Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Final Dress Rehearsal

After what was supposed to be a full year, I was done with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. It was a period filled with experiences that no doubt changed how I relate with/perceive people.

I had no idea of what to expect during service. I was the first to go through that path among my siblings and was deprived of stories of expectations/misconceptions of what it entailed. I was on my own [like most aspects of my life]. I had to cummulate experiences from peers, what someone in their family told 'em about the mandatory one year programme. Some were wonderful tales of how an individual would get to meet people and involved in sexperiences. Others were criticisms, how a year was wasted in an environment that wasn't stimulating enough to challenge the individual. I did come to my own conclusions though. One of them was, it was better to get posted to Lagos state, that way if the whole programme wasn't making sense there was a feeling of 'home advantage'. Since the posting of corps members was randomised I had little chance of achieving that, well, except I paid a staff to make that happen. In Nigeria, with money most things were

I sat for my final paper as a student of the University of Lagos on September 2010 and expected results to be computed by the institution early enough to make the [first] Batch A of the service which was March 2011. Due to incompetence, no one in my set made that batch and had to stay at home for the second/July batch B. While other corps members from other institutions where serving the nation we were expected to sit our ass at home to do...whatever. Presidential and gubernatorial election held in April which led to the unfortunate death of corps members recruited as electoral officers ['The Service' posted Friday, April 22, 2011]. There was a feeling it could have been any of us and maybe not making the first batch was a blessing in disguise to someone.

During the wait, my relationship with [Any] was at the lowest. There was an inverse relationship- the more she avoided me the more I fell for her. I knew the best way for me to leave the dark emotional state that I was involved keeping my distance. But we lived so close and that wasn't easy. The height of it all was a dream I had of her getting married to someone else ['Congratulations' posted May, 14, 2011]. I decided it was best for me to avoid influencing my NYSC posting... I would prefer to be posted as far away as possible from her. That would also make it easier to break all forms of communication. I knew she wanted to serve in Lagos and I now wanted out of Lagos, anywhere would be fine. By the time the call-up number was out around May, everyone I knew were making phone calls to people who could influence their posting. I didn't give a damn. Not everyone succeeded though, a lot got screwed with their posting despite paying up to 30 grand
['When NYSC Posting Fucks You Up' posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012].

Few weeks to service I had an appendectomy...the pain was so...painful? ['Buka pt. 3: This Is the Final Part' posted on Friday, May 27, 2011]. I had to seek out a source of joy to overcome it. The only person/source I could think of was [Any]. Somehow I believed she could make the pain go away. We had not spoken for over 2 months, not that I wasn't calling but she refused to answer. Lying in the hospital bed, I knew she was the drug I needed. I talked to a friend to pay her a visit, and he returned with the news that she wasn't in the country. I was lost...I felt so numb the pain I experienced wasn't by the side of my abdomen, but my chest.

The following day I received 2 text messages from an international destination [London], it was [Any]. That was more than the one I received while we were dat...fooling around. From that moment we spoke everyday regardless the distance. I was satisfied we shared things that were left unsaid during our first 'stint'. [Any] was to return a week before we both left for service. As much as I looked forward to her arrival I knew my past decision of not influencing my posting might backfire. My fear was what I earlier wanted, and that was being posted far away, coming true. I didn't want that anymore, not now that it seemed we were having a fresh start.

I was at her place when a friend called me to inform me of where I was posted. Her friend had called her earlier to give her the news she was to report at the Lagos NYSC camp, now I waited for my fate. I was posted to Adamawa. I had no idea where it was on the map but it sounded far. [Any] had been excited she got Lagos so I had to put on an "all-iz-well" look not to contaminate her joy. I knew one thing though, I was going to get redeployed to Lagos. I had no idea how but I knew the service wasn't going to come between us. People might various reasons for wanting to redeploy, mine was for a girl. We were to report to camp in less than 4 days and I told her after the 3 weeks orientation camp in Adamawa she should expect me redeployed to Lagos.

