A September to remember



I spent the better part of September in Benue state and as others before me (one of whom was Uche Nworah, he served in the same state thirteen years ago) I’m glad to say it was one of the best three weeks of my life. Some of you guys were all AIDS and HIV before I left but all I can say is I had me some good pounded yam…but over there they do produce an awful lot of coffins though.

The orientation exercise held at the Government Secondary School Gboko and I won’t be far from the truth if I said I enjoyed every single moment. Yep: the drills (jogging, marching, field exercise, endurance trek and military lifestyle), the snapping of random pictures, the social events (cooking, dancing, shows, football, volleyball, cultural dance and drama), the lectures, the mammy market chillings, the registration and allawee line hustles, the early morning wakes, the Gboko youth business sense; damn that was the life. I participated actively in camp and in my platoon activities. In fact I was sort of a busybody…in a good sort of way though. I read my platoon’s morning meditation (if you consider the fact that we had ten platoons of about one hundred and sixty five corpers each it’s something to be proud of) and I acted in my second drama ever, getting what you could call a standing ovation. Dude my platoon rocked, it’s a pity that the divisions for the rest of the service year is all about LGAs (Local Government Areas) and zones.

In the past three years I’ve never gone more than five days without accessing the internet but in Gboko I spent three weeks offline with only occasional newspaper reads for info and I didn’t feel like I was missing much! Mixture wise for every two female corpers there were three male corpers; the Yorubas dominated and some Muslim chicks with their hijab on 24-7 was something else. But we all had fun, shit felt like one Nigeria. I’ve never made so many friends or met so many “correct chicks” in such a small space of time like I did in my Gboko stay. And it was easy because every one was in a friendly state of mind. For the guys if you couldn’t step your game up during that period than believe you me you’ll never be able to do so anytime or anywhere else!

Upon leaving the camp the Batch A corpers in Ukum LGA (where I was posted to for my primary assignment) transported, housed, fed and guided us on our next moves. That was pure love right there, especially as we were no better than illegal immigrants who just came into new land at that time. It’s a favour I’ll never forget. Now that the camp is over I wonder how I’ll spend the next eleven months in Zaki-Biam (the town made headlines in 2001 for its massacre by the Nigerian army). Anyways if Mandela is still breathing after twenty seven years in prison then I guess all will be well with me.

Holding the NYSC flag on Mount Mkar (destination of our endurance trek), 21st September, 2006