CAMP OF THE WISE



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Rights Reserved.  No part of this
publication may be produced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise,
without the prior permission of the author.
©
J.O Adesiyan 2017.
ISBN:  978-978-54649-7-9
First published, 2017.
Published
and printed by:
Revolution multi-Business,
Ventures
Ikere-Ekiti,
Ekiti State.
Computer typesetting and cover design
by:
SK NICE Computer Service &
Educational Consult,
College of Education/ Abete street,
Ikere-Ekiti,
Ekiti state.
Kindly
download the book on the author’s websites:https//:www.skniceconsult.com .Better still, to order for the book call:
08065023352, 07036505740, 07034512376.
E-mail:
Adesiyanolasunkanmi2014@gmail.com



DEDICATION
This book is dedicated
to my mother, Mrs. Bolatito Adesiyan and to the younger generation of our dear
country, Nigeria.



FOREWORD
The Camp of the Wise
chronicles the experience of a young man during the orientation camp of the
National Youth Service Corps. Though it does not mention specifically the date
of the camp, it is a contemporary story which most graduates of Nigerian
universities can relate to. The book is a doubly quasi-autobiographical
narrative because two sets of stories run in it: one done by the young boy and
the second is the story told by his friend’s uncle. Obviously the kernel of the
text, “Uncle’s” story covers the twenty-one days of orientation and details
every activity of the Camp. The para-military training, exposure to
entrepreneurial opportunities, debates, competitions and other forms of
entertainment are some of the foci of the book.
However,
a more important aspect of the text is the dense moral and academic lessons
woven with the story of “Uncle”. In a society riddled with different forms of
vices, socio-economic and political challenges, the two-man audience of “Uncle”
is given a manual for survival through the various experiences he narrated.
Acting as a life-coach, “Uncle” gives them lengthy pieces of advice on how to
remain focused in life, the benefits of keeping to time, the relevance of
moral/religious training to success, the need to develop good character traits,
helping others, shunning ethnic discriminations and it provides other salient
tools needful for a well-rounded upbringing.
I
recommend The Camp of the Wise for
everyone who desires to survive, be successful and impact their society.
Written in the tradition of D.O. Fagunwa’s didactic work and the Yoruba oral
literature, this novel is necessary equipment for building lives. It is of
immense benefit to students of secondary and tertiary institutions and provides
an alternative to the indiscriminate use of and dependence on the Smartphone
and internet by the twenty-first century youth.
The Camp for the Wise
should be on the shelf of every Nigerian irrespective of age, sex or religious
affiliate because it contains life lessons that are useful for all and sundry and
promotes the unity of this great country.
                                                  
Folasade Hunsu, PhD
                                                 
Obafemi Awolowo University
                                                  
Ile-Ife, Nigeria.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
In profound reverence, and adoration, I thank the
Almighty God, for giving me the ideas, wisdom, and continual sound health to
write this book.
I want to appreciate the efforts of past presidents,
Heads of State, and the incumbent president of Federal Republic of Nigeria for
their novel ideas in ensuring peace and tranquility in nooks and crannies of
our dear country and in projecting this nation to greater height among the
committee of nations in Africa and beyond. In like manner, I want appreciate
the contributions of movers and shakers of National Youth Service Corps
programme in maintaining the smooth running of the programme in spite of
various challenges combating the scheme.
 The
successful publication of this book was a function of the helps directly or
indirectly rendered by many people. I am grateful and indebted to a lot of
people. I have had the good fortune to have amiable and dynamic Pastor R.Oye
Taiwo, the founder and General Overseer of UCEM International Church (Inc.)
(a.k.a Unity Christ Evangelical Ministry) as my mentor in writing skills. My
unalloyed gratitude and appreciation go to him for his prayers, counseling, and
scholarly suggestions, which were invaluable as they helped me in no small
measure to bring this work to a successful end.
It is like killing the goose that lay the golden egg
if I fail to thank Dr. Folasade Hunsu, English Department of Obafemi Awolowo
University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and Dr. J.O Babalola, English Department of
Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, for their creative suggestions,
and helps they rendered in proofreading the manuscript professionally.
Special appreciation goes to my caring mother Mrs.
Adesiyan Adebare Bolatito for her total support during the period of writing this
book.
More so, I credibly appreciate my brothers and
sisters, the Adesiyans, for their contributions towards the success of this book.
I ever remain grateful to all my friends in UCEM Churches and in these states;
Taraba, Plateau, Enugu, Maduguri, Adamawa, Akwa, and in South-West for their
motivations and encouragement in the course of writing this book.
I am grateful to various people quoted in this book
and those whose their ideas reflect in this book. Finally, I am kindly grateful
to God for His mercy, guidance, protection, provision for me from cradle till
date.



