Between the Pearl and Giant of Africa

 

My trip to Uganda Safari was fantastic. Visitor visa to East Africa is surprisingly straight forward that one can either apply for here in their London offices or at the point of entry. I did all here for peace of mind.

The following photos were taken at Murchison National Park, it was incredible seeing these wild animals in their natural habitats and more so that the area is well looked after and tour guides taking pride in their job.

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The sunrise is at Heaven Resort, Jinja. One morning as I unzipped my camp tent, right opposite was this breathtaking sunrise over the Nile – hard not to pulse and appreciate the break of a new day. Only a couple of hours drive from Kampala.

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From ease of visa processing, clean and organised airport area to stable electricity, uninterrupted water supply and in general (compared to Nigeria) good sanitation and environmental hygiene – hard not to reflect on why these basic needs and necessities remain big challenges in Nigeria when a country like Uganda with a fraction of our population and non of our oil wealth are keen on improving.

I made a trip to Baha’i Temple one morning for no other reason than to visit another interesting feature in the city – architecture and amazing view.

Baha'i Temple, Kampala

Baha’i Temple, Kampala

The young man working at the temple was as soft spoken as most Ugandans, he was very helpful explaining that Baha’i Faith is a unifier religion connecting all religions of the world together – didn’t even know Baha’i Faith existed so good to know. Inside of the temple was clean and dead quiet that a drop of pin will be audible so I sat down for a while admiring the details on the ceiling.

On the way back, I decided to walk back to the city centre rather than taking a taxi or boda boda – best way to see everyday people minding their businesses.

The sun was up and doing its job of biting the back of my neck, but the walk was a lot more pleasant as I realise one more thing about Uganda that is quite different from Nigeria.

For the last five years at least, we have heard a lot of increases in the number of Nigerian students being sponsored to study in Uganda universities, this is mostly from the north.

The increase in the study abroad for the last decade has been political (in my opinion), so if one wants votes, offers of oversea scholarships is one sure way of getting it – this is very common in the south, that much is obvious. Only last week there was a report of medical students in the Caribbean taking to stealing, they blamed it all on the Rivers State government for non payment of their tuition/allowances. – This by the way is not limited to Rivers State alone, common with most of our governors. 

Salary payment isn’t one thing Nigeria do well at. Not too much surprises that state government continue to fail on their promises of oversea scholarship payments.

Now coming to Uganda, on my waka about from Baha’i Temple, What I noticed for the first time was that all of the schools that I found on my way for the most part were different from that of Nigeria government owned schools. I don’t know anything about Ugandan schools other than what I observed on the surface and the news about government sponsored Nigerians. However, one thing that is obvious is that their primary and secondary schools seem to be a lot more organised – I didn’t see one make-shift, side of the road schools in the area I walked past.

In Nigeria significant numbers of government sponsored students from the north were sent to Islamic university in Uganda, this could be for many reasons, here I will assume so that they could continue their studies within a set etiquette. Here are a few that we know were sent to Uganda in the recent year.  Sokoto, Kano and this one from Kaduna

“Mr Ocheger (Ug commissioner to Nigeria in Kaduna) said that about 750 Nigerians are studying in one Ugandan University alone, maintaining that this will encourage interaction among different social and religious backgrounds and different nationals that will bring about social harmony and exchange of ideas.”

Come to think about this, Uganda with 40M people with only 12.1% Muslim and Nigeria with 41% Muslim out of  182M estimateAnd all these years Nigeria with the numbers of professors can’t build good enough Islamic schools in our nation?

So, when are we ever going to realise it is better now and future for our country to use the scarce resources to develop our own schools? 

In my two weeks, there was only one time of power outage for about half hour (the whole country was affected) and back up provision kicked in with minimal interruptions, this is such a big deal that the company in charge  issued a report.

I had a great time in Uganda overall.

Giant of Africa needs reality check on all fronts.



Categories: Africa, Education, Nigeria, Politics, Religion

Tags: , ,

18 replies

  1. Dear Folakemi,

    These are beautiful, wonderful and – actually beyond words! Like Imanikel, I cannot bare to look at snakes but I did not even think they, or a single one, would make appearance as I first scrolled down quickly for a first peek!

