My Experience

Ibrahim Moshood
6 min readAug 19, 2021

The long-awaited moment finally came to life on the 26th of July. No thanks to the COVID ’19 Pandemic and the incessant ASUU strike that has, unfortunately, become a new normal and a constant that can be associated with the Nigerian Public Universities. Every Nigerian graduate’s pride is to serve their fatherland after the completion of their undergrad (I guess that was hitherto), I doubt that’s still the case now. Regardless, it was one of the moments I anticipated and was made to yearn for. I finally got mobilized on July the 27th — marking the commencement of my 21-day long adventure which I term “My 21 days of incubation”.

It was a sunny, terrific Tuesday morning, I had prepared my bags the day before, although, this preparation can be traced as far back as a month earlier. I could no longer afford to wait anymore, I wanted to explore the world starting from my Country, Nigeria 🇳🇬. The much-awaited moment was finally here, I needed to commence the journey to enter into the next phase of my life — the managerial phase (the phase wherein I make decisions for myself and have full responsibility for my actions and inactions).

Upon hearing the sound of my alarm, I got up from my king-sized bed, said my morning prayers, dressed up, got my parents blessings and set forth to commence my journey.

As I embarked on this journey, I decided to put on hold all affairs I was engaged with hitherto which had me sent official emails requesting a month leave from work to enable me enjoy my ‘honeymoon’ void of any distractions. My journey to the NYSC Permanent orientation camp, Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos lasted for about three hours. On the way, my attention was drawn to the beautiful landscapes and exquisite buildings in the city largely regarded as the ‘Centre of Excellence’, my eyes fed more than my mouth did during the voyage, lol…😄😄😄

Finally, I got to the destination and I took a deep breath in and then out, gradually entered the gate like a typical ‘Otondo' that I am. I received a warm reception from all the camp officials that attended to me. First, I was made to check-in and have my COVID’19 test, then, my luggage was scanned, just to be sure I had not brought two food flasks (lol…hahaha😄), I was a good boy 😉.

The first day on camp was one of my most stressful days because I needed to complete my registration. It was quite tedious as I had to do my accommodation, NYSC, Platoon, and Bank registration all on the same day. I was up to the task and glad I did complete my first challenge.

Not long after, I heard the sound of the bugle, the sound of the bugle is a peculiar feature of the camp as it signals a time to take an action — one we’ve all acquainted ourselves with, although can be very annoying at 4 O' clock am. You are left wondering if you even got to rest for an hour and all you could wish for was for it to develop a fault, but against all odds, it would and I doubt it will ever…hahaha. Complementing the sound of the bugle is the whistling sound of the whistle by the Man O’war personnel. You’d always want to stay as far away as possible from these sounds, trust me.

Seconds ran into minutes, minutes into hours, hours to days and in a twinkle of an eye came 21 days. Amazing how time flies…

Each day spent in the camp were unique in their own ways as there’s always an event the day highlights.

Some days it could be heated conversations by roommates, or the scene of people (Otondos) falling down on parade ground during drills, or the excitement and hullabaloo accompanied with social nights and events or the fun moments with the Man O war guys in the morning and especially the time out with our Camp Mama — “Did you get it?¿”(blowing us kisses )… lol 😆 and so on.

I would not have done justice to this story if I fail to mention the boring parts of the orientation camp, lol.

These are the periods between the hours of 09:00 and 14:00. We receive series of lectures and SAED. This period is known to be the activation period for the ‘sleeping bats’. I am no exception to this as it’s usually a great opportunity to get some sleep time into the eyes and the body by extension. Although, it came back to hunt me, hahaha 😆 .

Owing to my nature as being exploitative and adventurous, I didn’t take too long to make new friends. I had friends from various tribes across the country and offshore. My experience was made even livelier and more eventful since I became the Coach of my Platoon’s volleyball (female) team.

This new role opened lots of windows for me during my 21 days in camp and I got to actively participate in virtually all activities there are to per take in as I won the bronze medal in the Athletics competition (sprint), consequently earning me a place in the State’s athletics team. It is noteworthy to also mention that my platoon won the inter-platoon drills competition — the toughest and most rated competition on camp and came runners-up in the carnival(costume) competition.

21 days seemed like 3 weeks to my fellow corp members, but to me, it was more a reflection of the digits ‘2' and ‘1' (3 days). The last days of the orientation camp were my favorite as my heart found something delightful and started to flutter…hahaha. I was mesmerized by what I encountered.

My Takeaway from my 21 days f incubation will be the advice given by the State Coordinator, in his ever vibrant and confident voice:

“Remember! You are now in the managerial stage of your life. Redefine your purpose in life; Be your brother’s keeper and above all, ask yourself: after your service, what will posterity remember you for?” ~Mr Eddy Megwa

I drop my pen ✒️