PREFACE
This book was written
for all and sundry on the face of the earth, especially the citizens of Nigeria
that value and cherish the culture and entity of our dear country. It preaches
hard work and other universal laws of success. Students across the board will
find it as a good motivator for their academic successes and attainment of the
great heights they may desire in life.
It will serve as
chilled water on the thirsty tongue for those who enjoy and love beautiful
words woven in idiomatic expressions, proverbs and aphorism. The stories
related in it teach the principles that govern our world and determine peaceful
co-existence among people. The fact remains that the words used in this book
are educating, entertaining and enlightening.
                                                                  ‘Sunkanmi
Adesiyan
                                                                    Okeigbo,
                                                  
                 08065023352, 08138260472.



CONTENTS
Page
           Dedication                                                         
           Foreword                                                           
           Acknowledgement                                             
          Preface                                                                
I        
The Origin of the Whole Idea.                            
II       
The Seemingly Mad Man and His Ordeals.                  
III      
Otondo in a New Environment.                                   
IV   
   Meeting an Unusual Friend.                               
V       
The Two Hydra-headed Monsters.                    
VI      
Man O’ War activities:  Crossing
the Hurdles of Life.
VII 
The Night of Drama.                                                       
VIII   
A Football Pitch without Goalposts.                           
IX     
The Open-secret of a Successful Student.           
X       
A 419 Corps Member.                                       
XI     
A Raging Debate.                                                         
XII    
An Encounter with the Ajuwayas.                      
XIII  
The Hours of Festival and Cultural Display.                
XIV  
Camp Fire Night: A Night of Fun and Merrymaking.
XV   
Fools among the Wise.                                                 



