Opinion: 5 popular myths about NYSC camp

by Chris Izuchukwu Okafor

You’ve probably read a lot of thrills and feels, exclusively online, about the NYSC orientation camp- Except, of course, you exclusively do only WhatsApp data plans, because I doubt if any publisher will devote a paperback to those sort of things.

So, back to the story. The experiences you’ve  read about, and sometimes hear of ( mostly from those who are still jobless after the scheme)makes you wonder how such a time would be for you. So many young people in a regimented  “Camp”, thrilling social nights, screaming soldiers- I mean, there’s no better way of escaping the crazy everyday Nigerian realities. Well, this excludes the politicians obviously. Realities and Nigerian politicians are like snow and Africa, for those who don’t get the humour.

Moving on. You are bluntly excited about the experience, and you stealthily daydream about it, even if you do tell your friends you would have just preferred the darn discharge certificate, and that NYSC is a bloody waste of time, or productive man-hours (if you know your vocabulary well). This is normal.

However, for most of you who are overly excited; just as those Nigerians who had dollar accounts were when the Naira “fell”. Well, we sadly want to tell you that you’ve heard as much truths and myths alike, and I have decided to selflessly debunk the myths because I care. Well they say:


  1. Camp meals are very bad

More often than not, most articles you’ve read told you to stock up cash for camp, because the meals are horribly poor, tasteless and any one other type of easy adjective they can conjure up.

THE REALITY: Ok, agreed, Camp meals don’t actually best the meals you’d eat at tantalizers and any other fast food you’ve not really been to, but the meals are just as ok as what I’d call average. “Average” here means meals that are not cooked at Christmas, or Sallah, or any other special day that atheists choose as theirs. Shockingly too, 90% of PCM’S (please google this if you are not sure of what it means hint: it’s not premium motor spirit) don’t miss these meals in camp, except for the occasional meal preferences, which we still totally have at our homes. We know you love your mum, and you’d raise the world for her, but is it every meal in your house that best those you get at the mall?


  1. Mammy market sellers make a lot of profit:

I just figured some of you might not know what “ mammy market” is. Oh well; cheer up, you are not Google. You can’t know every thing.

Well, mammy market is a mini market, usually attached to military, or paramilitary camps, and at the NYSC mammy market; practically, everything is on sale from helping you mend your shoes, to literally helping you wash your underwears. Anything and everything- except hookers though, and porn too. oh! and explosives, and all other insane expletives your thoughts just drifted to.

Though, back to the crux of the issue. These mammy market sellers do charge a lot of money on the simplest of services and inflate anything you probably forgot to bring from home, and accordingly, like Nigerian consumers that possess no chill whatsoever, most PCM’S are bitter towards them, and usually rain abuses on their forefathers for extorting them.

THE REALITY: Well, it turns out they have little choice in the matter, as camp officers charge them almost equivalent to a year’s rent, for just a three-week event. The rent for selling spots are almost ridiculous, that the sellers channel their economic “anger” on the PCM’S. For a moment, just sit back and imagine that the rent charged was not so much, won’t it be a vice versa case.

QUICK QUESTION:  Are the rent charges remitted to the government? T.S.A is real. Hope this counts as whistle blowing?


  1. Camp officials are more friendly than the soldiers

Yes, relax, some soldiers are really mean. I am very aware of that. A little more than you. That’s why I avoided them altogether.

Naturally, the first picture that usually comes to mind when you picture NYSC camp, is how incensed soldiers chase graduates all around, reminding you of that police-catch-thief game you played during your childhood.

Nope. pictures may not tell the whole story, except you are called Olajumoke.

THE REALITY: more often than not, some soldiers have funny and doting sides. These characters may vary with other really weird idiosyncrasies though. The soldiers do push corpers and stretch them, but most times, they still laugh, joke around, and create a lively and whole atmosphere that really fill the whole camp memories you’d probably have.

Many memes and jokes about camp are usually about the soldiers. NOT CAMP OFFICIALS. Most of the camp officials are very perfunctory and don’t bring any “life” at all to the table. Many are also engaged in a never ending quest to remind corp members that they are “graduates too” or “were once corpers”. No body has ever or would ever argue this. Some, annoyingly have a begrudged low self-esteem, and impose themselves on very meaningless things in camp.

Of course, some of them are lovely people. very convivial. but just like the soldiers, there are different varieties of characters and one thing’s for sure. They will NOT be your knight in shining armour in camp.


  1. Sexual romps in camps are ubiquitous 

So you just checked the meaning of ubiquitous or romps on your mobile dictionary. Well, it doesn’t prove beyond all reasonable doubt that your school “helped” you in your WAEC English examination. No. Not yet.

Back to romps. There’s almost no article online about camp life that wouldn’t mention a very dramatic sexual experience. Yes! You are correct. Some of them may even sound better than Nollywood. The old Nollywood. Not the awesome re-branded industry now. Ok! So the love (romp) story will usually culminate on how both parties never saw each other again. Jeez. “Both parties” yes. There’s absolutely no threesome in camp. Jeez. Imagine the sorts of thoughts that cloud your mind.

Back to romps again. Anyhow, some of the stories will end up telling you of how the romps and romance led to marital bliss.

The Reality: Well I’m sorry to burst the bubble on this. I truly am. See. You may never see, hear or experience any of such. Why? Because you, my friend, are probably too lily-livered to risk decamping for a 7-minute affair? (16 minutes? 30? Dude, it’s not a contest). Decamping may be the next myth. No, don’t check. It’s not. Decamping is as real as when you’re debited by your bank when the darn ATM (yes! Saying “ATM machine” is wrong) refused to pay.

So most Nigerians are good inventors. No. Not of machines or robots, but of modern folk tales, which they solemnly fail to classify as such. They hear of one particular experience- the odd ball- and edit the story to various tastes which spread haywire. All I’m saying is sexual romps do happen but rarely. Truth is, even those that tell there’s usually not the other party around to corroborate the story. Please don’t check corroborate. Defend your  BSc/BA honourably.


  1. There’s a glut of tears during P.O.P

Finally, there’s also the conception that on the final day of camp, during the passing out parade, there’s usually an overflow of uncontrolled feelings, shedding of tears and you know, the normal narrative that involves the breaking of unmendable hearts.

The Reality: OK frankly, this is the rarest and I’m still doubting if people feel it happens. Well, people do cry, but it’s usually those that got a really terrible area or PPA and those whose PPA “runs” crashed, and they usually cry so internally that you may be tempted to help them let it all out. I’m playing way too much ain’t I?

But really, there are what we call mobile phones and of course social media. If you happened to hook up with your soul mate and you are posted to different areas in the SAME STATE, wouldn’t two of you find how to work things out rather than crying like he’s going on those famed Nollywood evil forest quest? If “Oracle” or “Ebube” flashed through your mind now, just know you’re supposed to be married at my time of writing this.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

‎Chris Izuchukwu Okafor is a storyteller, scriptwriter, content developer and Chinua Achebe Aficionado. When he’s not reading, writing or pontificating, he listens to Fela and watches Instagram skits- a lot more than his data would normally allow. He tweets via @lohs_21



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