HERE IS A TALE OF THE EXPERIENCE OF A NYSC CORPS MEMBER DEPLOYED TO SERVE HIS FATHER LAND IN THE LAND OF EQUITY KEBBI STATE.
Corpers wee!! Waa!!!?
Corpers wee oooooo!! Waa ooooo!!?
How is your moral? High!!!?
Are you motivated? Motivated, motivated, motivated sir!!?
Are you good to go? Good to go, good to go, good to go sir!!! ?
I impatiently waited for 18th of May 2017, a day I call NYSC judgement day (The date for the release of call up Letters), I selected “Oyo, Edo, Plateau and Kebbi States” but i was sincerely hoping i was posted to Oyo state, I woke up around 6:00am that Morning, refreshed my dashboard on the NYSC portal and much to my chagrin i had been posted to *Kebbi State* of all places! ?? (Egbami ke! What is a kebbi??) , i only chose that state to complete the NYSC requirements of selecting 4 states. I informed my parents about it and they were a bit sceptical but eventually they committed everything into God’s hands and preparations began in earnest for my journey to “The Land Of Equity”.
I left Lagos on the 21st of May and got to the NYSC Dakingari camp, Kebbi State on the 22nd of May after a very stressful 18 hour road trip?. We were welcomed with a thorough search of our luggage at the Gate by the security personnel, before being granted passage into the camp, this was around 1:30pm. We were allocated bed space, the room was overcrowded, 40 in a room, with four windows and two ceiling fans. (The Hostel master made it a point to reiterate to us that we were in a camp and not a 5-star hotel?). As i arrived camp a day before the official opening, i had a lot of time to properly secure my valuables and bond with my roommates (Male Hostel 1, Room 5). We spent the rest of the day getting acquainted and engaging in mindless chatter.?? Oblivious of what awaited us for the rest of the 3 weeks.
Early the next morning, we started our registration, which was another challenge on its own, mainly because it was largely unorganized , i started the registration process around 8:00am but didn’t end until quarter past 8 at night… It was that bad! I am still searching for that person that told us to do 15 photocopies of our documents each and 20 passport, I just want to inform him that the thunder that will fire him is still doing “Man O’ War Drills”?? i used only 3 copies each out of the 15 photocopies i made and 4 passport photographs, what am i to do with the over 50 useless papers in my file now???♂??♂ After registration, we were grouped into platoons using the last number of our state codes. I retired for the night extremely exhausted? hoping to enjoy a decent night rest? i didn’t know that was a septuagenarian dream.?
At exactly 4:45am the next morning, i heard a loud noise (The sound of the beagle is a highly annoying sound u hear which tells you to wake up around 4:45am, it is also been blown at other times of the day for different camp activities). I just hated that sound with passion??, Once you hear it, you can no longer sleep, cause the soldiers start blowing their whistles and shouting orders like “If you are still sleeping you are wrong”, “Jump up white Fowls” “Una day Assume ba” “Double up Otondo before i clear your doubt!” e.t.c. The day starts with the Morning Meditation, recitation of the NYSC anthem and the national anthem, a breakdown of activities for the day , address by the state coordinator and the camp director e.t.c. Lest i forget, do you know that Nigeria is a very lazy country? She wakes up by 6:00am and sleeps by 6:00pm. At exactly 6:00am the beagle is blown in a rhythmic fashion and irrespective of your position or what you might be doing at that particular time, you have to stand still.
Morning drills were interesting especially during exercise periods with songs like “Dem go born mumu 2x If corper marry corper dem go born mumu”, ” shoe get size, okirika get quality”, “Cha cha Rikicha, Chi Chi Di Bodi”, those Man O’ war guys have some lewd chants which could be irritating sometimes, e.g”when i see okpeke”, “Ngozi Open the door for me” and one particularly explicit one about them doing something to “Philomena’s Bossom” (I feel so sorry for the poor girl ?☹) and the best for the guys was “hold something” which involved searching for the girl with the biggest behind and grabbing it *shines teeth…. ??*. The Parade training was also hilarious to an extent, with different types of command like “Parade Shun, Squad shun, stand at ease, stand easy!” , “Parade to remove head rest (or was it head sense, hairdress or left brea*t?), 3 hearty cheers( some otondos would say “3 Architects”??) to the executive governor of bla bla state. Ol’ boy, we parade no be small!
Each Platoon were directed to appoint leaders, as the political animal that i am *winks*?, i contested and i won with a landslide victory!. Being a platoon leader is a Herculean task o? especially when you are leading people from diverse cultural backgrounds with different social views?, i practically did everything expected of a leader including shouting, cajoling and keeping my cool when necessary, platoon work basically took most of my time and i had no time to do my laundry, Thank God for those “Any-work-wash-clo-wash-cambass-boys”?? (they were life savers ). Being a platoon leader had it’s perks too because i was quite famous on camp (i had different nicknames e.g Landlord, Leader, Activist, Ebelebe, Smile), i had close rapport with my platoon officers and commandant which earned me some favours from them .
The most boring? routine at camp was the Lectures? which starts by 9:00am and ends by 2:00pm daily,? Just know that your village people are against you if you don’t have a seat, because you would just be regretting your existence??, most corp members use the lecture period to continue the sleep they were deprived of in the wee hours of the morning (They cannot come and kill themselves???) .
See me o! I almost forgot about the camp market popularly referred to as “Mammy Market”, My brethren! They overexploited us in that place o, prices of consumables were skyrocket high?!, photographs nkor? That one is a story for another day?, But we had no other choice than to spend our money. All of una way chop our money for mammy…. Diaris God oooo!!☹??.
The kitchen food was errrm …. Okay? (sheybi you remember that it’s a camp not a 5-star hotel?). The queue was extraordinarily long whenever rice was been served but whenever beans was served you would think 95% of corp members were observing the ramadan fast!??
The most interesting part of camp activities was the platoon social nights and competitions, My platoon won a good number of the competitions (e.g Mr Macho, Big,bold and Beautiful, Mr Corporate and Eating Competition), and we lost some, all the same we were the best platoon! (5 Platoon! No Impossibility! Ebelebe! Hey! ???✌????), if you day beef us ehn go and swim in river Niger???!!!
By 12midnight on the 12th of June, all boxes were already packed as corp members were eager to leave the orientation camp, to some the 3 weeks felt like 3 months, but to be honest ehn it’s not easy living a regimented life, been confined within walls can be depressing??, i sincerely feel empathetic to the plight of prisoners☹?.
The last day of Camp was filled with mixed emotions, partnerships had been forged, friendships had been created, acquaintances and memories had been made. Everyone were eagerly waiting for their Letter of deployment/redeployment (as the case may be). Luckily for me i got posted to an NGO in the state capital which primary focus was to ensure mass literacy for the less privileged and Almajiris. Some unlucky folks got posted to remote villages with no network signals and electricity (Stories that touch the heart???) while some others who expected to be redeployed got their request declined and were instead posted to their places of primary assignment.(Ntoor? , Ela Oju kan?, una wan run ba? Na lie! We are in this together?)
In Conclusion, The Camping experience was interesting, captivating, rejuvenating, exhilarating, (and any other positive adjective ending with the suffix “ting” you know ??) . Thanks for reading my long epistle!?, watch out for my *PPA CHRONICLES* .
*Mykel ‘Emkay’ O’lad*
*Gentleman Corp Member* ??
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