Thursday, February 02, 2006


It all began one humid day in the month of March. My friends and I received our posting letters and prepared to spend three weeks at the temporary Lagos camp at Iyanu-Paja. We packed up buckets, plates, cutlery, bed sheets, towels, toiletries etc. and made our way down to 'downtown' Lagos. It felt like we were 10 and starting secondary school all over again. The three weeks were a trial...terrible sanitary conditions, heat, heat and more heat but it wasn't all tears and torture. For some of the few days I managed not to escape from camp, I had a good time eating, drinking and dancing at the mami market, meeting people from all sorts of backgrounds, convincing the camp commandant that 'foreign corpers' were not all absconding, and that I actually slept at camp the whole time, generally having a laugh and hanging out. The escape attempts were perilous involving exchange of cash, impersonations and if you were really unlucky Nysc court to defend your case. It would have been easier to spend the three weeks with a bugle waking one up every morning for jogging and daily devotion, but where's the adventure in that I say? Nothing can compare to that adrenaline rush when some of us had to escape through the lonely back way with overgrown bushes in the dark. Classic

The next stage involved working at your designated place of assignment while attending community development (CD) one day a week. Of course the day had to be Friday and the chosen CD group was drama....lets see this involved going to the local government to assemble, gist for a while sign out CD cards and go home or back to work depending on your company’s leniency. Our drama group participated in 2 or so events before I gracefully backed out and joined a special CD created for mentoring secondary school kids. We worked quite a bit and played even more as we didn't need to appear at the Local Government anymore apart from once a month for clearance that one actually worked that month and general CD for all CD groups. It was an interesting group of people and we did have some good results. This part of the exercise made the whole experience worthwhile and not so much of a sham.

Finally February came and we finished off the bureaucratic process of filling a thousand and one forms and signing as well as obtaining various signatures. That one thing about NYSC, nothing is easy, every process has twenty steps. Everything is manual and paper based. The final week has come and gone, we got on uncountable 'queues' (Nigerians don't understand the word, and the saying if you can't beat them, join them soooo applies or u'll end up waiting forever. It's survival of the fittest over hurr), practiced marching for the passing out parade, listened to talks here and there designed to prepare us for the real world. We 'voluntarily' (I use this very loosely cause there's a thin line between that and blackmail for the Certificate) paid for year books, donated to foundations we did not support etc. etc. all in the name of this flimsy certificate that bears my name and the year I served. If I lose this certificate, that’s it! Only one copy will ever be made, so you see it’s so precious.

My dad suggested we take pics with me in my uniform and something to do with Guardian Newspaper…I zoned off. I choose to believe he was joking.

To those of you who had to stay back 2 more months for various reasons including, getting pregnant, forging the ZI's signature, not going through the monthly clearance or attending CD, not being fully kitted at the appropriate time, etc. My heart goes out to you.

For the rest of us, it’s all over! We are legal working citizens in our country! I can apply for a job with a fatter salary package! We never have to see Eti-Osa! We never have to sing:

Youths obey the clarion call
Let us lift our Nation high
Under the sun or in the rain
With dedication and selflessness
Nigeria is ours, Nigeria we serve. (Or as some said sarvvvvvvv)

To you all, a hearty CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!


Just Thinking Out Loud! said...

I wish I could be as patriotic as you are to Nigeria. Remembering the potential that country has and the current situation of the country makes me very depressed.

Nneka's World said...

Hmm NYSC sounds very interesting from your own view. I have heard of horror stories from people who went through it and my dad has been telling me to come and do mine.
We will see about that

Olawunmi said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! you paint a somewhat romantic picture of nysc. if my experience turns out to be different i will come and pay you a visit!!!!

so-obscure said...

From your account, it seems nothing has changed...
Most of us passed through these drills; but i still can't see the usefullness of this NYSC without any fire-arm training...the government should incorporate that- then, we will know we are militarily trained.

Thanx for visiting my blogsite!

LondonBuki said...

Congratulations Eni!!!
I hope I will never ever ever have to go through this! x x x

TaureanMinx said...

@ JOL..I'm just doing what should be done. Be optimistic, changes could happen

@Nneka..It really isn't that bad. The stress is in the slow and rigid Nigerian procedures and I'm glad its over but no regrets

@Olawunmi..I can only vouch for Lagos lol

@ so-obscure..I don't think thats the point, the point is service to your country in any form, be it farming or voluntary work etc. Im not sure I'd have liked shooting in close range to potential psycho's.

@ mummy's girl...thanks love!

LondonBuki said...

The name is now oju81 ;-) I'll forever be mummy's girl though.

Onada said...

i think i would have needed to escape every night! I can only imagine the experience. sometimes i sit and listen to my cousins talk about their boarding school experience and although sometimes horrific they definately had fun! I'm jealous!

Anonymous said...

i definitely enjoyed my camp in yola despite what others say.