This next travel story is from a fellow nigerian called Mercy. Mercy has to travel to another nigerian state for her NYSC and she shares her experience with us.
I had just graduated from the Nigerian Law School and the next step was to enroll for the National Youth Service Corps (National service). To be honest with you, I wanted to serve in Abuja and I made plans for just that.
It was obligatory for all prospective Corp members to register in a cyber cafe, select four states out of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, fill in correct details and also thumbprint.
Because of this, I woke up early on the scheduled date for registration and “journeyed” to the cyber cafe like any other enthusiastic prospective Corp member only to find out to my utmost dismay that Abuja and Lagos were filled up already. What! Holly Molly! Did people spend their nights in cyber cafes, or they got there with the speed of lightning? I exclaimed. Although, I learnt it was more of a “powerful and connection induced strategy”.
I was left with no other choice than to select from the remaining states. Grudgingly, I selected Kano, Kwara, Cross River and one other state that I have a foggy memory of. I told you I selected grudgingly remember?
Posting l was released few days after registration and as I checked with anxiety, I saw that I had been posted to Cross River State. Alright! That was a massive and unexpected fling. I wasn’t ecstatic about the posting at all and this is majorly because I have never been to the Eastern part of Nigeria, had no idea of what to expect, how to get to the city or what to do about my readymade plans.
Another reason would be because I have a tamed anger for the Eastern people- they do not eat spicy meals! Goodness gracious! I am a Yoruba girl who loves spicy meals,how am I supposed to cope for the next three weeks in camp? This does not imply that I am unappreciative of their rich culture, vegetation, dance & even delicacies.
Anyway, I must confess to you that I love travelling and after overcoming my initial disappointment about my posting I decided to travel by road so I could enjoy the scenery. I suppose this is what every traveller should enjoy doing. The excitement of seeing new places, getting familiar with the weather conditions & changes as you navigate your way through different states and also listening to “stories” peculiar to each.
I travelled to Ibadan (Oyo state) so I could get a direct bus with other prospective Corp members posted to Obubra, Cross River State. Ibadan to Calabar is roughly a 15-16 hours journey depending on a lot of factors. I am sorry to inform you that this 15-hour journey became a 2-day journey.
We took off from Ibadan around 11am and in spite of the late take off, I was optimistic about arriving in Calabar that same day or worst case scenario at midnight.
However, I had a bubble burst when we got to Delta State and we had to “manage” the bus to a mechanic’s garage and the skies also decided that it was the right time to wail. Just imagine that! We spent about an hour and 30 minutes at the mechanic’s before we could continue our journey through Asaba. We passed over the River Niger bridge but I could not behold its magnificence because it was pitch black. Our next stop was in Onitsha and there was a debate on whether to continue our journey, sleep over in Onitsha or travel back to Asaba.
According to our driver, the first option was a capital NO due to bad roads while the second option was a bad idea for fear of “fast and smart” men who have the ability to take, snatch and even carry if you were not on the lookout. Consider this a generous tip in case you ever travel to Onitsha.
We journeyed back to Asaba so we could spend the night and also ensure our security. We found a hotel around 11:30pm, I was so tired I could not even think straight. You can imagine my parents’ frantic calls and agitation.
The next morning as early as 5:30am we continued our journey and I had to privilege of “oowing & awwing” at the River Niger. This bridge is more or less the boundary between Asaba and Anambra state.
We passed through Enugu, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom and if I am not mistaken, Ebonyi state. One of the fascinating things in these cities is the presence of traditional lifestyle. It appeared to me throughout the course of our journey that these cities still retained a kind of traditional setting even though civilization has swept through them. I saw kids having fun in streams, villages, women riding bicycles and motorbikes, farmers, palmwine rappers and so on although I must confess that I did not see anyone dressed in traditional wears. Well, I did not think I would, after all this is 21st century and the average Nigerian knows what it means to “slay” on social media platforms.
We arrived Obubra, Cross River State around 1pm the next day which means we spent about 7 hours on the road again. One thing compensated for this tiring journey and that was the description of how breathtakingly beautiful Calabar is.
Calabar is bounded in the North by Benue State, in the south by Akwa Ibom, in the East by Cameroon Republic, in the West by Abia and Ebonyi state. It also lies in the tropical belt and permit me to add that it’s also amazingly far from the Western and Northern states.
I have come across some Nigerians who assume that Cross River State means Rivers state and so they technically think about PortHarcourt when they hear Cross River. Very funny. No! Study your states and Capital, good people of Nigeria.
Calabar is the capital of Cross River State.
I bet you do not know the capital of Zamfara…you should check it out. You might just be “flung” there.
Thanks to Mercy Adegbenro for sharing her travel story with us.
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