve Epilogue

PROLOGUE The reality of one’s name on the list of corps members qualified for the youth service, in one’s school usually brings joy. This is understandably due to the fact that not all students that graduate usually make the list. The joy is immediately meshed with mixed feeling at the sight of “ZM” as the state of deployment. Thoughts stream across the heart in zillions: Sharia-cutting of limbs-restrictions in behavioral or attirical expressions, to mention but few. For those who have never been to the northern part of the country, it’s a worse scenario in the conscious mind. Other thoughts like weather harshness, desert encroachment, rumors of less vehicles more beasts of burden, and thatched houses, are not far fetched.

On March 13th, 2007, in what I would term the Corpers’ Lodge of the First Baptist Church, Ahmadu Bello Way, Gusau, I had an argument with two fellow corps members, it was about the level of education in Zamfara state. The whole argument revealed to me that: 1. Their assessment was based on the level of education in their parts of the country. 2. Their focus was more on what are yet to be done, and not on those already done or are being done. 3. Their bias was due to their inability to appreciate Zamfara in its entirety. This is due to misconception, unjust comparison, seeming disappointment with their places of primary assignment, and preconceived uncertainties about the rest of the service year. It becomes therefore resourceful and somewhat indispensable, in the light of the above, for any corps member coming into the state- especially those that would eventually be deployed as teachers in primary and intermediate (secondary, technical, etc) schools- to be aware of the level of development in the educational sector, and the need for more personnelwho believes in its future. This book in your hand is out of a depth of research, an idea of a one who’s gone through much of what you are about to experience. This book contains the state of a sector that has waited for you, the exploits of a group striving to sustain and advance it, and the state and aspirations of another you’re meant to influence. Included are analyses of two researches that were conducted. One sought to determine the perception of corps members about Zamfara state, while the other tried to measure the level of knowledge of secondary school students on the subject of career. Therefore the purpose of this book is to present a candid picture of the earth location called Zamfara, and why education, right in it, has been deemed a sprouting bud, indeed, among thorns. It is written neither to promote a political or social propaganda. In other words, the book will not comment on the political state of the state, or abase, in any form, the culture of the land, or will it try to hook the present situation on any hinge of reason. It is strictly meant to psychologically boost you; that is, to expose you to the needs of the state, most importantly in the educational sector, and the opportunities that abound in it. It is hoped that this will serve as a cushion to provide the confidence and courage that would be needed to make your sojourn in the land peaceful and fruitful, as we serve our nation.

1 YOUTHS OBEY THE CLARION CALL
NYSC Handbook, revised in 1999 (excerpts)
According to the National Youth Service Corps Decree 51 of 16th June 1993, the purpose of the scheme is primarily to inculcate in Nigerian Youths the spirit of selfless service to the community, and to emphasize the spirit of oneness and brotherhood to all Nigerians, irrespective of cultural or social background.

OBJECTIVE OF THE SCHEME The objective of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme as clearly spelt out in Decree 51 of 16th June 1993 as follows: a) To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them the tradition of industry at work, and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves. b) To raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement; c) To develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training, which will make them more amenable to mobilization in the national interest; d) To enable Nigerian youths acquire the spirit of self reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self employment; e) To contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy; f) To develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration; g) To remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance and confirm at first hand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups; and h) To develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the people of Nigeria.

At Tsafe Orientation Camp
The orientation programme provides the first venue for effecting the desired change of attitude, as participants receive training in preparation for their next assignment of selfless and patriotic service to their fatherland. The purpose of the course is also to introduce corps members to and familiarize them with the ideals of the Youth Corps Scheme - ORIENTATION PROGRAMME

Zamfara state, iyo, iyo, zamfara state, iyo, iyo (2ce). Food no dey, iyo, iyo, water no dey, iyo, iyo… This song has the potency of evoking an idea, not too pleasant, about the state. Most of us had come in from the east and south, getting into Tsafe, without encountering places like Gusau, Kaura Namoda, Talata Mafara, to mention but few. It becomes easily tempting to concur with the wordings of the song-and others equally derogative to the reputation of the state in any form. This may succeed the bad tales that must have been heard before coming to the state. Unfortunately the “stress”-according to most corps members-one is being put through while on camp only help compound these problems. I once heard a male co-corps member in my lodge telling an incoming batch ‘B’, less than

one week to the orientation camp, to go and collect a doctor’s report indicating a false medical status, to ensure she doesn’t partake in camp exercises Others tend to compare situations with those heard from other corps members in other states. All these are in contrast to the purpose of the orientation programme as outlined above.

