Well, how do I start, Let me see,
yeah Camp was ..oh boy.. what an experience, sadness, laughter, Joy, all
kinds of emotions pass through my mind as I reminisce, let me start from
the very beginning.
camp at Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos State is situated away from the nerve center of
the densely populated city. I don't know why, but I guess it's just to
keep the corpers focused on their mission at the camp. I arrived the camp
a day after we were told to report, and I immediately felt the pain of
such a decision. The facilities were ..umm...well... let me just say
very inadequate compared to what one was used to in school. The parade ground, hostels
(very inadequate, considering the number of corpers allocated to each
kitchen, dinning hall, Orientation Broadcasting Service
(OBS). sports, Man 'O' War drilling facilities
were the major landmarks of the three-week orientation.
arrival at the camp, signaled for me the commencement of what you'd term
"stress". Even the registration of "Jambites" (First
year students) in the universities and polytechnics was not as frustrating as it was before the swearing in. Allocations of bed space and
collection & collection of kits was something else, anyway I passed
through all that not without sweat anyway, as I was hustling and jostling
my way to get what was meant to be mine.
we had been sworn in by the Governor of the State (He didn't show up, but
was represented by one of the state commissioners), it now dawned on the
commandant and his boys to go about the usual business of inculcating discipline,
selflessness and dedication under the sun or in the rain (those words!!!).
Those who were not used to rising from bed at 4:00am had their sleep broken by
the noise of the bugle to prepare them for the early morning exercises and
the usual singing of the NYSC anthem, the drills
commenced which predominantly was jogging and other physical exercises
including the Man 'O' War exercise. After three to fours of perspiration,
we were allowed to take a ridiculous rest, bath and breakfast in 30
minutes and assemble back for the 2nd segment.
segment was absolutely military regimentation and indoctrination.
"Left,right", "about turn", "preshon" "tanda
hai". All these commands
overwhelmed my academic psyche and one felt like a graduate army officer.
(Not that I'm complaining, after all I went to a military school, so I
guess I should have been used to that kinda stuff, but hey! it's been ages
since I was on any type of parade, so... anyway..story continues)
Endurance trek would remain in the memory of corp members.
Command Secondary School, Ipaja is a reference point in this regard. About
members trooped out of the camp for a trek that lasted about 9hrs
covering about 30km. I guess this was the turning point for corpers psyche
as everybody began to
count down to passing out day, when they would regain their freedom. It was
not all drills afterall. The bars and joints in mammy market hosted a lot
of corp members for post dinner pleasures. Some in the process, drank
themselves silly, but it was all good clean fun.
drama, cultural dances and inter-platoon sports competition added a tinge
of excitement to the entire camp activities. While we watched wonderful
dancing steps from each platoon, we also has interesting drama
presentations from each platoon which projected the love and unity among
corp members. The Gala
Night produced the "Miss Camp" with some rib cracking side attractions
the camp fire climaxed the activities. A huge bonfire burnt till dawn
as corp members danced round it.
Then came the tragic explosions at
the Ikeja barracks, with bombs going off (a night before the end of the
orientation) and people running helter-skelter (not that one knew where to
run to, but there was no other option) It was a sad and very scary event
which I'm not going to forget in a hurry, but thank GOD we survived.
after, the Orientation was declared closed by the Governor, (again
represented by someone, I wonder why he didn't come...hmm... oh well) there was
a mixture of sadness, joy and mixed feelings occasioned by the posting to
places of primary assignments. There were loud cries from those that were
not happy with their posting and laughter from those who saw their posting
as gold mined areas.
However, the whole camp was
quickly deserted, with everybody hurrying to their places of primary
assignment so as to settle in as quickly as possible.
All in all, it was fun, Well to all the "Ajuwaya" of 2001/2002
set, congratulations on
a successful service year.!