Friday, 3 June 2011

The Captain's Diary (Part 1)

The year was 1995. Place? Well I'll call it where my life changed,and changed
forever. My name is Adeniyi Jones and I'm a soldier. Our base, division II 
battalion IV at the Dodan barracks in Lagos, Nigeria was in a buzzing mood 
this was because many of the soldiers including myself had been enlisted for
a frontier mission. The mission was clear and simple, we were to report to Liberia
we were definately not going there as tourists.We were going to help the situation
in the country, the country was going through a process many countries 
including Nigeria had gone through "civil war."The war by then was twelve years 
old and was heading for no visible end, peace didn't look close as liberation
groups from neigbouring countries were coming into the country to support the
already solid liberation groups making the situation worse.
The Nigerian government as well as other west african countries were to deploy
soldiers, a thousand and five hundred that would come from Nigeria being one 
of the stable leaders in Africa. The ECOMOG had its objectives: Protect the 
Government, the people and possibly end the war. We were going to fight for 
peace in a country that wasn't ours but we were soldiers and that's what we do.
Being the second lieutenant at the time, a position man felt I wasn't due for 
at my age but I joined the army as a teenager, I attended the defence academy
and graduated at age 23 and was a second lieutenant for three years before
being promoted to lieutenant a rank I had remained for the next three years.
The officers mess that evening was filled with junior ranked officers. 
But through out my life as a solider I had never used superiority as
a means of being proud amongst my junoir officers I was known as 
"Mr Nice Lad", I made my way to a scheduled place I notice officer
of my rank were. When I noticed Lt.Charles,my best friend and colleague.
"Where have you been?", Lt.Charles asked extending his hand for a shake
which I took, "I went to visit my baby" i said. Referring to my four years
old daughter who now lived with my parents after her mother, my wife died
in a car accident 'how are you going to cope without her?", Lt. Charles
said mockingly between smiles " I don't know long we would be away".
I said to Charles who was enlisted. Charles was married with two daughters
who all lived in the staff quaters with him. Lt.Charles was a man of principle
a feature that reminds me of my father, he was my best. Friend even thought he
was older than I was, we held each other in high esteem."Speaking of being
away how long do you think we'd be in the fields?" Lt.Charles asked, 
"I don't know how long depends on the situation" I said, "if we haven't caught
a bullet yet" he said and we both laughed.A corporal came in and saluted us
both and handed Lt.Charles and I a letter asking us to report to the major's 
office by 8am. The words hit me like whirlwind as Major Ayerin notified me I 
would be the commanding officer of my platoon in Liberia following the 
suspension of some capitains who were being investigated for misconduct.
That meant I would be promoted to the rank of captain, Major Ayerin
also stated my work and notified me Lt.Charles would be my assistant
along with three of my friends Lt.Tunde Akeju, Lt.Eze Mbani, Lt.Jack Akpan.
I saluted the other majors who sat by Major Ayerin and collected my letter 
of enlistment and promotion and I took my leave.That night some of my 
friends gathered at Lt. Charles home and celebrated my promotion and 
our departure, through out the night I had my mind on one thing,
The responsibility of over a 1000 men was know mine. The more I 
thought about it the more worried I was.

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