NYSC Diary Day 5: What Did You Hear About Platoons?

November 10, 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.

5:20 AM

The sound of people wake me: “Dry clean your clothes, dry clean your clothes.” When I sit up to look, I see that they are men and young boys carrying white plastic bags filled with clothes to be dry cleaned. I fall back into bed and close my eyes. I am tired. I do not want to go to parade. I do not want to do anything. I simply want to leave this place. It will be a hectic day, I can sense it.

Last night, A. told me to help him get a bag of water. When I returned with the water, he had gone to the clinic for his night shift. A guy came to me for water, but I told him it wasn’t mine, so I couldn’t give him. He left. I also wanted some water, but I couldn’t take A’s water, it wouldn’t be right, since he had not seen it, so I left the water untouched and went out to beg for water elsewhere. Now imagine my anger when I wake up to find out that someone has torn open the bag of water and taken out of it. I rage, but F. tells me to calm myself; not everyone will be like me. I leave for parade still pissed.

Yesterday, Platoon 1 was in charge of everything: sanitation, kitchen duties, security, etc. At the parade ground, they are told that they performed badly. Today it is Platoon 2’s turn. I am in Platoon 2, and I know that this kind of thing na work.

7:45 AM

Work begins. I am assigned as the sanitation head, and told that everyone will be involved in the sanitation. The Platoon Leader deploys some people for security shifts. His assistant does the same for people who will be in the kitchen. Trouble is brewing. While we are taking the roll call, a lady asks me who made you secretary? Did they choose you in public or in secret? 

“Sweet baby Jesus, fight this battle,” I think to myself. 

9:16 AM

It takes working closely with people to discover their true characters. And in the few moments I have spent with the people in sanitation, I am starting to discover that many people are sweet and dedicated while some people, good as they may seem, are quite deficient in that moral nutrient called respect or courtesy.

10:03 AM

Breakfast is pap and akara. Honest to God, it is a great meal. I didn’t have dinner last night, so it’s a welcome relief. I mix in milo and some powdered peak milk. It feels like heaven.

Yesterday, I signed up to join the OBS. But while other camps just absolve interested members, audition them or something, our own OBS here is something else. We are asked to design a program, submit it on or before 10:00 AM, and then the man in charge will decide if we made it in or not. I submit my own assignment, help the assistant platoon leader to submit hers too. We wait to see of we’ll make it.

OBS is the Orientations Broadcasting Service, the body that handles media in NYSC camp.

2:00PM

Lunch is eba and egusi soup. I am in the kitchen, assisting in its preparation. I help to cut the pepper, wash the meat. I attempt to blow dirt out of the egusi.

While at this duty, I realise again that decorum is a costly thing when it comes to some people. Take this Bros for instance. He is loud and rude and every adjective for people who think they can talk, must be leader of the group they belong to, cannot listen to anyone’s opinion, cannot have anybody rule over them, and always objectify women. Picture such a kind of person. Add that he likes to talk sex and other lewd things in public.

He spearheads the conversation about ejaculation and kayan mata and girls he’s had sex with and will have sex with and so on. He sings Saheed Osupa (which I like, to be honest, because my Dad played his songs a lot while I was a child). He picks a fight with the assistant platoon head. He talks about her in third person: “Some people always think that…” You know, that kind of thing. We manage to curtail that nastiness. But little do we know that it will soon end in tears.

8:13 PM

This is dinner. Rice, stew and fried fish. People come out, get their food. Soon, food finishes. And here’s where the wahala begins, because NCCF people are only just leaving fellowship and coming for food. 

Now begins the talk: You Platoon 2 people are just worst. 

Didn’t you cook enough food?

How many people did you estimate?

What is the meaning of all this rubbish?

Platoon 1 was bad, but this one? Very very very very bad.

In this hot spate of public outrage, a guy throws away his food because he is not given a fish tail.

Wahala. The Kitchen Supervisor takes a picture. Tells us that definite actions will be taken regarding such terrible behaviour.

He also warns us: NYSC is a regimented camp. If you are in church at the time you should be getting dinner, then you should not expect that the rules will be changed for you. We will cook more stew, but this is the last time.

Remember Bros? Our loud, uncouth Bros? Well, when we took the leftovers back in, Bros picked up a fight with Assistant Platoon Leader, and there goes all our points for team loyalty. It is loud and nasty. He talks, Assistant Platoon Leader fires back. Platoon Leader who is usually calm steps in fires even more. Kitchen Supervisor steps in. Talks to Bros. Bros leaves in anger.

10:59 PM

We leave for the welcome party. Apparently, it is by force. Soldiers bar people from going into their hostels, chase people away from places where they loiter. We get go the welcome party and it is just like a children’s birthday party. When it finally ends like the show of shame that it is, I am the first to leave for my hostel.

You'll like this

Kunle Ologunro

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

Watch

Now on Zikoko

zikoko - third mainland bridge shut down
July 6, 2020

Breaking News: Third Mainland Bridge will be shut down for repairs from the 24th of July, 2020. This headline makes very little sense because Lagos has been on lockdown back to back for months. That’s months of nobody being out on the bridge, months that could have been used to do this maintenance work but […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

June 14, 2020

Have you ever been with someone so horrible that you swore to never date again? Yes? Well, do you know that one or more of your exes probably feels the same way about you? You never thought about that, huh? Thankfully, this quiz is here to let you know just how much of a hassle […]

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

More from Inside Life

zikoko - third mainland bridge shut down
July 6, 2020

Breaking News: Third Mainland Bridge will be shut down for repairs from the 24th of July, 2020. This headline makes very little sense because Lagos has been on lockdown back to back for months. That’s months of nobody being out on the bridge, months that could have been used to do this maintenance work but […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.
January 27, 2020
Nigerians Talk is what happened when a motley crew of young Nigerians were put in front of a camera and asked a bunch of apparently random questions about life, love, money and more.
September 24, 2019
A group of Zikoko staff go on a road trip to every mainland country in ECOWAS West Africa

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X