From the jungle to striving to survive

September 22, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Ogunniyi Abayomi

In October 2015, he was a stranger in an erstwhile village, wailing over the absurdity across the atmosphere of the environment.

He was regular, acting to the conscript of these struggles, far from home pondering on the existence and timid experience, including the disengaged lifestyle across his vicinity that enraged him in the first few months of his arrival.

With the smell of fumes from the sticks beneath the lips of the youths and adolescents across the street, he perceived its flints and scents that distorted his breathe while he searched for food across the street to feed his hunger and thirst.

However disruptive and unacceptable, he adapted to its rigours and timidity that eluded lifestyle as a stranger across the land.

It was the beginning of an adventure as a youth corp member in a remote area of the state, a transition of another reality alone without his family and friends towards his life without supervision.

The memory of smiling and excitement beclouded his thoughts as he remembered printing his deployment letter via the internet to serve in Imo State. He was not aware of the rigours, the adventure of being in a strange land while he anticipated his new environment.

Orientation camp was a memorable experience, he was overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the attitude of military personnel, the Nigerian graduates likewise the orgies for lustful pleasure between male and females.

It was a new world that would come to an abrupt end within two weeks. The fun was over and the reality began to stare him in the eyes while receiving his posting to enact an immediate movement to his place of primary assignment in alliance with the NYSC procedure.

He moved to a neighbouring town within the local government area to rest his head before commencing the struggle for acceptance and documentation. The reality was not obvious yet apparent to his consciousness until he felt the pain of travelling a number of miles through the bushes, forests and trees.

The undeveloped landscape and wielded palm trees ignited his consciousness that he was truly away from home.

Corper u na dey go‘ the driver communed with him, switching to the native dialect of the land he was posted to which he did not understand, a fellow colleague interpreting the driver’s native tongue.

He agreed to terms with the driver and together began the journey to the location he was posted. For his assignment, he would teach in a public secondary school in a remote village whose staff and students inhibited a lazy demeanour towards learning.

‘Your name and course of study?’ the principal inquired this from him following a thorough scrutiny of the documents submitted. ‘You are welcome but I’m sorry the government does not pay Corpse members the same as teachers in this state, but we would give you an accommodation,’ was the principal’s statement in her office.

‘You resume in December and again let me impose this warning to you; beware of the girls, you sleep with and they find out, you are gone.’

He departed and was to stay a few weeks before resumption. He was weary and weak over the exercise and couldn’t withhold the pressure in the daily struggle to adapt, yet he had no choice.

The story of the wild adventure began when he resumed his duty post as a teacher in English Literature, impacting the beauty of words and images to the mind of weak veins towards academics.

He met demons in the appearance of beauty and beauty in the appearance of demons on his first encounter with the students of the school. There was the beginning of his story, the struggle of teaching students who are neither proficient in the language of our colonialists, nor were interested in what you taught, but were willing to extort and fulfil their lustful pleasures.

The robbery encounter,  likewise the unlawful arrest over a crime he knew nothing about it. The traps and dead zones he escaped.

The maltreatment from both the community and staff could not be enough to explain how he served his country in agony and emotional torture, an experience yet a fury of wasting a whole year over activities and procedures of no relevance. To suffer over irritating issues and the threat of queries while the leaders breached the terms and conditions of their own roles.

The division between tribes and sentiments among ethic groups raised the question of one Nigeria. ‘Is not your brother’ was always the proclamation of what he observed as ethnic racism. I can’t talk to you if you do not understand my native language, which totally breaks the cord among fellow corp members.

He pondered likewise and said ‘are youths divided because of tribe and religion; what does the future hold for this country?’










Ogunniyi Abayomi

Ogunniyi Abayomi was born July 11, 1991 in the city of Lagos, where he resides. A poet and essayist whose works have been published in various journals.


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