This is a true story of Engr. Benjamin Oladapo George, many still refer to him as Corper Ben. He tells his story to many so that they can learn about God’s grace.
I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. -TM
1 Corinthians 15:10. This verse after meditation brought the recap, rethought and reminiscence of my sojourn to Saggy Villa but I call it sojourn to destiny and the path of purpose fulfilment.
In 1993, the very first time I saw an National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) crested vest on my mum’s sibling; although I never knew the full meaning of NYSC, but I declared to myself, one day I will wear this cloth! (Chuckles).
After my secondary education in 2002, I was already counting down to my University education and of course NYSC. But shock of my life came a year after when I have to forfeit my admission due to a life threatening accident that kept me admitted in the hospital for 3 years, I mean 3 good years of my life was wasted. My right hand was removed from my body and only held back by flesh not more than 2 mm thick. Oh, the 29th day of May 2003 to the 17th of September 2006 was a great memoir I don’t wish to recount! Finally, I was out of the hospital and got back my freedom; the hope of starting over again appeared so bleak!
Although 3 years were wasted but the good news is that I got more years. By then many of my mates were already graduates, some were in their final year, but the light of hope came in the fall of 2007. I started again, at age 22 as a first year student. Whoa, that was so awful for me; many of my mates dare not call me by name, some even called me Mr. Ben. Yes, it was that ridiculous, the eldest in my class after me was 19 years old while there was also a girl of 15 years old in that same class. Imagine. It shouldnt surprised you that my immediate younger sister became a graduate at 19 years and my kid sister at about 20 years.
Yes, graduation came through at age 26, I emerged as one of the best graduating engineering students in my set and the time for NYSC finally came. In my best and honest thought, Ogun state was the least on my preferred state for service as I had schooled in Ogun state. Unbelievably, without too much story and I had not even contacted anyone, I was posted to Ogun state for my NYSC. It was more like a dream, until a friend cleared it all by saying, ”it’s not a joke serving God. You were working and schooling. You were the President of your Department and you also occupied various top positions in the Department and campus fellowships while you were running some other international certificate programmes. Oh bros, God saw your struggles and rewarded you by bringing you to Ogun State for your service. It is for a reason beyond you and it’s for impact’’. Little did I know what he said was yet to come true!
It all started on 5th November 2012, I reported and spent 21 days in Ogun NYSC camp Sagamu. My dream job then was be a lecturer so I wanted to I work out my posting to a Polytechnic in Ewekoro so I could be retained there after service but my God said, ‘‘No, that’s my predestination for you, something better is in for you boy!’’ So I was posted to Kawefunmi Private Group of Schools GRA Sagamu, but only God understood why my service was rejected and I was left wondering on where to seek for my Place of Primary Assignment (PPA). As I was stepping out of the school premises, I received a call.
It was a call from a girl I had reconnected with during NYSC camp: I had taught her in a Sunday school far back at home in Ile Ife many years ago. This was the phone conversation, ‘‘Uncle Ben, they need computer teachers in my PPA, you could come over if you aren’t accepted in Kawefunmi’’. Whoa… I never knew God already orchestrated everything. This lady’s name is Odedeji Comfort but her students called her Corper Boosty as they did a great job at giving Corpers a nickname. Back then she taught Biology in Federal Government Girls’ College Shagamu.
I dashed down to FGGC Sagamu and that was the beginning of a new family building, impact, fulfilment and testimonies. Whoa, my service was accepted and I resumed as a Corper on the 2nd of January 2013. The walk to greatness started when I Inquired to know where the church or student chapel is and before I could get an answer, Corper Dare Fashawe called me, saying that the chaplain request to have a talk with all new Corpers, he led myself and about five other new Corpers to the chaplain’s house.
I never knew he was taking me to my father. At daddy Adaraniwon’s house, he prayed for us and admonished us to attend chapel programmes and said that the work is much but the labourers are few. I was excited and behold the first Sunday came. I was dressed in a new tie, new shirt, shoe and a pair of trousers and carrying a new bible too (not to impress anyone thou). Oh, it’s a great memoir!
