After much pleading, Corper James then decided to watch and know what next to do. He still could not forget what had happened the previous night, but Titi kept on apologizing.
He then told her that just wanted to know why, to which she kept on saying no reason, until a certain point she started pointing out things Tajudeen had bought and done for her. Then, Corper James asked her if she was trading her body for material possessions. To which she got annoyed and said she has never slept with the boy.
James enjoyed this town of Isua Akoko, in Akoko South East Local Government Area of Ondo State. Although the place was underdeveloped compared to Port Harcourt, James had grown to see the good part of the place.
Well then, James actually met Titilope and he liked and actually dated her. Unlike what many thought it was, James was really interested and invested in this girl.
She was beautiful, really beautiful, knew her fashion, but her education was not completed, and she was not tall as James has always wanted his dream woman to be. But he would not take any of it.
Titi, as she was fondly called, had a boyfriend, Tolu, before Corper James came, but she had moved on. She had caught Tolu cheating and he was nonchalant about it. So for someone she loved and gave the opportunity to deflower her, she felt it was not fair.
About the knowledge of the deflowering, Tolu could not keep it to himself, he had told his friends and so the secret spread like wildfire to the point that even Titi’s parents knew about it.
Corper James didn’t care, for him, he had found the woman he was to marry. Everyone thought maybe it was a joke, even his fellow corps members could not understand while Corper James would leave all the female corps members and opt for an indigene of the town.
As the day of Corper James passing-out – parade approached, many were quite happy and curios to know if this wont be the end of the whole Romeo and Juliet story.
After the parade, the party that was organized that evening for corpers, Corper James went with Titi. He wasn’t ashamed of her and was ready to make everyone know about it.
At the expiration of their service time, many expected that the love story will finally come to an end and Corper James would leave for Port Harcourt, but he stayed on. He stopped looking for jobs, his intent was to stay till December, before leaving for another city.
Corper James, despite being called ‘Omo Igbo’ by so many people which meant ‘Igbo boy’ in Yoruba, didn’t care and was determined to get married to this Yoruba lady, after all, she was a Christian, so her tribe didn’t matter to him.
After the service, hours turned to days, and days turned to week, and weeks turned to months. Corper James was still in this village despite being out of service which meant he was no longer receiving salary from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
He was now an ex-corper, even though the villagers won’t stop calling him Corper. he took on remote writing jobs, invested in his blog, and was a part time teacher and computer instructor in the village. So for him, he was good to go, his next plans was to ensure that Titi gained admission to a university so she can then quit the college of education that she attends.
Things were rosy and going according to plan as far as Corper James was concerned. Titi loved him, he loved her. Even though she was in a college of education, the school was only 40 minutes away from where he stays, so he always visited. Almost every week, sometimes he spent the weekend with her, before returning to his base.
There was a reason Corpers were warned off female indigenes. If only Corper James knew that this would be his situation, maybe, just maybe, from the beginning. If only.
The continuation to this story drops soon, don’t just like the post. Also drop your piece of advice as comments for those who are faced with similar issue.
P.S.: This is a true story, and the story was shared by the actual characters involved. The names have been changed to protect the identity of the persons involved. I apologize for any resemblance to any character and it is not intended. Also, this piece is not intended to be copied or reproduced in any form without permission from the owner of the story. Reach out to me, if you need to know more, and you’d be linked to the owner of the biography.
One of the very funny thing in my Ondo stay is how I am still struggling to believe that I reside here, in this rural settlement. Many times it pricks my heart, I wonder how I may be able to change it.
Today, I ate one kind of food that I have never eaten before, (laughs). Normally, I’m not a huge fan of rice, but then, rice was made by my friend, Corper Zikiratu (I call her Suzuki), and while I earnestly expected a hot stew, hot soup was poured on my rice (cries).
One funny thing about here is that, you never get to waste food. Its like there is an animal in need of your food. There are fowls, goats, dogs, pigs, even sheep too.
The amount of pigs I’ve seen in a matter of days, I haven’t seen them all my life. I’ve seen pigs to the point I now know that pigs sort of catwalk.
I’ve long forgotten about ice creams and gelato. Is this sad or good? I can’t even imagine how ice cream or warm meat pie or meat bread tastes like.
The only tourist attraction so far, has been my mountain climbing experience and Oh, the party where I was the compere. We were chased down from the mountain by a priestess though.
I did actually visit a restaurant though; here, unlike in my city — Port Harcourt, you don’t pay for soup. You only pay for fufu, and meat.
Did I mention how the females ‘like’ corpers and how scared you have to be as a male corper? I promise to make this a regular from today henceforth.
Meanwhile, schools are to resume, and I may be a teacher in a boarding secondary school. I sha don’t want to see any miss koi koi.
