Sometime last year, they stole our street transformer so there was power outage for like 2months. I was going for my weekly cds one of those mornings when this seemingly sensible 60-something-year-old man cornered me.
“corper shun! what h-are you doing about the missing transformer? for 2 months now no light and you are just wearing khaki Upandan like soldier. You don’t know your work?”.
This man was almost my grandfather’s mate so I couldn’t loosely say God punish you. I was trying so hard to smile off my untamable bitch face while he kept looking at me like I was a replica of spoiled indomie &egg.
“Pls Sir, that is not what I studied in the university”.
“I mean I did not study transformer management in the university and my ppa is not even in Nepa office”.
” Ahh (mouth agape) so you study only Khaki management( roars 2seconds laughter) Omo corper ja-ti-ja-ti”. He said, shaking his head as he wandered off.
Headed home after cds one afternoon in our oversized khaki, my friend and I got on a bus. We were the first people to get on it so we chose a comfortable middle seat. Our butts weren’t even cold on the seat when the conductor rushed in & asked us to pay on the spot.
“Conductor make the bus full first na. We are not running“. -my friend countered.
“I wan collect my money now”. he insisted
We paid him and he refunded our change. This was strange to us bcos usually, the bus had to be full or half full or half way into the journey before the conductor would ask for money but this is Lagos right?
Related: this is lagos
After about 15minutes of beckoning passengers, the bus was full so he started collecting his 100naira from the passengers systematically. He then turned to my friend and I and barked, “corper don’t worry. You people should not pay. We’ll carry you people for free”.
Other passengers began cheering and clapping, according him and his driver accolades. I was too dumbfounded to speak. My friend and I gaped at each other -dumb!
“Lagosians really value their corpers o”
“Chai! I wish I served in Lagos during my own time”.
“Eko oni baje o”.
I was tired of hearing all that from the uninformed passengers. In as much as I tried to be a peaceful peace and like my friend, pretend everything the conductor said was true, I didn’t know when I started shouting, ” we have paid him o! He asked us to pay before you people entered! We have paid him o! They are not carrying us for free o”. I literally screamed those lines word for word till I got to my b/stop 45mins later. And before you start wondering if I used to be mad, yes! I can still be very mad especially when I’m hungry.
Another afternoon after cds, I and my oversized khaki went to arena market, oshodi to get a jean. Saw one that could fit, asked the seller how much and she went, “it is 2,500 but bcos you are a corper, Gimme 4K“.
That woman should thank God my hands were made to praise the lord and not to strangle people if not, Y’all would have read the the caption bold on instablognaija; “angry corper strangles jean seller to death over jean price”.
Why would she put an extra charge of 1,500naira on one tiny skinny jean that wouldn’t fit me in the next 6months when my butts would be bigger through God’s increasing grace?
I told her my name was corper Peace and not corper Otedola and I’d never buy that jean for such ridiculous price and she sparked.
“you Lagos corpers are very stingy. Your Ppa will pay you over 50k, federal government will pay you 19,800k and state will still pay you 15k yet you cannot buy common 4K jean”.
Her arrhythmic Igbo-nized voice effortlessly called the attention of other sellers, and bcos I wasn’t wearing my armour of trouble, I walked closer to her, brought out 5k from my bag and counted her 4K. At this point she was already asking her neighbour for nylon so she could tie up the jean for me.
“Fine corper! so you get the money since you come dey do anyhow”.
After I had recounted the 4K for the umpteenth time, I used it to fan myself for a bit, dropped it back in my bag and majestically walked away. What was she even thinking?
Misconceptions about Lagos corpers.
- Companies in Lagos state pay corpers at least 65k monthly.
- Lagos state corpers don’t look for ppa, ppa looks for them.
- Lagos state corpers don’t pay transportation fare or are given discount on fare/purchases.
- Lagos state corpers are next after the Lagos state governor and they have a say in the state affairs.
- Lagos state Corpers are appreciated, loved and respected.
Prior to the time I became a Lagos corper, I used to think it was a rosy, lucrative and flamboyant journey just as that jean seller had conjectured. When I was in Jos and fellow corpers were curious upon the reasons I badly wanted to redeploy to Lagos, I usually did the math for them.