I boarded an IRS plane to Adamawa. I was disappointed with the nature of the airport. The baggage claim was like a shop and there was blackout. It was so small you could see the bags being moved from the plane to baggage claim. It was a true definition of a LOCAL airport. It was disappointing because Adamawa was the home of a former Vice President who was in power for 8 years. That gave me an idea of what to expect in Adamawa...nothing. I had to find my way to NYSC permanent orientation camp, Old Gongola Brewery, Damare, Yola.

One thing about Adamawa was you couldn't compare the place to Lagos on all levels. First, the land mass. Adamawa was so large a local government could be compared to the size of Lagos. Second, majority of the inhabitants were Fulani not Hausa. There was a different and a Fulani was likely to be defensive if she/he was called Hausa...

A lot of us that boarded that plane were corps members, I interacted with a couple of them to find our way from the airport to the orientation camp. We ended up in a taxi which we all split the fare. We paid N1,000 each, making a total of N3,000. I realised I could have taken a N70 bike for the journey. Transport was fucking cheap but those men obviously knew we were new in the state and decided to reap us off. I arrived in camp early, less than 500 of us had reported. Others decided to board buses which wasn't safe for a journey over 20 hours by road if you were coming from the west. Unfortunately few of them experienced tragedies. A bus conveying corps members was attacked by armed robbers as they were about to reach Adamawa. They were all disposed of their possessions and the females raped, except one that was on her period. You could sense the dark cloud as they walked into camp...there was no joy, hope, and bravery in any of their faces. The
females spent their 3 weeks orientation camp in the hospital with a few of them spending the rest of their lives with HIV.

From the first few days in camp it was obvious majority of us were only interested in redeploying. That was the trending topic for the whole camp period. The news of the raped corps members questioned safety; also there was the fear of Boko Haram. I googled 'Damare', the location of the camp and the news result was how the members of Boko Haram had organised a prison break in that town months earlier.

I had one redeployment strategy though; keep my ears to the ground for any camp official interested in the runs. Money was not an option to me; I would do anything to get back to Lagos to [Any]. The news was the redeployment process would commence in the following week with a medical screening. Any corps member with a life threatening ailment had the right to be redeployed. Most people camp with forged medical reports containing conditions even they couldn't pronounce. I was also one of them, it was epilepsy and asthma but the scientific name was something else. A babe came with a medical report stating she had anaemia, but her sexiness would give her away. She even contested for the Most Beautiful girl in camp.

The day of the medical screening was fucking hilarious. It was carried out in an open space with the camp officials to assess everyone that had applied to redeploy on medical ground metres away from the rest of us. We were called one after the other and walked to their table. There were people who put up Oscar performances on that day. A guy got a ventolin inhaler as a proof he was asthmatic. He was asked to demonstrate how he used it and he pressed it like a deodorant, everyone burst into laughter. It got to a point we all knew the medical screening was for 'record purpose' and wouldn't be taken serious. Even the doctors screening along camp officials, were also corps members and wanted to redeploy. By the time it was my turned to be screened it took 10 seconds, there was no time to waste. It was getting late and over 80percent of corps members were on queue. A chic did claim she was epileptic but was told her medical report must be from a Federal
Hospital in Nigeria, hers was from Ghana where she schooled. The girl explained but they did not believe her. The day she had an attack, she was taken back home with a first class treatment.

I wasn't interested in camp activities, to me it was one expensive dress rehearsal. Everyone had to wear a white top and shorts which wasn't cool at all. I, without a single regret, did not participate in any of their activities. I also did not take any pictures because there was no experience I would love to cherish.

There were a few pit latrines which over a thousand guys had to use. The food was crap, bed- crap, and the people...mostly assholes. There were a lot of people from places I doubt I would ever visit and they made me believe it was the right decision. Most of them were from the eastern states like Enugu, Imo, and Ebonyi. The intonation they had as they spoke their own version of the English Language got on my nerves. It was difficult to believe they graduated from a higher institution. Most of them attended the Institute of Management and Technology [IMT], Enugu, which they pronounced as In-ti-tute ef Man-age-mint end Te-ki-know-low-gy [Eye-Emu-Ti], Enugu.
NYSC was meant for youths below the age of 30 but a lot of these guys looked like they were supposed to be celebrating the Golden Jubilee with Queen Elizabeth II. Because their institution wanted them to serve they were given the same age across board. Every graduate from that institution was the same age, 26, including a man whose first son was in secondary school.

