If you have served in Nigeria and spent some time in NYSC camp, you’ll understand how unpleasant the experience can be. However, for these few, they lucked out and found both love and friendship during NYSC. Here are stories of a few Nigerians who found love and friendship in a seemingly hopeless place:
Hannah, Iseyin camp in Oyo state.
I met him on our first night in camp, we were on the longest queue waiting to register. He asked me to keep his space while he made some business calls, I waited for almost three hours before I eventually left, I told him I was going to get food and I wished him good luck.
We met the next morning and I asked him if he was able to finish his registration. By evening he asked me to come and sit with him to talk and have a drink and we were there for hours till it was lights out, it was like talking to a friend I had known for a lifetime.
We eventually became inseparable in camp, we did everything together, the only time we were not together was when we were asleep. I’ll sit in his platoon even though I was in a different platoon and I used to call him my NYSC bestie still. I stayed in camp for him even when I had like three different Illnesses, refused to redeploy too, he did the same too. We’ve been together for three years and I’m not going anywhere any time soon.
Amaka, Cross Rivers Camp.
We met a few weeks after camp, I went to see my friend who was staying with a friend of hers. He was her housemate and we got introduced. I ended up spending the weekend there and we spoke for a while and got to know each other.
He tried to kiss me and I laughed and told him I wasn’t ready for that. He also laughed and apologised and we ended up having sex. I didn’t go back to mine that week because we literally became inseparable. We talked about everything and enjoyed each others company so much.
He was on the phone with his friends one day and mentioned that he was with his girlfriend and I was like “ehn?!”. After the call, I asked him why he told them I was his girlfriend and he went “come o, what have we been doing since?” and that was it. I had never felt anything like what I felt for him and we dated for 3 years before the relationship ended in 2019.
Kike, Jalingo Camp.
We met on the parade ground. We were in the same Platoon, I had seen him around and he was just this annoying person trying to form group captain (which he wasn’t). One day, he was trying to fix his passport to a form he was supposed to fill and I overheard someone offering him chewing gum to fix said passport. I had a glue stick in my fanny pack so I brought it out and gave it to him. He returned it with the cheesiest line “do you carry that around for sticky situations like this?”.He insisted that we have lunch at Mami market to say “thank you” but I said no. We got paired up to select a representative for the beauty pageant. Our Platoon won the competition.
We started talking a lot after that and we became inseparable and at this point, I wasn’t interested in a relationship because I had never been in one before and I wasn’t ready for the heartbreak. I was actually going along with the mindset of “whatever happens in camp, stays in camp”. We both redeployed and we didn’t expect to get the same State because I wanted Oyo and he wanted to remain in Abuja. Somehow, we both got Ondo and I was so distraught because I knew I had no excuse.
We officially started dating in February, almost 2 months after camp and we had our first official date in Abuja after we had left. I had travelled for my call to Bar and he was living there at the time. It was really cute and I remember walking around Abuja and window shopping furniture.
We have been together for 5 years now and we got married in October 2019.
Wilson, Benue Camp.
Her name’s Osemen. She was probably the second or third person I spoke to properly. I went to Benue not intending to meet anyone new because meeting new people and falling out of touch is really exhausting. Didn’t want to have to go through that. Somehow, and on some random ass day on the parade ground, some girl in my platoon started talking to me, and she introduced me to Osemen later that day- they were friends.
My first interaction with her was very funny. I said hey, and introduced myself, then stretched my hand to take hers. She was singing a song, and so she just left my hand hanging until she was done with the song.
The first evening we spent together, we started talking about music and we found out we both really liked Lana Del Rey, her album had just dropped. So we started talking about other artists and we liked the exact same people. I gave her my phone for a bit and when I got it back, I noticed she had added the Lana del Rey album for me. For some reason, I thought that was sweet.
If there’s one thing that started all of this- there was this evening we drank so much palm wine, and I had some beer before and after the palm wine and I got really drunk. Benue camp is really hilly for whatever reason, and I was drunk and not exactly walking in a straight line.
She held on to me while we were headed down for the social evening after dinner and all the drinking. I threw up that night and she was there for me as well. That was great. I had my other babes there as well but I seemed to connect with Osemen the most.
We spent so much time together after that- practically every day. We watched movies, ignored all the lectures together, everything. She’s been helping me with my relocation since we left camp, it’s something that has been stressing my entire life but she’s really pulling strings for me, and following through.
Nonso, Shagamu Camp.
I was at the gate waiting to fill a form, I didn’t have a pen with me and was looking around to find how to get one. Someone eventually offered me a pen and while I was using it, the pen got snatched from behind me, a bit of an unusual situation, but that was how we met. It turned out, the pen was hers and she really had to use it.
I met her again on a line, I did small shakara for her when she tried to shunt the queue. She recognized me and told me she apologized earlier although she apologized again, said she had been very frustrated from the whole registration process and was very cranky. I kept meeting her at different times.
She introduced herself to me and realized we had a mutual friend. I thought she was dating him, I eventually asked him if they were a couple and he said no that they were friends from university.
We got really close after that, we spent a lot of time together during our lectures, shared meals together and meeting her made the entire experience worth it for me. It has been a few years now, and although we are not together anymore, we have since remained best friends. She is getting married in a few weeks.