Saturday, 9 November 2013

The NYSC Orientation Camp Diary of a Corper - Part II

I joined Orientation Broadcast Service (OBS), the radio house of the Camp. OBS opened me to a whole new world of broadcasting. News compiling, editing, including all the technicalities of broadcasting in that small community called Orientation Camp. Going from end-to-end trying to get news details and reporting in the office for other assignments wasn’t a small task. In no time, I became the Welfare Head of the OBS. Additional responsibility, but that seems to be a familiar terrain for me, hence I flourished easily in that capacity. Many joined OBS for several reasons ranging from parade and drilling abstinence, posting opportunities, redeployment offers, etc, well, I joined because I wanted to contribute my quota to the success of the Orientation Camp beyond the limitations of platoon presentations and competitions. In my sojourn in OBS, I sent a couple of shout-outs to UItes home and abroad. Soon, I made friends first in OBS, in my platoon and then in fellowship.
One major programme of the Orientation Camp I detested was the Seminars and Skill Acquisition. It just bores me…and at this juncture, I must give my deepest appreciation to MTN Nigeria, network always so effective in the hall…so Corpers just PING their way all through the talk sessions. As an OBS member, I was always at the technical stand, so I get to charge my phones as I enjoy the social network applications on my berry. Lectures ends 2pm and God help you if your food flask is not nearby to get your lunch instantly, you’ll have to queue for a long time not forgetting evening parade commences by 4pm (without stories). Evening parade is always 3hours. i.e. 4pm till 7pm. Fellowship starts 7pm daily, so immediately you collect your food (dinner), it’s straight to fellowship. When I say fellowship, I mean NCCF. There are only 3 bodies permitted on Camp. They are NCCF, NACC and MCAN. NACC is the acronym for Nigerian Association of Catholic Corpers. MCAN is the acronym for Muslim Corpers Association of Nigeria. NCCF, is the interdenominational body of Christian Corpers on the Camp. So wherever denomination you belong to, forget about it for that one year and let’s unite the body of Christ as the Christian Corpers that we are. Having everything in common and doing everything in unity in obedience to Christ. This became the daily routine for everyone. But just when boredom began to set in, things took a different turn.
Going into the second week, platoon presentations and competitions started. Well, I wasn’t so interested in the dance, the fashion, Miss this, Miss that, Mr. this, Mr. that…I was only interested in a few things, Football and Cooking Competition. My platoon was not a star-studded platoon so we had to fight our way through to the finals. Unity was the key! We played as a team with yours truly scoring some vital and important goals to push the team into the final. Well, we were pimped to the trophy by a goal scored from a controversially awarded penalty. It was heart-breaking but I took consolation in a call-up into the state NYSC football team. Why my Dad didn’t allow me engage fully in soccer while I was growing up, still beats me. In the cooking competition, my platoon came first. We cooked one kind of rice called “Tanzanian Rice”. When a lady in my platoon suggested that stuff, I felt like slapping her. After cooking the food and the general food for the platoon which was ofcourse Jollof-rice, in annoyance and shame, I left the venue before the judges came in. I couldn’t stay to see the look on the faces of the judges when they see and taste what a whole platoon is presenting in a competition (Tanzanian Rice). It was therefore a surprise to me when I woke up the next morning to the news that my platoon had won the cooking competition.
