Interview with the Principal of Sabeco City Thank you Fr. Paul Remjika for accepting to do an interview with We congratulate you on your appointment as Principal of St Bede’s College Ashing-Kom.

Fr. Remjika: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to interact with the SABESANS, and for all that you are doing to keep the flag of our dear SABECO CITY flying high out there. Thank you for congratulating me on my appointment as Principal of SABECO Ashing, an appointment that came as a big surprise to me, and one that I entrust entirely to the God I serve. For as St Paul has it: “there is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work. The capacity we have comes from God.”

Fr. Let us start by introducing ourselves; my name is Kenneth Abah (Forbin), I attended St Bede’s from 1986-1993 and I was the Senior Prefect. What about you Fr.?

Fr. Remjika: I am, as you know already, Fr Paul Remjika, from Nkar, Nso, and I was ordained priest on April 27, 2011 in Bamenda. I took up my first appointment the same year in St Paul’s Parish, Benakuma where I was Curate and Manager of Schools. On July 1, 2012, I took up my second appointment at SABECO Ashing as Principal. Here am I!!! We; Sabesans, are all very proud to have a former student of St Bede’s College Ashing-Kom become the Principal especially during the school’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, what has been the general feeling for you serving as the principal of your alma mater?

Fr. Remjika: I would have to make some little clarification here. This might embarrass you and some others. Many people take me for an ex-student of SABECO, but that is not actually so. I actually started my primary education at C.S Fuli, in Kom. Those who know the place well, know that the students of SABECO actually use the Parish Church of Fuli for their Masses since the college has not got a big chapel that can take all of them for now. The truth is that at the time I started primary school, my parents were teachers in SABECO. By the time I got to secondary school, they had been transferred, and I actually went to GBHS Bamenda for seven years, before beginning formation to the priesthood.

However, coming back to SABECO as Principal is like coming back home. Coming back, I have met an institution that has built for itself a certain reputation over the years; an institution that is now well-known for its brilliant performances at the End of Course Examinations, attracting those who are genuinely after academic, spiritual and moral excellence. And at this point, mine is the task to maintain and continue to build on what has been laid down for close to fifty years.

I have actually come back to work with some people who started teaching in this same compound either shortly before I started primary school, or the same year I started. I am talking about people that a good number of SABESANS would know: Miss Julie Chungong, Miss Banboye Dora, Mr Chiia Eugene and Mr Mbinkar Patrick. They actually saw me going to primary school. The house Mr Chiia Eugene is living in now is one of the apartments of the building my parents shared with him. He is still there. It was really exciting for me coming back, and it has been wonderful working with these “old hands,” the other teachers and the students. The Golden Jubilee celebrations is the biggest event for all Sabesans at the moment, please tell us about the exact date of the event and the projects currently being implemented to make this big event a success?

Fr. Remjika: The actual date for the Jubilee is January 4, 2014, that is, a Saturday. Initially, it was programmed for December 2013, but for some practical reasons, it was pushed to January 4, 2014, and I hope this date would be convenient for those of you out there, especially, but for everybody as well. We started off with the Golden Jubilee Project, which is a modern administrative block, a storey building. That is the main and only project we have for the Jubilee; an imposing structure, that is.

Small Committees were formed to take charge of various aspects of the celebration and these have their own little projects. An example is the publicity committee that is handled by ex-students, which produced a documentary of the college. I bet you that is something worth watching. There is another committee in charge of gadgets that is working on T-shirts, the fabric, caps and other gadgets. There is a history committee headed by a teacher from the college, that is putting together some interesting facts about the college, and the names of all the students who have been admitted to this college from 1963 will have to get into the magazine that will be produced by this committee. The ex-students could actually make useful contributions to this committee. There is a liturgy committee which is working right in school, and which is going to get everyone participate actively in the liturgical celebration. In short, quite much is going on Sabesans are all gearing up and making contributions to support the different projects, how is the cash flow situation for the construction project in particular?

Fr. Remjika: I must tell you this is the area that is almost sending some trickles of panic around. The cash flow has been a bit timid. Because of this, construction work on the project has come to a halt. However, the money is coming in from gradually, and like it is said: “little drops of water make an ocean.” I think if everyone were to put in a little, we would be able to realize our dreams. So far, the PTA has put in the bulk of what we have been able to use, and the rest of it has come in from the ex-students. The National President is working her fingers to the bone to make sure money comes in. Some money came in from the 1971 batch, if I am not mistaken, and which we have already used, and for which we are grateful. We are not discouraged at all, despite the slow inflow of cash, for we are sure something is happening at the background and are waiting for the surprise that the SABESANS  are reserving. The current students of St Bede’s College are definitely very excited about the golden jubilee as well, how are they preparing for this big day?