    It’s good how you’ve linked the varying subjects here, especially Nigerian students studying abroad, a growing phenomenon borne mostly of Nigeria’s substandard education in most of the universities AND poor planning. There would be those who send kids abroad in every country but Nigeria’s figures, relative to the general earning power, seem to be pretty high. I mention the poor planning only as far as state govt sponsoring their students abroad and then falling short of funds mid-way.

    If Rivers State is serious, it would have found places for those students in the medical schools at [Nigeria’s] Ibadan, ABU, Lagos … OR at universities in nearby African countries like Ghana. Pardon my cynicism when I say that the faraway location might have made it easy for govt officials to get more money to skim off …!

    Finally, it is an unacceptable excuse and despicable that students resorted to stealing because they were hungry due to their allowances not being paid,

    Thanks for sharing more than these wonderful photographs.

    Regards,
    TOLA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is very true, people will always decide to study away from home for various reasons.

      I think for Nigeria it has got to a point that ‘anywhere would do’ mentality. It would have been fantastic if the brightest kids are selected but the is not always the case.

      Your cynicism is not far fetched, it is the trademark of our leaders. Hard to trust any politician now as they all seem to continue to disappoint.

      Glad you liked the photos, thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  2. Thank you my President for taking me on the trip with you and for the pictures too! Really beautiful! ❤ though as I scrolled down, I prayed in my heart that you didn't snap a snake. Though you didn't show me your tent, but I guess you had clean, wholesome fun.
    Hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. FK, I was reading that Uganda straddles the equator so is fairly hot and humid (but not excessively because of the altitude).
    I’ve just come off broadcast by coach Mark, he talks of a ‘growth mindset versus a fixed mindset’. It appears Ugandans approach things with a growth mindset, meaning they are acknowledge they are not ‘yet the top dog’ but are working hard to catch up. Where as Nigeria’s elite (and many middle class), think Nigeria is ‘the top dog (giant of Africa)’, and can happy rest on their laurels thinking the past ‘successes’ will guide them safely into the future.
    There is a lot that Nigeria can learn from Uganda.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘growth mindset versus a fixed mindset’ – I love that! Perfect description that fits Nigeria so well.

      And our people and leaders do travel, when we get to our destinations, I wondered what we see? We relish in telling people ‘God is great’ and dare tell the true stories of what we can improve on.

      I only visit a couple of places out of Kampala, and in all FDI in obvious. Take for example Mobile Money, this is used all across the country even in the remote villages, cheap and fast way of sending money to family – this has been used for years.

      In Nigeria, it still hasn’t taken off due to over protective of banks that really means feeding the same over bloated people. We scare so much of emulating anything that means general public will benefit.

      http://www.iea.org.uk/blog/why-mobile-money-transformed-kenya-failed-to-take-in-nigeria

      Now in Uganda, not having toilet is treated as antisocial (group of elders were flogged for lack of toilet while I was there, printed in papers. Not my style of dealing with important issue but point was made) – Nigeria don’t even think this is a problem yet, after being declared Polo free a few months ago, now due to repetition of the same old habits, we are back on the list of country to watch for.

      Uganda has room to improve,but I agree we undoubtedly have a lot to learn from the country.

      Like

      • Thank you for the reply.

        Uganda is definitely making strides forwards.

        It seems that mobile banking is going the way of electricity in Nigeria, ie a small group of people are holding the nation to ransom for their own selfish gain. Lessons are not being learned by Nigeria.

        Not having a toilet is definitely antisocial, but flogging people, I’m not too sure about that, maybe they tried to reason with them and that failed, so they resorted to corporal punishment.

        Nigeria has long been known as a centre of disease, this is confirmed by the numerous health epidemics that recur every year (all of which are preventable).

        Oh well, I can’t say I’m holding my breath for a turnaround, but I do hope that one does appear sometime (hopefully not too late).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great share Fola! Giraffes are so elegant. Glad you had a good time😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Fola, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I felt like I was there with you.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

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