Life as a corps member in Nigeria comes with many challenges. Well, if you have no idea what a corps member is in Nigeria, you can look up NYSC here.
I was part of the 2020 batch A1, who COVID – 19 had disrupted their orientation activities, so I had been at home, back in Southern Nigeria. But now, I had to be here. So then, let me fill you in on my trip.
I had embarked on this journey to the west not so early, but I was hoping to somehow get there in time. The journey was an estimated eight hours. But it was quite an experience.
THE ROAD TRAVELER’S MYTH
I had met someone who is going to the same Ondo state as me, and whilst I complained about distance, she told me something that awed me. I was told there is a way that we could actually get to Ondo state in about four hours.
We would somehow find ourselves so close to our destination in record time, and at night while we’re sleeping, we’d be having dreams of travelling and by morning we will be having body pains. When I doubted she gave a personal experience that happened to her during Lagos.
THE COVID-19 SCARE
Back home in Port Harcourt, it seemed like the whole COVID-19 scare was dying off, but then, inside this Toyota Sienna vehicle, was a sick man with his wife in front of me, coughing and shaking vigorously, I won’t lie to you, I made sure my face mask was on till the end of the journey.
I saw flooded houses, plenty flooded houses, in Delta state. I wondered how this people could survive in such harsh conditions. It seemed like some river close by had overflowed. But how amazed I was, to find out people could still be happy here.
I had seen some teenagers swimming and playing happily and then it dawned on me, that happiness comes from within, and then the little worries I had beamed into little smiles.
THE LANGUAGE BARRIER
As at 5pm, it turned out that I may not get to my PPA (Primary Place of Assignment) till about 8pm or 9pm. I was in a taxi, in which there were seven of us, and I was the only one who could not speak the Yoruba Language. I had never felt as vulnerable as I did that time in a long while.
T’was at this point I knew that I would not be able to complete my journey that day and I started calling on anyone I could call at that time, for shelter, and luckily my lovely friend turned up.
The distance was something else, something that I could term unbearable, but my time at the state capital, Akure, was quite a nice one and while I headed for my ‘village’, I knew I would surely visit again.
I do hope that my sojourn here goes kindly, and maybe I learn some of the language.
I woke up this morning; still feeling the pains of yesterday on my thighs. It was hell; my thighs virtually belonged to another person. But at least my platoon wouldn’t be on duty till another ten days. Yesterday, my socials director had some sort of altercation with our members while trying to relate some information on the amount of money they are to pay. I guess asides tribe and religion; another great divisor of people is money.
While some suggested #2,000 (two thousand naira), some others did request #1,500 (one thousand and five hundred naira). Some others did say #1,000 (one thousand naira). Agreeing on a particular fee was where the problem lied. We finally found a way through though.
I somehow remembered what my dad said about wives in Yoruba tribe being cheap compared to the Igbo tribe. Well, we were told same by a traditional chief, who listed everything. This brings me back to an Igbo girl who was complaining about the mindset of some Muslim girls in her hostel; whom had told her its better when your husband has more wives. She complained that she couldn’t make them see it in the contrary.
The most thing I love about this camp is the unity it brings. How it brings people together irrespective of tribe, or religion. How they play football together; cook together, try to win competitions together. As a matter of fact it has exposed me to a very whole lot of tribes I never knew existed. Why most people say its a waste of time; is something that baffles me. It also teaches discipline. Its something maybe every Nigerian should go through.
Typing this; I just remembered a girl who is madly in love with our platoon commander. I thought girls do drop some acts growing up; but no….it is still there. Meanwhile; I visited the ambulance today. Yeah, like the red cross ambulance and it was really dusty. So if I was dying, what would have been?
Well, then came the welcome party; I was to perform too and it was a time most corp members who were performing get to wear mufti. Many of them thought they were going to rock buttocks. But it ended as a talent show; as they were rushed into their hostels immediately after the time.
On my bed; I got to know my neighbour who has been withdrawn all day was withdrawn for a reason. His family lived in the city of Maiduguri, he was a Christian and Borno state, Nigeria; was his state of origin and his family did live there all the while. His mom had just been shot, after a vehicle conveying passengers like her were attacked; and she managed to escape with a gunshot wound to her leg. I felt so emotional and bad; and one of the soldiers in the camp, actually complained and he was also from the north. He said most times after infiltrating a Boko Haram camp and about to end the mess; an order from above then orders them to cease fire, till the terrorists regroups and launch a counterattack on them.
I guess I had no idea how this was going to be. Asides being the platoon leader; I had wanted to be part of other organisations too. The music guys had seen me plating guitar and requested that I be part of them. I wanted to join the journalistic guys (orientation broadcasting studio). For I discovered that as much as I did shy away from journalism; I was inclined to it. I did enjoy it; but I guess having signed up for a platoon leader means you get to forfeit some things.
