Thoughts of a young Nigerian: Diary of an 'Otondo'

by Yomi Kazeem

My NYSC story begins with hope.

A hope  that after my graduation, I was going to be posted to somewhere calm- a non-violent metropolis where I could be an upwardly-mobile young man. A place where I could be a creative free spirit, and despite these demands, I was very prepared to go anywhere to serve my fatherland…well, anywhere in Lagos!

Abia has no airport. It’s safe to assume the only thing that flies there are mosquitoes.

 Like most corps members serving or planning to serve, Lagos was my ultimate fantasy but come D-Day, my letter arrived and though I read Psalms and drank anointing oil by the gallons, I opened it hoping to read Lagos: ABIA!!!

 

I booked a flight to Owerri right after because as I heard, Abia has no airport. It’s safe to assume the only thing that flies there are mosquitoes. So I got ready, and went shopping, made my friends that got posted to Lagos feel guilty for leaving me and then I read all I could find about Abia.

 

 The day to leave finally came. I was prepared, after several calls and BBM chats to people who had served in Abia, I conclusively got a hang of it so I packed all the essentials; including shotput nylons. My family was present to see me off, mum was teary but  dad said “be a man,” my brother said I should have fun, sister was going with me to camp (we got the same camp) so there was nothing much to say to each other.

My friends who got Lagos felt really sorry for me, they kept sending sympathy and I miss you messages. At 7:30am, I said good bye to my beloved Lagos.

It was a smooth flight, well, that was till we touched down at the Owerri airport. I couldn’t believe my eyes! It’s hard describing it, calling this airport small would be an insult to the various boys’ quarters in Lagos! I would say it was a single storey building with a watch tower- that’s it-‘Welcome to Owerri’.

What was left was getting to camp in Abia. A chartered cab charged us N8, 000 with air-conditioning and N5, 000 without. Eh? I wound down the windows sharply!

Eventually we were in camp, I got registered, found a bed space and received kits. In no time, I had changed and was looking like snow-white in my white tee shirt and pair of shorts.

Friends and I decided to explore, we walked around the camp, taking in the sight and sound of what would be our new home for three weeks.

 Despite everything going on around me, one question kept giving me a headache: If they allocate 50,000 for every corps member’s outfit, how come it looks like something from Yaba’s ‘bend-down select’?

 

Follow Yomi Kazeem’s camp adventures on twitter @TheYomiKazeem

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One comment

  1. Yoni sounds like a very naive person…Young man not a very city in USA or UK has an airport. And now every mega city is like New York, please grow up more

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