NYSC Diary Day 10: How Do People Have Time For Cultism With Camp Stress?

November 15, 2019

Everyday by 12pm for the next 21 days, I’ll be telling you what life is like at NYSC Camp. I was posted to Borno State, but the camp holds in Katsina state due to Boko Haram insurgency in Borno. You can read all the stories in the series here.

6:30 AM

Technically, we are now edging towards the second half of NYSC camp. Today is the 10th day, and in 11 days, I will be back home. The routine is pretty much the same: early rising hours, soldiers banging at doors, the bugle blowing like an annoying thing that it is, morning meditation, parade, etc. 

Something new happens this morning during meditation: four people are called out, and the camp director announces that the police will help them pack their bags to the gate.

Ghen ghen. Do you remember Bros? The one who caused trouble in the kitchen on the day our platoon had kitchen duties? He is one of those called out, and this is when everything goes skrrr. We are told to continue with our activities, but who can do that? We listen for our numbers on the roll call, but all the while, our eyes and ears are trained to the place where the people to be sent out of camp are being interrogated. Eventually, I learn that Bros fought with a camp official and when he was told to keep shut, he kept at it, asking, “Do you know who I am?!”

For minutes, we keep up our banner of pity and make excuses for Bros: Yes, he is lousy, but can they please be merciful? They should pardon them na, as per first time. In a way, I think that this is the reason why Nigeria is slow in attaining change. We hate an attitude, and when such an attitude receives its due, we make excuses for it.

All of us in this country should please pick one struggle, abeg.

7:50 AM

I am on air today again, and it is fun, as always. I join U. in presenting the Current Affairs and Today in History segment. At the end, K. and I get the tag which declares us OBS members. This is the tag that grants us access to get out of parade and other duties, except duties coordinated by devils in guise of soldiers. OBS does not mean you’re not going to do other things, we have been told. But then one can be disobedient once in a while, yeah?

When I get the tag, I tell K., “Let’s go and paint the town red.”

Breakfast is pap and beans, and like the first time, I achieve an orgasm as soon as I taste my beans. It might not be your taste, but one man’s vegetable salad is considered goat food by another man. 

9:50

SAED lectures again. We learn about digital marketing, which I find very interesting. Interesting enough that I do not sleep a wink, and I attempt to answer a question on browsers and search engines. At the end, I am given a knapsack which is something I have always wanted since.

10:01 AM

We begin our work of baking. Today, we’ll ice it. The instructor dishes out the procedures which I won’t share with you, because if you want to know, you sef come to NYSC, Borno camp. Yep, I went there.

Note this: anytime it comes to free food, people lose consciousness of their humanity. You should have seen some of these fine girls and boys shouting because of a slice of cake. Hard guy, hard guy but ordinary cake and home training goes on flight mode. Tueh.

2:00 PM

Lunch is tuwo and okro soup. For me, it’s a 5/10 sha; I would like a bigger meat, please.

We return to the parade ground to fill out a form called certificate form. More like sign it, actually. A passport at hand, and a scan of our details to see if they are entered correctly. Mine are.

6:00 PM

Parade is winding up at this time. It is a mess, but also interesting. At the end of each day, it feels like my arms are about to be torn off from my shoulders, all that marching and swinging of hands.

An interesting thing has also happened: the camp commandant said our level of indiscipline is appalling, and he too, is up to the task. In his words, “If you say you are a cultist, me too I am a night crawler.”

Me I was just surprised sha. Like, people actually have the time to do cult inside all this stress? Them no dey tire? Nawa o.

Anyway, it means even more strictness: no black tights for ladies, no below the knee shorts, no three quarters, now we have to leave early for parade, get up earlier from bed or risk being told to do frog jump.

9:15 PM

I’m at the compulsory social night. Me I don’t know when party became by force to attend o. But sha, I am having fun. If not because of the interesting-ness of the drama and dance, but because of the obvious discrepancies in their play. Because how can you have a Yoruba king who has an Edo queen, both of whom have an Igbo son? How do you explain that?

God safe us.

Kunle Ologunro

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