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Is Biya Trying To Cajole NW Population?

 

 

  • 11 Government Ministers visit Bamenda within a month
  • Several multi-billion projects announced
  • More roads to be tarred
  • Referral Hospital on the way

Secondary Education Minister and entourage at working session

A total of 11 government ministers have been visiting the Northwest within the last 30 days or so for one reason or the other with each proposing or coming to announce some major government projects, which many have seen as government’s ploy to court the NW population away from the crippling social unrest that has engulfed the two Anglophone regions, partially paralyzing economy activities.

The Most recent of these ministers to visit was Emmanuel Nganou Njoumessi who in a highly staged and publicized government propaganda launched reconstruction works on the awaited Babadjou – Bamenda road at a ceremony in the Santa Special Constituency. This road had almost become impassable, with commuters taking over two hours to cover the less than 40km distance coupled with the very bad state of inner city roads within Bamenda itself. The state of the roads into Bamenda from Bafoussam and in town were the fundamental cause of the “Coffin Revolution” started on November 21, 2016 by Mancho Bibixy. The government through its partnership with the World Bank is injecting the colossal sum of 60.7 billion FCFA for the realization of the project within 24 months.

Public Health minister Andre Mama Fouda was also in the region to launch the construction of the Bamenda University Teaching Hospital, a level two referral hospital on Tuesday May 16, 2017. Andre Mama Fouda said the project will span 18 months and will cost the government some 15 billion FCFA, 10 billion in construction cost and 5 billion in the form of equipment. A similar project was also launched in Buea.  Befoe this crisis, the Northwest has been lacking in terms of government investment in the health sector. Before now, the only three referral hospitals in the country were found in Yaoundé, Douala and  Sangmelima in the South region where the Head of State hails from. Plans were already afoot for another in Ebolowa, less than a hundred kilometre from Sangmelima before the Anglophone crisis erupted. Many Anglophones have seen this recent move by the Public Health boss as a move clearly intended to woo the disgruntled Anglophone population following years of derelict.

Ernest Ngalle Bibehe Messina , The minister of Secondary Education was also forced to come visiting as the ongoing Anglophone strikes continues to paralyzed the educational systems and in direct flight to confirming a blank school year in the entire country. The crisis led to the complete shutdown of nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions of learning since November 21, and government’s quest for the end of course examinations to be written in the Northwest and Southwest regions was view by most Anglophones as a ploy to devalue the standard of the GCE certificates and the Anglophone system of education as a whole.

Minister Jean Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe was emphatic while in Bamenda that all end of course exams must be written. He also adopted an unpopular decision to let students who did not register to sit for the GCE. He also approved the transfer of accommodation centres from private and confessional schools to government schools, he also agreed that the GCE Board should adjust the time for the afternoon session to make sure they end before 5 pm and for candidates to be allowed to put on assorted dresses.

Madam Youssouf Hadija Alim, the Minister of Basic Education also made a tour of the regional headquarters to inspect the writing of the 2017 government common entrance examination into the first year of secondary school.

While other Ministers sojourned in the region to cajole the inhabitants of Bamenda to have a sense of belonging to the most cherished “Unity State”, the PM Philomon Yang and some of his close collaborators  converged on the  Bamenda congress Hall to rather concert on ways the party “close to power” would minimize the impact of the SDF and other political parties boycott of the day and also undermined the impact of the current socio-political anger expressed by Anglophones..

Amongst the president’s cohorts who challenged the horrible roads into Bamenda to show up was the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Jean Claude Mbwentchou  and that of State Property and Land Tenure Jacqueline Koung a Bessike. They came to inspect the low cost housing in the Bamenda. It is the first time city is having such structures years after it was planned.

Bamenda also played host to the 20th edition of the All Varsity Games. Present were the ministers of Higher Education  and Sports and Physical Education Jacques Fame Ndongo and Ishmael Bidung Mpkatt,  Mbah Acha Rose of the Supreme State Audit, and Atanga Nji Paul of  Special Duties at the presidency.

The visits by the various ministers have been seen as a way to respond to the more than 55 years of neglect of  Bamenda and the entire region as a whole  which lacks passable roads, industries  and some basic facilities of a modern society with only commercial bike taxis as the main mode of employement for the million of youths in the region.

The Northwest  is currently seen as the epicentre of the ongoing civil unrest that has seen Mondays popularly declared as a non-working day in the region. North westerners have generally seen all these moves by government  as maneuver to stop them going ahead with the strike that seems to be crippling and eroding government’s trust and control over the people.

But it would appear that these outings have done little or nothing to change the people’s  psyche as they still continue to hold tightly to their firm grip on the government’s balls . The only hope is for those arrested during the unrest to be granted general amnesty while negotiations continue.

By Ndi Tsembom Elvis

 

 

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