An Assessment of Zamfara State by Corps Members
As part of my Personal Community Development Project, a research was conducted. The scope of the basic research was: An Assessment of Zamfara State, with Emphasis on the Educational Sector, by Corps Members. Its objective was to determine the perception of corps members about the state before coming for service, present impression as scored by them, and their expectations for its future. Year: 2007. Sample size was one hundred (male constituting seventy five percent), all of whom were 2007/2008 batch ‘A’ corps members. Quota sampling was employed as the sampling technique while survey method was used. Questionnaires were filled where both open and closed (structured) form were used. The observation of the researcher was also put into consideration. From the analysis of the research, majority of the corps members hail from South Eastern, South Western, and North Central parts of the country, with the following statistics (considering the states): Ogun (10%), Delta (10%), Kwara (9%), Imo (9%), Enugu (8%), Osun (7%). It was also the same for the state of residence: 17% reside in Lagos state, 11% in Kwara, Oyo had 7%, Rivers 6%, Delta and Edo states were each 5%. On the issue of primary assignment, it was observed that 23% teach in primary schools while 72% are in the secondary schools. Others include the local government secretariats, hospitals, tertiary institutions etc. The corps members were drawn from Bakura, Birnin Magaji Bungudu, Demba, Gusau, Kasuwar Daji, Kaura, Keita, Kwatarkwashi, Maru, Rututu, Talata Mafara, and Zurmi-of these, Gusau and Kaura produced 30% and 37% respectively of the corps members. The perceptions of the corps members about Zamfara state before coming for service were sought for. Those that had good perception only constituted just about 19%, that of about 48% were bad, while 21% were neutral in theirs. The rest had nothing to say or no prior knowledge about the state. Some of the perceptions are as follows: • They are good at farming. • I think it was very good or functioning in terms of education. • Religion criticism, undeveloped state. • A state that is based mostly on religion belief. (sharia) • Never knew that there’s a place called Zamfara. • To me, I heard so many things like: in Zamfara they cut people’s hands On their former perception of the level of education in the state, 78% had some bad impression, only that of just 2% were good, while 13% were fair in theirs. Some likewise had nothing to say. Responses included: • Very low standard. • I though the citizenry of the state are highly educated, • Is at infant stage, i.e. still growing. Some of the corps members attributed the low level of education to the fact that the state is a developing one, while some believed it is because it is a northern state (most of whom were from the south).

46% revealed they sourced their information from the media, 18% from ex-corps members, while 25% deduced theirs from public perception/hearsays. Other sources included presumption, emigrants, to mention but two. Ironically most of them scored the commitment of the state government high. When asked of the factors that they feel are responsible for the present level of education in the state some of the responses included: • Lack of well trained teachers. • Inadequate laboratory materials and general poor equipment in schools. • Emphasis on Arabic literacy. • Mingling education with religion. • Non appreciation of corps members • Use of vernacular to teach. On the issue of their expectation for the state in the future: • An improved level of education as a result of government’s efforts. • Religion and other sectors co-existing without one impeding the other. • Invest in industrial sector for technological advancement. Corps members’ expectation for the educational sector: • Have a university. • An expansion in the sector through government’s sponsorship and strong educational policies. • If environment remains harsh, teachers not committed, students not ready to learn and government not giving proper concern, the system may collapse. Suggest ways to improve the educational sector of the state. Some of the corps members had these to say: • Improving the standard of living of the people of the state. • Seminars and symposia on the importance of education should be put in place. • A commission comprising of men of integrity, to be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the efforts of the government does not drip off the pipe, should be set up. • Encouraging the students by providing textbooks for them. The past perceptions of the corps members were weighed against their present perceptions. It was observed that 42% rated the present level of education better that what they initially thought before coming for service, 8% expressed a worse situation, the perception of some 39% remain unchanged, while the rest could not be placed. Also weighing the level of education in their state of residence against their present perception of the level in Zamfara state, It was observed that only 17% rated the level of education in Zamfara state better that that in their state of residence (this comprised mostly of corps members from the North Central and North Western pars of the country). 58% rated otherwise. 21% rated both as the same (most of these also were corps members from the North Central and North West).

Conclusion
It is evident that the assessment of corps members of Zamfara state is poor. Unfortunately, most are influenced by what are obtainable in their state of origin/residence. This sure will affect their productivity during the service year. Thus the clarion call is a call to action: a call to remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance…and imbibe the spirit of selfless service to this community called Zamfara state.

