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Thursday, 23 December 2021

What NYSC has put together…

 What NYSC has put together…

 Hannah Akinlabi

Love knows no reason, no boundaries, no distance. It has a sole intention of bringing people together to a time called forever – Unknown

N Yikpata, Kwara State, love was in the air that day. It was the passing out parade of Batch B, Stream 2 of the 2021 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members. With the exception of the love smitten Youth Corps member, others did not know what was in the offing. The element of surprise was at play here. The lover boy had a plan to execute and nothing was going to stop him. Let’s face it, what happened was not strange. The only strange thing was that he proposed to a woman in army uniform in full public glare.

Stranger things than that happen everyday and because they do not occur in public, we do not get to know about them. Love is not like that. Love cannot be hidden. Lovers do crazy things. They can go to any length to show their love. When you see two people who are madly in love, you will know immediately because they have eyes only for themselves even when they are in a crowd. They see no other person except themselves. Love is intoxicating.

It makes lovers drunk, bold and blind. This is why a girl will, right in front of her father, kiss the boy she loves without qualms and crown it with the clincher: “dad, that’s the guy I want to marry”. Left with no choice, the father will only be seething with anger, and muttering under his breath, “what an effrontery, look at this girl kissing a boy in my presence”. But his daughter has made her choice and she is not ready to change it. Beating hands down, the old man backs down and  consoles himself with the fact that she has finally brought a boy home, since she has come of age.

What else does a graduate need after Service? A wife and a good job, you would say. The Youth Corps member found a wife at Yikpata and he would not let her slip through his fingers. To seal their love, he proposed to her on the parade ground of the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, to the admiration of onlookers. It was an opportunity of a lifetime which the lover boy did not want to miss. His fiancee, Private Hannah Sofiyat Akinlabi, was apparently caught by surprise, but she quickly shook that off and flowed with the moment. She accepted his proposal and they sealed it with a kiss. It usually ends that way. Now, she is in trouble with the army authorities for her public show of affection. Our calling, notwithstanding, body no be wood!

The army’s reaction was expected. I never expected it to keep quiet because its customs and tradition frown at such an act. Hannah too knows too well that she cannot do certain things in public, while in uniform. The army does not forbid its personnel from falling in love. If it does,  none of them will be married. What it frowns at is engaging in such frolics in uniform in full public glare. No respectable military institution, anywhere in the world, will tolerate that.






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