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Every graduate of a higher institution in Nigeria has a mandatory one year service to render to the nation. This is also binding on Nigerians who studied oversees but who wish to return home and make a practice here. Within this one year, you are regarded as government property and treated as such. You are deployed to a state other than that of your origin, and assigned a job at any parastatal where you are expected to devote the next one-calendar-year of your life. You receive monthly stipends from the government, and a lot of business-motivational lectures. The government wants the Youth to be more enterprising than employable – and this is good. The thing however is that, for an Architecture graduate, One year is a lot of time!  You cannot afford to be away from Architecture for that long.
The Nigerian Institute of Architects, NIA is the governing body of Architecture practise in Nigeria. Working together with the Architects registration council of Nigeria, ARCON they regulate who can and who may not practise Architecture in Nigeria. As such there are laid down set of rules. In this, a very important requirement is a minimum of two years practise experience after obtaining the master’s degree. This may include your service year, - If you were attached to a registered Architecture firm with a financially registered Architect as the principal. After these two years is completed you may apply and sit for the professional practice examination, PPE. If you excel in this, then you are conferred the title of “Architect”, and you are entitled to a professional seal, a practise license (subject to annual financial renewal) and are now eligible to practise Architecture within the state of Nigeria.
This is why you cannot allow the service year pass you by.
-So what do you do? You act smart!
Find out which Architecture firms in town are hiring youth corpers. From them, find out which have NIA financially registered Architects as the principal. Get in touch with them early enough and inform them of your coming service and how you would like to serve with them. If they agree and possibly employ you before the service, you are lucky, you may get a package that is a bit higher than the regular service year stipends. But if they request you to commence only during your rightful service duration, then that’s still okay.
When you resume working there, you have just stepped into the next step to becoming an Architect, after the formal education. Your service year is just like your internship with higher responsibilities and much more maturity-on your part. You are also there to learn, but this time you are grown and have learnt a lot more than you knew then. The biggest challenge at this level is making ends meet. You typically earn little compared to all your dreams, so you are in a haste to get rich.
I was a victim of this misunderstanding. I was indeed carried off by monetary ambitions that I almost couldn’t keep up with my fundamental duties. It took a lot of re-evaluation and re-positioning to call me back.