Samwel Ing’olan Lodio woke up feeling both upbeat and apprehensive on Monday morning.
Upbeat because being the day of the nationwide police recruitment, he had a chance—the last chance—to try his luck at joining his dream career. Apprehensive because he knew his chance of joining the police force, to quote a biblical parable, was slimmer than that of a camel going through the eye of a needle.
And Mr Ing’olan had good reasons to be pessimistic. The man is 30 years old. This means virtually all the other aspirants were younger than him. Naturally, police recruiters, for some reason, prefer younger persons. Ing’olan therefore knew that impressing the recruiters at his “advanced age” would be an uphill task.
But there was yet another reason that made him pessimistic. He had been there many times and failed. For nine straight years, Ing’olan had taken part in police recruitment and has been turned away each time. And that was not all, every year he takes part in all other recruitment exercises for security agencies such as Kenya Defence Forces and Kenya Prisons and always goes back home dejected.
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With hindsight, it would have been foolhardy for him to go the police recruitment centre with the confidence of a police sergeant. But he nevertheless had to go, for this was his last chance to try out his luck.
But miracles happen. After many years of trial and error, Tuesday was Ing’olan’s day and he left the recruitment centre with his head held high and his face beaming with a broad smile. He had made it at last. He was one of the few lucky youths in Turkana Central who were enlisted. Phew!
“This was my last chance. If I did not make it this time, I would have been done for; for good. My favourite profession would have been gone and that would have made me miserable. I thank God for He has helped me and ensured that I got it this time,” said Ing’olan.
Ing’olan, who holds a diploma in forensic science from the Kenya Institute of Studies in Criminal Justice said this year would have been his last chance because of his age. He recently enrolled at Egerton University to undertake a degree in forensic medicine.
After unsuccessfully trying to get his dream job, Ing’olan started selling second-hand clothes in Nairobi in 2009.
“I will now defer my studies until I am done with the (police) training then I will do distance learning,” he said.
Ing’olan hailed Tuesday’s recruitment exercise, terming it free and fair.
“Today’s exercise was very transparent. There were no cases of corruption reported and that is why I was able to be among those who succeeded,” he said.
Ing’olan is not the only person celebrating after many unsuccessful years. Ekunyuk Martin from Kalokol, also in Turkana, finally made it after trying for seven years. He had good advice for youth who have “police blood”—never give up.
“I ask those who were not successful not to lose hope. I have been trying each year for seven years but at no time did I lose hope. Today God has answered my prayer. I am going to work hard for God and my nation Kenya,” said Ekunyuk.
The chairman of the recruiting panel in Turkana Central Francis Siror said a total of 32 youths were picked in three divisions.
“The exercise has been successful. We have chosen 29 men and three women to be recruited and we have not had any complaints from the public or those who were not successful because we were as transparent as we could,” said Mr Siror.
He added that heavy rains that hit the region in the morning slowed the process but it finally ended without any other hitches.
And in a sad twist, an aspiring policeman died and two others were admitted to hospital in Lokichar, Turkana South, after they collapsed.
“The three men collapsed while they were in the process of recruitment. They were all rushed to the nearest hospital in Lokichar but one sadly died,” said Turkana County Police Commander George Tunoi.