I write this article for the benefit of all prospective corps members in the country. The NYSC orientation camp exercise is indeed a sweet but tedious experience. Although it has a lot of fun attached to it because it is once in a lifetime experience. As someone who was formally in corps member in Uburu, Ohaozara L.G.A. Ebonyi state of Nigeria, I have lots of practical knowledge on how the orientation camp looks like. Therefore, I want to use this opportunity to throw more light on the camping exercise what you expect and what is expected of you.
To start with, it is important to know that the NYSC scheme is divided into 4 parts which are; Orientation camp, Place of primary assignment, Community development service and passing out parade. We will work on bringing relevant articles on each of these arms. But for now, this article addresses Orientation camp. The orientation camp is the first stage of the NYSC scheme which starts within less than a week after printing your call up letters.
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The resumption into the camp takes place within the first two day of the exercise. Thus, registration begins immediately. The registration ends around 12 mid night of the second day. Therefore, it is advised that as much as possible, no matter how far or near you stay from the camp, try to avail yourself on the very first day. If you miss the registration on the first day, you can register on the second day. But if you miss the registration on the second day, the portal closes and never to be opened. Therefore, at this point, the only available option is to go back home and wait for the next batch to get re-mobilized.
Upon registration, you are given your platoon. There are 10 platoons in the camp. The last digit of your state code number becomes your platoon. But if the number is 0, it means you are in platoon 10. Also, after this registration process, you proceed to opening of account in which NYSC will use to pay your monthly allowance. Representatives from the bank will be at the orientation camp which means that there will be no need to go outside.
NOTE: During the orientation camp, you are not allowed to go outside the camp except on permission which must be for health reasons or when preparing for the carnival. When preparing for the carnival, about 2 people from each platoon are permitted to go outside in order to purchase some important items which will be needed.
The third day of the orientation camp is the swearing in ceremony and at that time, you are no longer referred to as prospective corps members but rather corps members. The swearing in ceremony is done by the governor of the state where you are deployed or his representative. The orientation camp is fully regimented. This means that every activities has been timed and you might not have much time for yourself.
Every day, you wake up around 5am for the morning devotion and parade and go to bed around 10pm. The morning parades last till about 7:30 to 8am. Then you go for your morning meal (breakfast). For this breakfast, you need to present your meal tick in order to partake out of it. The meal ticket is given to you immediately after registration. The orientation camp activities include the following;
1) Morning devotion and Parade
3) Morning lectures: This is also a very important part of the orientation camp. The lectures here includes but not limited to the following; Custom and tradition of the land, Security lectures, CDS lectures, Entrepreneurship, HIV/AIDS, SDGs, NDLEA, SAED etc. do not miss any part of these lectures.
5) SAED: Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development. The slogan of SAED is Corps members creating wealth
7) Afternoon parade
8) Compound cleaning/sanitation
9) Fellowship: There are basically 3 fellowships in the orientation camp which includes; Nigeria Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF), National Association of Catholic Corpers (NACC) and Muslim Corpers Association.
11) Social activities at night
12) Sunday activities etc
Each of these activities are important for all corps members and as such do not think to miss any. Although there are some groups or unit in the orientation camp in which corps members can function. They include; Band group, Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS), Red Cross, Medical and more. For those who cannot cope with the kind of food been prepared by the orientation camp kitchen, the camp market, also known as mammy market is available for your service. But spend prudently.
During the orientation camp exercise, the Director General of NYSC visits the orientation camp. Although, most time it is done by his representatives because he cannot be everywhere at the same time. His visit is always accompanied with the donation of a cow. This cow is used for the carnival on the second to the last day on camp.
In going for the orientation camp exercise, you are to go with the following items. Note that for the documents in which photocopy will be needed, make as many copies as possible else prepare to pay higher to run the photocopy in the camp.
1) Statement of result, original and photocopy
2) Green card, original and photocopy
3) Medical fitness test result
4) Call up letter
5) University Identification card
6) Passports photographs (about 15 copies is advised)
7) White shorts
8) White t shirts
9) White canvass
10) Waist pouch
11) Food flask and cutlery sets
13) Torch light
14) Nice clothes for Sunday service
15) Nice clothes for carnival (preferably jeans)
16) Bed sheet
17) Mosquito net
The following items are not allowed into the camp
2) Boiling ring
3) Electric iron
5) Extension sockets
Apart from Sunday service and carnival, corps members in the orientation camp are not permitted to put on any other cloth apart from white and white or 6/7
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF YOU
You do not just expect certain things form NYSC during the orientation camp exercise. NYSC also has high but few expectations from you
1) Participate in all activities: The orientation camp exercise is for you and thus you must be actively involved
2) Be well behave: As much as the exercise lasts for only 21 days, it is expected that you must be well behaved within these few days.
APPLYING FOR REDEPLOYMENT
During the orientation camp exercise, redeployment is opened for corps members who has reasons why the environment or state will not be favorable to them. Redeployment is granted on the following conditions
1) Health challenge: This is the most crucial reason why NYSC will approve your redeployment. If you have a health challenge in which you are sure that you cannot serve in the state where you are been posted to, then you can apply for redeployment
2) Marriage: Although this is mainly opened to female corps members. If you are married, you will be redeployed to the state where your husband resides. For this, you must present your evidence of marriage like marriage certificate and wedding pictures.
ALLOWANCE IN THE CAMP
During the orientation camp, NYSC gives three main allowance. The first allowance is called transport allowance which is the sum of ₦1500. This allowance serves as a subsidy to the money you paid for transportation to the orientation camp. The second allowance is called bicycle allowance. It is the sum of ₦1000 which carters for all your transportation in the camp. Although you never traveled in the camp. The third allowance is your first monthly allowance which is the sum of ₦19,800. This money is given cash on the last Saturday of the orientation camp.
END OF ORIENTATION CAMP
The orientation camp exercise lasts for 21 days. It closes on the 21st day as the Governor of the state or his representative comes for the event. It is on that day that you receive your posting letter in order to know the Local Government you are been posted to. Let me advice that at this point, do not be in a hurry to leave the camp. Yes 21 days is way too long and you want to leave immediately. But wait a little bit and do not rush to where you do not know.
If you actively participated in the Fellowships while in the camp (Although I am only sure of NCCF), free buses are made available to convey corps members to the respective local governments of assignment. The Local Government also sends buses to come and carry their corps members, although it is not free. Other bus companies also come for business. But make sure that you find out exactly where you are going so as not to be cheated. More than 80% of corps members has not visited the local government where they are posted, therefore you must be very careful.