My first week camp experience in the north made me realize i didn’t want to spend the next one year in the north. I had spent most of my life in the northern and western part of Nigeria. I saw NYSC as an opportunity to go a totally different place, an adventure. I redeployed from Yobe state to Akwa Ibom state, at first i wanted to go to (sorry Twinnie) Enugu because i hadn’t been to the east and i heard it was a nice place but later i just changed to Akwa Ibom- instinct i guess. Enugu i’d be back for you later😉 .
Immediately NYSC camp finished i took off, I spent about 20 hrs on the road from Bauchi to Uyo, it was a bumpy ride but i made it! I stayed at a friend’s place and sorted my redeployment. My first observation was that the buildings looked alike duh 🙈 nothing special it’s still Nigeria. Light was constant, it didn’t even blink, this was early December and i told myself ‘you’re in the right place 😎 .
On getting back in January with all my things ready to settle down, i realized from the airport that only airport taxis can take you to town, this cost about 2,500+, i didn’t foresee this cost, apparently i was supposed to hitch a ride but i was the last person to come out of the plane, i took my time and everyone had gone. I could either wait for the next plane which was in 3 hrs time or just close my eyes and take the taxi. i took the latter, pained. why so expensive? The town wasn’t far but you have only airport taxis plying that route, Lesson learnt- Monopoly is Bad.
I easily went through the NYSC procedures to get a Place of Primary assignment. I was posted to Uyo which i wanted, University of Uyo was my first Place of Primary Assignment, for the next 3 months we battled back and forth as i was not accepted nor rejected. I was told the same thing repeatedly “The letter is with the registrar, it has not been attended to come back on Friday oh sorry next week…” at first i was enjoying the holiday but later it just got frustrating. Eventually i was rejected as they said there was no more space. I immediately got another place and began work, an audit firm. The experience was enlightening and only confirmed that i didn’t want to be an auditor. As for CDS, I was in Drugs free and Quality control group, we took a stance against drugs abuse and we met weekly where we mostly deliberated about money or group project, the only laudable thing we did was carrying out sensitization in two secondary schools, fair enough🙂
It took a while to find the ‘perfect’ accommodation, by the end of January i jointly rented a 2 bedroom apartment at Nwaniba with 2 other corpers – One a social prefect and an upcoming cook, the other a lazy minister of women affairs😂 , we got along well and only had disputes when it was time to share responsibilities or drop money. The house was recently renovated so everything was in good condition, the only questionable stuff was that the bathroom didn’t have a tap, it just had shower and it wasn’t that they forgot that was the style👎🏽. The flat was in a compound where about 4 other families lived and some bachelors, it was quiet and everyone minded their business. When there was power supply it was mostly low current and occasionally it went too high, this high voltage took out all the bulbs and blew two of my laptop chargers on separate occasions😭. Water supply worked with power supply, the voltage was mostly low and couldn’t pump water hence we had to buy water from a neighboring compound, 20 Naira for 3 buckets. We did later have to buy a drum to store water in preparation for times of scarcity.
I barely knew anyone here asides from my school mates serving or living here and fellow corpers i met at CDS, People were generally nice and helpful. My first experience was when i entered a tricycle and a man beside me greeted me, i thought it was because i was wearing the NYSC kit but then it happened over and over at different times even when i was on normal outfit. Normally in Lagos you mind your business, so it was different to have people genuinely greet you not because they wanted something from you but because it was a norm. On my street the youths occasionally called me to come and drink/eat with them, a kind gesture which i was first skeptical of because you don’t just take things from ‘strangers’🙄 but over time i became comfortable with taking a bit of ‘whatever’ was being shared. A bond was created, everyone seemed to watch out for each other. I couldn’t speak much of the language-Ibibio, however a tricycle driver once advised me to get an Akwa Ibom girlfriend, that it would solve that problem, oh well i looked for but… it was not meant to be😑 .
In town the major means of public transportation is tricycle – keke Napep, the flow of traffic is a free, most times the only thing that causes any stoppage is traffic light. This is a far cry from Lagos as you can be certain that you’d get to your destination at a particular time when moving in Uyo. About food, before i learnt to cook it was frustrating looking for rice in the afternoon at a nearby canteen and hearing that the only thing available was garri or fufu, there was particular canteen that i encountered at Abak road that sold only eba and different soups, at first i thought the lady was lazy but when i asked she simply said that’s what people were asking for, the law of demand and supply at work. I adjusted with time and started learning to cook asides indomie😄 . By the way the cost of living isn’t cheap, forget about it. it’s the same Nigeria. Talking about internet service providers; Swift, Spectranet, Smile… haven’t made it here yet but MTN, Airtel, Etisalat work well while Globacom is disappointing in most areas.
During my stay i got to relate more with children, at my church, i joined children’s church unit again i was looking for a new experience. Immediately it made me realize ‘guy you’re old ohh’ when everyone was calling me uncle Daniel and in mind i’m like can we please drop the
uncle🙄 Daniel is fine, I spent only one Sunday at the class for ages 0-3 and i knew instantly i wasn’t made for there😑 , then i moved to ages 4-8 where i served for 6 months, I again moved to ages 9-12 where i served till the end of NYSC. Apart from making me realize i was old, it was a good experience, the other teachers were very supportive and it was good opportunity to communicate value to younger ones. I also rendered home lesson service for a primary school child for about 2 months in my bid to make some extra money, by the second month there was no need for the lesson (parents) and i needed my free time back. In September i facilitated a two day training at Rayfield Secondary school under the platform of HOPE CITY fellows program, it was a good volunteering experience where i got to teach leadership, entrepreneurship, personal mastery, innovation, creativity and national development consciousness to an audience of 100+.
From April i started lessons for my professional exams, life became more serious and there was little time to play around. I really didn’t get to go to other parts of the state like Zani, however i did visit neighboring states like Cross river and Rivers state many times. I’d be back again certainly.
I tried not to make this too long but did I miss anything?