“My ppa in Lagos will pay my atleast 50k + 19800 federal government alawee + 15k state alawee = 84,800k monthly. I must redeploy to Lagos!!!!”
After my stat analysis, some of the corpers gave me the “I wish I was you” look while the rest told me not forget them when I “blow”. Thank goodness I have lost contact with them if not, how would I have explained to them that after 9 months of being an identified Lagos corper, I don’t have 200naira to send them the airtime they’re asking for?
Related: I came, I saw and I conquered
I used to think lagos state corpers got discounts on purchases. I thought I could walk into a saloon, choose a Brazilian weave and have them fix it on me, fix my nails, line my brows and then dust my medium sized butt and leave without paying a dime bcos I had shown the saloonist my nysc identity card.
I thought when I got on a bus/tricycle donning my khaki, the passengers would be clamouring to pay for me and It’d be up to me to choose whoever I wanted to do the bill or I could just shout “I be staff!” and the conductor would salute me and ask for my house address bcos he wants to drop me in-front of my gate for being a Lagos corper -the ultimate government Pikin.
I thought lagosians valued their corpers so much that when a corper is trying to cross the road, they’d halt their cars and allow the corper saunter across, but the reality is, when those Lagos drivers see that you -a corper is about to cross the road they are plying on, they will accelerate so that they can meet up and jam you! You don’t want to know how many times I and my oversized khaki had to run for our dear lives while crossing a road becos all the drivers had connived to jam us.
I was talking with a friend who served in cross river and he wouldn’t stop gushing about how accommodating & nice the indigenes were to corpers. He said he got lifts on several occasions and some parents would send them food or send their children to the corpers lodge to help them with chores. Good for corpers outside Lagos, precisely in cross river bcos here in Lagos, you are on your own! No one cares about you, let alone your feeding. I remember one time I was coming back from my monthly clearance and there was this heavy downpour. I ran to take cover somewhere and about 7 out of the 10 people who took shelter with me kept blabbing “Corper shun! Your anthem says Under the sun or in the rain so why are you now running from this small rain?”.
Related: I came, I saw and I conquered 2
Lagos may not be the worst state to serve in but it is not exactly glamorous as you’v heard. First, getting a good PPA in Lagos is like getting a vip ticket to heaven. It is very scarce & competitive since the state hosts the largest number of corpers in every batch. Unless you’r open to teaching in a government school or you know someone who knows someone who can give you a job other than Evans kidnapping company Ltd, you may have to scrutinize hell to find a better PPA and trust me by the time you’d be done searching, you’d be looking like a local burnt offering.
Secondly, Lagos state employers overuse their corpers and pay them peanuts! Other state employers are more lenient than a typical Lagos employer who would make you work like a horse for 20k or less and when you refuse to be a slave, they call your LGI to report you.
Again, let me make it clear. Lagos state doesn’t pay every corper 15k monthly. The said 15k is limited to corpers who work in the ministry or LGA(bcos their ppa doesn’t pay them). Corpers who work in private organizations do not collect 15k. They are limited to the federal government alawee (which finishes after 3market days) and peanut salaries from their PPA.
Its really been quite a journey for me and I cannot wait to be done in a month or so from now. Yes! I’ll miss the alawee. I will miss some faces at cds and how I used my service as an excuse when I’m asked the reason I haven’t hit that jackpot or haven’t gotten that big job I had always talked or dreamed about. On the contrary, I won’t miss that khaki. I think the only thing I’ll miss about it is how it makes my butt look padded. My ass is the biggest when it’s inside that khaki and it makes me feel bootylicious. Other than that, It makes me look like a joke bcos it is jump-up. I won’t miss the weekly cds and the only reason I might miss clearance is bcos it guarantees a safe alawee. I won’t miss the regular “Corper shun”, “Ajuwaya”, “otondo” salute from people who in turn expect me to smile back or wave at them or maybe sign autographs too and when I don’t, I’d be tagged “rude corper. corper wey no dey smile or bad market corper”. I certainly won’t miss a lot of things about NYSC, but then again, I won’t deny I’m dead scared about life after service. What and what life has in store for me. Will I thrive in the labour market? How long will I have to wait to get that perfect paying job?
PPA: primary place of assignment
CDS: community development service
LGI: local government inspector
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