The camp was situated in a former brewery so instead of rooms we had our bunks where factory machines ought to be. Badly designed and poorly ventilated. My bed was at a corner, I occupied the lower section of the bunk...a decision that I later regretted. One night, the bunk at the end of the row where mine was tilt. That was the beginning of a domino effect as the bunks began to fall over and hit themselves. It ended with a loud bang on me as I laid flat in bed. There was no one to help as they all ran out screaming "Boko Haram". I had no idea what happened as I felt ache all over my body. I had to wait for the guy that slept above me get down. Somehow I squeezed myself out sandwiched between two bunks and placed my mattress on the floor to continue my slumber. The shock prevented me to rationalize on what just happened. I thought it was a dream as I woke the next morning but the swollen forehead I had explained it was real. I used the swollen forehead
to escape attending the next few parades.

I wasn't having fun at all. A guy who usually preached in camp approached me. He talked about how God worked in mysterious ways and my presence in Adamawa could lead to something great. He told of his disappointment when he read 'Adamawa' on his call-up letter but had come to accept Almighty God had a bigger plan for him in the state. I wasn't buying that shit though, I wanted out. I didn't see any purpose there.

My only interest was redeployment and a lot of people were not willing to help out. A lot of corps members were interested in it and claimed they had serious connection but they felt helping someone out might reduce their chances. I went ahead to talk to the state coordinator and told him I wanted to redeploy real bad. He dulled me, telling me stories about applying & following procedure. He appeared to be principled. Months later someone told me he charged ₦20,000 during orientation camp to those who wanted to redeploy. I wonder why this guy didn't talk then, I was ready to pay ₦50,000.
Three days before we left camp the first redeployment list was released. People ran to the notice board, a lot of them praying as they took long steps. By the time I got there I saw a guy struggling to have a look if his name was on it. It was the same guy that preached to me, that told me about accepting God's plan for his stay in Adamawa. He was one of the first set of people checking if he was going to be redeployed. He wasn't the only one that had earlier talked about their new found love for Adamawa that suddenly wanted to leave. The chic that won Most Beautiful Girl in camp also redeployed, and that was someone that won free accommodation for her service year.

Over three redeployment lists had been released and my name wasn't on any. A guy told me he could help me out for ₦50,000 and I paid without asking too many questions. Less than 48 hours left in camp and I wanted out so bad. I was that desperate to leave Adamawa, I wanted to be back in Lagos with [Any]. I talked to one of my friends in camp who I knew from the University of Lagos, his name on the redeplomemt list and he mentioned the person who assisted him. The person was a top NYSC official, I decided to call the people I knew that might know the one. Then I called a neighbour who told me he did. He added he also trained her few years ago for the job and that showed the level of relationship. Less than 48 hours after paying someone ₦50,000 for redeployment, the woman called me to come and pick up my redeployment letter for free. All the effort and money I had put into redeploying felt wasted. I mean, I ended up getting it that easy. I
ended up having two redeployment letters, although the guy I paid came with his almost 2 months later. By then I was in Lagos.

I did spend few days in Yola, Adamawa before heading to Lagos. I needed time and space to reflect on my time spent in camp. I stayed in a hotel for that period and was alone most of the time. I did meet corps members that we stayed in camp together. They were interested in hooking up with girls. One of 'em approached a female student in a higher institution to invite her to his hotel room, she replied she couldn't come that he was a "bad guys". He ended up picking up a Cameroonian sex worker to fuck, I had to admit she had ASS. Could I blame him? No. He had a chic he was romantically involved with in camp and they planned to fuck themselves silly after orientation. They were supposed to lodge together in the hotel and they did. Five minutes after he paid, the babe left for Abuja with two guys she recently met who promised to help her redeploy.