2 LET US LIFT ZAMFARA HIGH
Zamfara state was carved out of Sokoto state in October 1996. Its capital is Gusau. It has a land area of 37,400sq km, with a population: 2,310,000. The indigenes are majorly Hausa and Fulani. The following are the local governments in the state: Anka, Bakura, Birnin magaji, Bukkuyun, Bungudu, Gummi, Gusau, Kaura namoda, Maru, Shinkafi, Talata mafara, Tsafe, Zurmi. One of the peculiarities of the state is its agriculture inclination. As a matter of fact, one of the common slogans says, farming is our pride. I discovered an abundance of Neem (dogonyaro) tree. I couldn’t help but admire the ruggedness of this plant during harmattan. To some, the plants are just a bunch of useless sticks, but actually they are

Welcome to Zamfara State: the Land of Dogonyaro and Cotton

assets to the state. It was disclosed that Nigeria could earn N63 billion ($500USD) annually from the exportation of these Neem (Dogonyaro) products. According to the Director General of National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), Dr. Ebenezer Okonkwo, Neem has been found to be the wonder tree of 21st century. It is called a wonder tree because of the great potentials it has over our everyday life. There’s no area of human endeavor you cannot find this wonder plant. It is found in agriculture, health, commerce, in building, to mention but few. Also worthy of being mentioned is that the state is one of the highest producers of cotton in the country. Another peculiarity, one that made the state become, according to some of us, the land that even the angels fear to tread, is Sharia (Arabic, “the way”), a term that refers to the body of laws and rules that regulate Muslim life. Indeed, they are a set of people rich in religious values. Cumulatively, the state has fared excellently well at being one of the most peaceful (it was once voted as the most peaceful) in the country. The people of the land are respective and considerate. One thing I also discovered is respect for class, with no envy for the achievement of each other. Being a developing state, it offers so many opportunities in unskilled and semi-skilled labor. Zamfara was the first place I got to where artisans would still be working by 11pm. I know a fellow corps member who is making it big time repairing handsets. In terms of the level of industrialization I would refuse to accept that its industries are moribund, but rather placed it at the infant level.

Education in Zamfara State: the Bud among Thorns!
While declaring open the UBE library in Gusau, the governor once said that his administration, in line with federal government’s reform programmes and initiatives, has renewed its commitment to education in recognition of its importance in the overall development of any society. He said, “The present administration is determined to enhance the free basic education policy through the payment of WAEC, NECO, and National Board for Business and Technical Examination fees for all categories of students studying in state government owned secondary schools.” He added that Zamfara state government has awarded a contract for the renovation of all secondary schools, including libraries, and construction of additional classrooms as well as students’ hostels. Presently, there’s a State University Basic Education Plan. The state, according to the commissioner for education, now understands that education is the bedrock for socioeconomic and political development in any society. These no doubt sum up the resolution of a state ready to give formal education its rightful position. To further buttress this, the following statistics are excerpts from a publication: The 1999 Scenario ✔ Less than 50% of school age children were in school. ✔ Enrolment of the girl child very low. ✔ Primary and secondary school building totally dilapidated. ✔ Very high adult illiteracy rate. ✔ Only one tertiary institution in the whole state. ✔ Lack of qualified teaching staff. ✔ Laboratory, library and other teaching materials lacking in most school. ✔ Zamfara was especially backward in science and teaching education.

The Primary School Scenario in 1999 ✔ Total school age population: 619, 635. ✔ Total number enrolled in school: 287,173. (43%) ✔ Total out of school population: 332, 465. (53%) ✔ Number of students with regular attendance: 172, 000. (27%) Our Achievement in the Educational Sector (Primary Education) ✔ Rehabilitated primary school buildings. ✔ Constructed additional classrooms in many schools. ✔ Established one female focal primary school in each local government area with free lunch as added incentive. ✔ Achieved increase in the enrolment figures: 1999/2000 – 287,173. 2000/2001 – 296, 365. 2001/2002 – 307,627. 2002/2003 – 319,207. Achievement in the Educational Sector (Secondary School) ✔ Upgraded 8 JSS to SSS. ✔ Established 3 specific science SSS. ✔ Reopened a number of JSS closed by previous administration. ✔ Procured laboratory and technical equipments for science and technical schools. ✔ Improved the quality of feeding in secondary school. ✔ 12 new secondary schools to be opened this year. ✔ Rehabilitated Girls’ Unity Secondary School Kwatarkwashi, GSS Bakura, GSS Anka, and others. Our Achievement in the Educational Sector (Tertiary Education and Institution) ✔ Established 4 new tertiary institutions: • College of Education, Maru. • College of Arts and Science, Gusau. • College of Agriculture, Bakura. • College of Health Technology, Tsafe. ✔ Improved the technical facilities at Abdu Gusau polythecnic to meet NBTE standards. ✔ State School of Nursing to take off soon in the state capital. ✔ 10, 458 students undergoing various courses in different tertiary institutions. Achievement in the Educational Sector (general) ✔ Free education for all at all levels. ✔ Free feeding for all boarding school students. (only lunch for primary schools and day secondary schools) ✔ Improved the scholarship allowance of zamfara students in tertiary schools. ✔ Breakdown of allowance accruable to students. • Medicine – N5, 000/month. • Science/ Engineering – N3, 000/month. • Arts/Humanities – N2, 000/month. • Pre-Degree – N1, 000/month.

