As a fresh graduate I’ve always thought that nothing will take me to the North because of so many unpleasant stories I’ve been told about the North.
I’m from Ikwerre (Obio/Akpor Local Government Area) in Rivers state. Nigeria. Travelling is not the hobby of a typical Ikwerre man let alone travelling to the North/Eastern part of Nigeria envisaged to be the most unsecure zone in Nigeria. We have been told about the turbulent nature of the North especially the North/East region.
The North/East region is made up of 6 states which includes Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Bauchi and Taraba and I am privileged to serve in Gombe state.
As a Corps member being posted to Gombe state stirred up a lot of reactions from my parents, siblings, friends and well wishers including myself. Before today I’ve always thought that Gombe state and the entire North/East is a war zone so the people will always be callous and obnoxious. So before leaving for Gombe state I had to call all the pastors I have their contacts both the ones I know, the ones I’ve attended their church once and the ones I never attended their church. And this is after many attempts to get re-posted.
It was like a soldier saying his last prayers and final goodbye to his family before heading to the battle field. From Port Harcourt to Gombe is very far so I slept almost ten times in the vehicle. Arriving to Gombe state boarders we were told that the state boarders are usually closed anytime from 12:00am so we had to park and sleep inside the vehicle. All of us!
Inside my heart I started swearing and raining curses on all the NYSC officials that had anything to do with my posting to Gombe state. The NYSC 3 Weeks orientation camp was the longest and cumbrous weeks of my life though I made so many new friends so I managed to survive the encumbrance and emotional torture throughout that three weeks. After being posted to Gombe L.G.A and all my friends were all posted to the villages so once again I had to look for new Friends after posting!
The next day I stood miserably before the vice principal of the secondary school I was posted to wishing she will reject me because I was told that all the students in government secondary schools in Gombe do not understand English and I cannot speak Hausa instead she accepted me and gave me accommodation and that was the turning point for my orientation about Gombe state.
Gombe state indigenes are majorly farmers and livestock rearers. I met so many farmers who would share their farm produce with you the moment they realize you left your state to come and serve in their state. Gombe state government do not pay Corps Members allowance but my monthly allowance is always enough for me because any time I go to buy foodstuffs like rice, beans, oil, pepper, onion etc I would always meet farmers who will sell it very cheap for me and even give me extra as compared to what is observed in my home state, Rivers state.
Gombe state Indigenes are so welcoming, hospitable, loving and well-caring. I was thinking I will never be friends with a Northerner but I’ve made friends in Gombe state, friends like Andrew Zugumnaan Lucky, Ayuba Lawan Haman, Emmanuel Moses, Hadiya Usman, Aisha Ibrahim Abdullahi, Lenge Nalong Amos, Pam Jennifer, Fatilat Hannah, Joy Pofi, Rashida, Ebweseh Benjamin Musa, Aliyu Safyanu, Mohammad Abubakar, Ibrahim Abubakar, Umar, Umar Saleh, Ibrahim Sabo Abdulrahman, Abdulrahman Abdulkarim, Rilwan Danjuman just to mention a few that made me fall in love with the state.
This is little compared to what my friends who are posted to the villages tell me. In the villages in Gombe Corps Members are catered for, given foodstuff and accommodation, Honestly you will love the state!
Gombe is not very rich but the indigenes will rather share with you than to watch you starve which is not common in the South! Gombe state is safe contrary to the stories we hear. It is already becoming a “No Man’s Land” with people from different backgrounds and tribes residing in the state. For these few months in Gombe I can say Gombe is relatively safer that Port Harcourt, because there are a million ways to die in the South.
Gombe people are loving people and I wish my brothers and sisters would experience Gombe state and start seeing the people differently. Both Muslims and Christians in Gombe have shown me love and affection that is worth commending hence this article.
I LOVE GOMBE!
C O R P E R S WE!
O N E!!!