Anyway, most of the girls in Adamawa were beautiful, I mean, Fulanis were on point and the truth was most of them had no idea of how beautiful they were. There was this chic that sold pure water by the road side, all I could do was stop and stare. I knew if the babe was in Lagos, chai, no one contest. I stared in disbelief and was interrupted when a passer-by noticed and asked the babe if I was disturbing her. He spoke in their language but I knew that was what it was. There was an oversaturation of beauties and I got use to it fast.

I decided to return to Lagos by bus. It was going to be a 23 hours + journey. I felt I needed that period on the road to have one last experience. The fare was ₦6,000+, almost 7 times lesser than a plane ticket, yet, some people counldn't afford that and opted for 'standing'. Yea, there were people who couldn't pay for a seat and had to stand for the duration of the journey. They made me uncomfortable but who was I to complain. No proxemic rule of personal space was respected in public places.

I got to Lagos and hoped to see [Any] but it felt she had forgotten who I was. My main reason for redeployment was not interested to see me. I did visit her at home but she wouldn't come down, I was back to square one/level zero. It was as if it was written that I would never see [Any] during our NYSC service because that was what happened. She did talk to me on phone about [D]...her friend she met in camp and stayed with me for a couple of months ['The [D] Project' posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012]. We all know how that turned out.

Once again I had to come to terms [Any] and I was done for good.
Serving in Lagos came with experiences I doubt Adamawa would have provided. I found myself in an airline working with the admin manager. You could say I was assigned clerical duties; truth was the job discription wasn't specific.

I remember my 3rd/4th month [1st week of December] in the organisation, I arrived to meet armed police officers at the entrance. Their presence was a proactive one in case what was about to go down turned ugly. Over 20 staff received a 'service no longer required' letter which they had to open and acknowledge a photocopy. I was in-charge of making sure that was done and also collecting the company's properties like ID cards in their possession. The irony of it all was I use to work with these guys. They were all my superiors and I thought they put in a 110% in their work. I realised there was no one criteria when a company decided to retrench. It was like these people were randomly selected from a hat. For example, a staff that was on his final warning for misconduct and was schduled to face disciplinary committee for a new issue wasn't affected. In fact, his sack letter had been typed and signed in his file but wasn't presented to him. He kept his job
while those that had no issue had to go. Like a staff that loved his work, he would have agreed to a pay cut for the opportunity to continue working on the tarmac. Another staff was certain he was going to keep his Job three days after the letters were distributed and he didn't receive his. His wife and kids were in northern Nigeria while he hustled as the breadwinner in Lagos. The day he paid his landlord a year's rent in advance, he got his service no longer required letter. The man was close to tears. He kept emphasising why he wasn't given his letter earlier. "What am I still doing in Lagos?" he said.

The biggest surprise/lesson was the admin officer knew of the management's decision to retrench and told no one. I worked close with him and yet had no idea. That introduced me to the politics of the workplace. His reason was he had no assurance about his own ass. He told me about a massive retrenchment at Nigeria Airways. After the human resources manager had given out over 2000 letters, he was instructed to type one more, his. I learnt there was no job security in the organisation. For example, a cargo manager was sacked for no basic reason the same month he was hired.

The airline sacked over 20 employees and yet employed over 60 new ones. That didn't make sense to me. One of the candidates that came for the interview was the cargo manager that was sacked the same month he was employed. The Managing Director saw him and decided to give him a job on the spot for having the courage to come back to the organisation after what was done to him. The man was in tears as he had been unemployed since the company sacked him over 3 years ago.

The atmosphere the new intakes brought was refreshing. Mostly females...most of them sexy. One of them grew fond of me though, she was used to coming close to ask questions on things she was supposed to know. She was the first staff that I gave my Blackberry PIN and we chatted occasionally. One day at work I asked if she wanted to go to the bathroom with me. "It had to be the female one," she replied. 10 minutes later I was getting a five star rated blowjob. She took all the sperm in her mouth like she didn't want it to waste. She was impressed with my dick and told me her plan to book a room just to f*ck me all night.

