Black Veteran, image from The Conversation Africa

My Military Service: The New ‘Iyatan Calendar’

Iyata Anthony Adikpe
5 min readSep 20, 2021


Did you just ask if I served in the Military? Lol. I did. In the year 2019, I applied to the Nigerian Navy and got drafted in, for the exams. At 0500 hours, I set out for the screening test on the set date. We queued up at the gate of Mogadishu Cantonment (Abacha Barracks), Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria, ready to serve. We were asked to proceed to the basketball court by the sports arena. We sat on the floor according to our States of origin. There I met with Ladies Mpe and Ronke, and Masters David and Benjamin, all Officers to be. After the senior organizing officers in white and camouflage addressed us, at 1000 hours we marched in for the tests. Conversations next…

Benjamin and I

Wall clock, image from VarageSale

Benjamin gave some gist about a soldier friend of his who was given 168 hours off work. When the soldier travelled to the village to reconnect with family and friends, his wristwatch was his best friend. He touched base with folks within time allotments. The 168 hours had to be invested wisely. Every second counted. He needed to report back in time, and so he did. Time is of the essence if you wished to serve within the ranks, period.

Mpe, Ronke and I

Animated soldiers, image from

Amazing ladies. I think we had posted ourselves to Service Units in our heads before the actual deployment notifications. I knew Ronke from the Nigerian Youth Service Corp camp in Abuja sometime in the year 2017. Mpe came in from Cross River State for the exam, she was a lively lady. We spoke about work and how regiMENTed life could be. We shared stories of the experiences of friends who were in the ranks already. Fun moments. Ronke is still in touch but not Mpe anymore as we lost touch about a month after the exams. ‘Women get mind too’, respect.

David and I

Two soldiers shaking hands, image from 123RF

David forgot his birth certificate at home. It was his first time in Abuja. Somehow, he was allowed to take the exams. Slim guy. Although he had a small stature, he was going to be a good soldier. He had very funny content to share on his WhatsApp status. David progressed to the Lagos State screening centre. The rest of us ‘na cruise’ after that day. Lol.

My life as an Officer

Productivity, image from

Of course, not an officer in the Nigerian Navy but my own ‘offices’. Hehehe. Both virtual and physical offices. I like to invest time and not just spend it. That’s why I kept taking online courses, attending workshops and seminars, serving in Churches and workplaces. I tried to invest time between 0500 hours to 2350 hours daily, working. Sometimes without breaks, other times with naps during the day. I kept remembering Ben’s friend that had limited time to report back to base. We live in Nigeria and things are tough for everyone so I couldn’t afford to ‘snooze, else I lose’. I had that mentality until recently, and finally, it ends today, my retirement.

My Focus Now, the New Order

Calendar, image from 123RF

Father John-Mary Atep was the first Nigerian Catholic Priest to draw my attention to the essence of Time. He said: “God has no business with time, people created time out of their own limitations. God is timeless.” Then I reflected on the Gregorian Calendar developed by Pope Gregory XIII widely used around the world today (i.e., the January to December cycle). It was created to correct an approximation problem in the length of a year, a change that made the whole world move 10 days forward from Oct 4, 1582 to Oct 15,1582. But I think it is time-based, not achievement-oriented. Hence, I propose the ‘Iyatan Calendar. Same length of days, but not years. Details Next…

The Iyatan Calendar

Blank calendar, image from Etsy

360° completes a cycle

40 is significant in the Bible

9 signifies birth

10 is a complete count

The Idea

- Have a Calendar of 360 days a year

- Have equal months of 40 days

- Have 9 months in a year

- *Achieve something tangible each week, month, and year.

Month Names (To be determined…)

The Year’s outlook

  1. Plan
  2. Test
  3. Act
  4. Refine
  5. Act
  6. Monitor
  7. Maintain
  8. Review
  9. Appreciate

Month Pattern

- Work 30 days in a month

- Rest for 9 days within the month (a.k.a Recharges)

- Have 3 Recharges (Weekends)

- Workweek of 10 days

- Weekend of 3 days

- 1 day Tail Buffer to plan the next month

My Thoughts

The Iyatan Calendar could shift people’s focus to development, away from marking time. The Gregorian calendar may be used for other Solar purposes. Implementation challenges are inevitable, but, the advantages are greater. There will be a conscious/unconscious effort to drive value delivery throughout the Iyatan Year.

Keep ‘thinking and doing’, cheers.