- I Will Bring Water Back To Buea
- I Will Continue Fight Against Land-grabbing Administrators
- Constant CPDM Handclapping Hasn’t Helped Us
- Special Status Is A Fraud
(Buea-Cameroon)Social Democratic Front, SDF, Parliamentary hopeful for Buea Urban, Barrister Ikomi Mbella Ngongi, says he is the change that Buea needs so as to spearhead veritable development. The erudite Barrister promised that if elected, he will bring water to Buea; fight against land-grabbing administrators and their accomplices; effectively represent the common man’s interest, and hold power to account.
The legal luminary, who is also a graduate of the Harvard Law School, alongside Barack Obama and Nigeria’s Vice President, said he will not depend on money from Government to carry out development projects, but that he will use his connections all over the world to source for funding for community development and provision of social amenities.
He spoke in an exclusive interview with The Post in Buea. According to him, the CPDM handclapping syndrome in Parliament has not helped the Buea population and Cameroonians in general.
He said his CPDM opponent is no match for him; he described the differences between them as “Day and Night”. He advised the CPDM candidates to back out of the elections for their good.
After having such an illustrious career as a lawyer in and out of the country, what has informed your decision to dabble into politics?
I got fed up seeing how things were going wrong in the country, and after having hoped for a very long time for the people who claimed to be representing us to do something, it has come to my sad realisation that they have no intention at all to serve the people. Rather, they defend the Regime. So, I have come in to change that leadership and to bring fresh leadership not only to Buea or Fako, but to the country as a whole.
You are contesting for a parliamentary seat in Fako Division which happens to be the bastion of the CPDM, how do you intend to penetrate this CPDM fief?
Again, it is simple; people have to understand that at this point in their lives, party politics have no value anymore. They should be looking at people who can bring about meaningful changes in their lives, whether it is SDF, CRM or CPDM has no value. CPDM candidates have been there for 20 to 30 years, if they had done what needed to be done, I will not be going into politics. So, people should know that party politics has failed us. Constant handclapping by the CPDM has done nothing good to us. Look around us, we don’t even have good water to drink, we lack the basic necessities, but we claim to have people representing us under the CPDM party. It is evident that this party has failed us and it is time for new leadership with no party affiliation. We need to change this system with a fresh leadership that is bold, severance, and caring for the people.
What are you taking to Parliament?
I will be taking something that is lacking in our country: truth. People do not speak the truth anymore; lies-telling has become the order of the day. I will be taking a wealth of knowledge and experience which most of my opponents do not possess. I have been a lawyer for 41 years; went to some of the best schools in the world like Harvard Law School; Nigeria Law School; taught in some of the best law schools and worked with some of the best organisations in the world; contributed to the development of this county. I am ready!
Your opponent of the CPDM says he is a younger candidate. Going to represent the interest of the younger generation, what do you make of that?
I have heard that. This young man has never known anything different in this country. At least, I had the privilege of having known Ahidjo’s regime before this present regime. Ahidjo who was not an educated person ruled this country very different from what we are seeing today. Have people of the younger generation done anything better? Many of the youths think it is normal not to have basic facilities and a corrupt Government. But for me, it is not normal. Most youths lack the value to differentiate corruption from responsibility. Growing up, I saw Government Ministers and officials dismissed and sent to prison for embezzling FCFA 100,000.
I have had the privilege to travel and experience events he has not. He is a good young man; I know him. But he is very ill-prepared; the kind of training he had had cannot be compared with mine. You do not give a sharp cutlass to a child; power is a very sharp cutlass, you don’t not give it to people who are not prepared for it. They will misuse it. So, while I will not despise him as a person, I will tell him that he is in a wrong camp, poorly prepared and needs more time to prepare. In this case, my age has a greater advantage than his youthfulness; my age comes with knowledge, wide experience and grounding in this community, where I don’t depend on the Government to give me a salary. So I can boldly criticise if they go wrong. My opponent cannot stand up and challenge the Government because he works for them. He cannot even speak for himself. It is in the interest of the CPDM to back out of the elections so that we speak for everybody, including them because they cannot even speak for themselves. Youthfulness has value only when that youthfulness is prepared. Jesus Christ was a young man at 33, but he spent many years preparing for the short time he functioned. What preparation does my opponent have; In ENAM? We all know what happens there.
