Before You Go For NYSC Camp

A corps member once told me: “AbdulMalik, if you do not enjoy the NYSC orientation camp, then you can never enjoy anything else in your life.” This was two years before I was called to serve my Fatherland, and, with each passing day, I longed to share in his testimony. 

The longing was intensified when my elder sister came home from camp a year later with bedtime stories galore of how fun-filled camp was. She also brought home a VCD to establish the fact and further ingrain its authenticity in my mind. It was in this state of mind that I embarked on the same journey last year, and, upon returning home, I…

Before I continue, this post is basically for prospective corps members, certified corps members, and ex-corps members who’d like to  spend some time reminiscing.

Yes, upon returning home, I realized that… that there were countless plasmodia (malaria parasites) in my blood stream. One more thing, I realized that FUN IS RELATIVE; CAMP FUN IS RELATIVE and is dependent on the kinds of people you meet there and how well they are good at playing their respective roles, which begs the question: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT ARE THEIR ROLES?

1.  LAND GRABBERS: The only reason I’m starting with these set of people is because they showed me PEPPER in camp. In fact, pepper is an understatement for what they showed me. And I can tell you categorically that, if you’re posted to certain states that are yet to receive God’s blessings in the areas of toilet, you’ll witness the wrath of the land grabbers. 

Since there were no useable toilets then in camp, we took our dumps in the bushes. Practically, everyone has his own portion of land (it was not as if the camp management allotted it to each person o, we just decided which portion is ours in our mind). Now imagine a situation where you wake up one day and you need to take a dump and you’re so happy because you have just cleared your portion and you stroll down to your land in that state of mind, only to find out that someone has already built a castle of shit on your portion, or you meet a person building on your portion and you tell him: “Guy! Na my place be this na.” And he looks back at you and tells you: “Guy! You carry land come from your house?” or “Na your papa get land?” And, because the land is for the federal government and that guy displaying his creativity using his shit on your land is, just like you, one of the numerous children of the federal government, you cannot do anything.

2. POLICE AND THIEF EXPERTS: These set of people sowed the seed of the Police and Thief game when they were young and reaped its fruits during service year. And the fruit is a sweet one. I know this because I was a police and thief expert and I was one of the grand masters in camp. I’d say that this set of people are the creative set of people in camp. Below is the explanation of some of our skill set.

a. Feasibility study/survey: This involves discovering and studying the hidden routes to your hostel or the routes less travelled by camp soldiers.

b. You have to be well versed in the art of scaling fences: This is so because you never can tell when you’ll meet the door to the hostel locked and you’ll need to use the window. If this skill is not embedded in your traits, then you can be sure that the hurdles you’ve had to bypass while sneaking back to the hostel will be for naught.

c. You have to be smart: Being foolish is the bane of this art. To be smart, you have to go to camp with a kaftan that you can easily wear on your white uniform to disguise as a citizen of Mami market. You have to go around with drugs so that you can easily use sickness as an excuse for not being on the parade ground. You have to sleep in the down bunk after sneaking back into the hostel and keep the lights on so that soldiers won’t suspect anyone is in the room… and you must pack all your load beside you on the bed so that when soldiers eventually come in for inspection, they’ll think you’re one of the bags. For effectiveness you need to have a mosquito net as it aids invisibility. BUT BE CAREFUL NOT TO SNORE, ELSE, YOU’RE OFFICIALLY RUINED!!! 

d. You must be faster than Hussein Bolt: In case your skills fail you, there’s usually a way you go about it and that is to run like our next breath depend on it. And if this fails you, too…THEN YOU’RE MORE THAN OFFICIALLY RUINED…AND ALSO TECHNICALLY RUINED. MY ADVICE FOR YOU IS TO QUIT POLICE AND THIEF ALL TOGETHER. YOU’RE A DISGRACE TO OUR CLIQUE.

3. CHURCH-INOES: These are the ardent church goers, the prayer warriors of the generation. They are the people that will never stop speaking in tongues as though it is their birthright. They are the ones that will debar your successful initiation into the police and thief academy as they keep preaching to you and telling God to change your life because you are a sinner for not dying for Nigeria under the sun or in the rain. They are also the ones that will sneak into the hostel occasionally (not all of them, though) and they’ll even pray before taking the illegal nap and you’ll be lying down in your own down bunk wondering whether God will accept their prayers or not.

4. COMMEDIANS: These set of people have different levels. If you’re so lucky you’ll meet one of their grand masters and your days and nights will never be void of laughter. 

5. THE FOOLS: This set of people are divided into two: THE ACTIVE FOOLS and THE PASSIVE FOOLS. It doesn’t take a scholarly degree to recognize the active fools. They are Nigerian students you’ll have reasons to doubt their certificate in the areas of intellect. You’ll surely know them by their speeches. The most annoying of their trait is that they argue over things they have little or no knowledge of. There was a guy in my hostel who was telling some of our mates that America has a weapon that could turn every human into dust on the press of a button, and those people believed him because they are the passive fools and they cannot reason that his claim was more like giving America the power of creation. Even the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidents didn’t destroy the whole of Japan. 

They are the ones that will tell you Goodluck Jonathan is better Muhammadu Buhari and when you ask them how, they will tell you: “I studied Political Science.” Please what has that got to do with the question? Does studying political science make you an expert in Nigerian politics? And many more of their foolish talks and acts like that.

6. BEGGARS: This set of people can beg for ANYTHING. When you see them, don’t think! Just run! You might even need to scan the room to be sure they are not present before you open your nylon of garri or before you bring out your bag of sachet water. This people, if given the chance, will beg for your beards just to ask a girl out. 

7. SOLDIERS: These are the law enforcement agents on campsite. Their power, however, is restricted in the camp. They are not allowed to beat anyone but you don’t want to cross their paths. In fact, it pays to have a good number of them as friends if you want to get away with crimes. They are also the whistle bearers, the double-up commanders, the punishers, and they could be the most detestable set of people on campsite. 

This is where I’ll stop. I wouldn’t want to kill your adventure with comprehensive details. There are other sets of people, though. Among them are the big boys and girls, the students with annoying accents who call themselves foreigners just because they schooled in Togo or Bene republic or Ghana, the Mami marketers, the real thieves, the educated prostitutes and so on. IF YOU HAVE ONE OR TWO THINGS TO ADD, IT WILL BE MOST APPRECIATED. THANK YOU. I WISH YOU A WORTHWHILE CAMP EXPERIENCE.


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