While I was popular as an OBS member and also in my platoon, I was the gentle lad in fellowship, sneaking in and sneaking out immediately service ends. The only unit I joined was Drama, probably because of the Creative Thinkers (the drama unit of my fellowship, WCF on campus during undergraduate days) influence. I loved our rehearsals, it’s always fun and intriguing. Our ministrations were always power-packed. I just didn’t want to be noticed especially as I was running away from leadership positions (I needed rest and a break from those, I thought to myself). It was a surprise to me when I was summoned for an interview. I deliberately came in my soccer boots and jersey for the interview to serve as discouragement. I tried as much as I could to be polite during the interview and after the session, I felt I had escaped.
I was dumbfounded and astonished therefore when my name was called up amongst the Central Executives of the Nigeria Christian Corpers’ Fellowship, Katsina State Chapter on the last Sunday on camp. During the introduction, I had to ask again what office I was called out for…and was told it’s General Secretary. When opportunity to serve God comes, I grab it with both hands, I know what happened to Jonah, I don’t want part II of that.
On the final night on Camp, at the variety night in fellowship, we were served chilled Tea and biscuits. At this point, we all had forgotten how good tea tastes due to the error we had been served for the past 3weeks. The Tea served was very cold and tasted so good that even in my calm and quiet attitude, I drank like 4cups…now imagine how many cups other active corp members drank. Returning to my room that night, it was shouts and disturbance in the hostels. Anxiety as regards posting and eagerness to leave the orientation camp and start exploring wouldn’t allow you sleep. As early as 2am, Corpers had started returning their mattresses and dressing up in preparation for passing out parade. We eventually finished parade around 12noon and posting letters were distributed. Surprise, intrigue, fear of the unknown, joy, tears…those were the expressions I read on the faces of the individuals as they collected their posting letters. I smiled when I saw mine. I was posted to a private establishment in Katsina town. Some of my friends relocated, some into villages and towns and others into ministries. Goodbyes are always hard to say…but we just had to depart. We said our goodbyes and headed in our different directions.
Orientation Camp was fun and intriguing. Actually a lot went down in those 21days within the walls of that Orientation Camp, language classes which we made fun of, swearing in and passing out ceremonies where the Governor never showed up, the Director General’s visit to our camp and the anticipation of his N38,000 allowance increase announcement, bicycle and transport allowances (N1500 and N1000 naira respectively), the fights on the queues. Not forgetting the first allowee (N19,800) paid a few days to the end of the Orientation Camp which Corpers lavished on wholesome meals at the Mami market and some friends exhausted over the weekend.
All in all, Orientation  Camp was interesting, fun and eye-opening, making friends with soldiers and military men. Did I mention we contributed a huge sum of money in my platoon and after doing all we planned and set out to do, we had like N24,000 left. Whatever happened to that money??? *PicksUpPhoneDialingPlatoonLeaders’Number*…I’ll be back!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

