It is supposed to mean National Youth Service Corps. But you know Nigeria nah, we can sha nickname for Africa.
The spirituals call it Now You Shall Conquer.
The haters call it Now Your Suffering/Slavery Continues.
Oh the great NYSC. The compulsory regime that every graduate from any Nigerian tertiary institution must undergo. If avoided, such a graduate becomes irrelevant in the labor market (or favor market, as some people who try to over-spiritualize everything will say).
Is it necessary or not? Well that’s not my focus in this article. Whether you like it or not, you will do it. So argue all you want, NYSC has come to stay. And just in-case you are one of those praying that the scheme should be scrapped, let me just be the one to tell you that NYSC is part of the Nigerian Constitution. Hence, to end the scheme will mean changing some of the Nigerian laws, and that will take series upon series of deliberations in the National Assembly- talk less of the thousands of Nigerians that will be sacked. So rather than complain and argue for or against the scheme, why not just prepare for it?
The aim of this article is to inform you to the best of my knowledge and from my deep research, of what to expect during the few weeks you spend on camp. I’m going to use my camp experience as the yardstick for this article, simply because, I’m the author. So if you are unwilling to read, then this article is not for you, because brethren I promise you, IT’S GONNA BE VERY VERY LONG.
So let’s cut to the chase.
1. How many passports do I need?
As unimportant as this question may sound, I bet, you are going to ask this question sooner or later. And let me make a small confession-from day 1, I have always wanted to answer this question. I just couldn’t wait to write an article and begin by answering this question.
I’ll tell you what happened on the first day of camp. I am serving in Lagos- alongside my best friend and roommate from 200 level, and Amadi (the white man)- such bliss. Anyway, on our arrival, Amadi forgot to snap passports. So he got to camp and had to take passport photographs. Now he had to pay N3200, for 16 passport photographs (I felt for him o).
With the present exchange rate, you’d think the price for eight passports is simply outrageous. Blame it on the economy; better still, save yourself some headache, biko. YOU NEED ONLY 8 PASSPORTS. If you snap more than 8, you should change your state of origin to OYO state because you are On Your Own. And yes, you can snap your passport from home- use red background preferably, to avoid stories that touch in some camps. And please, smile on your passport. No be quarrel oo.
2. What does a typical camp day look like?
So a normal day starts by 4:30 am, with the sound of the most annoying instrument in the world- the dreaded trumpet called-the bugle (pronounced bee-gul). Severally, my guys and I plotted the kidnap of this instrument, but it was safeguarded by a battalion of soldiers armed with bazookas and AK 47s. I will outline the activities for the remaining parts of the day.
5am: Morning devotion, exercise drills, man-o-war, karate lessons and a seminar centering something that does not even concern me. This torture ends by 8am, where you go for, bath and breakfast.
10 am: we assemble again for SAED (Skills Acquisition and Empowerment Development) lectures till 2pm. This was my best part of camp, because once they start their lectures, I just get a chair, and begin my sleep. So so amazing.
2pm till 4pm: we have lunch break.
4pm till 6pm: Drills and march past.
6pm till 10pm: Dinner.
10 pm: lights out.
This cycle continues everyday from Monday till Saturday.
Sunday is your free day.
So to more specifics.
3. How much do I need to spend in camp?
I’m writing from a guy’s perspective. I spent about 40,000 in 17 days. Wait, wait, wait, don’t panic. (BTW You don’t have to spend like me, in-fact, I daresay, you don’t have to spend at all). First off, I could afford it. Secondly, I didn’t WANT to spend the money, I just HAD to spend the money.
So here is a breakdown of what made me spend 40k in 17 days.
One of the so called ‘ideas behind’ NYSC camp is that you are not supposed to spend any money because NYSC will provide everything you need (very funny).
In the course of the first week, you will be given N1000 for bicycle allowance, and later on, you will be granted another N1500 for transportation allowance. During your last week at camp, you will receive your first ALLAWEE of 19,800. Concerning feeding, NYSC freely provides 3 square meals. And also on your first day of registration, you will be given your complete NYSC kit, consisting of 2 white t-shirts, 2 shorts, 1 pair of white canvas, 1 pair of jungle boots.
