…And I became a Corps Member!
Right from time, I have always been a lover of adventures; wandering and trying new things have been my interests. Alas! A mandatory opportunity surfaced. It was a deployment to an unknown land within Nigeria, under the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme, 2016 Batch ‘B’, Stream II.
My deployment was long overdue according to many. Then, its arrival was well welcomed and ‘celebrated’.
Owing to many assignments that had beclouded my schedules while waiting, I joined the very early bus on the day the orientation camp was to open, with the hope of landing by afternoon, so as to be able to do the needfuls – registration.
My sojourn was preceded by ‘serious’ preparations. Though, I had a few days to put things together in preparation, a style synonymous to NYSC orientation camping and deployment, but, all was put into it.
Travelling the many hours journey was such a wonderful memory; at least, I did what I loved doing. We, the prospective Corp members journeyed through a very rough and pot holes ladden roads, from Abeokuta up till around Ondo. But, our fate changed from that point on, as we were well embraced by well dualized and constructed road network all through to Edo State.
Without being sentimental, the road network, journeyed through to Edo State from Ondo-Ore was motorable. The hitherto complainants cum apprehensive passengers on the latter roads had a nice time, sleeping soundly while others chatted joyously.
Our source of joy, the good road network we enjoyed was slightly affected in Edo State. No thanks to the terribly bad road network. Having scaled few states from the Gateway state, we arrived safely and soundly at Delta, Asaba to be precise. We had a stop over to get some good food and relax.
Barely had we parked the car before we were swamped by traders and food sellers like bees, seeking honey; they were hailing and greeting us by nearly the same chorus, ‘welcome corpers’. There, I became suspicious of the sudden royal treatment and reception we were accorded.
Meanwhile, we had no issues settling down, as most of the passengers with whom we were travelling had been complaining of hunger.
Like hungry Lions, we all settled to see the menu list. But, as a conversant to a few Igbo meals, a selective one at that, I felt reluctant to make an order. There, my personal grudge arose.
A co-traveller and colleague of mine back in the polytechnic, with whom I was travelling ordered semo. After seeing what he was served, I was fascinated, hoping to be convinced of availability of good meal at least, by sighting. Don’t mind me. When I see good meals, I know one. Thereafter, I followed suit not knowing more was still in stock for me.
Having lived all my life in the Western part of Nigeria, I knew from the onset that it would take some time, if not a whole lot to adjust to the way of the people in the East, particularly Enugu where I was travelling. The truth is, my life, like everyone in my shoes had been so configured to the norms, values, tradition and everything that we do in the Yoruba land.
Based on that, I battled a whole lot of unsavoury thoughts whilst preparing and some of the thoughts made it a bit difficult for me to order for food at the first instance on getting to Asaba in Delta State while we were travelling.
With was I was served, a wrap of Semo and Egusi soup, poorly sauced with a mal – nourished slaughtered meat, wasn’t sure whether it was cow or goat meat, I concluded it would not go for more than one hundred and fifty naira or two hundred, at most. But, there came a shocker. The semo in which I got not more than 8 morsels from and the soup was for three hundred naira!
Like a castrated dog, the bill was settled and I hurriedly in company of a host of others left the place unsatisfied, while few of my co-travellers scrambled for tom-tom sweet, complaining of irritation, after the meal.
Many, I inclusive thereafter settled for the roadside bush to urinate while few others relaxed to their respective seats, in continuation of the journey. Atleast, we had refueled our arsenals with few morsels. I must tell you, as unsatisfied as most of us were, that meal took us beyond Anambra state. Person get choice?
I am one person who would never do that kind of a thing. But, because in Nigeria today, many things are not the way they ought to be. Unabated lawlessness have become trends. That scenario lends credence to the popular maxim; “when the preferable is not available, the available becomes preferable”.
In one of my conversation with some friends some days before my trip, I told them of my disagreement with those who are of the view that nothing is working well in Nigeria. The inquisitive ones sought to know why I said so, I told them corruption, insecurity, bombing and arrays of illegal acts are examples of working men in the country.
We sped off the road side canteen and bid Delta State a farewell, onto Anambra. Though the road was not so good from Asaba where we had stop over, but, the roads we plyed in Anambra were better off. That is one state which boasts of infrastructural facilities. They were soothingly constructed and added beauty to the state.
Moreso, the very long and mighty bridge, which welcomed us to Anambra is one that you need see. I’ve always seen that kind of bridge, but on the internet and perhaps the television. But, the government of Anambra, courtesy of NYSC gave me the opportunity. Never blame me; I had always been mummy’s pet!
On the streets of the popular market, immediately after the bridge, I saw people, young and old, men and women doing their business. Igbo people from my observation are business oriented and can dedicate the whole of the life on what they do. I call them ‘the industrial engine’s of the country called Nigeria. I give them the kudos.
Asides our Igbo brothers and their South-South brothers, the Hausa’s are another set of people who are very hard working people. There is no job they cannot do, as long as it fetches them money. Unlike majority of our brothers from the Northern part of the country, I hold serious sentiment against the Igbo people. These people are readily ready to convert every of the slightest opportunity available to cheat you. And this is one thing most Nigerians hold against them.
In not less than three occasions, we had to ask people for direction on our way, after introducing ourselves as travellers, in a not too long distance, none of those we met, mostly bike men demanded less than a thousand naira. The first of such experience was at a bus stop before the Anambra Orientation Camp. We were trying to ascertain how close we were to the state camp; we were told by the bikers that we had a very long way to go. But as destiny would have it, an NYSC official showed up and put us through. My people, it was just about 7 minutes drive!
The same thing happened in Enugu town, and Awgu, our destination.
At about 8pm, we landed at the Enugu State NYSC Orientation Camp host community, Awgu. The local government is one of the biggest, in my own view in the Coal City State, which has Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Gburugburu) as her Chief Executive Office and CSO.
We were hugged by darkness, as the power company held its supply. But, NYSC made us smile; we met power supply on camp, but we had to battle sternly looking security operatives at the gate. We were thoroughly checked!
The camp experience was wonderful, tasking and superb. Different folks came together.