Don’t we have Parliamentarians in the Parliament? They just gave the Southwest Region 20 billion for her budget. The lowest budget in Cameroon, where were those Parliamentarians who claimed to represent us. Were they sleeping? The Southwest Region produces 60 percent of the wealth of Cameroon. Go to SONARA, how many elite work there, CDC, ENAP, P&T. Where are our children? And where are our politicians who claim to be representing us? These are the questions we should be able to answer. Does this handsome young man have the preparation to stand up for this? No, he doesn’t.
What are your priority projects for Buea?
My first priority project will be to bring back water in Buea. We have streams running all over the place; Hut One, Mile 16, Muea and many more, but we cannot afford to produce water for our population. Buea should not be a place of gallons, everywhere you go, people carry gallons on their heads and in their cars. If I cannot get money from the Government, I have the ability to source the money from abroad, I have worked there most of my life. Just in case you want to know some of my connections; I graduated from Harvard the same day as Barrack Obama, the Vice President of Nigeria was my classmate. I can go on and on. These are things my opponent cannot do. The next thing I will do is to stop this land grabbing that is going on. For the past six years I and Tambe Tiku, the human rights activist, have been hitting hard on this with no support from the CPDM.
You have been very prominent in fighting against land grabbing in Buea, and Fako Division in general, and in the course of your fight, you must have stepped on the toes of some administrators who may abhor you today. Don’t you think such administrators will be campaigning against your candidature behind the scenes?
Absolutely, that is the more reason for fighting against injustice; when anybody stands up to fight against injustice you must know that those who perpetuate the injustice will be offended. Now, if you put this young opponent and me, who is going to challenge these people is the civil servant or an independent man. I do not care, it is their right to campaign against me. It is the right of the voters to know who can serve them, protect their interest. The voters decide. If CPDM does not rig the ballot, like I have heard they have been doing in the past, it is the voters who will decide, not the administrators. We are going to make this Buea great again; a breath of fresh air is going to blow in this country.
The President recently gave Anglophones a Special Status, in your understanding, what is a Special Status?
I do not know what the Special Status is. First of all, who gives a regime the powers to give Special Status to an equal power? Northwest and Southwest came into this Federation as an independent country. I was a child. I lived that history, so how come one partner is giving the other Special Status. We don’t need that status; we had the status of Southern Cameroons, an independent country since October 1961. To put this simple, this Special Status is a fraud. They could have just declared a Federation. That could have been simply done so, but they cannot do that because they want to dominate us. These administrators act even worse than colonial masters. Special Status was put in the Constitution since 1996, why was it not implemented earlier, why does it come only now that frustrated young men have taken guns to the bushes? Must young men die before Special Status is granted?
After observing Cameroon’s Parliament for three decades, how would you describe it? and how can it be improved upon?
First, I will tell you, in 1980, when I was a young lawyer, I was a legal adviser for the Parliament, which is one privilege I had. In those days, it was a one-party system. People had no choice but to clap their hands to the CPDM. Now, the sad thing is that we have the multiparty system, but the majority still clap their hands. I believe we shall need to educate all Members of Parliament whether SDF, CPDM, CRM, to know that their representation is for the interest of their people not for the Government. So far, the Parliament gives us the impression that parliamentarians are employees of the Government, which is why you need to elect independent people like me, not civil servants. Did you hear what they did to Paul Ayah? They cut off his salary because he exceptionally stood up and spoke against the system. People go to politics to look for money. Most of our politicians or representatives in Fako spend most of their time looking for contracts. The difference between me and my opponent is like night and day. I have nothing against my opponent, but he is not prepared to represent us.
Interviewed by Andrew Nsoseka & Sandra Achalefac (Originally Published by The Post Newspaper in Cameroon)