And our Nigerian Governors had their Forum meeting not in Nigeria, but in Rwanda
My initial reaction to learning about the Nigerian Governors’ visit to Kigali, Rwanda for their initial Nigerian Governors’ Forum meeting, which is the first involved the new Governors recently inaugurated in May 2023 was that of a disappointment and discontent.
The trip was organized and sponsored by the UNDP, an international organization. But after a second and a deeper thought, I became resolved that the reason for the sponsors was to show practically to Nigerian politicians, especially Governors how a nation with astute, visionary and people-oriented leadership works.
Most of the Governors, especially of the northern states, govern over a land mass and population far more than the whole nation of Rwanda itself, including resources. I noticed how most of them were excited at the sight of President Kagama and did not miss individual photo opportunities. I also saw photos of the visit to the Genocide Memorial, as well as other important landmarks, including sporting facilities.
One could see them marveling at the ultramodern Kigali sports center where they all like little school children tried to shoot basketball hoops. There is no sports facility near it in the whole of Nigeria.
I particularly saw those Governors that enacted or are planning to so introduce anti-grazing laws in their states would have seen how the culture of pastoralism is governed and jealously guarded by government.
I expect the wool of endemic parochialism would have been removed from their eyes for them to see how pastoralism can be such huge economic power and revenue generator, and also to appreciate it really as a culture.
President Kagami keeps herds and proudly actually goes herding regularly.
I imagine that they were flown there on Rwanda Air, an airline company that started nearly with 5 aircrafts 20 years ago but now is about the largest airline company next to Ethiopian and Egypt Air, and flying to destinations across the world. They also would have seen the new Kigali Airport and the ultramodern cargo terminal planned to be Africa’s international cargo Terminal.
The Governors would have also learned that Kagami moves around without the unnecessary ostentatious and irritating bodyguards and wasteful ADC, same as his ministers, who actually drive themselves around, even for official activities. I just hope that they will also notice that the police are deployed to citizen protection and not for the service of VIPs, friends and their families. Police service is also not commercialized.
At night in Kigali, all the street lights are functioning, as well as traffic lights. They would have seen how the city is clean beyond clean and citizens go about orderly and speak in civilized low voices. They would have noticed that no street or building in the whole of Rwanda is named after anybody. Not even Kagami himself.
There is just so much the UNDP would have herded off these Governors to Rwanda to learn. Good thing there is little or no place to go on shopping sprees, except for artifacts, so certainly ‘our money’ is saved.
Our Governors would have seen how just one leader has been able to rally a people who through history had seen themselves as Hutus and Tutsis, and had visited the worst inhumanity of a genocide on themselves, fought a long bitter civil war, lived as refugees in several countries, but by just the committed patriotic leadership of one man, the two tribes are unified now as one tribe – The Rwandese.
Just hoping the UNDP programme serves as a turning point for governance in Nigeria. Hoping that same will be done for the President and the entire Federal Executive Council members. They will learn also that you do not have to be the lap dogs of western powers to be respected and courted by them, whether your nation is resource rich or not. Just your pride, patriotism and nationalism which will grow your nation into ‘consequentially importance and relevance’ is enough attraction to earn your nation and its people respect.
In spite all the noise about Rwanda’s suspect democratic and human rights credentials made up by the West, they would have seen how in drove investors and tourists troop into the proud nation for businesses.
May Nigeria succeeds