Let me introduce you to the 8th wonder of the world-THE MAAMI MARKET, where corpers unwind and refresh themselves- as long as they have the money.
- Feed: I’m sort of what you would call a fine blend between AJEKPAKO-ISM and AJEBUTTER-ISM. So I’m very careful about what I eat. For a whole day, I did not taste any of the free camp meals. I always bought my meals, and I also drank bottled water and soft-drinks at-times and ‘pure water’. I ate good food at Maami market, and it cost me some money.
- Laundry: I actually went to camp with the idea of washing all my clothes and I had enough detergents etc. But when I gazed upon the cloth lines where clothes were being hung to dry, and I realized I didn’t stand a chance on the lines, wisdom set in. I knew it was going to be difficult for my white clothes not to get mixed up with someone else’s, For all the days in camp, all my laundry was given to the dry-cleaners. And when I say all, I mean ALL.
- Charging of phone: Please save yourself the heartache and just charge your phone at maami. Its just 50 bucks. This saved me plenty of eye-ache, because I knew my phone was safe. And you will find out that one indispensable tool, is the POWERBANK. Please take your power-bank.
Food was about N300 per meal, laundry was N50, and phone charging was N50.
So if you carefully calculate these, you would see that about 40k has gone like that. Oh yes, I don’t smoke, drink or have money that I’m not using to spend on women- some girls just wanted to be bees in my ear, but by the spirit of God, I was able to dodge them. So it was basically every man for himself.
This segment is meant to give you a piece of advice on the various segments of camp life. I made it short so the article won’t be longer than it should be.
The company you keep determines what accompanies you. Alex and Amadi are guys I have gone for evangelism with through the years- I was in good hands. None of us could go astray. There were some other guys from my school, who had become live chimneys, with heavy puffs of cigarettes almost everyday.
As I said earlier, I currently serve in Lagos, so Lagos camp is actually really “lively”. Apart from the Mr Macho and other beauty pageants, there were also enough activities to keep me entertained. They even had some “celebrities” come camp to perform e.g. Humblesmith, Olu maintain etc. So please be free, don’t form. Play. Have fun. Make new friends, but caution! Beware of wrong company. Wrong company. Wrong company. Wrong company.
There are a plethora of Christian and Muslim groups in camp. Join one- at least for your period in camp. It doesn’t hurt to have an assembly, and NCCF meets every evening, so its better to attend than wasting time at the Maami market. We even had Apostle Selman visit us courtesy of NCCF. Don’t forsake the assembly of the brethren.
Aaah. This is my best. Like a mini-inter house sport competition- ranging from soccer, to volleyball, to athletics between the various platoons. Some states even have sports as a special CD (Community Development) group. In-fact I’m currently in Football CD. I am like one of the meanest defenders they have ehhn. No be joke.
Please, you did not go to camp to look for love. This should be the last thing on your list. If possible, don’t even put it on your list sef. Truth is one out of billions of relationships in camp end in marriage. What happens in camp, stays in camp. Ladies, please be careful of guys. That’s all I will say. I’m trying so hard not so spill. Just use your sense and allow the Spirit of God to guide you.
PPA (Place of Primary Assignment)
Please if you have a place you want as your PPA (place of primary assignment),collect a request letter from them before you go to camp.On a certain day in camp,the NYSC officials will call for your letters,so they can address your posting letter to that place.This happens 90 percent of the time.So please,take a letter from wherever you want to serve.
One last issue, the dreaded question-what happens if there is no toilet in my camp?
I honestly don’t know the answer to that. I just know you will adapt.
And I think this should be my best piece of advice, There is a saying that “you are not a corper unless you have joined a queue”. Please my people, whenever you see a line forming somewhere in camp, even if you don’t know what the line is for, JUST JOIN. Then find out later, and if it doesn’t concern you, you can leave.
In-case of any question, kindly post it as a comment, and I will gladly reply as soon as I see it. And please also, if you are a corper or ex-corper, please feel free to also post your pieces of advice in the comment section. Thanks for your patience in reading.
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