As a corps member I had a day off from the craziness at work for community development [CD]which was at Ikeja Local Government 1. It was like a show because I met my other corps members and we talked about so many things but the discussion never extended beyond the gates. I had no idea of the names of over 96% of the people I interacted with weekly. I also had no idea of the local government inspector. I attended primarily to get my Community Development [CD] card signed as a proof of my attendance, which I heard was significant to get the NYSC certificate at the end of the programme. After the last CD of December 2011 I was approach by a female corps member ['Last Nigerian Virgin' posted Friday, March 9, 2012]. She was a girl who could go any lenght to prove to me she was a virgin despite her physiology stating otherwise the first time we fucked.

Like most public sectors there was corruption, and NYSC was no exception. The women at the local govt loved reaping us off. There was a time a louvre broke and we were all instructed to pay ₦100 each for replacement. My batch [B] in that local govt had over 1000 corps members so do the maths. They were involved in all sorts of corrupt practices and they became bolder as the service year came to an end.

I learnt from an official back in Adamawa they weren't paid as much. She told me a police officer was paid more than an NYSC official on the same educational level. For instance, while a university graduate with the police force got N80,000, their counterpart with the NYSC secretariat got N45,000.

As the month of final clearance approached, CD cards were being seized and the owners were being accused of forging signatures on the card on days they were present. True, there were guilty ones and ₦5,000 was what they had to pay after being threatened of facing a panel at the State Secretariat in Surulere. It got to a point these officials were rejecting ₦2,000, saying the amount was too small. I knew a corps member that wasn't guilty of forging signature because I was with her when our cards were signed by the official on that day. The official insisted it wasn't her and if she refused to pay she should present her case at the State Secretariat. The fear was the officials at the secretariat might be in on it and she would be the one to carry the cross so she paid.

There was this particular lady whose case assured me a lot of the people at the local govt were heartless and corrupt. She was married with kids and the husband was employed until he had an accident. A piece of glass was stuck in one of his eyes and they didn't have the fund for an operation. The family survived on the NYSC allowance she was getting. The stress at home made her absent from community service more tha average. The day she showed up her card was seized, her crime was poor attendance. She explained her predicament but the official wasn't interested, she wanted ₦5, apologies. The painful part was it was a low rank official that demanded the amount, an amount she might not be getting in a month she wanted it in a day. It was a corps member that at the local government who took the case to the LG inspector to explain and plead. Luckily she understood but the first official wasn't happy at all.

I didn't have full attendance but somehow I got most of the spaces signed. I was having a discussion with one of the female officials that day and she kept signing the blank spaces. I photocopied the CD card as a souvenir because I was told the card would be submitted along with my ID card to get my certificate. Two days before the final clearance I felt I was good to wrap up this service to my nation sh!t. The morning of my final clearance I couldn't find my CD card.

I had no idea what happened to it but I did not panic. I knew I would overcome...somehow. By the time I stood before the LG inspector for the final clearance I explained my situation and she suggested I get a new CD card and attach the photocopy i had made as a souvenir. Fact was I knew that would be solution but there was a 50/50 chance I would/wouldn't de exploited and asked to pay. I didn't end up paying and that was it. I was cleared and all I had to do was appear at NYSC Lagos Camp at Iyana Ipaja on Thursday, June 14th 2012 to collect my NYSC certificate. That would the last day I would put on the NYSC costume, the day of my final dress rehearsal.


  1. That's some long tale... and I read it all! Congrats on passing out anyways. Till it is scrapped, NYSC is a necessary evil :(.

  2. Thanks for reading. I had no idea it was this long. I just kept on typing on my phone.

  3. Interesting story dude.I read it all and it was what happened to ann eventually?did u eventually bag any babe as takehome from service

  4. Hey...nice interesting story..permit me 2 use dis wrds...well,I've bin posted 2 adamawa 2 nd itz scaring da shit outta me cos I'm using da bus.mst especially wen I read da raping scene...will definately redeploy..