Like play like play, three weeks later daddy told me to take the sermon, I was perplexed. Little me was to face a great crowd of wonderful children of God. Having seen The excos of then (Mariam Ashimi, Aigoro Mariam, Mercy Victor, Tolu Osungbohun et al) conducting a deliverance service the previous Saturday night, my joy was beyond limit. (I thought) ‘‘such little girls could do such, I must be careful because these girls know much more than I do. In fact I should learn from them’’. When Victor Mercy (Sunday school Co-ordinator) teaches I bow and on Sunday evenings the Bible study conducted by Ashimi and her partner was dope.
I saw daddy a number of times running after students, he was so active and jovial. What a great grace, it surprised me that I would meet him in school, leave him in school and never see him down for a second even till date. What a great and mighty man of God (please join me in celebrating my father, father of million children).
I taught computer science from junior secondary class 1-3 and I only took senior secondary class 1 and 2 practical’s. To God be the glory for being strong, no man is infallible, Saggy girls are pretty, tempting (I’m a man, even as a born again brother I’m not a spirit), some could be rude, naughty and haughty but God gave me the grace to be self-discipline, I never relented on the service. Many students took me like their brother, uncle, friend, confidant, secret partner, gist partner, a shoulder, neck to lean on, some student and myself were so close to the extent that you would not know we aren’t families and this relation has been like that till date.
The girls were opened,trust,and lovely especially the chapel girls.So amazing lovely girls.I can’t recount times we will share my food in chapel, times I will prepare food, pepper soup, fruit salad etc and we will dine together in chapel. In fact we were more than corper to students, I run errands for the girls without shame and felt at home amidst the girls. It was a great bound serving them! And in the nick of time, the chaplain, (daddy Adaraniwon) took me in as his own son, go to his house, mummy will spoilt me with food,and goodies!
He was so confident and left me with girls till late in the night most times! I enjoyed his tutelage, fatherly care and admonition and many more.
Gradually, the one year of NYSC was coming to an end, whoa, a vision of about 20years coming to an end just like that!
In one year, I had not only served my father but built a new world, found a new glorious family, got another family blood line (The Adaraniwons), and many more new family I can’t start to re-counting, I got daughters even as I was single man, I got many sisters though my mum stopped giving birth decades ago. I was entangled in the web of love and affections by innocent girls and we were nothing less than a whole big family. The relationship has brought me joy, great happiness and testimonies. The big day came on 9th October, 2013, it was my Passing Out Parade of NYSC. The tears couldn’t be held back, I couldn’t bring myself to realise that I will be leaving Saggy. Whoa… the school chapel organised a glorious sent forth for me!
I fought the tears, I couldn’t seat in front as the normal thing for the one being sent forth, I was ushering the students into the chapel as usual, but later on daddy forced me to seat. I battled with tears, until the acapella girls, led by Akinrujomi Fayokemi, Newman Rebecca et al came in to sing for me. When they sang, Farewell, Farewell…Farewell to you…I stood up crying till the end of the service. I got gifts beyond description and imagination. Daddy had to use his car to pack the gifts to my lodge. It was a very bitter hard times for me to wake to the reality of stepping out of Saggy Villa.
Oh, I cried like a new born baby, the likes of Odufowoke Aisha, Awolola Timileyin, Afolabi Damilare, Hannah, Oyinjesu Adedayo, amongst others were not spared, as their tears flowed beyond description. I summoned courage to stay back to relinquish the grieve of leaving, I stayed for a month after being discharged from service then left a day after the Chapel harvest.
My guardian came one Sunday morning to take me to Lagos but I couldn’t go with him, the car (Optima 2013) he brought was already filled up with gifts that students gave me during the send forth and as parting gifts.
He was amazed, while other corpers were jaw droped and left wondering how I got the girls on my side. God has been my only help and he engineered my entire say in the school. I couldn’t belief this either, no love could be more than this. Little me! It was a day to reckon, teary and joyous at the same time…
Then came 17th November, 2013, I was to leave saggy finally as a corper, over 100 students gathered and followed me to boundary statue Joke Ahab each taking turns to hug me. Thank goodness I was wear a brown cloth, I cried again and they sobbed like hungry babies. I departed to daddy’s house to summon the courage to leave and say some words of appreciation. Finally, I left with my cloth soaked with my tears and that of my lovely saggy sister.