THE NYSC Orientation Camp DIARY OF A CORPER...Part I

There is a thin line between Euphoria and Reality…that line is called EVENT. The long wait between graduation and Call-up (November – February…seems like eternity) coupled with the euphoria of serving my fatherland jolted to reality when I saw KT on the NYSC posting list that cold night at Niser Park in University of Ibadan on March 01, 2013 by 8pm. At first, I tried to picture KT as somewhere else, but then reality kept hammering KATSINA! KATSINA!! KATSINA!!!  In a rush, the prayers I had prayed incessantly in the recently concluded Winners 21days fasting and praying came rushing to my mind. “…Lord, I do not bank on ANYBODY but You, as regards my Service Year, let Your will be done!”. In that moment, joy filled my soul…an assignment beckons in far away North. I put a call through to my Dad (who had been working Abuja), he was stupefied and together with mum could only give parental blessings.
I’m not the type to sit in a bus for long hours, so immediately I got back home, I made my flight bookings. 3rd of March, 2013, 9pm, I left home for the airport bidding family and friends goodbye. In my mind, I knew there was no reunion for the next 365days except calls, SMS and social networking. I met a fellow UIte at the airport, Busola by name and together we boarded the flight to Kano early hours of Monday, 4th March, 2013. All through the flight, I peeped through the window and all I saw was arid land stretching kilometers.  Fear gripped me as I tried convincing myself we were still in Nigeria. Landing in  Kano, I bid Busola goodbye as she headed towards Jigawa ( I didn’t even collect her number) and took the first cab to Katsina. That trip was like the “Israelite Wilderness Experience”. Dry land, dry rivers, dry water-ways…and I felt I should have taken a truckload of LaCasera along.
I arrived at the Camp Ground and since the camp was to commence the following day, I sought refuge at the NCCF Family House. NCCF – Nigeria Christian Corpers’ Fellowship (well, if you are a Christian Corper and you don’t associate with NCCF, then you don’t know what you missed/are missing). Very early the next morning, we (new otondos) were brought to the Orientation Camp Ground as early as 7am and guess what, I was given tag no 224 despite arriving that early. Before entering the Camp (there was a queue at the gate), all prohibited materials were seized from Corpers. Although I had no exhibit in my luggage except a stapler, favor found me and I was ushered in without a search.
First thing to do (as I heard) was getting a mattress and a bed space. Off I went, and guess what…toast bread is actually thicker than those mattresses. They were like the thickness of a higher education exercise book. Well, it’s better than sleeping on the iron bunk or bare floor, so I grabbed the neatest I could find, secured a bed space and headed for the Registration hall. I was on the queue for over 3-4hours before I could commence my registration process. After completing stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, I was directed to the platoon officer’s office for the 5th and final stage of registration where I was to collect my training kits and meal ticket. Getting to her office, I met another queue…I almost cried! You mean I have to queue here again? To make matters worse, she had informed the early arrivals that she won’t be around until around 3pm. I checked my wrist watch, it was past 12noon. Choi! I will stay under this sun for the next 3hours? I glanced around and saw people chatting and gisting, apparently departmental mates from same school. Despite the fact that 93 UItes were deployed to Katsina, I was the only Computer Scientist in my class posted here. I was all alone to myself in front of the store where we queued and I watched as other platoon officers carted away the best of the kits for their platoon members. At this stage, the only reason I didn’t curse my platoon officer was because I lived the life of Christ.
She eventually arrived around 3:30pm, at that time, my eye socket were almost popping out due to hunger. I had been offered food earlier by the NCCF people which I rejected due to the euphoria of resuming in camp. Now, I wished I had eaten the food. By the time she arrived, most of the good kits have been carted away. I eventually got my kits around past 4pm. No sooner had I gotten my kits than I heard the beagle blown. At first, I was wondering what that was for until I saw soldiers running towards us with sticks, batons and whips sending everyone to the parade ground. Hunger disappeared instantly. I maneuvered my way to my bed space, kept my other kits in my bag, hurriedly changed to white shorts, shirt, socks and tennis and hurriedly joined them on the parade ground.
Chants of Parade Attention! Stand at ease! Attention by Number! Filled the air. Ofcourse, only intellectuals like me got it first-hand, others thought they were saying Praysion, Sanda-is… On and on this went till 7pm when they finally released us. At that point, I was crying within but smiling outside. I couldn’t attend service (fellowship) that night due to fatigue. I just went to Mami Market, bought a drink and collected my dinner (something that looked like rice…couldn’t tell in my hungry state), ate and went to bed instantly.
Immediately I closed my eyes (or so it appeared, cos it was so fast)…I heard the sound of the beagle calling us out for early morning parade. Again? Half asleep, half awake, we dragged ourselves to the parade ground. You dare not walk because the soldiers were ever at your heels. The call was for morning devotion, prayers and meditation. As soon as the Muslim corpers joined us, early morning drills commenced. Drilling went on till 9am. Breakfast was almost served immediately and you don’t want to miss it no matter how bad it was. They said they served bread and Tea, but I think I ate stone and hot sandy water. The bread served was as hard as you can imagine and the tea, well, whoever called “SUCO” (sachet tea) “Eruku Oshodi” certainly has not seen and tasted the tea served at Katsina NYSC Orientation Camp. I just knew I took hot water with something inside. Food at the Orientation Camp here was bad or ‘badder’ than you can imagine. Although the food was a disappointment, yet the Tuwo Shinkafa served is a meal I earnestly look forward to. Always a delight to eat that meal in the night. A lot of people fell sick and hospitalized due to complaints from their body system. Thank God for the kind of system he gave me, I eat anything, anywhere, anytime, anyhow…without adverse effects. Glory be to him for that. So any form their meal came, met my wonderful system just on point. be continued

