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From Our Allies

A message from the camp director

A message from the camp director

By: Abdulazeez Mustapha Opeyemi

Good day, Prospective Corp Members, and welcome to Batch A, Stream I orientation camp. We are glad to see that so many of you could make it. About ten or twenty of you were kidnapped on their way here, but their parents are already busy gathering the ransom, so there is nothing to be scared of. That’s why we keep telling them to fly rather than drive, but some people prefer the road scenery to their lives. Shameful. Hopefully, their parents can get them out soon enough for them to join us before the camp closes. May Almighty God not let their cases be like those four corp members who are still in captivity after four months. Amen. Anyway, we are glad those of you here could make it. 

Now that you are here, I should inform you that whatever you thought you knew about NYSC was probably a mirage. Were you told this is about unity? Don’t make me laugh. We gave up on that project a long time ago. You thought it was about serving a country? Even the ones whose full-time jobs are about service don’t serve anymore. You thought it would be a fun adventure? Haha haha. Pardon my laughter, but oh dear Prospective Corp Members, don’t be so naïve. 

You, my dears, are here to be prepared for the future as proper Nigerians. Everything you learn here will be teaching you about the real Nigeria you are about to enter. 

We prepare you for Nigerian democracy by choosing Platoon Leaders for you even though we assure you it was your election. The young man we had been secretly pushing towards you because we knew him to be more gentle and easier to accept our suggestions is who you finally voted for? Oh no, we are shocked. (Nahh, we’re not.)

Like the world you are about to enter, nothing works here. We will give you lots, about 1,950 of you, I think, three water taps and Storex tanks to share. There’ll be a lot of queues but manage them. This is a camp, not your father’s house. Sometimes we will fuck with you by not pumping the water on time. What’s a Nigerian life without screams and struggles? Everyone knows that corp members who fight together stick together. 

On the subject of queues, there will be a lot of them. A lot. Here, you will queue to eat, queue to bath, queue to shit, queue to pee, queue to be paid, and queue to be heard. In a way, you should be glad that there are queues instead of those rowdy things thugs and miscreants do in motor parks, but you are graduates — we expect that much orderliness from you. Oh, you’re waiting for the catch? The catch is that we don’t give you enough time to do anything. After queuing for water, you have to queue to do your laundry. After doing your laundry, you have to queue to dry those clothes. After spreading those clothes, you have to queue to get food. These queues take time, you see. We know that, and you know that. So, like the fun people we are, we only give 1,950 people an hour for all these things. The trick is for you to choose a priority; you either eat, do your laundry, or get that strange thing we put in the timetable as a siesta.

What will an ideal Nigerian society be without soldiers? Our history is not complete without them. As future leaders, you should get to know them too. Many of you have fancy ideas in your heads, probably because of the bloody fancy schools you just got out of. There will be no protests here, I assure you. There will be no civil disobedience, no matter what we do. There will be no shouts and no disagreements. Just look at those uniforms and feel the fear of frog jumps envelop you. You can already tell that they are shaking so much because they cannot “punish” you as much as they would like since you are Federal Government children. However, do not give us a reason to unleash them.

As proper Nigerians, we cannot keep you here for three weeks without wasting your time. Make no mistakes; we are not talking about our time but yours. We will not let you sleep a minute past 4:30, but we will keep you in the social night past your bedtime. We do not care that some of you do not enjoy that night because we are always there to chaperone you. It is funny when you think you have a say. Hahahaha; oh my God … We will not let you spend a second past your lunchtime, but we will keep you for some time after your parade. What will you do, huh? Cry to Mama?

Also, many of you will faint during these three weeks. We tell people it is because you are not used to the stress, but we both know that is bullshit. It is usually because of the filthy food that people prefer not eating and the hours you will either spend in the sun or sitting in a plastic chair. The script, be informed, is to tell everyone it is the stress. We already have a bet in the staff quarters about how many of you in this stream will faint. I’m betting on 106. Please make that the magical number. Be informed that our clinic is only present in name. Like all things, it exists, so we can tell people it exists. Treating you for any emergency is not part of the deal.

Finally, social media is a double-edged sword, my dear PCMs. The phones you hold in your hands are dangerous spirits. You people are fond of turning your Instagram Live on immediately if any slight issue happens. We will not allow that here. This is Nigeria; freedom of speech is allowed, but freedom after speech is non-existent. Your various universities should have taught you that much, especially you people from Unilorin. I hear they run that school like a military dictatorship. That school really creates the ideal Nigerian citizen, the type that keeps quiet even when fire is set to their balls. 

There is more information that I want to share with you, but let us stop here for now. Welcome again, and thank you for not acting like these politicians who do not attend the corps they keep promoting. Thank you.

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