The national youth service corps (NYSC) is a one year mandatory exercise required for every Nigerian to serve his father land by offering various forms of service back to the community, The Nysc is all about giving back to the nation all what you have to offer to help improve the community and the economy of the nation based on where your been posted. The Nysc orientation camp is where prospective youth corps members are being trained and nurtured by the military personnel and also by the Nysc officials. The Nysc orientation camp is actually the best educational fun part in the whole Nysc program.
Nysc deployed me to Adamawa state, as stated on my call up letter I was posted to Adamawa state and our orientation camp was in Wanunne Benue state, Due to the insurgency and the Boko haram crisis in adamawa state, nysc had to change the orientation camp to Benue state for security reasons. The Adamawa orientation camp was already been used as a refugee camp and also a safe haven for those affected by the Boko haram crisis in Adamawa state. We were to report to the orientation camp on the 26th of November 2014 which grouped us to be in the batch c stream II category.
Actually when my parents heard I was posted to Adamawa state their initial advice was I defer my nysc posting still next year, that I shouldn’t go, based on the Boko haram crisis in Adamawa state. I calm them down and explained to them I wasn’t going to Adamawa state but Benue state for the orientation camp, and which after the 21 days in camp I was going to redeploy. Below is my Nysc experience in adamawa-benue state orientation camp.
LIFE IN BENUE NYSC ORIENTATION CAMP
Cross country transport service in yaba Lagos had a promo offer to take Nysc corpers directly to their orientation camp across the country at a fair price, I paid N7, 000 which include a pack of rice and chicken and a bottle of water and for the bus ticket to orientation camp in Benue state. We were told to report to camp on the 26th November 2014, and I wanted to get to camp early because from Lagos to Benue is approximately 15hrs. luckily for me, cross-country transport would be going to Benue state on the 25th and 26th, so I went on the 25th to camp, do you know we left cross-country yaba Lagos terminal park by 8am in the morning and we got to orientation camp in Benue state at midnight. The journey to nysc orientation camp wanunne in Benue state wasn’t a child’s play. But the journey was fun I got to see different beautiful states like Delta, Edo, Anambra and Enugu. Great road trip.
Left Lagos from cross-country Yaba Park at 8am, we stopped at shagamu to pick up other corpers going to Benue, after waiting for them for over 30 minutes they finally came. Cross country is very good at picking up passengers and delaying, that’s not all, they also fill the bus with loads and all, squeezing ourselves and it’s so very annoying upon the fact we paid N7,000 to get to Benue camp while other transport companies fees were from N4,500 to N5,000. We felt cheated but we thank God we got to camp safely and in good condition 😀
The bus route to Benue state passed through, Ondo, Edo, Benin city, Delta, then we stopped at Delta to eat and use the rest room, we resumed the road trip, from Delta we entered Anambra, then Enugu to link Benue state, we got to Benue state by 9pm, continued the trip from gboko road to wanunne, we finally arrived at the nysc orientation camp wanunne Benue state at 11:55pm.
We were searched before we entered the orientation camp, our call up letters were shown to the securities at the camp gate before entering camp on the 25th. Then we went to get beds, wrote down our names, they were over 500 male corpers names on the list to get bed and over 300 female names. Then got a room in Block C2. Do you know corpers that came on the 26th couldn’t get good rooms to sleep in and some had to sleep in the halls because all the hostels were already filled Up. We were over 3,000 corpers in the nysc orientation camp wanunne Benue state, comprises of both batch B and C.
NOTE: I advised you always get to camp very early so you can get a good room, bed and bunk. We had 10 bunks in my room and we were just 20 in the room also we got a squatter who sleeps on the ground with his bed.
We were addressed by the nysc camp officials of Adamawa state, Queue for searching of boxes and properties before getting the form for registration processes.
NOTE: REGISTRATION PROCESS IS THE MOST STRESSFUL, ANNOYING PART OF THE WHOLE ORIENTATION CAMP EXERCISE.
Lots of queues and struggles for registration exercise those that didn’t pay the nysc N4, 000. More than 80% of corpers were in this category. Which makes it very difficult to complete the registration process on time. Those that paid the nysc N4, 000, registration process was so smooth and fast.
