How my corper bragging rights got me into trouble

I was too excited when I received my posting letter to Lagos. I mean, c’mon!  It was Lagos, commercial hub of Africa, land of opportunities, networking and home of endless turn up. It was going to be the most exciting NYSC year. It has been anyways, but there are some experiences, that were not so nice that I would never forget. What better place for it to happen than in the reverred yellow danfo buses.

So there’s this thing in Lagos, it was so shocking but also rather commendable. Uniformed officers were allowed to make use of public means of transportation without paying. They were often referred to as “Staff”. Anyways, when I left Camp, my platoon commandant told me that passing through the training in the orientation camp automatically makes me a Paramilitary officer; therefore in my mind, I didn’t need to pay for my bus fares.

So, the first time I tried it was my last time and I was not alone. I boarded a bus from Ikorodu to Ogba with a fellow corper friend, and in our minds, we were paramilitary, because we were kitted in our Corper uniforms. We had the exact amount of money needed to get to Ogba and in between the trip, we were going to stop at about 6 busstops, so it really wouldn’t matter if we were the last persons to pay. As typical as it is with Lagos buses, we entered the bus and once it was full, the conductor gave the order to start paying. He would usually ask for the money from the front all the way to the back.

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When he asked for our money, we casually responded “Corper”, but unknown to us, the conductor heard “Ogba” and he said no problem. We didn’t know he misheard thinking we said “Ogba and concluded that we would pay him at the last bus stop.

And so the spending spree began! Giddy with excitement that we would never pay for public transport for the rest of our service year in Lagos. So we bought gala, coconut chips, Lacasera and some other things we normally wouldn’t buy. In fact, we decided that we would wear our uniforms everyday to save our allowee. We were basking in our new found luck that we didn’t realize we had gotten to our bus-stop. The conductor tapped us again, and told us this was the last bus-stop and we were like “Corper” ;again he heard Ogba, he said, “Ehn, A ti de be” meaning “That’s where we are now”. That’s when I suspected something was wrong. I don’t fully remember all that happened after but what I won’t forget in a hurry is that we bought detergent and washed that bus sparking clean because we had zero cash to pay for our trip.

Today, when I see corpers claiming “we are paramilitary”, I just laugh and secretly hope they go through the same experience. Paramilitary my foot!

Written by Michael Akinkunle


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One Comment

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Iam a regular customer with FCMB, i have a coplain but does not know wether to post it here on this social media?

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