At 5am almost everyone is out and about. A long queue is evident of otondos returning allocated mattresses. Tunde and Oke pass this queue heading for the taps where a heated argument is in full swing. A male apparently jumps the line, the Alhaja at the head politely tells him to wait till she is done. He claims the water is for military personnel and is grudgingly allowed. Tunde and Oke immediately head for the frontlines and claim to be on an errand for the Red Cross chairperson. Oke stashes his bags in the Platoon officer’s residence before heading to the field for the closing ceremony. Suddenly there are buses driving into the expansive compound. Activities including a tug of war between heavily built males and females, native wrestling among males, a parade/salute to the camp commandant commence. Camp is declared closed and everyone heads to the hall to collect posting letters. Oke goes to get his bag thinking his number is far off. Getting to the hall, his number has been called. Posting letters have been divided into units, Oke’s group began at 800. Oke alerts the official to his presence. After rifling through, he says it has been collected. WHAT? A guy approaches saying he got their numbers mixed up, and hands Oke’s letter over. Feelings of anger double, staring at Oke in black and white is – ST CATHERINE INTERNATIONAL PRIMARY & SECONDARY SCHOOL, AMAPU NTIGHA, ISIALA NGWA NORTH.
WHAT? Oh boy you must accept this letter. Oke turns and observes he has vanished into thin air. The dreaded Local government everyone has been talking about? Oh no, this can’t be possible, not after we offered kolanut to the Platoon officer.
Oke calls Tunde. Tunde is mad about` getting an Anglican school in Aba North. Tunde isn’t feeling too sad when Oke catches up with him and Habiba. Tunde has been informed it is an hour from Port Harcourt. Walking amidst buses bearing PPA (Primary Places of Assignment) tags, Oke calls Bola. She redeployed to Lagos but got Ondo. Bola gets in the bus with Oke. She wants to see what Isiala Ngwa looks like. She proceeds to postpone her arik flight via the ipad app. The next 1hr 40 minutes is spent listening to 22 songs on shared earphones while Oke and Bola skim through the Abiakopa booklet. The bus turns off the main expressway, and after a few minutes, the council signpost comes into view. The bus passengers strain necks driving through the gates. The driver heads straight in, past buildings, on towards grass tracks surrounded by bushes for approximately 4 minutes by which time most hearts are in mouths. A few females blink back tears on sighting red cloth tied in front of a hut. The bus turns left into a compound with an uninviting central bungalow. Double paned doors greet the contents of the four buses, there are ragged shouts of corper wee. Skeptical of accommodation coming from 3 weeks of hell, Oke asks Bola to wait inside the bus. Provided accommodation is the dull red rug. OJ calls telling Oke to go back to Umuahia. Bola and Oke have dinner at Hoeffers on bank road after Government House, then take a stroll to Pat Toria Hotel. Bola notices all three floors are occupied by Corps members.
Do you love me?
Hmmm? What can I say?
I do not know if what I feel for you is love. I like you a lot and want to get to know you better.
Don’t beat around the bush, Do you Love me?
Yes, I Love you.