Posted by trae_z on 17th November 2012
So feeling lonely with my girlfriend away at her place of primary assignment, Sugabelly the returnee from the US grumbling about her orientation camp, Asteroid the entertainer finally happy to be mobilized for NYSC and Temidayo influencing her posting to Oyo State for fear of Boko Haram; I couldn’t but reminisce about my own corper days.
Upon finally securing release from an extended stay at UNN I was posted to Benue State to serve my country for the duration of a year starting from September 2006 till August 2007.
Camp at the Government Secondary School Gboko (…or was it Government Girls?) as I’ve said so many times before was all fun. I like to consider it one of the best three weeks of my entire life. Melting pot of culture, meeting people from all over the nation and all what not.
When the magic of camp ended I was posted to Ukum Local Government Area to teach, at a newly established catholic boys secondary school called Holy Ghost College Sankara. The school was a humble setup, though impressive and promising. It was founded by a returnee reverend father. I think I was carefully selected to be posted there being that I was catholic (funny thing is that I consider myself agnostic these days), along with a quiet Port Harcourt chick called Kome.
I initially looked forward to the experience but on learning that there was no GSM network coverage yet at Sankara (as at then) and that our accommodation was piss poor and far off from the school premises and from most other corps members serving in the local government area I contrived to get myself rejected and moved down to Zaki-Biam (the main town in Ukum LGA) to see what I could do with myself for the next 11 or so months.
The proprietor of the school wasn’t happy at all and reported me to the NYSC office at Makurdi. After a summoning there and some motherly advice from the NYSC official in charge I returned back to Holy Ghost College Sankara.
The high point of my stay working at Holy Ghost College was an excursion with the boys to different places in Benue. We visited a farm run by an Irish or so reverend father who had lived in Nigeria for over two decades, we also visited the state run radio station at Makurdi. And it was great seeing the excitement in the boys’ eyes most of whom had never set foot outside Ukum LGA. But sadly as the young and heady days of Trae often went I fell out with the proprietor over salary issues as he didn’t want to pay up all that was due. I couldn’t care less and moved back to Zaki-Biam with all pleasure to stay with my guys there.
Sankara was a bordering town to Taraba State, Wukari Local Government Area in particular. Wukari being much more developed than Ukum and nearer than Makurdi I planned a visit there with Kome for sightseeing purposes and to be able to browse the internet. Yes, those were the days cyber cafes held sway before the profligation of 3G services.
I still won’t ever forget calling my mum (or was it she calling me?) at the Zaki-Biam market right after we came back from our Wukari trip. It was about 2 weeks or so to Christmas and it was fun speaking to her and prepping up for the holidays. That was the last I was to ever hear from her as she died on the 15th of December. It was a car accident very similar to the one I survived four months back. She was going to Gwagwalada in Abuja and had a head on collision with a tanker near Giri. I got out of mine with fractures and a temporal dysfunction to my eye…but she never made hers. Rest in peace ma; love you forever!
The burial followed in the East in January. After that the rest of my service year was basically on-site ghosting and community development work. I found myself on the road a lot and visited Abakaliki in Ebonyi state to see a dear friend. I also hanged back in Abuja for a while cutting my teeth in the job search game.
Still I was in love with Benue and came back where I immersed myself studying for the NIM exams with Chimezie, making all night calls to my phone buddy Bendra and generally having fun with the guys.
The POP passing out parade was fixed for august and we all said good bye to Ukum LGA and relocated to Makurdi. The final days left a tear in my eye, after collecting my discharge certificate I couldn’t but hug all my close buddies wishing them well in the future as we didn’t know if we’d ever see each other again.
On the night of my discharge I hung out with my man Kelechi; our then senior corper as he was privileged to serve and be retained by Ecobank. I also drank my first full bottle of Star that night and got slightly tipsy. Yes I was a good boy like that.
The closure part is that someday in my lifetime I want to return to Holy Ghost College Sankara, see what it has become and make amends, putting in back my 2 cents in cash or kind. Jah bless everyone!
Parade ground posing with Miss NYSC and Osowo
With Dupe, Bukky and the Covenant University crowd at Mammy market
Beautiful people. With Ngozi and Michael
Niggies! Osowo, Dude, Candid and I
Endurance trek movement with Osowo
Loving the NYSC flag at Mount Mkar #EnduranceTrek
Chilling with the guys after CDS. Trae, Abayomi, Chimezie, Oteiku
POP day, with my orientation camp crush Abiola
POP day, Ukum LGA guys with our ZI
POP day, posing with the Covenant University and friends crowd