✔ Before 1999, it’s just N1, 000/university student/month. There is an agency for mass education in charge of literacy programme and also there is that of nomadic education for the dissemination of information and agricultural support funds to educate and sensitize the cattle-rearing nomads on grazing methods, disease containment and management as well as allocating grazing areas and water holes to enable easy and stress free access to proper livestock management. This is achieved through the agricultural, livestock and food production projects initiative. Despite the fact that there are a lot of challenges in the state, yet education is thriving, or rather put, beginning to thrive! Zamfara state may not be blessed with so much natural resources as some states in the south, east or west; Zamfara state may not have as many companies, or skyscrapers, yet she has rich human resources, and that her future lies in these ones; she now believes this young generation is the first institution that must be built. The people now understand that there is need for a blend of religious, moral, and educational values. They may not be as advanced yet as the east or west in terms of education, yet they have begun and this is the most important stage. It therefore needs supporters, collaborators, and co-investors. Every child in the state is proned to be daunted by the fear of what he or she would do in the future if he or she went to school. The thought of where would I practice if I read law? Would there be space for me in the hospital if I read medicine? and more, are constant, potential interest killers to these kids. This is why it becomes inevitable to attract the children with incentives-at least for some time. Every state that has gone far educationally definitely did something of this nature, at one time or the other. The World Food Programme is promoting an initiative that aims to serve at least one meal a day in schools. The idea is not only to reduce hunger but also to activate through regular education other programs designed to prevent HIV/AIDS among youngsters. You will soon find out that in Zamfara state this initiative has long been, and is still being implemented: with three meals a day for students in the boarding schools, and one to those in day schools. In this case, it is one of the incentives being put in place to sustain the interest of the kids. You can’t afford not to help raise the standard of education in this state. Everything has and is still being put in place. The educational aspirations of the state must be met-the kids must go and continue in school! The bud indeed is beaming a universal might, let it not stop beaming!

3 UNDER THE SUN OR IN THE RAIN
Your PPA: the sun or the rain Your Place of Primary Assignment, also known as your PPA, is the organization or establishment you are deployed to. Generally, this includes a school, hospital, local government secretariat, private establishments etc. For some on the last day on camp it will be a moment of relief while to the other it will seem the “beginning of another round of trouble.” It is natural that the news of one’s PPA, having been briefed on the situation of the place can dampen one psychologically. This has the potency of destroying one’s service year. Most would get discouraged when they get to know upon reaching theirs that there’s no GSM network and/or electricity. These lapses may not necessarily determine the outcome of your service year. You can still be happy all through your time. You can still record that success you feel you would achieve if you were deployed to a city-that one that looks like the one you came from. Three days after our passing-out from the camp I had an encounter with a fellow corps member. He felt one becomes backward once he comes to zamfara state. Why? Because he’s cut away from information. In response I told him that he’s not made backward, that being cut out only has the tendency. The ball is now in his court The happiness or fulfillment will never come if it’s a goal in itself; happiness is a byeproduct of a commitment to worthy causes. For instance, you can never find happiness by

reaching for happiness. If there is a spiritual experience, inner peace, sanity, serenity, joy, excitement, struggle, and above all, faith and love, happiness will not be far. Avoid criticism. It is a known fact that no process or system is perfect. Ask the man that loves criticism how far it has borne him. Such don’t accomplish. Not long after they find themselves in another system they only begin to feel dissatisfied with it, criticism is their soothing companion. Such men are never settled. Your school may not provide the conducive environment, the authority may be nonchallant in their attitude to work, even the kids may not prove cooperative to school work; and these may be strictly against the no-nonsense you; yet you must not see criticism as the tool to make them see reasons. Rather, subscribe to dialogue. Even when you would make your grievance fully known, don’t tread the path of criticism- don’t forget human ego; everyone will always want to safe his face. Criticism will only lead to resentment. Instead, try to see if there’s any flash of hope-there’s always one! If only you’ll sit down and think instead of brooding over the uncertainties and shortcomings in the system, you’ll come up with ideas and methods that will change things! Learn to spend your time thinking of a solution rather than meditate on how best to tongue-lash when next they gaffe. Develop the character in you. Develop your self control. These if given the space will strangle attempts to criticize at any time. Let’s understand that the educational sector of the state is still young and emerging. People are hard to change. Traditions and culture must be penetrated. So don’t expect an overnight change