CHAPTER
I
The
Origin of the Whole Idea
I
f you refuse to think you will surely
sink and stink. Change the way you think, you have automatically changed your
life. Your life begins to experience changes when you start to think positively
and productively which will lead to a drastic change in the way you live, learn
and love.
 I was in Junior Secondary School (JSS), class
three to be precise, when the way I look at things began to change. I did not
know it this was a part of puberty. But all I knew was that my thinking faculty
began to take a new course. Could one say it was inquisitiveness that sparked
these experiences in me? Yes it was. The first and simple emotion which we
discover in the human mind is curiosity. I could now clearly remember that my
teacher told me that at puberty stage, a number of dramatic physical changes
occur, accompanied by important emotional changes and social development. The
changes include self-consciousness, sexual behavior, mood swings, the wish to
have more privacy and inquisitiveness, among others. Inquisitiveness is one of
the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.
I developed interest in
knowing almost everything that came my ways or crossed my mind. I asked a lot
of questions in class purposely for better understanding and to clear any
shadow of doubt in my mind. Any question or assignment given to us in class
that I was not able to answer, I approached my friend’s uncle who helped me to
solve such questions. Excellent! The man was a genius- a walking encyclopedia
indeed! He did teach us a lot of grammatical expressions that helped greatly in
the use of English.
One day, my friend,
Julius and I went to his Uncle’s house as usual for English Language class. On
that day, he was not around. So, we gave him a call to know his whereabouts.
His voice on the other end told us to wait for him. He described where we could
get the key to the house. We got the key and entered his room. As we settled
down on the well-padded armed chair, my eyes scanned the whole sitting room,
unlike before, not for food, though, my friend was busy ransacking the house
for food. But my concern this time was to get something that could keep me busy
productively. Thank God, I found one. I saw a photo album on the central table.
I opened it. The first picture I saw that triggered my curiosity was that of
Uncle who dressed in khaki. On his head was a fez cap. He wore a jungle boot to
match. The logo on the cap was tunnel of fire, stripes of green white green, Nigerian
Map and Flag.
‘Has uncle been a
military officer before?’ I asked myself. ‘But… he is a lecturer in the
University now? Why this military uniform?’ All kinds of questions ran through
my mind. We had waited for thirty minutes before we heard somebody rapping on
the door. My friend quickly rose up and made for the door. I followed suit and
opened the door.
‘Sorry for keeping you
waiting, my boys,’ uncle said. Tiredness and weakness were written boldly on
his face. ‘We held principals’ official meeting today in the school. It was a
marathon meeting indeed,’ he added.
‘Welcome sir,’ I said,
stretching out my hand to take his briefcase. ‘You look tired’. My friend
brought a cold sachet of water for him. He settled in a chair, took the sachet
of water and said, ‘thank you’. Then he nodded at me. ‘Your observation is
right. Apart from the hectic meeting I told you of, the task I undertook today
in our office is what I can call a herculean task really.” He started to loosen
his tie and put off his suit. As he placed his hand on his ankle to untie his
shoe’s lace I asked, ‘what is the meaning of herculean task?’ He smiled ‘I know
you will be another Socrates of this age. Socrates was a great philosopher, who
asked a lot of questions and through his philosophy of life, he propounded laws
and principles that are of great benefits to teaching and learning today. The
important thing is not to stop asking questions. God has His own reason for
creating the insight of curiosity in man. Children have natural curiosity about
the world around them.
‘It is shallow-minded people who say curiosity kills
the cat. This saying does not apply to learning. Curiosity boosts and enhances
acquisition of knowledge in educational perspectives. My boy, keep it up. Back
to your question. It was from Greek myth in which, Hercules proved his courage
and strength by completing twelve very difficult and dangerous tasks known as
the Labours of Hercules. People sometimes use the name “Hercules” to
describe a man who is very strong physically. In ancient Greek stories, his
name was Herakles. So people call any great task “Herculean task”.’   
I produced a pen from
my pocket and jotted what he explained. He asked Julius to go to the kitchen to
bring food for us. We ate to our satisfaction. He asked for the assignment
about which we told him on the cell phone. Julius opened his bag, brought out a
notebook which he handed over to Uncle.
Uncle read: Correct the
following expressions and give the meaning of the idiomatic expressions as
applicable.
1.     Alaseju
Ojulorowa did bite more than she could chew.
2.     I
use boiling ring when I need hot water.
3.     All
political thugs are dead from neck up.
He asked if we had attempted the
questions.
‘Yes
sir,’ I answered unhesitantly and gave him the answers that I had written on a
small piece of paper. He turned to my friend and collected his own sheet too.
He flipped through them and nodded ‘I like your enthusiasm and passion for
learning. Both of you got the second question right – I use water heater when I
need hot water. The correct form of the first question, “Alaseju Ojulorowa did
bite off more than she could chew,” is an idiomatic expression, which simply
