“You won see oga? For wetin? Oga don go defence head-kuatas for
I had just completed the national youth service corps and was in dire need of a job to keep the battered body from failing and the soul from going astray. Five days before the conversation with this army sergeant I had visited the naval headquarters in
I couldn’t afford the supposedly free form that was being obtained for N5000, instead of climbing the mountain I thought of a way round it, and that was after a tip off from a friend that the same form was available for free in the federal capital territory, Abuja. That evening I decided to embark on an impromptu trip to
At the popular Oyingbo motor park all I had was N760 and unfortunately a one way trip to
I was about handling over the N750 to the conductor when I decided to walk round the park for the last time, come back to pay for the fare and take my seat in the Abuja bound bus when suddenly I heard a conductor calling out for 2 more passengers for only N550. I dashed toward him and asked ‘N550?’ ‘Yes, come in’ he replied. I stood at the door, looked in the bus and saw that the seats were all occupied with a lot more people standing. I then turned to him asking where I was going to seat. He replied fuming ‘I beg commot for road if you never ready to go make better passengers enter, no be people dey stand from Lagos to Maiduguri for 18 hours?’. As I was about stepping out my eyes caught three people at the door waiting impatiently to take my place. In about 3 seconds I joggled my brain for alternatives and found none. With immediate effect of alacrity (apology, Chief Eleyimi of village headmaster fame) I took the fastest reverse ever to join my ‘comrades’ to stand for 9 hours in a bus to
As we travelled through Ore town nature took its toll, while standing I went into hallucination; I saw myself doing well at the NDA interview and eventually offered admission into the academy in Kaduna for the six month short service course… I passed out as one of the best cadet officers ever and was posted to the Apapa garrison command where I further learned the military artistry.
Three months after graduating from the NDA as army 2nd Lieutenant we were each given N800,000 to settle down and get a house privately as our flats in the army barracks were under renovation. Each of us was also given the keys to a new Volkswagen Jetta car, as 2nd Lieutenant the army could not afford to see us disrespected in the free Lagos Molue and Danfo buses like the ordinary Corporal or Sergeant Recruits. After 2 years I became a full Lieutenant, in five years I was promoted to the rank of a captain and in just 7 years an army Major rank was fastened to my shoulder by my commanding officer. I was immediately named the new garrison commander. After putting ten meritorious ten years in the Nigerian Army with yearly frequent trips to Australia, Germany, and America for military training my commanding officer put my name forward to the Chief of Army staff for promotion to the rank of a Major General and suddenly the ‘bust’ driver shouted “we go soon reach Okene junction for Ajaokuta, everybody make una lie down. Na dia armed robbers road block always dey, I go fire pass for high speed, if you remain standing na your own wahala be that ooh”. I was very angry; at least the yeye bus driver could have just allowed me to receive the major general rank before shouting. That rank was what I was waiting for to shoot me into the political arena of the country and put my name in the history book, suddenly it was dawn on me that I was standing and a potential target for the merciless armed robbers. I looked down and between my feet were two commuters, by this time there were two layers of people already on the bus floor. It was either I joined to start the third layer or remain standing to face the armed robbers fire force, ‘just that this time in a real life situation and not a mirage’.
When I got to the Army headquarters in
Those days, I do not understand the word ‘No’, so I went to a lesser and third class king, Obajemu of Egbeda, Kabba who was happy to give me a scribbled royal note for the Admiral in Abuja …
TO BE CONTINUED