Compare the PPA, then you might want to know which creatures will be sharing your class with you: Scholastic Snake Ibrahim wants to get to the top, and he believes the teachers are better placed to help him. He is good at winning his ways into the hearts of people: he greets very well, always volunteer at every beckon. However, he shows contempt for classmates. His colleagues are not too sure about him. Though they seldom treat him with admiration, there’re traces of apprehension. There is nothing wrong with this approach per se, as long as you will be tolerant of jealousy, backstabbing- he’s sure going to be telling you about what his mates say about you, and those happening in the room of the mallam or mallama that he understands you don’t like. Such student will also thrive under you if you’re not a fan of diligence, prefers (vain) respect from students rather than inculcating real values. If you use objective measures to assess your students you’ll discover that this sect of students are not always as good as they are. Scholastic Worker Bee Salisu is not usually interested in extra-curricular activities. It is not uncommon to find him avoiding after-school chores, only to be found buried in his books- they disdain every distraction from academics. He can’t figure out why other colleagues don’t seem to always take their academics serious. His sluggard mates thus always feel happy to benefit

Scholastic Animals: understanding your students.

from his bookworm nature, and use his industry to their own favor. You’ll find drones flocking around him during tests or examination. Some other colleagues no doubt may despise and dislike him particularly as he is unparalleled with and a constant reminder of their own deficiencies. To help this sect, you can decide to always sit them where no one disturbs during test or examination, encouragement through your intimacy will sure go some miles. Scholastic Monkey Halima is a very ambitious one. She is not overbearing and is keen to learn in class, very friendly, with promising people skills; she’s happiest and very productive in a group setting. She is good at winning her way through, but unlike the snake, she is motivated by the need/desire for information about what the school or/and curriculum requires, and how the group is faring rather than for personal advancement. She loves transparency, protective towards her group. She’d love to be motivated by you. Her colleagues just love her. Spot this student, you place her as the class rep, and you will not regret you did. Scholastic chameleon Some will describe shehu as having a good ability and a school life balance. To other he is nothing more than a lazy waste of space. This varied character may be traceable to his melancholy personality. He tends to display rapt attention during class, yet he doesn’t always do his assignment. He’ll volunteer whenever you need one, but his class notes are not up to date. Such students need close monitoring. Some psychological pepping will sure do some good. Such students need to get a life! I conducted a research to determine the level of knowledge of secondary school students-in Kaura Namoda-on the subject of career. It also formed part of my CD project. Majority of the students it was observed knew why they come to school, had specific aims in life and desired choice of career, though most of them confessed their parents chose the career for them. Unfortunately most didn’t know where they could practice their career. Yet it was evident in the students that there is a desire to go far educationally if they would be encouraged. It would be evident in some of them traits of low self-image and low self-esteem, and sincerely they have little self-confidence- inferiority complex describes them best. This may on the surface be attributed to their inability to speak fluently the English language. Most of them had crawled through the classes stealthily. Every child is naturally born to be positive. Negativities abounding in their world usually make them to be who they are years after. Therefore let your presence create the sense of (needed) release from this seeming inadequacy- they also have assets and possibilities. Careful observation revealed that their exhibition of seeming inferiority complex tends to be limited to while they are in the class. Go to their hostels, on the football pitch, just watch them after school hours, and then you will see their real selves. Let them know that to get rid of their low self-esteem they must get upon it. If the lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem is not corrected-which can be done by youthese can haunt them into adulthood. The kids may look empty on the outside; sincerely a chunk is “loaded” within. They have only been forced to be conservative and ordinary, in their attitude to educationthey’ve been turned off! Most now look as if they cannot think or learn. They have lost

belief in the process (education). Only if you can take a journey into them, you will feel the hearts of these innocent kids crying, yearning to know. This is often displayed at the sudden flash of seeming understanding of a part or all of a subject during class. It must be noted that this is usually achieved when there is an unusual method of teaching, or an extraordinary length of time expended during explanation. It is also achieved through lavish use of examples, especially using those easily seen around them. Your perception of them would decide your attitude towards them. This would determine your performance during your service year. You can’t just afford your perception to be darkened or remain dark. Most of us unconsciously or subconsciously have only been comparing the kids with others from where we came from. They might not be able to compete with those though but they have themselves to compete with. Let’s see them that way, treat them that way. We’ll sure get their best to extract. Simply put, that child cannot be the image of the one you know in your state, there are distinctions in personality It is very necessary to make the children understand that a belief in God can cause a change. This’ especially useful for those seeming “hyper olodos” that you would come across. This is where the question of religion comes in. sincerely speaking; tolerance would be called into play. The essence of this is not to try to inculcate a religious type, but to instill a confidence in God-a tenet of every religion. The essence is to be the conduit through which the child would learn to look up to God as a solution. If the right measure and nature of faith can be instilled every child would be turned on! To the kids, they need courage, they need faith. Your approach when you enter the class would either retain-or increase-the fear, or reduce it. If only you will not display that terrorist look, even when situation calls for it, whenever you enter. The strength most of this kids display outside school touches a nerve in one’s brain. Enormous dexterity they exhibit doing chores. There is a latent energy in them beckoning to be released. Within the right mental and spiritual frame this energy can be converted into that needed to cope, or rather put, excel in the academics. If only you would be the path! You may soon discover that some of them are religiously fanatical, so much that their academic performance suffers. It is simply a product of mind conditioning. This only suggests that these same minds of them can be reconditioned to accommodate both religion and education. Equilibrium can be achieved without one affecting the other. Love the children. That’s when the release of yourself to them can be natural, real, uncorrosive, that’s only when you can give your best. If you can make it a point of duty to take your time to correct every student who wrongly greets you, with smiles, they with time will become confident in you. You could be their “corper-best friend;” willingly they will offer to teach you the native language-for those who don’t understand, fetch water, amongst other offerings When you enter the classroom change the picture you have in your mind: of a session of you talking into the air, with no reasonable response. Instead of seeing yourself coming out as usual, visualize a class session between an instructor giving his best shot and a set of students rapt in their attention, striving to and achieving some measure of understanding on the subject. You may have to say a word of prayer, and do some psyching on yourself. That day may be the day they’ve always dreamt of, a day the school authority has only wished for! You can make your students want to learn. Yes you can! Don’t be tempted to compare them, to their face, to their counterparts in other more educationally inclined