Part II:

Monday, 29 April 2013


As it has been said over and over again, the concept of marriage cannot be over-emphasized. Marriage is a life-long affair and it’s disheartening to know that many people spend YEARS studying Cats and Lizards in the University, spend MONTHS preparing for wedding and did not even take time out to prepare for marriage. In preparation for marriage, there are books you need to read, effectual fervent prayers to pray, lives you need to study and above all things you both need to talk about before you say “I DO”! Communication is a very essential factor if there will be understanding between 2 or more individuals.
Therefore in preparing for marriage, here are a few things you need to talk about. If these things can be TRUTHFULLY discussed, then the decision that follows will be in the best interest of both parties. Let’s take a walk as we go through some of these itineraries:
Ø  Intelligence Level: You will be discussing issues together in marriage so you both must consider each other’s intelligence level. Communication cannot be effective if the husband is talking in one direction  and the wife is talking in another direction. Intelligence level however is not a function of academic qualification, but of attitude towards mental development.
Ø  Family background: How will it affect your relationship? Family is something you both cannot do without even in your relationship. Make necessary findings about each other’s family background and trash out every necessary detail before proceeding. No time for shock discoveries after wedding.
Ø  Formal Education: What is the height of Education attainable and obtainable. How further do you wish to go. Let this issue be discussed before proceeding. No time for strange ambitions later on in life. It may cause damage in the home.
Ø  Verbal Skills: How vocal is your spouse? Are you the talking type? Is your wife also the talking type? No one wishes to talk to an image or deaf and dumb. Communication is effective when both parties are deeply involved. Also when you attend functions, if your partner is the talking type, be ready to also talk. Desire for verbal intimacy – Women love to talk, can you comprehend such as a man?
Ø  Expected Goals: What do you expect of her as the mother and father of your children. No room for shockers in the future. What is the drive behind those goals of his/hers. Let everything be clearly spelt out and accepted before consent is given towards a future together. Values and Goals. Your controls. How best do you control yourself?
Ø  Submission views: What are her views about being submissive? If she won’t allow you talk, air your views, succumb in an argument, etc. Brother, take heed, it’s possible she’s not the submissive type. Learn and make a decision if you are still willing to go ahead.
Ø  Number of children: When married, how many children are you both willing to have? What Family planning methods are you willing to adopt. Are you both willing to have a child immediately after marriage. If not, what happens if she immediately take-in after wedding.
Ø  Child rearing views: We were all brought up differently, so we all have different views about Child up-bringing. Never assume that your ideas about the issue is the same to avoid clashes in marriage. It won’t be nice if the husband is training the child in a way and the wife is bringing-up the child in the other way, you’ll be causing factions in the family.
Ø  General Views: What are your Mental, Psychological, Social and Emotional views of life. How does life situations affect you both. There are people that can cry their heart out just because there was earthquake in China, to avoid amusement during marriage, discuss these things thoroughly.
Ø  Sense of Humor: What appears as a joke to you, does he/she see it as a joke too? Do you have the same sense of humor or you both don’t even have a sense of humor. Then get ready for dull moments in the house. Your children will seek fun elsewhere or keep to themselves much if there is never a lively environment in the home.
Ø  Punctuality: This is a very vital issue that needs to the trashed. You’ll both be attending functions and events. What’s your view about “African timing”? There are situations where the man drove to an occasion that both of them were planning to attend just because he has been waiting in the car for the wife for over 30minutes.
