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YOU Live: Hilary Ikoku Speaks on His NYSC Journey.

Reading Time: 6 minutes


“I want the “state of origin” scrapped from every form in the country. Why do you want to know what state a person is from? So you can favor some and leave others out? Like in the cases of university admissions. In fact the rules behind it should be changed…”

β€”Hilary Ikoku.

Today on YOU Live. Hilary Ikoku who lives in Abuja speaks about his journey as a Ibadan (Oyo State) corper, his sincere views about Nigeria Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and adjusting to life in the brown rusted roofs of Ibadan.

He also revealed his worst experience as a JJC in Ibadan, when the bus he took one day almost passed his destination  to Ife (Another City) because he couldn’t communicate  with the Driver who could only speak in Yoruba.

Hilary wishes “State of Origin” would be scraped from forms/documents in Nigeria.


  • Hi Hilary, where are you from and where do you live?

The question “where are you from?” always confuses me because my state of origin is Abia, but I was born, brought up and I identify better with Plateau state.

I live in Abuja.

  • If you had the power, would you cancel NYSC or not?

Whew tough one. No. I don’t think so.

  • Why is that?

Although, the system is flawed, highly, but it is not without its merits. If not for NYSC I wouldn’t know some things I know today.

It’s full of eye opening learning experiences. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, and bigotry and narrow mindedness…” Laughs (Mark Twain said that).

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, and bigotry and narrow mindedness…”  β€”Mark Twain.

NYSC helps people explore and learn more about their own country than any geography class would. We all live with different stereotypes in our heads about one another without ever even sharing an experience.

NYSC helps promote and teach togetherness to a nation that needs it, and for that, it shouldn’t be scrapped.


“NYSC helps promote and teach togetherness to a nation that needs it, and for that, it shouldn’t be scrapped.” β€”Hilary Ikoku. 

  • YOU seem like you are enjoying Ibadan, what do you love about your place of Service?

Amala is Bae here, fact. The Yorubas may not have as much variety when it comes to food as other tribes but the ones they have; they slay perfectly.

Also, Having 6-packs is a myth here. (Laughs)

“Having 6-packs is a myth in Ibadan.”

β€”Hilary Ikoku

  • What do you dislike about your place of service?

Language barrier.

I’m trying but it’s not sticking. It all sounds sing-songy in my ears. I almost entered a bus to ile-ife on my way from work one evening, that’s how bad it is.

Ibadan. (? from naijaforum.com)

  • What was your best experience as a Corper?

Hmm, lemme see, oh yea SARS stopped a group of us by the road side close Iyana Ojo in Ibadan. And you know what the infamous SARS is capable of. I was in my khaki, on my way to CDS. One of them looked at me and was like “corper we!” I replied “wa” he then said “oya dey go, the rest of you stand here”.. I ran!!! I was packing that day o. One search and my ass would have been toast!

  • And Your worst experience?

Has to be the ile-ife day. Like,  we had passed toll-gate before I realized what was up. Only one person, yes that’s right, ONE PERSON! could understand English in that bus, and it wasn’t the driver. See I almost cried.

Ibadan. (?: Adedayo Agarau. @wallsofibadan)

  • One of the aim of NYSC is to emphasize the spirit of oneness and brotherhood among Nigerian youths irrespective of cultural or social backgrounds.

  • Have you achieved that yet?

Hmm, I’d say yea.

  • How have you achieved that?

I live with 2 boys, one is from Ekiti, the other Delta. Tribe isn’t a barrier when we relate and share life experiences.

We vibe and exchange cultural etiquettes. For example I now know how to board a taxi from my junction to Sango or any part of Ibadan without speaking a word of English. I think that’s it yea. (laughs)

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, do you think Nysc achieves it aim?

I’d say 5, because  people redeploy from places they are posted, to places they prefer. At the end of the day they miss the entire point of the service year. And this happens a lot. Plus nobody wants to be far up north.

So if the rest of the country is integrating and the north-east and north-west are left out, who would learn their customs and tell the rest of Nigeria that they are not all religious fanatics, herdsmen and murderers? Who??

So it’s a 5 from me.

  • What other way apart from NYSC would you suggest to promote brotherhood in Nigeria?

Since you asked, I want the “state of origin” scrapped from every form in the country. Why do you want to know what state a person is from? So you can favor some and leave others out? Like in the cases of university admissions.

In fact the rules behind it should be changed; if you are born in a state you’re an indigene of that state. I don’t see why someone who was born in the North, raised there, speaks the language, trades there and even marries and is raising his kids there should be asked to pack up and leave just because his name and that of his parents originates from a different part of the country.

It’s going to be a slow and gradual process, but it’s achievable, just look at the USA and Canada.

  • What are your plans after service? How do you plan on achieving them?

I am going back to Abuja. I have a computer certificate course I have to complete. During and after that I intend to start a channel on YouTube, I have too much in my head that I need to get out.
I don’t know the ABCs on how I plan to get the channel up and going but I’d need all the motivation possible.

  • Do you have any Suggestions for Nigeria Government on how to make NYSC better?

People leave their homes far and wide to go to a strange land and cohabit for a year. This is not easy. Most of our parents are middle class, and not the sexy kind. Please increase the allowance. Enforce the state allowance properly. And please make sure our PPA pays us too. We need all the help we can get.

Hilary Ikoku is a graduate of History Education from Nasarawa state University, keffi. A football lover and a game enthusiast (video and board games).

Give Hilary good music, food, and your Netflix password and he’d love you forever.


Would you love STATE OF ORIGIN scraped from Forms and Documents or not?

And why is that?

Personally, it’s a Yes for me.  What’s the need to remind one another that we are different?

Not Just State Of Origin, Tribe included.  I don’t think State of Origin, Tribe…  should be a criteria in writing Jamb, in seeking admission, in earning a Job and every other form that mandates you state your tribe. We are all Nigerians, biko.

What’s your opinion? State Of Origin removed from all documents or not?


Do You think it will make any difference if it’s removed?


Share Your thoughts below. ???


?, Zyzah.

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Azeeza Adeowu

Azeeza Adeowu is the curator of The Zyzah.
She's a Blogger, Storyteller and a Ranter.
If you don't catch her reading, writing, seeing movies or listening to a podcast, you will definitely catch her fangirling or stalking beautiful people on Instagram.

Read about me here: thezyzah.com/about

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  1. Avatar

    This is brilliant

    1. Avatar

      Thanks darling!

  2. […] You Live: Hilary Ikoku speaks on his NYSC journey. […]

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