states. They too want that feeling of importance! Instead of comparing appreciate them; expose them to the need for improvement. Instead of comparing open their eyes to men and women of achievement from the north; reveal to them what would be required of them to get to that position. You can arouse enthusiasm in them. You can always call their attention to their mistakes indirectly without hurting their feelings. Be genuinely interested in them. If this is sincere, it will create a wave of attraction; with time each of you begins to pour out to each other. Interest in other people will precede understanding of them. You can begin by learning most of their names, correcting any seen display of lack of courtesy. Make them feel “among” while in class. You seek their opinions, encourage them to ask questions or express themselves freely. Always begin your class in the friendliest way possible. Use examples that would interest them. You may have to develop your points or base your explanation on the examples they give, this makes them “belong.” Even when their illustration is out of line, wisely adjust it to suit the subject matter. Use real objects or situation to drive home your points. You may have to dramatize, emphasize, repeat, appeal before you’d be understood.

Increase your influence

One of the most common frustrations that you might face in the school is a perceived inability to influence change in the school, or simply put, get result. It becomes more frustrating when expected responder seems not to be responding to one’s effort, or the system is too rigid for change; the method may be red problem. In these cases, it is often necessary to change method. Unfortunately, a lot disempower themselves, thereby empowering the faulty method. Let’s consider the Greek philosophy of influence called Ethos, pathos, and logos. Etho. This is credibility, the faith that the school authority and the students will have in your integrity and competence. It is the trust you inspire. You control much ethos being a corps member (mostly in the eyes of the students). You can always get to see whoever you desire to see in the school. This is the foundation to be effective with pathos. Pathos. It is synonymous with empathy. It means you are emotionally tuned into the needs of the school and what they are trying to communicate. You may have to set up a meeting with the authority of the school, consult with students on a more personal basis, out of the class levels. You may have to present your points. Begin by presenting their own point of view better that they would have themselves. However, you must be opened to being influenced. Logos. It is logic, reasoning. It is consisted in your objective, proposal, and presentation. You simply adopt your own presentation based on your increased understanding. You may have to do this emotionally because you’re not just selling an idea but striving to cause a change. Note of warning: to have real influence, you must have credibility; you have to be productive, honest, and transparent. If you are always late, overpromising, and undelivering, you won’t be taken seriously.

4 WITH DEDICATION AND SELFLESSNESS
The generality of corps members are expected to undertake on a year-round-basis, in addition to their primary assignment, at least one community development project in their neighborhood, individually or in groups, after due consultation with the community people. -Community Development Service (CDS) It’s not always the number of months of one’s youth service but the quality that counts. It will be indispensable to be equipped before a journey is embarked upon. It may be helpful to be inquisitive. Sure there’re teachers, and corps members already in the school. Questions may be asked on how best to get the best out of the children. Adjustments could be made on the answers received. They could be customized with other ideas to make the process more suitable for you, at the same time not reducing their potency. To the children, every corps member has a reasonable mind, something to offer: a keenness of thought. They expect one with integrity of character in excess of anything they had ever known. At the onset, to get the best of your time, there would be the need to drop every perceived negative notion of the culture, religion and sociality of the people. This no doubt would create a psychological atmosphere where the “goodness” usually presented by new culture could be enjoyed. This does not deny the fact that you may encounter some display of cultural or religious excesses. In such cases, caution would always save the day.

