News Update

One Month in Office: Emecheta, Happy with Soludo’s Performance

By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu

The former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency, ANSAA, Chief Jude Emecheta, has expressed satisfaction with Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s performance as he marks one month in office.

Fides reports that Governor Chukwuma Soludo was sworn into office on March 17 to pilot the affairs of Anambra State.

The governor’s first thirty days have however gained commendations from critical stakeholders across all sectors, including the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor.

In his assessment, the former ANSAA boss, Emecheta, affirmed that Governor Soludo started well, having commenced serious work to restore peace and orderliness in Anambra State.

He noted that security was key to economic growth and development of any society and commended Governor Soludo for his initiatives.

Sir Emecheta said the first thirty days had been very productive with the successful setting up of his cabinet and enjoined him to sustain the tempo; even as he called on Ndi Anambra to give him all necessary support.

Chief Emecheta who described Governor Soludo’s delivery within the first thirty days as impressive, noted that he was even more determined to achieve greater things for Ndi Anambra, having chosen quality individuals to work with as commissioners.

He expressed optimism that the governor would make Anambra State more livable and prosperous as he continued to maximize productive hours.

A Trip to Rwanda

institution’s Business School, took over.  She took time to take us through the curriculum and course contents of the school, all in a bid to let us know that they are in sync with the requirements of the 21st Century.

The school offers Computer Science, Entrepreneurship, Global Challenges, and International Business and Trade at undergraduate level; it also offers Post Graduate Diploma and MBA.

As she spoke, I observed  the Director of Unizik Business School, Prof. Emma Okoye, and his deputy, and an Associate Professor, Dr. Chinedu Onyeizugbe, taking notes as if with the intention of comparing notes when they return to Nigeria. Tongue in cheek, part of the note that caught the fancy of the Director was the pronouncement on on-going review fees payable at ALU. When he jokingly raised it, students reminded him that they clearly said the review was downwards.

Through with ALU and what it stands for, as told by the staff, we had a full lecture series with  Dr. Frank Ojadi of the Lagos Business School on all aspects of case-writing. He was so good that with just one class, we became masters in the conception and writing of cases.  With personal experience, he let us know and appreciate that beyond scholarly end, that case-writing has other benefits. Exit the 3rd day.

The fourth day was as exciting as other days, but added to it was the experience of moving outside Kigali  to the sleepy town of Akagera. The interesting thing about Akegera is that it is close to the  northward border of Rwanda with Uganda and its eastward border with Tanzania.

As we travelled, we understood why the country is called “a land of a thousand hills.”  Because of its topography,  the country is one of undulating beauty interspersed with plains and plateaus that are heavily cultivated with rice, guinea corn and banana.

Travelling in Nigeria is a nightmare. The menace of security officers and  bandits, added to bad roads make it revolting. From Kigali to Akagera was more of a fun. We did not see a single pot hole or any form of check point and those weary of body slept peacefully.

Our only observation is decreasing standard of living as we moved farther from Kigali. At some places, we saw mud houses, but each, even those that looked  like the stables of horses,  have pre-paid meters conspicuously hanged. It is just a question of poverty and not that of organisation and planning.

We left the Onomo Hotel  at 7.03am and reached  Akagera at 9:30 am. At Akegera Coffee Project Ltd, we observed what could be called another side of coffee  value chain. While  Rwandan Farmers’ Coffee Company we earlier visited offered us the final processing of coffee into the coffee drink that we know, Akegera offered us the full mechanism of  planting, trans-planting, harvesting,  weighing, sorting, drying  and bagging of coffee.

Our guide at  Akagera Coffee, Mr. Caesar, took us through all the stages, demonstrated all of them that most of us now toy with the idea of introducing coffee to Nigeria.

We were in Rwanda the day they remembered the genocide of 1994  – “Kwibuka 28.”They told us the dos and don’ts  of “ Kwibuka.” Beyond saying it is the day they remember the genocide, when they took leave of their reasons and killed one another with the clear conscience of nature, what else do we say about it? It made me remember a young Hindu who was asked to explain Yoga, but feeling that Yoga is much more sublime than be  explained, he said:  “It is only through Yoga that  Yaga May be known.” We therefore leave explaining  Kwibuka until we visit the genocide memorial, which we did on the 6th day.

We started the 6th day with a visit to Camp Kigali for COVID tests preparatory to our departure on Sunday. Inside the camp, one continued to be awed by the level of their organisation. Within the  tent where our samples were collected, we had access to high speed internet and neat restrooms. We feel compelled to give these minute details because such are not obtainable in the Giant of Africa.

After my sample was collected, I took time exploring the environment and discovered the camp is actually within the University of Rwanda. Inside the office, I asked questions and discovered that Kigali Town, with a population of about 1.1 million, has 8 universities. The universities are not as expansive as Nigerian universities, but I am not in a position to talk about their qualities.  However, I was told that strikes are rarities, while acts bordering on vices among itching lecturers are treated with all seriousness.

As I was  interrogating some students, I heard one lady who spoke familiarly, in a dialect that closely sounded Nigerian.  She introduced herself as Dr Olufolahan Osunmuyiwa, from Lagos State. She is of Charmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, but presently at the University of Rwanda under the African Centre of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development, a UNDP Programme.  I could not ask their presence in Nigeria because we were ready to leave.

Our next stop was for change of money because of planned shopping after the visit to Genocide Memorial. At every point, one is confronted by their organisation. We saw written on the roads, “Park and Pay.” The agent of the company told me that they collect money for parking and remit same to government.

Thenceforth,  we went to Kigali Genocide Memorial. After a brief lecture by Mugabe, one of the staff and a survivor, he took us round.  “More than 250,000 people are buried here,” he told us. He gave the colonial, social, economic , and political factors that led to the genocide and explained the memorial as aimed at remembering the dead and preventing such from happening in future. As he spoke, he betrayed every emotion that led one of us to ask a question that made him reveal that he was a survivor.

On the trial of those that  partook in the genocide, he narrated how the first set of convicts were killed, and how, on discovering it would cause more dislocation, they abolished the death sentence. He talked about the “Gacaca” Justice system and how it helped in seeking Justice built on truth and sincerity. “I have forgiven the man that killed my father,” he said emotionally.

Inside the genocide memorial are pictures of those that lost their lives. The children’s sector is so moving that the women with us started crying. We also saw some skulls that are left to teach humanity lessons. This are what “Kwabuka” reminds humanity  that should be avoided at all costs.

From there  we went for a brief shopping at Kimironko Market. Not so big a market, but  certainly one of the biggest in Kigali.  Women dominate in the market suggesting that the death of mostly men during the genocide must have contributed to that.

The next day was a free day for us to do what we wanted. I took time to further explore the city. Kigali Heights was my first port of call. It is the biggest mall in Kigali and looked western in design and content.

From there I visited a police station and closely watched their operations. Not so busy, mirroring the low crime rate in the city. A policeman told me that they had  all they needed and that offering them bribe  was unthinkable. He asked,  “what of Nigeria?” As usual, I started speaking in tongues!

Moving round, I was struck  by  the absence  of hawkers on the roads. Meanwhile, one did not see sachet water. On further probing, I was told that polythene is banned due to its  bad effect on the environment. Can you juxtapose this with the situation at home?

As I write, my people called me from Nigeria on the increasing cost of diesel.  Meanwhile, they had not had light for four days, even when light did not blink in the one week we stayed in Rwanda. So much so for the giant of Africa.