From West To East (Diary of an Enugu Corps member)
By: Moshood Muhammed
Having relished the wonderful moments I had in camp, for three weeks, we were woken up on that day, 13th of February, 2017 by chants, choruses and murmurs of fellow Corps members who had besieged my hall of residence at the Awgu NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Enugu to submit their mattresses and get cleared.
The night before, the whole hostels went up in flames. It was a terrifyingly serious night. It was a ritual, by my understanding which replaced the popular camp fire night. Corps members from my hostel sang victoriously and joyously, in readiness for exit.
Prior to that day, we had been told not to leave the camp until we get clearance, as our Posting Letter would not be handed over to us should we fail to get the clearance. The directive made our hostel, famous but not notorious unlike the almighty Chime Hostel, Hostel K, a toast of all that day.
My hostel mates and I were adjudged very lucky, having escaped what would have been a nightmare and send forth stress of the camping experience.
I had to battle the mammoth crowd waiting outside the hostel to find my way out. As early as it was, like in every other days we spent on camp, the whole of the camp community had been thrown into a full scale market place. Everything and everyone had stood still and the day was up, as usual.
Like many other camps across the country, if you’re to visit the Awgu NYSC Orientation Camp by now, you will be welcomed by silence of a graveyard.
As quickly as possible, I left my bag with some of my roommates, including my co-traveller and colleague at the polytechnic, Taiwo Alani Oladele, to say the last prayer as an ‘Otondo’.
We finally made our way into the parade ground around 8am, where the Passing Out Parade was to hold. All Corps members were mandated to dress in their usual khaki trouser and crested vest, all tucked in.
It was an excruciatingly scorching and sunny day. Everyone took cover, as the pavilion could not take every of the Corps members present. Those who had taken covered were soon than expected chased out by the Regimental Sargent Major, Usman Dari. With than man alone, camp was fun.
Stubbornness undoubtedly is in the blood of many Nigerians, and usually more often than not, we don’t shift grounds on most issues until we are being forced to.
The RSM order was flaunted, but, he was thereafter assisted by some red wielding officers, who made all obey the order.
All Corps members were ordered into the sun which could fry dodo, except for a few of us, myself inclusive as “VIP Corpers”. Everything stood still until about some minutes past 10am when the programme proper started.
To be continued…