With Determination, Dedication…
There may be the need to set a target. Resolutions like, “I’m going to be the best corps member in this school” could shot you up the height embedded in it. Even if you

don’t eventually get there, where you’d be would still be farther than where you would have been without the target. Keep affirming that you’ll make the difference, and sure you will. It may not be too soon or even recorded during your time in the school, but time will record it against you; even if no one gets to recognize it. To be frank with you there will be obstacles. Ninety nine percent of your time in that school may record no sizeable amount of success. The students may prove too daft, the school authority too lackadaisical. It may be that your last session in the school is when the desired goal will be achieved. Ability to always comeback after every bout of defeat, opposition, display of negligence on the part of other stakeholders required to complement your efforts will prove valuable. If only you’ll not give in to fate, or get daunted even in the face of evident opposition. If only you’ll see the whole situation as an avenue to be more thoughtful and inventive in your approach and method. Where negative abounds grace for positive much more abounds. Everything worthwhile accomplishing is tough and requires will, purpose, goals, stumbling, falling, picking one self up and going forward despite all setbacks, resolutely going forward. But the objective of getting through with that killjoy empty feeling and substituting a fullness of joy and satisfaction is well worth all the difficulty necessary to attain it. As you recover, keep doing what is right, trust your intuition- it is one divine asset in you. Doing what is right in itself, even in the face of adversity, is an accomplishment. It creates a sense of self-fulfillment. It defeats detractors, challenges onlookers, and it maintains a sense of peace and freedom within.

Selflessness
The one person who most blocks you from a full, happy, and successful life is you. So if you feel empty as many do, start by getting free from yourself as a first step to vibrant living. Cut out of you into that child. There’s enough of you to go around no matter how many others take a cut Don’t be given to hostility, whether in response to the situation of your PPA, its location, in reaction to the attitude of the students, or borne out of resentment for the culture or religion of the place. This can even cause physical problems. Medical research affirmed that it can lead to not just a heart disease but also mortality. Giving your would-be-present job all you’ve got is a sure way to getting to the top of the ladder You may be approached, either by a co-corps member or a staff in your school to be involved in something. The picture may not look bad at all, the invitation without an intention to cause hurt. It might be the temptation to deviate from a principle, compromise a stand or give in to seduction. Take your time to listen to the man within you- the real you. As long as he’s not been strangled or corrupt he’ll definitely lead you right. Pay attention to him and you could save yourself some breath

Believing
Before positive impact is positive believing. A thought can ruin you (which can be imparted). But a thought can also make you (which can also be imparted). If you would like to make a landmark in the school then believe in yourself, have confidence in your ability and goals. Likewise, believe in other people- the students,

teachers, co-corps members, and the school authority, for without helping hands no ladder can be climbed. Also believe in Zamfara state which is affording the opportunity, and be a believer in opportunity itself If only you’ll unlearn being a nonbeliever, say constantly to yourselves, even though you may not believe it at first that you are going to be successful, if only you’ll constantly reiterate, constantly assert, and constantly affirm the believing attitude. If only you’ll keep on believing: to every disadvantage there is a corresponding advantage. Opposite still attracts! You will sure achieve much if you will go against your habitual thought patterns during this service year. Never be blind to your assets because that’s when you will be able to see possibilities. Be ready to be dissatisfied with routines: go to class, observe your session, and back to your lodge (or house) at the end of the day. You must be ready to “slant up,” resolute to perform today than the previous one. In his book “The Greatest Risk of All”, Walter Anderson makes this significant statement: “Be assured, it is not possible for human beings to be empty vessels. No person who has ever lived has been an unbeliever, despite what they may argue. Everyone believes in something. It might be God or not God, manifest greed for money or power, a career or a friend, science, a principle-something. Whatever it is we place before our lives is what we turn toward. “Choose what you believe. “We need to remember that the wise God put us here to help that suffering child. We are His hands, His feet, His voice. And we can choose to believe this or not. There’s no such thing as unbelief. For we all believe in something. Either we believe in love, virtue, and hope. Or we believe in hate, evil and hopelessness” Many of the responses you’d receive upon your inquisition are those borne out of truth, bias, and resentment, to mention but few. This is why you might have to weigh everything through observation, let time tailor them, before you make your conclusion, so again: choose what you believe. Ensure you belief is undergirded by a solid trust in the help of God. Fight every attempt to want to achieve with vices-“cutting corners.” There will also be the need for you to stop thinking only of yourself as a priority. Drop that “I must make it big time” goal as your only objective. Be flexible but not gullible. Persistence too will prove indispensable.

And a bit of Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is one vital element that you cannot afford not to have if you have to be a successful believer – it must be possessed in abundance. You will sure need it in meeting responsibilities, in succeeding on the job, and in solving daily problems When you get enthusiastic, your entire personality gets lightened up. You become bolder, more courageous-kindling confidence. Your mind becomes sharper, more intuitive; your entire life force and creative ability are enhanced. Then you are motivated, and sure you can make an impact! Always be optimistic and never let the fire of enthusiasm die! In summary, you have a choice. You can resign to fate, pitch your tent in the camp of routine, looking forward to POP, or the next time you’ll travel. You can decide to liven up, invent new methods of handling issues in the school, and create ideas to move the

community forward. You can even use the time to learn one or two things, perhaps peculiar to that part where you are deployed but not common where you come from. Who knows you may be the promoter of another culture, or the pioneer of a business, or custodian of apprenticeship when you get back to your state of residence.