Fr. Remjika: The present students have been saying the Jubilee prayer that was composed. They are going to have a Novena before the peak celebrations. They are engaged in serious choir practice in preparation for the liturgy of that day, and at the moment are thinking about putting some funds together to make some significant gesture, a way of leaving their own mark. They are anxiously waiting to have the fabric. In short, they are fully in the Jubilee spirit right now, and consider themselves privileged to be the Jubilee Students. I am sure there is much going than you can quickly narrate but Fr., can you please assure some of us who left  Sabeco city several decades ago that our traditional Abain and mbassefu (Fufu and Njama-njama) will be served?

Fr. Remjika: Indeed, quite a lot is going on, and as you rightly say, I cannot paint fully the picture. Some ex-students made me understand that they so much cherish the corn chaff with weevils that kept them going in their days as students in the college, and do actually prepare it, but without weevils certainly, when they have their meetings. You may be surprised to learn that this young generation of students is tending to reject the Abain that some of you would not forget and would not want to miss during this Golden Jubilee celebration. The present students do not have it on their menu, but I do not see how we can have such an occasion in Kom land without Abain and Mbass. Be sure to have it prepared in the traditional kom style, I mean the very hard one that goes through the throat with a very heavy sound. You may begin to salivate in joyful hope. A lot of Ex-students and their families will be pouring in to the “inviting Belo Valley” come January 4th 2013 and several days before that. Many of them would be visiting the school after decades, what is your sense of the lodging conditions in the Bello area today?

Fr. Remjika: A team of teachers is presently going around Belo to see the number of “hotels” ( I put hotels in inverted commas, because I am referring to structures at our own level. No one should come from the U.S or some other place and be surprised at what we call “hotel” in Belo) we have in Belo and to see the possibility of making some reservations for those who will be pouring in as you have indicated. But I assure you there are some good places around Belo where people can comfortably stay. And as was the case during the celebration of the Ruby Jubilee of the College, some space shall be provided in the Dormitories for the ex-students who would want to relive their student days. What is needed now is for those who intend to have places reserved for them either in the Dormitories or the “hotels” around Belo and even Njinikom, to indicate. We have received the Jubilee prayer and Sabesans across the world are saying that prayer as often as possible. What additional message do you have for all Ex-students of St Bede’s College Ashing-Kom, especially those in the Diaspora?

Fr. Remjika: To all the ex-students, I say this is not an occasion to miss. Any ex-student who misses this occasion will regret it. I am encouraging those in the Diaspora to do everything possible to be there in their numbers. I know it is not easy for them, but there is definitely a way where there is a will. This is a time to meet old friends from all corners of the globe and relive some exciting experiences. There is no ex-student from SABECO CITY whose story would ever be told completely without SABECO. Let all the ex-students think of what they are because of SABECO and of what they would not have been without SABECO. In fact, SABECO has formed and produced great men and women in almost all walks of life, and you, Kenneth are one of them. I am sure your being Senior Prefect here prepared you for greater things. There are great men and women out there that SABECO is proud of. Please, also be proud SABECO and come back home let us give praise where it is due: to God Almighty. SABECO CITY in the inviting Belo Valley is inviting and waiting for you all. You are all welcome. Please, do not turn down this invitation. You honoured it as students, do same as ex-students. Thank you Fr. Paul Remjika for all you do for St Bede’s and most especially for taking some time off your hectic schedule to talk with us. We look forward to a wonderful time during the Golden Jubilee.

Fr. Remjika: Thank you for the keen interest you take in your alma mater and for the support you are giving this institution which has formed and produced so many great people. SABECO is dear to all of us. I know how much the ex-students love and cherish it and eagerly look forward to all of us celebrating and sharing together our love and gratitude for this fifty year old city, SABECO CITY OF GOLD.


Comments (6)

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  • Orok Tambe
    Good job, Ken.

    The new column "Spotlight" will consolidate the venture. Keep it up.

  • Ken Forbin
    Thank you everybody for the comments, I apologize if your comments are not coming on immediately. I am working on it now.
  • Annette Wanki
    This was breath taking, thanks Ken for setting up this interview and giving us a close scope of the preparations for the jubilee and our expectations. Rev Fr. Paul has said it all and it is now left on us to do our best. Lets get the ball rolling. Rendezvous today at our conference.
  • Ken Forbin
    I really appreciate Fr. Paul's willingness to talk with us and particularly his very quick responses during the inter-continetal interview session. He said it all and now, the ball is in our court (Sabesans). God bless Ken
  •  Affianwie Ndiashea Ngante
    And again, Great preparation to receive those coming out of town. Please,, can you publish the documentary on this site if it is available? The challenge is on folks. Lets seize the moment
  •  Affianwie Ndiashea Ngante
    What an interesting interview. Congratulations and editor Ken. We are definitely becoming the people we were meant to be. Thanks to Fr. Remnjika for the dedication and taking time to share with us his thought about the GJ13! He has laid the gauntlet and even challenged us SABESANS to live up the true meaning of our education. If you cannot give the Three T's,(time, talent, treasure), you can at least give just one. Make your pick and be present and be counted.