On the 17th of November 2017, I was posted by the NYSC to Adamawa state for a mandatory three weeks orientation camp. Adamawa- northeast Adamawa, the same one that shares a border with Cameroon. Adamawa that is 1327km from Lagos. Adamawa that is rumoured to be a boko- haram stronghold. Yes, that same Adamawa. I could have opted to fly, but why miss my first cross-country journey. A journey that will take me across three geopolitical zones and so many states. Here goes my journey of a thousand miles.
As soon as I found out my fate, I began prowling social media, looking for prospective corp members as unfortunate as myself. Fortunately, I found a group of students making the journey from Lagos to Adamawa. I made the necessary enquiries, like, you know, finding out if they were serials killer and stuff. They were cool, so I paid 14k to join them. We were slated to leave Lagos to Abuja by 6 am on the 20th of November to make good-time but due to fore seen circumstances, by which I mean the coordinator being cheap (by cheap, I mean he spent 6 hours looking for a bargain bus to take us to Abuja) , we left by 12 pm.
I was pretty conversant with the entire south-west region, having visited all the states in the southwest bar Ekiti, so the journey was quite drab until Ondo.
Once we got to Ondo, we passed the main gate of the famous FUTA, then we came on some expanse straight road.
The devil in me began imagining how to do 160km/h on the road. A few minutes later, at an army checkpoint, we met hawkers were hawking ” hot fried yam” in polythene bags. I’m sure someone around was selling stew in plastic container. But I didn’t bother to search, I can control my long throat, thank you .?
After Ondo state, we entered Auchi in Edo state. Taking pictures with my miserable Tecno would have been futile , cause night was fast approaching and my fav verse of Manya was playing . Anyways, by 6:30 pm we entered Kogi state. We spent a lot of time on the bad road from Okene to Lokoja. Mind you, Sen. Dino Melaye represents Kogi in the Senate, I was just thinking of how much road he could repair with his Ferraris. As a bonafide Lagosian, I’m used to everywhere being 2 hours away, mostly because of traffic. Little did I know it was a jungle out there. Like you could literally spend 4 hours in one state, without hold up oo. 😥
Central city, the capital. We arrived Abuja by exactly 1:10am. Well not exactly Abuja, Nassarawa to be precise. Then we spent the next 2 hours haggling at the park. Due to our cheap coordinator, the money we had was not enough, cheap bastard 👿 . By 3:30 pm though , everything had been resolved and we had gotten a driver to take us to Adamawa. 5:30 am, Adamawa, here we came. As fate had it, our driver didn’t understand English and the only person who understood was an old man who filled the last vacant seat in the bus. The man was the only one who had been to Adamawa. Subsequently, he took it upon himself to act as travel guide and interpreter. God bless you wherever you are old man. 😥
As a matter of fact, I was in and out of Kaduna. When I asked they told me I had slept for about 3 hours 😳
Mans had to rest. Peace.
Cold, dry, beautiful. Its safe to say I had the most fun In Jos. From the strawberries (yes they grow strawberries). Cactus fences, cold watermelons and Irish potatoes, Jos is a beauty. We stopped at a plain to take pictures, well not really, our driver needed to pee.
Jos was different. It was neither northern nor southern. Reputed to be temperate, In saner climes, Jos would have been the preserve of expats. But we have crude oil thus common sense and creativity get the back seat.
CORE NORTH!!! Everything changed when we entered Bauchi. Everything changed! Everything!! All the women I saw wore hijabs, all the men wore kaftans, the sun was really hot. Almost like an oven. Fortunately, the driver decided it was time for lunch and stopped at a trading post. Our travel-guide cum interpreter proceeded to tell us how we had just gotten to the halfway point. The f**** halfway point. After travelling for 6 hours. Food time, happy time, that was the only thing to cheer us. But, did I mention that everything was different? they had strange delicacies like locust(very nice),eggyam :-x, tuwo and a whole lot of stuff I know nothing about. I played safe and went with the locust meal 😛
I managed to explore and I found a rail track.
Then we took off. Lest I forget, thatch huts are still a thing in the core north, I have no idea why.
Apart from the increase in the number of military checkpoints, our journey through Gombe was sedated. More and more thatched huts kept appearing on the horizon. More hills, more plains, more watering holes, more farms. In other words, Gombe is the land of more.
Sound the alarms, ring the bells, blow the horns. Adamawa here I am. It was around 6:00 pm when we got to Adamawa but it was already getting dark. So, we drove straight to the orientation camp.
Mind we got to Adamawa by 6:00 pm but drove another hour to get to camp. Damn all you big states.
At the camp, we were isolated, but somethings struck me as oddly particular. One of which was that by 5:45 am the day was already bright. And that the temperature was “extra”, extra-cool in the morning and extra-hot in the afternoon.
That, my friends, was my journey of a thousand miles. Did I mention I had a crazy time in camp. I would have written about it, but this is a predominantly car journal. Or should I write about my experience?