How My NYSC Swearing-in Day Turned Tearful

Days of swearing-in are expected to be one of the best days in the life of an individual, just like a governor or president who can never forget the day they were sworn in as the governor of any state or president of any country.

The same was expected of NYSC members. On the 20th of February, we were sworn in as NYSC members, implying that we had graduated from being addressed as prospective corps members to corps members. But on this very day, the unexpected happened.

After the governor’s representative swore us in, in the absence of the state’s governor, things turned red the night when we, corps members, gathered to celebrate.

It is normal to have a night party at the camp after the swearing-in that took place during the day. We never expected what happened after the party ended.

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When the party was called to a halt, all the available dignitaries found their way back to their homes while the corps members were asked to stay behind.

The Camp Commandant, always shortened to CC, asked all corps members to wait behind. It was upon waiting behind that we started facing the unforgettable punishment of our lives.

At intervals, he would tell us to sit on the floor, stand, sit, and so on.

For more than one and a half hours that night, we stood and sat on the tough floor of the NYSC camp.

Learning the NYSC Anthem By Force

It is normal not to know the NYSC anthem as a prospective corps member because you may not have been hearing or paying attention when it is sung.

As new people in the system, it took us time to learn the NYSC anthem. However, some were already used to knowing the song since they arrived at camp before us.

It will shock you to know that it was on that same day of swearing-in that a good percentage of corps members learned the anthem.

Let me tell you how; while the CC kept on commanding us to stand and sit, he was telling us to sing the NYSC anthem at the same time.

So, singing the NYSC anthem while we sat and stood as per the CC’s command, the anthem got stuck in our heads.

No corps member in my camp will tell you that he or she doesn’t know how to sing the NYSC anthem.

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Honestly, more than half of the corps members in my camp learned how to recite the NYSC anthem on that swearing-in day (the night after the party).

No one would have known what could have happened if not for the unavoidable incidents that preceded the punishment.

While we sat for hours singing the NYSC anthem and sitting and standing, some corps members began to faint in the process.

The CC thought that the first lady who fainted was bluffing. He came to realize that it was a serious matter when, for more than two minutes, she was still unconscious.

He permitted her platoon members to help her. The camp’s ambulance was within reach, and she was quickly rushed to the clinic where she was revived.

After some minutes of unending sitting and standing punishment, the CC allowed us to retire to our hostels.

So, I began to wonder, what if this girl did not faint? Does it mean that we would have remained on the party ground serving punishment?

What Brought About the Punishment?

I understand that by now, you’ll be wondering why the CC kept us under the punishment of reciting the NYSC anthem while sitting and standing.

NYSC Swearing-in Day ceremony
Some corps members during Man O War drilling

By the end of the event, the CC called everyone back to the event ground and started with sit-and-stand punishment.

Well, to answer that question, during the swearing-in event, the corps members had a good relationship with noise-making. They went ahead to leave the event ground when the guests were still sitting.

Below is how the punishment went

CC: Corps Members

Corps Members: Yes, Sir.

CC: Stand up (all stood up). NYSC anthem

Corps Members: “Youth obey the clarion call, let us lift our nation high, under the sun or in the rain, with dedication and selflessness, Nigeria is ours, Nigeria we serve”.

CC: Corps members

Corps Members: Yes, sir.

CC: Sit down

Corps Members: Okay, sir (all sat on the ground murmuring).

CC: Corps members

Corps Members: Yes, sir

CC: You have emotions

Corps Members: No, sir

CC: Corps members

Corps Members: Yes, sir

CC: NYSC anthem

This kept on repeating over and over again for more than one and a half hours.

Wrapping Up

It was by the time that lady answered the call of fainting that we finally had our freedom knocking at our doorstep.

Finally, we were allowed to return to the hostel and sleep.

I must also remind you that while we served punishment on the event ground, it was time for lights out, which means that it was time for everyone to sleep.

If by lights out you are found moving around like a sheep without a shepherd, that night you’ll smell your bom bom. You’ll sing the NYSC anthem in such a way that your parents will start feeling your sorry situation right from home.

Before i wrap this up completely, it is important to inform you that this punishment was to instill discipline among corps members both in and outside the camp.

Hope you enjoyed the story. Please feel free to share your camp or NYSC experience with us. Can’t wait to read.

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