Ø  Dependent Level: Are you the dependent type. How dependent will you be on your spouse. If you are the highly dependent type, then that means your partner must not stay away from home for too long (if at all he/she will need to travel), else there will be a collapse.
Ø  Conflicts: Occasionally there may be conflicts, talk about how to resolve it. What are the things you both can handle? Talk about your strengths and Weaknesses. What are your fears? What can your spouse do to appease you when you are angry. How can he/she increase the anger.
Ø  Handling friendships: How do you both handle relationship with the opposite sex even after wedding. Jealous things. Are you the type that your husband must NEVER hug another lady after wedding? Are you the type that your wife must not wink at an old friend? Talk about these things.
Ø  Multidimensional relationship: With God, Spouse, Parents, Siblings, Friends, Academic pursuit, Vision, Goals and ambitions. What’s your threshold for lack of attention from your spouse for some minutes. Talk about your dedication to each of the above listed individuals/commitments.
Ø  Attitude about weight and body posture: He/She might not remain a “lepa” for life, she might double/triple in size very soon. Will you still love her for who she is even after she has ‘inflated’?
Ø  Religious and Spiritual beliefs: The God you believe in determines how you behave and relate with people. What are your beliefs. Amount of church involvement. How many times a week? What’s your opinion on service in the house of God, iron these things out before saying “I do!”
Ø  Hobbies and interests: Type of music enjoyed, things you do for relaxation. Obviously, if the husband is the Barclays English Premier League type and the Wife is the African Magic, Hi-Nolly Yoruba type, then there will be conflict. Choice of cars, size and style of house.
Ø  Income Distribution: Total amount of income to be spent, saved, given out, etc. Joint or separate accounts? Money issues can destroy homes, it’s better to discuss such things before going ahead with the wedding. How much should be allocated to vacation, church, relatives, etc. Investment risks.
Ø  Cleanliness: Attitude to odour, dirty environments, etc. While some individuals do not see any wrong in living in a house not swept for three days, others can’t bear the thought of staying in an unswept environment for a day. If the husband is the type that wears clothes once and wants them washed whereas the wife is one that can wear clothes twice or thrice before considering a wash, there may be a problem.
Ø  Sickness: Ways of handling illness. Are your methods Spiritual, Medical, etc. and in what order of priority. What are your individual health standards – do you visit doctors regularly? While some individuals depend totally on God for divine healing, others can’t do without their monthly check ups and visits to their doctor. Consider these things before saying “I do!”
Ø  Interpersonal and social skills: How she relates with God the Supreme being, the poor, rich, mighty, elites, weak, sick, waiter, doorman, security personnel, family, friends, colleagues at work, etc. Don’t be fooled, human don’t change, attitudes are only suppressed into oblivion when the Spirit of the Lord takes over.
Ø  Geographical standards: Where can you live/reside? You two might have views world apart as it concerns residential areas. While your spouse prefers quiet and reserved areas, you might not have a flair for silent areas, but for lively areas, where you don’t get to miss all the happenings. Remote and secluded areas might be some people’s favorite. House chores, cooking and living standards – furniture and decorations. Travelling frequently and method of travelling – Water, Air, Road, Rail, etc.
Ø  Occupation: This is a variant of how much time spent you want to be spending together. Who can you marry (occupation-wise)? Ofcourse if you are marrying a Medical Practitioner, Petroleum Engineer, Politician or a Pilot, the time spent together will obviously vary when compared to getting married to a Lecturer, Clergy, Government Worker, etc.
Ø  Bed time and Rest time: When to go to bed. When to wake up. To some people, night prayers will be the last activity for the day, whereas to others, it’s a movie that puts them to sleep. For such a couple, the lady wants to sleep immediately after prayers, but the husband still wants to watch the movie, surf the internet, play games, etc. Time for morning devotions, what time do you wake up for your devotions?

