He anticipated the NYSC camping with all enthusiasm after a colourful, and well honoured Convocation ceremony which revealed his hard work and great excellence throughout the distressful five years he spent studying Engineering.
Abdul was an intelligent, handsome and aspiring young man whose inborn endowment extinguished him amongst his peers in all ramifications. He was an easy going person and immensely rooted in wisdom which prevailed in his careful choice of words. He was gifted and possessed diverse skills. He barely associated and often stood aloof in most social activities like clubbing. In all these, he so much loved his mode of dressing in a frivolous manner.
NYSC camping turned out to be very stressful for him as against his expectations. Especially, the difficult urge to quench the lovable early morning sleep at regular basis due to the consistent sound of the trumpet. At the peak of his frustration, he became acquainted with Toby who desired the friendship and companionship, this started brightening his stay in camp. Just when he was at the verge of enjoying his stay, they were driven out of the Camp as a result of the unceremonious arrival of covid’19 pandemic which was causing ravage and havoc on the entire well-being of the people. It became so alarming when he found himself alongside other Corp members, tangled to the timid Zanbir Village in Taraba State. Due to self-confident, they assumed that the whole occurrence won’t last long. In his magnanimity, he tried every possible way to make his way back home. Unfortunately, all effort turned futile as the whole borders at that critical period were closed. Abdul had no choice but to find solace among his fellow Corp members; especially, Toby. To ease tension and avert the toll of the lockdown on them, Cyril, one of the Corp members volunteered to get a football and suggested that they jogged every morning, so as to ease the boredom and build their physique.
In the early hours of the morning, Toby in his unusual manner always tried to wake Abdul forcefully for their jogging ritual. Consistently in askew, he never succumbed; especially not with the opportunity he had grabbed to make up for all the denied sleep while in camp. Toby stopped pressurizing him since he concluded that he was never going to miss the football match every evening but will gladly forfeit the morning jogging. The scenario continued nearly one week when Abdul received a phone call from his father.
“Hey man, my father decided to come pick me this weekend”, Abdul in excitement told Toby.
“Oh boy, this is good news. Abeg, you go help me beg your P man say I wan join una shift from here, me ma don tire for this boring place”, Toby pleaded.
“My man, no wahala, I just hope he finds his way at this critical period”, Abdul uttered while he adjusted himself on the bed.
“Sure..Sure, definitely he will find his way around”, Toby assured.
“You see guy, with this news, I go show you wetin I dey made of for field this evening, just get prepared”, Abdul vouched like a braggadocio.
“See who is talking! You know say for field, you be small boy for where I dey”, Toby praised himself with a wink and ran off from the room while Abdul chased after him.
They were still bragging and teasing each other on their way to the field that evening when Abdul decided to get sachet water at the nearby store.
“Hey…hey! I hope say no be run you wan run so or you wan use water sanitize your leg? Toby asked teasingly, throwing out his tongue forward. Abeg, I no go fit wait for you, just hurry up and meet me at the field because my blood dey hot if I reason the kind dribble I wan dribble you”, he bluffed, further demonstrating with his legs as he progressed towards the football field. Abdul gave a faint laugh and hurriedly headed towards the store.
Just the moment he was coming out of the store hastily, holding the two sachet water each on his hands, he heard a gunshot from unknown destination and took to his heels unaware of the exact direction he was headed to. Unfortunately, in perplexity, he found himself surrounded by group of angry youths heavily equipped with weapons. Before he could utter a word, one of the guys smashed his head with a plank leaving him in his own pool of blood. It was then; he realized the situation he was in. This is totally a dangerous gross misidentification. He held his head and managed to constantly say “I am innocent please! I am not a thief but just an innocent youth Corper”. No one was ready to listen to him. The angry and noisy atmosphere overshadowed his existence at that moment as a gallon of fuel and tyre engulfed him ready to be set ablaze. “This is my unjust end in this strange land with little or no help”, he wept uncontrollably, recalling that he had only two days to leave the state and his friend Toby, waited for him at the football field, oblivious of what was happening.
“Noooooooooooooooooooooooo ppppplllleeeaaaassseee!!! he screamed with the last drop of strength in him, his hand raised and covered with blood”.
Abdul!!!… What is it? Are you Okay my dear? Mrs. Alisha ran into the room where she inquired from her son who sat up on the bed, sweating profusely and panting heavily. It’s was all a dream!
written by Naza Okoro