Well, not like we were being paid; but I revelled in the ability to lead this amount of people and their differences. I had led people on different platforms. But, I felt this was my greatest so far; especially as none of them graduated from the same school with me. I sort of felt like the ‘president of a country’. I think I handled tribalism very well; even when the Igbos found out I could hear, speak and I could be from their tribe too.
So, on the very first day after our elections; we were on duty. Being on duty meant members of your platoon would take participate in the kitchen; sanitation and also security. I guess it’d have been easier if we had a little more time. But we were thrown into the water and asked to survive; and survive, we did survive. Just that it sucked the stress out of me. Worse still; when we got to our platoon commander (a soldier in charge of the platoon). He said he didn’t know me (or us). So, that means we owe him a visit.
I was almost everywhere, virtually everywhere. It was in the night that I realised I had lost two things. My clothes I collected from the laundry guys and my earpiece; and a friend of mine I was supposed to see, had left me in anger. I guess not everyone could actually wait. I was supposed to go sleep; but I equally needed to unwind. So I went out to sit out with a friend (female). She is a nice person and you’d lose count of time being with her.
Well, I was about going to my place and she wished to walk me to my hostel. I guess today wasn’t the lucky day; as we were called by the Camp commandant for walking on a tarred road where we were supposed to be jogging. Despite the fact that I was tired; he paid no heed to that and then ordered I ‘frog jump’. This was more like an exercise for the thighs; but you don’t exercise this close to when you want to sleep. Its almost 10pm, Sir.
He didn’t believe we could be cousins; according to him I was shy around her. It was silly; he later released us though. But my thighs were gone. The moment my body touched my 6 inches bed, I left till morning. Day four was my most stressed day in camp here.
The third day, I was beginning to feel it. I knew some of my schedules; so it was beginning to get easier. I knew times I should eat heavy and when the time we’d spend at the parade ground would be very long. We were asked by the soldiers, “how was our night?”. Some of the crowd echoed “not good” while others echoed “short” as they tried to express how awful a night it had been by the loudness of their voices. It turned out funny when the officer in charge had corrected us to always reply, “no option”. So, the next time he asked us a question; the reply was always, “no option, Sir!”
The soldiers were in a way pleading to us that we actually make them proud, by putting our all in the swearing-in parade. To them; we were not yet corps members rather we were still PCMs (prospective corps members) until we’ve taken the oath of allegiance and sworn in by the Chief Judge of the state. It was actually fun to watch and it seemed very serious. I stood under the sun, but it appeared like I was solar powered; the more intense the sunshine, the more intense I was. I read and digested every word from the oath; and there and then I decided I was going to be obvious in this camp.
Meanwhile, my beautiful friend whom I thought wasn’t so strong pulled of a very strong one during the parade. She stood firm all through; one only needed to look at her, to be fueled. Her infectious smile and laughter puffed out by the soldiers; but she still had the smouldering intensity. But the sun was really really harsh and we were told it was easy as Ondo is know as the sunshine state.
After the swearing in; it was a jamboree for about three hours, before we were called to the parade ground. I remember one guy asking me if I think I’d find my wife here (laughs); his parents had met from camp according to him, so he believed his wife was here. Well, (smiles) what do I know? There were lots of ladies; all bright and beautiful in their own definitions.
When we came back to the parade ground in the evening; turns out this is when the whole business starts. We were divided into ten platoons. Soldiers as drill instructors, Man O’ war coordinators and administrative staff shared amongst us; till it got to time for elections for positions. I had never contested for a position among people of this huge differences on tribes, religion, states and beliefs. I looked behind and see huge people and didn’t know if I’d win. But I didn’t want to sit back and watch someone who I’d do better than, be our leader. So, I campaigned and election came and I won (smiles).
Well, it turns out business was really business. We were going to be busy. I had intended joining the department on broadcasting and the music department had made me join them when they caught me and some friends rehearsing together. I guess I could say, I was beginning to enjoy the camp. It was a once in a life time thing; so I guess I was not willing to let it slide by; I had to be in it!
The Camp commandant had given us more dos and don’ts to further regiment our stay. I guess punctuality was to be a watchword for me. I wanted to join the military; even the U. S. Military, but I was an only son. So, that dream was quashed; I guess that’s why I love being a corps member. We were told to never walk on a particular tarred road. Always be ‘on the double’ when on that road. Sometimes, I did feel these soldiers weren’t harsh but feigned to be so, lest we take them for a ride.
I lay gappy on my bed, in anticipation of the next day. I wanted tomorrow to come; but after a perfect night rest of course (smiles).
Thanks for sticking through. I’ll be coming up with a better one! Stay glued (smiles).