Above all, trust and faith will make you both triumph over any of such circumstance. Trust absolutely in God and all will be well.


In my own opinion…
Well, my view on this issue is that…
The above statements are common lines we see in conversations, interviews, discussions, web forums, etc. people always love to give their account of how a story or an information appears/appeals to them. While this might be right and welcomed in some cases, in other cases, your opinion is just not welcome.
A very good example of an instance in which your opinion is not welcome is on issues regarding “God’s Servants” and these includes Pastors, Bishops, Apostles, Prophets, etc. In short, everyone that brandishes himself/herself as a “man-of-God”, friends, kindly stay out of gossips and backbiting about them.
Haven’t you heard, “…touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm…I Chronicles 16:19-23”. A whole lot of individual most especially modern day youths have crippled, stagnated, terminated their destiny simply by speaking ill men-of-God especially on issues that does not concern them. Any issue in the news, everyone wants to voice their say. Everyone has an opinion to voice out. Dear friends, the truth is, your opinion doesn’t even count in righting a supposed wrong done by the man-of-God, so why ensnare yourself by voicing such opinions?
The dictionary meaning of opinion defines it as “…your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something rather than a fact…”. So if it’s not about facts, who then cares about your opinion? Day-in-day-out, you see different kinds of expressions on various social platforms criticizing men-of-God. Phrases such as:

…Pastor Adeboye said this …                                      How could he?
…Bishop Oyedepo did that…                                       What right does he have?
…Pastor Oyakhilome appeared like this…              Is that Godly?
…Apostle Tom Samson bought that…                      What flamboyance!
…Pastor Sam Adeyemi said this…                              To what end?

Didn’t you read about Elisha in the Bible? II Kings 2:23-25. Little Children came out mocking and expressing their opinion about Elisha. Elisha cursed them in the name of the Lord and we saw what happened to 42 of them. Friends, if God didn’t spare LITTLE CHILDREN for speaking ill of His servant, do you really think He will spare you for slandering his prophet? Oh! You think it was because Elisha heard it and cursed them? How about Moses who wasn’t even aware that Miriam and Aaron spoke ill of him? The scripture records that “…and the Lord heard them…”. It was God that heard them and disciplined them and even Moses had to plead on their behalf. Numbers 12:1-15.
I was trying to enlighten someone one day and his reply was that “We are ALL men-of-God…”. I just laughed at his folly. Miriam and Aaron were also men-of-God in the sense of the word, but God specifically mentioned in Numbers 12:6-8 that there are some people that their class are higher than others. While the class of the Levites was higher than that of the other tribes of the children of Israel, Miriam and Aaron’s class was higher than that of the Levites, while Moses’ class was the Supreme in the hierarchy. This tells us that God has reverence for His anointed. The Bible says that he is a jealous God. He won’t permit slanderous comments about His anointed.
Friends, don’t let issues that do not concern you ensnare your life all because you decided to voice your opinion on a social platform or in a discussion. Okay, you might say, what if they do something wrong? Well, how about this, leave them to God, it’s between them and God. The same Moses that God acted on his behalf was disciplined by God himself when Moses disobeyed. Numbers 20:8-13. Despite the fact that Moses pleaded severally later, God was adamant in His punishment…he never entered the promised land.
Friends, take cover in any way you can even if it means shutting your mouth, especially in this present age that social platforms have given everyone an opportunity to voice their opinion. You will think it’s all a joke or your opinion until the inevitable starts happening in your life.
A man of God once told a story as reported by a testifier…
A woman was in a church listening to a sermon by a man-of-God, the preacher at a point made a statement, one which the woman considered derogatory in her own opinion. Immediately, she HISSED and left the church while the sermon continued. Few days later, an object began to move in her tummy. She visited all known medical experts within and outside the country all to no avail. The pain was so excruciating that intercourse with the husband became impossible. The husband was almost divorcing her as he visits other ladies to satisfy his sexual desires. In her pain and despair, she visited a prophet and after narrating her ordeal, the prophet prayed for her and caught the revelation that she had offended a man-of-God and until that man-of-God forgives her and prays for her, the pain will linger till death. After several thoughts and consideration, she remembered and returned to this man-of-God she hissed at during his sermon. The man of God claimed ignorance of the step God took on his behalf. He asked God for mercy on her behalf and the woman was loosed and her home restored.
My advice, stay off gatherings, platforms, discussions, etc that speaks ill of men-of-God no matter what wrong you think they might have done. Your opinion doesn’t count, keep it to yourself because if God hears it…