For we that didn’t pay the nysc N4, 000. It took 3 days standing inside the hot sun to finally finish the registration process and collection of the nysc kits. After registration process you would be allocated to a platoon. A platoon is like group of selected corpers that their state code number ends with a particular number, that number would indicate which platoon you belong. For example your state code number is AD/14C/2206, The “AD/14C” means Adamawa 2014 batch C. Also the “2206”is your serial, registration unique number which only belongs to you and it is used to identify you like your matric number. The “2206” the last digit indicates you are in platoon 6. For serial number like “1021” it indicate platoon 1. The Platoon starts from 1 to 10.
Another issue is actually getting the right fit of your nysc kits, jungle boots won’t be your size, you have to find who would exchange with you, also the tennis shoes would be too small or too big you just have to advertise and market, exchange like I did mine, I was practically shouting “Get your size 10 for 8” meaning those who has size 8 that is not their size can exchange it for size 10 and I get the size 8 which was my jungle boot size. I advised you carry along your own tennis shoe to camp. Those in mammi market made money out of corpers that didnt get their size and couldn’t see who to exchange with.
By 4am in the morning we hear the sound of the bingu blown by a soldier using a trumpet. The sound of the bingu indicate it’s time to wake up and get prepared for parade, soldier would come shouting “wake upppp” if you are still sleeping your wrong. If you are on your bed your wrong. Soldiers come with long sticks or even iron bars to wake corpers up, if you are caught still sleeping, a bucket of cold water would be poured on you by the soldiers. Some corpers would even lie to soldiers that they are sick, soldiers won’t listen, they would tell you to go to the clinic and stay there. Also some guys would run and hide under the beds just to avoid been seen by the soldiers. Some were caught and cold water was poured on them, while some received punishments. It’s in camp I saw grown up men running under beds just to avoid the parade and morning drills. My advice is, try to have your bath in the night, Wake up by 4:00 – 4:30 brush your teeth, dress up on your white and white and move down to the parade ground. This helps a lot, no stress or troubles from raging soldiers. In the parade ground we do morning prayers for both Christians and Muslims, the Muslims have their own separate prayer ground. After morning prayers, we have dedication words from various corpers from different platoons. Then we get addressed by the camp director and other nysc officials.
NOTE: By 6:00am in the morning and 6:00pm in the evening, you are instructed to stop and stand still when you hear the sound of the trumpet. You are meant to stand still where ever you are until the trumpet stops, then you can continue your activities. This is also done whenever you hear the national anthem and the Nysc anthem.
Morning drills commence after being address by the camp officials, each platoon are given a platoon officer which would be a nysc official, and a platoon commander that’s a soldier. Also the platoon would have to choose a platoon leader and an assistant, sport director, director of social, secretary and treasurer.
We also have the Man O war officials and the civil defense officials in camp. Each platoon is given a Man O War official for the physical drills and exercise. After been addressed by the camp officials, we start morning drills lead by the platoon commander, which involves military training, this is the actual parade. It involves marching, slow, quick march and it’s actually really fun. Here is an example of what my platoon commander would say: “Otondo! How is your morale? you reply Morale High! Are you good to go?, you reply, Good to Go Sir. Are u motivated? You reply, Motivated Motivated Sir”. Coper wee oo! You reply, Waa.oo. Here is a parade command “double up, parade, prei prei shun, stand at ezzz, attention by number! Squad 1 remain like that, move 2 the right in 3s, right turn, by the center, slow march, up, quick march, left right.” Parade was fun!!!
After that we do the physical exercise drills lead by the platoon Man O War official. Physical exercises involves body movements, like yoga exercise, then we sing and chant Man O War songs, this actually the best part, you hear such funny interesting songs that you would always look forward to the next morning.
At 8am, parade ends and we go for breakfast with your meal ticket. Breakfast is always bread and butter or boiled egg and tea. Lunch; yam and beans. Dinner: Eba and draw soup. though it depends, because sometimes its a different ball game of lunch: garri and Dinner: garri. Mammi market was where we eat when our pockets were still heavy!!!
To be continued on my next article on “Nysc Orientation camp lectures” and “Nysc Man O War Drills and Pictures” Also “How to catch Fun in camp the funky way”
Kindly share your Nysc experience via commenting.