means to try to do what you do not have power to do. The third question is also
an idiomatic expression “Dead from neck up” means: they are stupid.
 ‘Yes, they are stupid.’ His face wore a
serious expression. He looked into our eyes and said ‘please, my boys do not
join political thugs when you become men. It is devastating, demeaning and
dehumanizing. I mean it can destroy your life and render it useless. Some of
the employers of these political thugs sent their children to standard schools,
even overseas to study. They use the poor youths as tools to campaign and get
to political office by crook or hook. Later they dump them as torn cloth on a
dunghill. Is that clear?’ He asked loudly and then the serious expression on
his face creased into a gentle smile.
‘Yes
sir,’ we replied.
 I turned to my friend, ‘Uncle really took the
answer personal, as if some unscrupulous politicians had stepped on his toes in
the past.’ I was about to step out of the house when I remembered that there
was a question I wanted to ask him. So, I quickly turned back. ‘I want to know
something about you sir,’ I said politely.
‘Hope
it is the one I can answer,’ he replied jokingly. I felt reluctant. Noticing my
reluctance, he said, ‘Come on. Ask me. I’m all ears.’
‘Sorry
sir, have you attended a military school before?’
‘No.
Julius must have told you that I studied Mathematics at the Obafemi Awolowo
University (O.A.U) and later I went to the School of Writing. That is the
reason why I’m trying to assist you with your expression.’
‘Don’t
be offended sir. Did you undergo any Military training or drill in the past,
especially when you were young?’ My friend clapped amicably on my shoulder and
said, let us go, O’ boy.
‘No,’
uncle answered. ‘Why are you asking these questions? Have you observed or seen
anything?’
‘Before
you came in I was busy looking at your photo album. What I saw made me to
conclude that you had undergone a bit of military drills. You were marching on
parade ground, dressed in khaki and jungle boot to march. You climbed rope,
crawled through a big ring and jumped different heights of hurdles. What really
convinced me that you had undergone military training was the picture you took
with a man in an army uniform.’
‘Yes,
you are right on the mark’ he confirmed nostalgically. ‘That was when I went
for National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp a couple of years
ago.’
‘How
I wish you narrate your experiences there for us,’ I requested. “One day, we
want to be like you, sir.’
‘Let
me tell you,’ he said with a serious expression on his face. ‘It was a
milestone experience indeed and one that remained ever green in my memory and
had indelible impact on my life. Experience is the mother of wisdom. Wisdom is
the principal thing. What is the benefit of a fool to his community? Absolutely
none. It is a fool that behaves wrongly, he is uncoordinated and perpetrates
heinous crimes in the society. It is because his knowledge is so shallow that
he has forgotten what goes round comes around. 
A fool fails to acknowledge that when you   do bad things you indirectly harm yourself.
Someday, the evil, as a seed planted, will germinate and grow up and bear
fruits. Its fruits will be given to him and his children as a meal.  Fool bites one another but wise men agree.
What the fool does in the end, the wise man does at the beginning. Look at me,
my boys. Don’t ever be fools.
‘Anything
you come across whether good or bad try to learn from it. Do not play a fool
with it. That is the secret of wisdom. Wisdom is neither inheritance nor
legacy. Trouble brings experiences and experiences bring wisdom. The wise seeks
wisdom, a fool thinks he has all wisdom. Without wisdom wealth is worthless.
‘But
take note of this, there is a difference between intelligence and knowledge.
Intelligence comes through innate ability which depends on your level of
intelligent quotient.  That is why; they
say the aptest horse needs breaking while the aptest child needs teaching. But
knowledge comes through interaction with people, environment and most
importantly the school you attend and books you read. It is a good thing to
possess intelligence and knowledge that add up to wisdom. When you get them, it
is then you can be addressed as a wise person, an agent of change in the
society. We want to travel on the voyage of milestone experiences to the Camp
of the Wise, you need to note one pertinent fact: the dwellers of the camp are
all wise. What made them wise, you queried?
‘The
inhabitants of the camp had been found worthy in character, conduct, moral, and
knowledge before they could be given a certificate that would qualify them to have
the privilege of staying on the camp. They were well-rounded persons. They had
been well groomed in knowledge and character. They had crossed many hurdles,
passed many tests and examinations: they have successfully completed practical
projects and even many had undergone a lot of trainings in their respective
Schools of Wisdom.
‘They
did not only pass through the school but the school really passed through them
leaving indelible marks on their conduct, character and conversation among
people in the society. What a man studies normally passes into his character.
It will be of interest to you to know that not all of them spent the same
number of years in the School of Wisdom. Some spent four years, some five
years, and even some of them spend a good seven years depending on the
knowledge they want to acquire. But, do not forget that what you learn is what
you earn. That is the bottom line! It is my heartfelt prayer that after your
secondary school education you will make it to School of Wisdom.’
‘Amen,
sir,’ we said, a radiant look on our faces. ‘What do you mean by School of
Wisdom?’ I asked, looking up from my jotter.
‘It
