Smiles, giggles and laughter everywhere. Camera flashlights flashing from all corners. Everyone is decked in a uniform. Some corp members have just passed out from the scheme.
On November 5th the previous year, an orientation camp in the sleepy town of Obubra had welcomed these lot. Oblivious of what the camp had in stock for them, they sojourned and spent 3 weeks. Gruesome weeks for most of them. In those three weeks, amidst the parades and drills, relationships were forged, friendships formed and enemies made.
Being the social beings we are, we come across various people everyday. Our interactions lead to imprints being made. Some are like footprints on a sand dune; others are like a footprint on a cement paste left to solidify. Positive or negative. Few people leave the positive former in your life. Look, I’m not into going on a reel of praise singing like Fuji musicians; i suck at it. But some people just make you wish you were a Fuji musician. Here I compile a non-exhaustive list of those who I’ll never forget in this lifetime for their impact resonates even when I’m in a windowless room.
1. MI JEFE: In terms of percentage, she singularly takes 60% of the impact exerted on me. Yeah, she was that influential. A graduate and worker of UNICAL, no one knows the campus better than her. A supervisor I’d gladly work with again, she’ s got this mien that makes her easy to relate with. Ours was the Specter-Ross work environment. Without the suits tho (pun intended).
Guess who I discussed my post-NYSC plan with! Her advice and enthusiasm to help achieve them are such that ONLY my parents can offer. No exaggeration! It’s rare to get a mother-friend-boss figure in one individual. She combines these effortlessly. Her only regrets over me is that I wasn’t able to converse in Efik. But not to worry, I’m learning the language now. I hope to visit Calabar again if our plan moves in sync with God’s.
Sosono, ma’am. Abasi eyedion fi!
By the way, Mi Jefe is spanish for ‘My Boss’.
2. AMEER: My first encounter with him was when he was the compere of the Camp Paradise Night in Obubra, an alternative programme to the Camp Fire Night. Little did I know that we were going to meet again in Calabar. Even before he became the ameer, his personality was such that endeared him to many. One hallmark of his administration was his willingness to listen to opinions; he consulted a lot. As such, the administration was one that carried many people along. A lawyer by profession, his commitment to MCAN never wavered as he made it seem as if he would be there forever. During his time, we had many ‘firsts‘. A language enthusiast, his knowledge of Yoruba language amazes many even though he hails from Niger state.
3. Rilwan: This one ehn! Na confused corper. Originally posted to Akpabuyo Local Government, he spent 99% of his service year in Calabar, practising his profession, law. Due to the lack of work in an average Nigerian local government secretariat, he had to put his service year into good use.
At the Nigeria Law School, Enugu.
He served as the General Secretary of MCAN CRS and Legal Adviser to MCAN South/South zone, so he was quite busy. Something I learnt from him and as emphasised by the Ameer during one of our meetings is his commitment to work. I remember his excitement when he won his first case in the court.
4. Ibrahim: A graduate of Chemical Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, the dude was quite popular on the lodge.
Old Residency Building @ the background.
He usually acted as the peacemaker, a mediator kind of (I’ve my reasons for saying this). Originally posted to Akamkpa, he redeployed to Calabar and worked at the state’s water board. Though he served as the Project Chairman in the first dispensation, he became more active during his stint as the Welfare Chairman. One thing about him is his desire to improve himself by optimizing opportunities available. D’Formless as he likes to be called is a die-hard Chelsea fan. A Mourinho-lic. He blogs here.
5. ‘Deji: In summary, this one na the troublemaker of the lodge. He served as a lecturer at the Cross River State College of Education, Akamkpa, though he spent majority of his time in Calabar.
During a visit to Bakassi.
I call him the utility player of the lodge and was the one I was closest to on the lodge. One quality I admire about him is his readiness to help and offer his advice when sought. And yes, he was my partner in crime as regards Ngozi and Mama Uwem.
He blogs here.
See y’all soon.