I returned to Saggy on a Friday in February 2014. A friend dropped me off from the office to the front of the students dinning, I was wearing a white shirt which became brown after the students rushed out of the dinning, taking turns to hug me, and that was the end of that white shirt. It was a great reunion…Daddy had to send the students to their classes for night prep. A great memoir it was!!! Till date many of the families I found in saggy are still bouncing very strong in the relationship.
The exception is the Adaraniwon family, a great family that keeps accommodating me in Saggy Villa. During my wedding ceremony, Daddy and Mummy organised and were responsible for the preparation of my wedding food. Daddy provided the cartons of wine used at my wedding reception and the cash gift they gave to me for my wedding was a huge amount I never expected after all those wonderful things they already did. Today, the Adaraniwon family regards me as Daddy’s first son; I drive their cars anytime I’m in Saggy. I check in and out of Saggy anyhow. This family has been awesome!
Some students are now my daughters, sisters and some of their families are now family with me. I have been to many of their houses, some have accommodated me severally and some have at one time or the other slept over at my house, both in Lagos and Ile Ife. Chinenye Okoro all the way from Lagos made a condolence visit to my mum when we lost my biological dad last year! What more can I get from a family than these? I came to saggy to make family, fulfil a purpose and impact. I will never for once take pride in this, but till date even student that never had the privilege of meeting me knew who Corper Ben was and is today. Many staff met me and exclaimed whoa, so you are the Corper Ben they’ve always been talking about? Oh, Saggy was a life, part of me and a great all time memoir that can’t be erased!
That is my Saggy story in a short way. Back to 1 Corinthians 3:21. Don’t glory in yourself, you might know today but you don’t know tomorrow! I was able to achieve some things my mates couldn’t, some even graduated before I got my first degree but I got a good job before some. I’m even married before some of them, now I’m counting degrees accomplished to the glory of God alone. See friends, whatever you do, let God be your master planner, hold unto Him. You can’t do anything of your own out of God. When everything seems bleak and no way further, I held unto God and here lies the testimonies today!
Don’t be discouraged, nothing overtook me like discouragement after five years out of secondary school and starting all over again, forfeiting my first admission. Maybe you gained admission at age 16 or still hoping, or you have been put out of job for years, or seeking employment, don’t be discouraged! Whatever you want to achieve belief you can, I discovered later that age is just a number and not a barrier!
See friends, impact is the soul of life. Impact as many lives as possible. People you met must not be left the same way you met them, add value to them, impact them. What you give can be lost, what you say can be forgotten but whatever you impact will last a life time…Impact others! Don’t take advantage! I’ve been in several positions and situations that warrant taking advantages of my office to exploit cheat or even over ride others but I decided not to. It will only bring a short lived happiness, at the end you will regret on the long run. Whatever you do, wherever you are, don’t take advantage of people.
Give yourself out, die for the course of others; it would surprise you how others will die to su pport your course! In my final year, I used my last savings to pay school fee someone I never knew and mine was paid in triple folds by people I never expected. Give! Yes, people hate to hear this, but until you make giving a habit things might be moving in hobbits for you. Give money, if you have it(not to impress), Give your love, kindness, time, and precious valuable things to people. I have never seen givers lack.
How I made first class in school was through due diligence and commitment but it was not by my effort. I only give glory to God. I don’t know how things worked out easily but one thing I do know is that I give glory to God always, I don’t boast in my power, ability, strength or possession. Glorify God with everything you are and everything you have. Be disciplined and faithful! I got engaged two days after I became a graduate to the woman of my dream.
I went for NYSC, I served in a girls college, I saw a lot of more pretty ladies, but I held and stood my ground to remain faithful and disciplined. To God’s glory, there was no scandal, no accusation of molestation of any sort having worked with and in midst of ladies.
To your boss be faithful, to your partner be faithful and be disciplined as well. Faithfulness and discipline are brothers, so keep them close! Oh, brethren! No man is infallible, no man is strong that can’t be brought down. So, why boasting? Why the pride? I am what I am by God’s grace not because I studied hard, not because I was even disciplined or hostile to myself (that’s my watch word ). 1 Corinthians 15:10. Don’t Boast in yourself! All these happened because of God’s unmerited grace!
This album below contains a few of my Saggy Memories.