simply means different higher institution one may attend to bag first degree or
Higher National Diploma (HND) in any field of your choice. It could be a
university, a polytechnic, a mono-technique and what have you. Get it?’
I
nodded my head satisfactorily. It was a nod’s as good as wink. Indubitably, it
was crystal clear to me.
 ‘After you have graduated from these  schools,’ he continued, ‘then you are
qualified to go to the camp that I want to tell you about. The camp was the
place where Orientation Course, one of the cardinal programme of National Youth
Service Corps (NYSC), took place. No root, no fruit and everything has his
seed. One can trace the idea of National Service to education in Athens.  Education in Athens was an all-encompassing
one, affecting every aspect of life. It affected positively the social,
Philosophical, mental and intellectual aspects and centered on producing a
well-rounded man (versatile person) who would be physically fit in body and
mentally sound in mind. Great philosophers like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato
from their ingenuity and wealth of experiences nurtured the idea, that at the
age of eighteen years, a boy would be obliged to take part military national
service in the interest of the State to prepare him to face the challenges of
life.
‘Oh
yes! That is what we’re experiencing today in my dear country. After the Civil
War in 1969, Nigeria was torn apart. This led to a life of cat and rat among
Nigerians tribes. Things really fell apart and the centre refused to hold. The
sweetness of the nation turned sour. Reasons govern the wise man and cudgel the
fool. Let me say this, my boys, the resolved mind has no cares. And do not
forget the thing that must be, it is good to be resolute. The then, Military
Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, fondly called Go On With One Nigeria, with other Nigerian
nationalists in 1973 introduced National Youth Service programme.
‘The
National service is a one-year mandatory exercise required for every Nigerian
youth to serve the nation and help to improve the community and the economy of
the nation by offering various forms of services to the community. This was
done to wipe out the adverse effect and the aftermath of the Civil War from the
nation.’
 His gaze travelled round the sitting room and
perched on a Nigerian map calendar hung on the wall. ‘May good Lord never allow
the oneness and indivisibility of this nation to know division and war again,’
he prayed and shifted his face to us.
‘Amen,’
we responded.
‘These
visionary leaders, as I was saying divided the National Service into four key
programmes: Community Development Service-CDS (secondary assignment) and
Primary Assignment. The other two are; Orientation Course and Passing-out
Parade (P.O.P).
‘Do
you still take courses over there, sir? My friend asked inquisitively. ‘After
you have taken several courses in the university. Eh! I heard a person saying
to pass courses in University or Polytechnic was a tug of war.’
‘How
do you mean?’ he asked
‘Sir,’
I chipped in. ‘He was referring to Orientation Course you mentioned’
‘Oh
my God,’ a ghost of smile touched his mouth. ‘It is better to travel hopefully
than to arrive, goes a wise saying. To do justice to your question, Orientation
course is the gateway to the NYSC Scheme. It lasts for twenty one days. During
these days I found it difficult to identify each day, they were blended into
one another. You Only Serve Once (Y.O.S.O) were the words imprinted on my mind.
Indeed, it was time to change into someone who had been dreaming of.
Swearing-in Ceremony, general orientation course, professional orientation and
terminal parade are the components of the Orientation Programme.
‘Truly,
each component leaves indelible marks on the minds of the corps members. Its
main objectives are: to acquaint corps members with their environment as
regards political, cultural, social and economic setting, to equip them with
practical social and leadership skills that will enable them to meet the
challenges of the service year ahead, to give them adequate physical and mental
training. Others are: to give them a better understanding of the objectives of
the National Service scheme, to inculcate in every corps member the spirit of
national consciousness as a basic ingredient in nation building. The last two
objectives on which all other depend are: imbibing in them the spirit of
collective responsibility and instilling discipline in the youth.
‘Do
not worry; you will enjoy every bit of the Orientation course, because my
narration is based on it. Just pay attention to me, so that, you can learn
different lessons you need to learn from the Camp of the Wise. Surely, I
believe you are wise. Beyond a shadow of doubt, I want you to be wiser as you grow
older. Can a fool contribute anything to his community? No. He is a shipwreck
to his family and clog in the wheel of progress of his country. The first
degree of folly is to hold one’s self wise, the second to profess it, and third
to despise counsel. A wise man changes his mind, a fool never. Riches serve the
wise man but command the fool. Wise man learns by other men’s harms, fools, by
their own. It is a terrible thing to be a fool.
      ‘Tell yourself,’ he looked into our
faces. ‘I’m not a fool. I will not be a fool.’ My friend and I said it
repeatedly. He glanced at his wrist watch and said, ‘how time flies. Sorry,
time has run out.   If you want me to
give you chronological order of the whole programme, you have to come back at
the weekend. I believe by then, I should be less busy.’
 My friend and I exchanged a happy look. ‘Okay
sir,’ we answered satisfactorily. ‘We will come on Saturday.’
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