5 ZAMFARA IS OURS, ZAMFARA WE SERVE
BEQUEATHED TO YOU
Bequeathed to you Is this land; Left by people, Who in it once passed time. Some left streaks of scar. Some did smudge; Some gave blistersThe land they never loved. Some served, with no trace Left behind; But others laid Sure paths that lead to life. Bequeathed to you Is this land; Yearning for you: A true touch of your hands. ‘femi osho Corps members are to be an embodiment of “Service and Humility” in line with the NYSC motto. They are to be above in everything. -general national service information, Hints on NYSC to prospective National Youth Service Corps members Zamfara state is really beckoning for co-visioners to the government; it is calling for co-facilitators in the development process. The efforts of the government must be complemented: it cannot do it alone.

The state needs to move with the pace of the computer age, and so she needs wheels. You are the tools necessary to build and make this wheel work; you are the grease that would lubricate the clogs against the movement of the wheels. Their educational pedigree is still young. Thus there is need for people who will be partners in progress in the educational sector- and others. The students need motivators, encouragements; they need models, someone to encourage them that they can be the next doctor, engineer etc after you-they need investors into their future. Your attitudes may be the altitude for a morale booster. You may be the model through whom the paths of their future dreams would be remodeled. There’s a measure of motivation, instruction, and impartation that would be required to cause an ignition in that student, your contribution may become the last straw, or the beginning of the process. However, it has its own quota. We made a vow to serve Nigeria (which is also consisted in Zamfara state) with dedication and selflessness. The clarion call therefore is to build up an institution of development-oriented minds; to inculcate into the heart of every child in this state: in the schools the belief that Zamfara state can be a fountain of intellectual minds. You could be the skyscrapers that will spur them to want to study to any height, without incentives. You might be the model whose educational height they would want to attain regardless of whether there is a physical structure to eventually exhibit all they would acquire. This is the charge to obey the clarion call; to lift our nation high, under the sun or in the rain, with dedication and selflessness. This is a test of management-of humans in this respect. It is a test of what our attitude to life’s challenges and opportunities will be. In the same vein, it is an opportunity to invest in human resources, invest in the educational sector of this country, invest in the future of this state, and invest in lives! I think it is a privilege for me and you to be part of the educational history of this state. When a soldier goes to war, he goes to serve, protect, preserve a course, practicalise all he’s learnt-he defends his uniform! This is a chance. You can scribble your name on this sand of history! Zamfara is yours, Zamfara is mine; zamfara is ours

EPILOGUE
On the door of the office of the commissioner for education, Zamfara state, I saw something that my eyes couldn’t avoid. It says: If you are planning for one year plant rice. If you are planning for five years plant a tree, but if you are planning for the future you educate the child. My principal made a statement while addressing the students on the assembly ground. It was precisely on October 8th, 2007, a slightly cold day. The truth of the statement was very much evident while he spoke. He said, “The government is serious about qualitative education.” The question is: would you love to begin a remarkable difference in that school, where you’d be deployed? If yes, then you’ll have to sign up to be a gimper. A gimper is someone who always does a little more than what’s required or expected. Be a gimper and the miniprofile of your exploits will never erase from history. That little difference of yours sure will make a great deal of difference. So change your world for the better-sign up-and you’re positioned perfectly to change the school, and the state; and the country; and the world! A remarkable change can happen in that school any day. Be ready for it. I challenge you to be what you can be – what you should be! Yours faithfully, OSHO OLUWAFEMI. ZM/07A/0857

It’s not always the number of months of one’s youth service but the quality that counts… Cut out of you into that child…A remarkable change can happen in that school any day. Be ready for it. I challenge you to be what you can be – what you should be! Osho Oluwafemi …this one written by Osho Oluwafemi ZM/07A/0857 on education in Zamfara state is a ‘must read’ by the prospective corps members and serving corps members…This book is indeed a good manual for all corps members and corps employers. Mr. Ogbu, Abu E., Asst. Chief Inspector, NYSC, Zonal Office, Kaura Namoda

……………………………………………………………………………………………… Oluwafemi Osho hails from Ose local government in Ondo state. A graduate of Mathematics/Computer Science, from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State. Apart from being a system analyst/computer programmer and a mathematician, he is also a poet, writer, loves inventing ideas, and talented with good analytical and motivational skills. His vision is to serve his generation, and pave way for those to come, with virtues and ideas. He is a firm believer in the future of his country, Nigeria, the richness of her human resources-particularly her young generation.

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