Blog Post: Service to Stars by Ope Odada @MrOdada

…“Growing up in the suburbs back in the early 90’s Nigeria sporting lumber jack shirts/ baggy jeans /ray ban (aviator) frames and moccasin shoes my grandma thought I was very wasteful , lazy and proud  I couldn’t have blamed her back then (what did she know she was a 50’s person and ontop of that living in our house) and I still don’t blame her now she has survived it all having been through a lot all these years and is still alive today (…living elsewhere of course). Anyways, my grandma complained a lot about waste as it applies with grocery in the house and waste as it applies also with spending time in front of the TV every afternoon watching BOP-tv or KTV she would scream at the top of her baritone voice “that butter is too much/too much milk/too much sugar/too much biscuits/the volume of the TV is very loud” etc…

But the one that really pissed my sisters and I off was when she complained about ‘toothpaste’ (like seriously I’m sure I was about 9yrs old at the time and so wanted to kick her old bony ass), she would say because we watch too much television we were being influenced by the tooth paste ads..In her opinion you don’t have to
spread the paste on your toothbrush the way it’s being done on TV that’s just for advertisement …”you children are being wasteful” she’d scream ontop of her baritone voice. It took more than a decade to finally relate with grandmas wisdom and literature on ‘waste and being wasteful’ and if you are wondering what SERVICE TO THE STARS (this content) has got to do with my grandma and waste.

Well as I wasn’t in the boarding house in secondary school and during my post-secondary education in the tertiary institution those things were still being supplied by my fol..(Never mind)…so it wasn’t until I got to Nasarawa state in February 2006 that I realized how important it was to manage; manage finances/manage time/ manage people and more importantly manage tooth paste. I learnt how important a “bar of bathing soap is”, I learnt that it was possible to cut open a “tube of tooth paste”, I learnt that Vaseline that I ever so detested as a child could be put into many other uses and come in handy (this is not a sexual statement *inserts BBM straight face here*) and I learnt again that a bucket of water was sufficient and all I needed to have my bath and take a shit! All of these I learnt during my youth service or how I’d rather call it my SERVICE TO THE STARS”…

SERVICE TO THE STARS:  Three part poem (TRIALS/TRIBULATIONS & STRENGTH) being excerpts by Opeyemi A. Dada during the passing out parade (POP) of Batch A serving CORP members of Nasarawa state in March 2006;


                             We all came from across the nation,
                             And got dress’d up in khakis n’ soldier boots,
                            From different back grounds n’ roots…
                        …We got posted to different stations.
                       “In service and humility we’ll serve…
                 …and the norms of our backgrounds we’ll preserve,
                      We all got introduced to a different kind of life…
                      … In preparation for a journey through its strife,
                       A new chapter in our book of life we’ve all began…
                     The challenges n’ struggles with the break of a new dawn,
                     “In service and humility we’ll serve,
                        Until we get honour n’ pride we rightfully deserve,
                       Welcome to the life of a youth corper…
                      …a once in a life time offer,
                        To give our best to the Nation,
                         And not relenting in any situation.
                       We all meet to part…
                        In this quest of various paths,
                       To give the best with all our heart…
                      To this nation without looking back,
                      This is our service to the stars …
                      Our history! Our future!! Our hope and our pride!!!
                      In reaching our daily stride…one step at a time.

                     I’m trapped in a foreign land…
                    …taking along with me my unhealthy habits;
                    As I wade through the sand in this land,
                My only companion being a rubber rabbit.
                I’m alone and without a dime…
               …definitely, these are trying times.
                  It’s like being put on a scale,
                And you’re being measured for your worth; these are not fairy-tales,
                 “In service and humility we’ll serve”…
                  Until we get honour that we rightfully deserve,       
                 And so it was that in a town of rocks (Udege-Mbeki);
                This young lad learnt how to be a Man.

               I was so cynical about living until now…
               Every day is pre-planned.
               From dusk till dawn I’m up till I yawn,
               The occupants of my mind at work…
               The tenants…Laziness has no luck,
              …I stay fazed in endless thoughts,
              With my mouth laced in cigarette butt,
              Up town to my town; at last I‘ve found the crown,
              King of sorrow…
              …there’s hope for a brighter tomorrow,
              Once upon a time in Nigeria a seed was sown,
              That seed has finally grown and has begun to bear fruits…
              A promising rendezvous that once ensured,
              That after all the labour must come the reward…
             …And so it was from pain to leisure,
             ‘Under the sun and in the rain’;
                A corps members’ story of glory and fame!!

The first part ‘TRIALS’ was written while I was in camp for 3weeks in Nasarawa state, the other 2 ‘TRIBULATIONS and STRENGTH’ chronicles post-camp experiences…looking back now I can see my mistakes and also my grandmas verbal warnings but the truth is the TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS have all made me find STRENGTH in life and love..I’m stronger now.

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