• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Diary of a corper: Inside the NYSC camp


For me, I had six months to prepare for my National Service having finished my final paper in September the previous year. So I was adequately prepared for the regimented lifestyle on Camp.

I was assigned to room one due to my early arrival to the camp which was just about thirty minutes from my house. Registration completed, I settled down to my room understudying my roommates in order to ascertain the degree of the safety of my belongings as I have been fed with numerous tales of thefts that go on in NYSC camps. As it later turned out, we were inundated with reports of numerous incidents of such thefts.

From all indications, the Lagos NYSC Iyan Apaja camp was well prepared to receive us. This was evident in the smoothness and ease of registration as the camp officials took their time to give us adequate information about the registration process stage by stage.

The environment was neat and everywhere was clearly demarcated. Each of the staff members knew their responsibilities. They faithfully and enthusiastically discharged their duties. Trust me; the first place I located was the kitchen.

My first night on camp was not too different from my typical day on campus and I often referred to the camp as UNILAG CAMP. I didn’t find it hard to mingle with corp members from other schools, a feat that earned me the nickname, ‘Alinko.’

Fellow corps members freely mingled with one another and in a matter of days, you would have thought that we’ve known each other for years. Relationships were established, numbers exchanged and emotions expressed.

For me, I went to the camp with two basic resolutions which were to network as far as possible but to also keep a low profile as much as possible. As a result of my resolutions, I didn’t hold any post throughout my stay in the orientation camp because I already had more than enough responsibilities before coming to camp and I wasn’t prepared to add more to them. Even when my name is suggested, I outrightly turned down the offers because I wasn’t ready to continue the African mentality of ‘me-and- only-me’ syndrome.

I knew there were other corps members that can do better than me if given the chance so there was no point being greedy and competing for every available position on camp. Some corps members advertised their nuisance value by trying to nosedive into everything while in camp. In the aspect of networking, I did my best to network with those that have the same orientation as mine, an offshoot of my networking was my ‘single-and-ready-to-mingle’ policy.

I went to the camp with the possibility of networking with a marriageable fellow and I took my time to understudy the ladies that caught my attention eventually making an attempt at one pharmacist who refused to give me her number for reasons best known to her. She was only willing to be a friend from a distance. This is just a tip from my three weeks at the NYSC camp. Join me next week as I take you through my NYSC world.

Oyede Saheed, (a.k.a Chief Human being) is a serving corp member in Lagos