Why I Was Hated During NYSC [A Must-Read]

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A Must Read For Every Young Person. I will like to tell you a personal story.

This is the first time I would be sharing this in public, and thanks to Adefila Abiodun that inspired this by his comment on one of my posts.

I feel what I am about to say would help someone out there – particularly young people who have allowed their shining light to flicker just because of various societal preferences, biases, or idiosyncrasies.

Like you already know, I did my NYSC in Cross River State and got posted to the state capital, Calabar.

Before then, as usual, together with thousands of other corps members, I spent 3 weeks in a camp located at a certain town known as Obubra.

During those 3 weeks, I happened to be the only guy chosen and working as an OAP at OBS – the local radio arm in camp.

I remember I used to anchor different news and talkshow programmes, broadcasting to corpers and officials to listen to and get entertained.

I remember in camp, we also had a lot of seminars that were organized for corpers and I somehow found myself asking facilitators a lot of questions through those learning sessions.

I was just too curious – so curious to learn and suck in as much knowledge as I could that some corps members eventually hated me for what Nigerians would call ITK (I Too Know).

After every session by a facilitator, I would raise my hand, walk straight out in front of the entire congregation, take hold of the microphone, and begin to ask my questions in the midst of thousands of corps members.

Now, I noticed something very intriguing.

Anytime, I stood up to ask a question, fellow corpers would start booing or murmuring under their breathe.

Some would say, “This crazy guy again…he has come with his questions.”

But then I didn’t care a hoot.

What most of them didn’t know was that beyond seeking new knowledge to help my life, I was deliberately registering my name in their minds, training my self-confidence, fortifying my ability to communicate and articulate with power, and refining my boldness to engage authority.

I remember anytime I took the mic, I would always start with:

“Good afternoon. My name is Chinonso Ogbogu…..”

As a matter of fact, when NYSC announced that there was going to be an Intellectual Debate in Camp, I signed up and was selected to represent my group.

On the D-Day, I was on stage debating and working on my ability to communicate and argue my position with clarity, logic, and style.

Today, those little, little, little gigs on radio, on mic, and on stage have played a key role in building me up.

Now, here’s a lesson I want to leave with young people.

Just like a tortoise, a lot of young people have caved in into their small shells because society laughs at them whenever they try to pull their heads out.

A lot of our young people today have allowed themselves to be washed away by the tidal wave of low self-esteem because they feel society will boo, laugh, or shoo them away for being different or anytime they try to light their little candles.

Maybe you are someone that is curious, your mind is a forest of inquisition, but because your friends would laugh at you or consider you a Jew Man, an Outlier, or an outcast, you have become so ordinary and fit-in that you hardly question things around you.

You are now a shadow of your true self, settling for peripheral knowledge and swallowing every opinion without subjecting them to sound investigation.

You can’t even speak up in public again, because the last time you did, your friends, neighbours, family members, critics, or mosque/church members said you sounded like a jerk.

See, if there is anything I hate in life, if there is anything I so detest, it is allowing anyone to peforate my self-confidence and power of self expression.

It makes me sick.

For me, that’s pure imprisonment.

So if you are a young person reading this, I want to put a question across to you as you go to bed tonight.

Please take your time to answer it.

For how long would you continue to allow society to dim your light, lock you in prison, and prevent your unique voice from being heard?

How long?

– By Chinonso Ogbogu


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