The National Youth Service Corps is a scheme that was created by the federal government of Nigeria to foster national unity amidst the country’s ethnic, linguistic and religious divides. Since 1973, after Nigeria’s civil war, tertiary institution graduates under the age of 30, have been participating in a compulsory year of service to the nation. They are usually posted to cities and towns far from their state of origin. The aim is for Nigerian youth to experience and appreciate other people’s cultures in a nation where there are more than 250 ethnic groups. Amongst the objectives of the scheme are: to remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance and confirm at first hand the similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups, to develop ties among Nigerian youths, and to accelerate the national economy.

Since the creation of the program people who have gone to serve Nigeria have stories of all kinds to tell: some beautiful, others thrilling, many humorous, and a few others, rather undesirable. These stories have much to tell us about serving our nation, about contemporary Nigeria and what it means to be a young Nigerian, and the experience of being away from home in an unfamiliar place. They also explore the expectations that are placed in the scheme, and help us to decide whether the aims of the scheme have been defeated, in the face of the recent upheavals in some regions of the country. And they offer an insight into the unique voices of Nigerian youth as they come of age in Africa’s most populous nation.

Government Pikin is a new anthology which will be one of the first efforts to bring together non-fiction writing, poetry and photography inspired by NYSC travels, documenting the NYSC experience and the creativity it generates. We hereby call on serving and previous corps members to send us submissions (strictly creative nonfiction, poetry and photography) on their NYSC experiences.

The anthology, edited by an experienced editorial team, will provide a platform for both new and established writers and artists to tell their NYSC stories and reach a wider audience. It will be published in a digital chapbook accessible for free download, accompanied by social media publicity and a press release. The launch of the anthology is scheduled for 2018.

The anthology will be curated by Sami Tunji, a freelance writer and associate managing editor of Expound, founder of Artilogue as well as the Furaha Book Club, and Sanusi Anselm, a graduate of English and Literature who writes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. They both currently stay in Jos where they are observing the NYSC scheme. Their chosen submissions will be put together by the experienced editorial team of the Nigeria-based online travel journal Fortunate Traveller, including Tope Salaudeen-Adegoke, Rebecca Jones and Peter Akinlabi.

Submission details:

For creative nonfiction, writers may send a single submission of up to 3000 words as a Word document.

For poetry, writers may send up to three poems.

For photography, send up to three submissions, which should be captioned. All photo submissions should be high resolution jpeg or png files.

All submissions should be sent as an attachment with the subject ‘2018 NYSC Submission’ via email:

Please include a 50-word biography with your submission. We accept both unpublished and previously published work. Kindly inform us, stating the initial place of publication, if you are sending a previously published work, and demonstrate that you have acquired permission to re-publish the work, if your work is accepted.

Deadline: April 30, 2018.