Within a week, I was driving very well, there are lots of spaces in the Barracks on which one could learn to drive a car and there were so many willing teachers so long a car is available. So every morning I drive to the Office picking People and dropping them along the way to my Office, there was no problem or eye brow raised because three of my mates also bought Cars and everyone knew the source of our Money except for some elderly Soldiers that frowned at our choice of purchasing Cars instead of buying Lands and start building, but I was just twenty years old and quite naturally, building a house was the last thing on my mind.
I wanted to go home and show the world what God has done for my small family, I wanted to carry Mama in the Car and go round the Village, I wanted to drive her to every where she had trekked to and finally I wanted to drive her back to Enugu to start a new life, she was about forty five years old but she looked sixty and I know that with a good diet and rest she could recover her shine for they said she used to be a sight to behold in her youth. I planned to rent a Shop for her and set up a hair dressing salon for her. Perhaps she could even find love again, some Soldier could be interested in her and I really would love that to happen to Mama, she deserves a second chance at love.
The engine of the car was in superb condition, vapour still drips from the exhaust pipe when I steam the Car; my Friends said I bought PAN; that was the term used to describe a brand new Peugeot Car fresh from the stable of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited. I did not bother about the registration of the Car so as to get the necessary cover documents, I was a Soldier and my identity Card surpasses any type of license or documentation in the Country, so I had come to believe because I was yet to see a serving Soldier whose vehicle particulars are up to date.
My life changed momentarily, I now dress well and also drive a car, I have a little furnished apartment of my own, wao! The world was in my pocket, I even had some change to throw around even though I had never had the privilege of being extravagant. I get to work daily in my sparkling Car which I made a point of duty to scrub daily whether it is dirty or not. I was comfortable in my own right.
I finally rented a Shop at the Mammy Market and I locked it up pending Mama’s arrival. I needed to know what she would prefer to do with the Shop and I also needed to go round the market to know what trade would spin fast money in the Barracks.
We played the final match against the Garrison Unit and we defeated them by two goals, once again I scored the winning goal, I was celebrated as usual and my popularity spread through the length and breadth of the Barracks, everywhere I went I heard my name, Oj! Oj! I waved to so many people while I gave “thumps up” to others. We settled at the CBM later in the evening for celebration and our unit senior Officers paid for everything we ate and drank.
Two days after the football finals competition, my C.O summoned me to his Office and presented a sealed Army Customized envelope to me, he asked me to open it and read before him as he was interested in its content: the letter was from the Army Directorate for Sports, I had been nominated for screening into the Prestigious Army national football team “The Green Beret”. I leapt for joy and clung on My C.O before I realized I was jumping on a Colonel in Uniform, I recoiled immediately and prostrated on the floor in my uniform apologizing to him,
Common stand up and don’t be silly! He said: he pulled me closer and patted me on the shoulder: congratulations my Boy! You have a bright Career ahead of you, if you succeed, you may have to leave the Signals Corp for the Physical training unit, he said.
I did not really know much about the PT unit save for the fact that they are in charge of organizing sporting activities and screening of recruits for the Army, they control the Gymnasium, the Football fields, and every other sport facility and the physical training of Soldiers too. I was indifferent. I was simply happy.
To Be Continued