By: Abdulazeez Mustapha Opeyemi
Good evening, and congratulations on your call to service. You were called to a compulsory one year of service because you successfully graduated from a Nigerian university or a polytechnic. We thought we had not wasted your precious youth enough through the endless strikes of that certain group (wink wink), so our think tank devised a better way to waste one more year, but I digress.
I am writing to inform you that the NYSC, the regiment you are now a proud member of, does not pay ransoms. Yes, you think we are sending you to a hot zone in a country where travelling is now an extreme sport, but our security analysts have declared your posted states safe. To ensure an accurate report, we used the same intelligence agencies that did not see the attack on the NDA coming, that have not made any headway with the incessant bandit attacks on the highways, the same ones that did not prevent the attack on the President the other day. You can, therefore, rest assured that when they say you are safe, you are indeed safe.
If you are attacked, we advise you to please cooperate with your captors. They have short fuses and itchy trigger fingers (our intelligence agencies still have not figured out where they buy these guns in bulk). When you are taken hostage, please contact any of your family members who can pay the ransom. When the ransom has been paid, you can continue the journey to the orientation camp all over again to fulfil your responsibility. If they shoot you despite these hints, our condolences to your family. You are 21 after all, you have lived a full life.
The Camp CSO.
P.S.: Do not hold your breath for the Army or any of the numerous special forces we have either. Military intervention, like all things in Nigeria, can only be accessed through premium citizenship. Your surname does not ring a bell, so good luck.
I saw your letter the other day and would like to decline your generous offer.
First of all, my parents would prefer me to be home with them rather than take a 15-hour bus from one edge of the country to the other on behalf of an unserious organisation like yours. I decided not to go against them because they would be the ones to pay that ransom if the call came. If I leave despite their protests, what will my fate be if they also abandon me? My parents did not send me across the country; you did. Why, then, should they pick up the check that came as a result of your (in)action?
Speaking of responsibility, do you even understand what the word means? Thousands of Prospective Corp Members leave their state of origin — What the hell is that state of origin thing anyway? I thought the idea of this whole thing was unity — because it is their responsibility to serve. Do you think they want to wake up at 4.30 a.m. to hear a soldier bark orders at them? Do you think they want to sleep in the same room with 20 other dumb idiots? They do all that because it is their responsibility. You think the law forces them to? Oh please. Neither our past President nor the incumbent even has a credible school certificate between them.
In summary, if a country that spends more than 500 billion naira on its Defence Budget can not even guarantee the safety of fewer than 200,000 people she called to service, maybe it is time to pack up and send these otondos home. Thank you. Corper Wee!