I walked gallantly along the pedestrian path of the main road. The sound of my jungle boot with the hard concrete floor elated me; a sense of great feel-that a soldier is swagging his way to a specific destination while the passers by stared in uttermost glee. (Most people want to be seen in an intimidating uniform).
I took every stare like a compliment. Give me the stare, you bloody civilians, I thought while I consciously adjusted my gait to match that of a soldier who just returned from Sambisa forest after he had singlehandedly destroyed the terrorists and ended the foreboding danger they posed.
Strong light rays burned my skin and made my handkerchief doused with perspiration, making me constantly wipe my face. My destination was few buildings away now. From where I was, I could see bloody civilians in queues under the burning fire that illuminated the sky. They looked frail. I knew it won’t take me extra time to get what I wanted because I was in my uniform that exuded respect.
Yesterday, I had wanted to contact the people in the building, to gain access to their office and accomplish what I was directed to do since last year. But it seemed almost impossible because the swarm of people waiting in queue for the same purpose was much. I decided to leave for the next day when there would be an easy entrance with my uniform.
“Dear Customer, visit any of our branch with a valid ID card to register your sim and complete your biometrics.”
I received the above message last year December, prompting me to register my sim. I took it inconsequential among the lists of what I actually needed at that moment until I was sent the latest message that read: “Dear Customer, you have been compensated with 20000 naira for calls to all network. Kindly visit any of our office to register your sim and activate it.”
With such message, and the current hard economy of the country where to load a hundred naira recharge card was an herculean task, I didn’t know when my reflex action prodded me to go register my sim.
A gleeful visage donned my face while I grinned from ear to ear because I had gotten to my destination and watched how bloody civilians swarmed the place. I was happy because I’m a corper serving in the northern part of the country where corpers are highly respected. I was happy because I knew since I had come with my complete NYSC uniform; the cap, khaki jacket( not minding the hot sun), khaki trouser and laboriously brushed jungle boots, I had automatically booked myself a free passage into the office.
I made a wide scan of the environment and pitied the sweating bloody civilians on the queue. As I made to proceed to the door as a ‘Government Pikin’ to use my corper immunity, I saw five corp members nattily dressed in full NYSC regalia that were standing in line with the civilians. They looked hopeless and “tiredly tired.” I believed the sun of the day had just one target; to admonish them with perspiration.
I huffed and realised that my plan to intimidate the civilians and gain a first class suit in the office had just been pulled off. I turned back. But this time, with a sullen expression and this depressing thought Minna people no get respect at all, such disrespect to government first born!
Respect government pikin biko!
Austin writes about his corps member experiences in Minna, Niger State of Nigeria. A Stylish writer who loves his words when he isn’t penning something crazy.