Thursday, November 5, 2015

My NYSC Lagos State Camp visit

Hello everyone,

I had a visit today to the Lagos State NYSC Orientation camp (where "Twenty-One Days" all started) and I had the opportunity to address Corps members and talk to them about making the best of their service year and also developing/improving their skills while at it, by joining a SAED -Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development- group.

Winner of the "Twenty-One Days" Giveaway
It actually felt good going back, as many people recognised and remembered me, from soldiers, to book sellers, to photographers, to some mami market sellers- as the girl who always smiled and who also participated/contributed in almost all the social, sports and intellectual activities.

Once they saw a copy of "Twenty-One Days," as bulky as it was, the first question was always: "You mean you wrote this while in camp?" and "I hope you wrote nice things about us?"

My response, with a smile, was always "It's all fiction" :).
Only one soldier, who was assigned to my Platoon and who always saw me with a notebook said, "Congrats, you have finally published the book." While in camp, he didn't understand why I was always writing on everything I saw when I didn't have my notebook with me -flyers, newspaper page, serviette, on my palm- until I explained to him that I was working on a book project. He actually did give me some juicy information that I fictionalised for the book.

Anyway, most importantly, the reason why I was at the Orientation camp today was to introduce my little project, which is also a way of giving back to the NYSC, the youths and the community.

So here goes...

C. M. Okonkwo, in collaboration with the Champions Club for Writers (an initiative of the NYSC Lagos State SAED office, which will be facilitated by me from December 2015) presented its first ever short story contest... only open to Lagos State Batch B 2015 Corps members (for now). Given only 4 days, Corps members are expected to send in their short stories of not more than 300 words for a chance to win prizes and get recognised for their work.

I will be presenting the prizes next week and officially introducing my writing workshop to them. This is more than exciting for me as it is for those who showed interest in the workshop. I was also happy that I could inspire aspiring writers in all branches of Literature, as I love meeting people who are passionate about writing, especially creative writing, whether Fiction or Non-Fiction.

Umar is not letting go of the book :)
After my speech, which I thought was beautiful (I'm not blowing my own trumpet or "Bugle," I was told it was a nice speech. I had prepared a speech, but I went out there and free-styled it), I did the usual by giving out a copy of my book to a lucky Corps member.

I asked for the name of the SAED group dedicated to writers and Umar Ibrahim Babuga of Bayero University, Kano, was the first to respond.

With Dr. Elvis Ukpaka of VisionDrivers Consulting
After the event, I hung around for a bit and spoke to some NYSC officials and Corps members, and also answered some of their questions.

I also had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Elvis Ukpaka, CEO of VisionDrivers Consulting, who organises the Business Plan Competition in camp (I took 2nd place in the competition last year with my team members).

It was a nice chat which promises to be fruitful.

So until next time -prize giving day- you all have a nice day.

Thanks,
CMO.