Saturday, June 5, 2010
By James Achanyi-Fontem
During the visit of Governor Koumpa Issa of the south west region to Lebiallem on April 27, the population through their leaders appealed for good motorable roads in the region of 1000 hills and valleys as the only guarantee for rapid development. It was the second time; the governor was visiting the division.
Governor Koumpa Issa was accompanied by some 30 strong-man delegation, most of who are heads of regional delegations and services based in Buea. On his way to Menji, the governor made a stop over in Dschang and was received by the Senior Divisional Officer for Menoua, West Region, Galim Ngong, who had served in Ndian as Prefect. Dschang is the entry route into Lebialem, because of the bad road linking Menji to Bakebe, in Manyu Division, south west region.
It was in Alou, in the north of Lebialem that the SDO for Lebialem , Amougou François and his close collaborators received the governor with several traditional dance groups as school children said welcome to the august official visitor.
Another stop was at the residence of Prof. Leke Tambo at Lewoh before the governor was driven to Ema Azi where HRM Fon of Fontem hosted another reception. At the Fon Fontem’s palace, Governor Koumpa Issa was told that since 1982, very little had been done on road infrastructure by the government and this has slowed down development goals in the sub division. With this, HRM Fon of Fontem appealed that the governor should transmit the population’s request to the right quarters, so good roads can also be constructed in Lebialem division.
The governor responded by informing the audience that his transfer to the South West is to develop the region, and not to listen to gossips, blackmail and back stabbing. He observed that those visiting him should come with development suggestions and how to collaborate for proposal to be achieved.
While at Menji, the governor visited Mary Health of Africa Hospital and he was shown the different wards by the Matron Winifred Nwafor, accompanied by some staff of the health facility specialized in the cure of sleeping sickness caused by tse tse flies.
At the Municipal Public celebrations ground on the following day, it was an occasion to listen to the address of the Manyor of Menji, Retired Colonel Chief Daniel Fobellah , full of a catalogue of development requests and problems. Mayor Fobellah said the solution to Lebialem bad roads will begin with the tarring of Bakebe- Menji – Dschang axe. Another important axe is the unity road linking Essoh Attah with Menji and Wabane. Cameroon Radio television channel signals are not received in Lebialem and the population listens to radio signals from Nigeria border cities and Nigeria television signals. Only the local Lebialem Community Radio Station in Menji is making an effort to inform, educate and entertain the population, but the programme content is not enough.
Land occupation remains a problem in Lebialem due to the illegal penetration of individuals into government public land without permission. Some land and survey officers sell government land with the knowledge of the Mayors and the Senior Divisional Officer .
Talking about classification of Chiefs, Mayor Fobella said since 1977, many changes have taken place in Lebialem, which was formerly known as Nweh Mundani. The restructuring and renaming of this territory by the government resulted to carving out Fondoms and chiefdoms under the three sub divisions of Lebialem. Though the current vast territory with thick populations and several traditional rulers, only seven out of the 18 traditional heads and chiefs have been classified since 15th July 1977 under Decree No. 77/245.
Responding to the address of the Mayor of Menji, Governor Koumpa Issa, observed that Lebialem Division is the gateway into the south west region, though this has not been given the merited consideration and that is why he opted to place the division second on the agenda of the regional tour following his installation as head of the jurisdiction.
After according several audiences in Buea, the governor realized that there is a lot of work to be done and that is why he decided to undertake the meet the people tour. The divisional officers for Wabane and Fontem have been housed by the administration and the DO for Alou will have his residence constructed within the 2011 national budget.
The government has projected the construction of more classrooms for schools and colleges, the extension of water and electricity supply, and the improvement of social infrastructure in the three sub divisions. The South West Development Authority, SOWEDA, is currently working on the Ashong-Bateng-Wabane road. Apart from road maintenance, Lebialem has benefit from a national budget allocation of CFA 2000 Million, Governor Koumpa Issa announced. The government budgeted for the maintenance of the Dschang-Menji and Menji-Bakebe road axes, but the company that won the contract was incapable of meeting with the tasks and the government was invited to halt the execution of the contract in a peaceful manner. The governor promised to follow up for the two road projects to be revived with another contractor.
Before leaving Lebialem, he called on the population to remain law abiding and continue to live peacefully with respect of hierarchy, respect of tradition and the Bangwa people should refrain from unnecessary conflicts. Decisions by the local authorities to halt conflicts must be respected.
On politics, the governor informed the population that the presidential elections of 2011 are around and ELECAM was set up to replace ONEL with the appointment of persons to head the new structure, so there could be free, fair and transparent elections. He invited all to start preparation for the elections now. He concluded by saying, more exchanges will be possible during his next socio-economic tour of the south west region. Top officials from Lebialem who accompanied the Governor included Honourable Bernard Foju, the Technical Advisor to the Prime Minister, prince Jacob Lekunze and Chief Fojap Romanus only to name a few.
On his way back to Buea, Governor Koumpa Issa made a stop over at the Lenale Ndem UNESCO Museum that houses the largest number of art craft works that depict and venerate the tradition of Lebialem people. The Lenale Ndem UNESCO Club offered Governor Koumpa Issa and his entourage a tourism reception dinner.While SDO for Lebialem, Amougou François, was compensated with the 50th Anniversary of independence of Cameroon medal by the Governor at Menji, the Coordinator of Lenale Ndem UNESCO Museum Club in Melong was also decorated by SDO Justin Mvondo of Moungo.The importance of the visit to Lenale Ndem lies on the fact the South West Governor Koumpa Issa went there twice in less than two weeks.