Kubwa Camp ended up being a fun place; it ended up being a fantastic experience that will remain engraved in my memory for as long as I live. I felt like giving up at the start, I felt like screaming back at the soldiers wielding their silly whips and screaming at me. I felt like strangling some of the people I met, people who were absolutely, unapologetically nutcases and murdering them. I felt like laying waste to the already dilapidated Camp Secretariat at times when I was told I would have to come back tomorrow to get this or that form or to sign this or that document. I felt like grabbing for the jugular of the sky and beating the shit out of it on days when, without warning, and with me outside standing on some miserable queue, it would up and open like some deranged sesame, and a downpour would begin. I got to my wits’ end very many times in Kubwa Camp especially during the first week. But still, it was a fantastic experience, one I would not trade for anything in the entire world.
After Camp, for my Primary Assignment, I was posted to a Pharmaceutical Research Institute. Actually, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, the institute was located in Idu Industrial area, at poverty stricken Abuja. Idu was not very far from Abuja main town, in fact, on days of towering strength, one could walk from Idu to Life Camp, which is in main town Abuja. The fact that a place like Idu was located in Abuja was the first shock that greeted me. Idu is so irrelevant and minuscule, one could drive past it without even knowing it is there, and you should, too, to be honest. In my thoughts, Abuja was all mansions and paved ways and boys hawking fancy things like lavender face towels and short bread biscuits and Ribena and things. I was not mentally prepared for an Abuja where the roads were not tarred and were red and disgusting when it rained, an Abuja where there were more dumpsites than people, more little shops that sell tomato and pepper than houses, an Abuja where houses were made from mud and old aluminum roofing sheets. That Abuja was definitely not the one I had in mind on the day I collected my call-up letter and saw FCT. The trouble with Abuja, the biggest trouble with Abuja is that there is so much difference between rich people and poor people. The poor people are just so unfortunately, miserably poor; but the rich are rich in such brazen, in-your-face manner that makes you want to ask serious questions about inequality. I tried to do that in this piece I called ‘What is Abuja?’ Potentially, this trend is extremely harmful, especially for these rich people because a time will come when a rich man will blare the horn of his Chrysler Jeep in the ear of the poor man and the poor man would not have it in him to take it on the chin and would match towards the Chrysler Jeep and open the door and bring the rich man out and only your mind can complete this story.
I did not enjoy my time at the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development in the real sense of the word, mostly because a) I did not care much for the type of work they did there and b) the sheer drudgery of monotonousness. I got used to it at a point and I began to enjoy the idea of it but not it itself. And so it continued and continued and it seemed like it would never end, but now we are here! NIPRD only served, for me, as something to add to my CV, I worked at NIPRD for a year and I prepared lots of media and cultured lots of microorganisms and did lots of sensitivity tests - none of which gave positive results, by the way - and a whole lot of walking from the Microbiology and Biotechnology Laboratory on the second floor to the TB Laboratory on the ground floor, and a lot of confirming that people had Tuberculosis. SMH. The list is endless. There is time for everything, as people say all the time. My sun has almost set as a Corps member, and therefore also has this title ‘Residues of Kubwa Camp’, I could have written more, I just did not have the time, or I was lazy, or both. Thank you for reading if you read. And if you did not, you should.
Till next time,, Keep dreaming!!