By Isidore Abah
BUEA, Cameroon- Shouts of joy, ululation and gratitude, swept through Bokwango, Bwassa, Likombe, Mapanja and Bonjongo, Friday, July 25, as officials of the Southwest Development Authority, SOWEDA, handed over a 12.8-kilometre communal road it has rehabilitated to the communities.
The 12.8 kilometres of road worth over FCFA 26 million will not only dis-enclave the three agrarian settlements, but it would also facilitate the movement of persons, goods and services in the area, which was hitherto a nightmare.
Speaking at the event, the Third Deputy Mayor of Buea, Edward Mosoko Motuwe, thanked SOWEDA for the wonderful gift to the communities.
According to him, the road has come to assuage the plights of farmers and even commuters in the area, who have been facing difficulties in transporting their agricultural produce to the market.
To Mosoko, the rehabilitation of the road is a testament to President Biya’s resolve to meet the need of the population. “That is why the people of Buea have chosen peace and development and are against anything that is going to destabilise our country,” Mosoko said.
He appealed to the powers that be to “ensure that the road should at least be painted with tar.”
Taking the rostrum, the Chief of Likombe, HRH Francis Luma, on behalf of the beneficiary communities described the road as “a dream come true.” “Since I was born in my village Likombe, I have never seen a low car passing through the village to Mapanja. But today, it’s a dream come true. Cars shall go to Mapanja without any problem.”
Chief Luma thanked the Government through SOWEDA for the wonderful gift to the population. “Thanks to you Mr General Manager and the Government of His Excellency President Paul Biya for this wonderful gift. Today, your name will enter the book of records in my village, just like others who have done outstanding projects for us.”
He, however, cried out that their greatest problem is potable water. “The Divisional Officer of Buea, the General Manager of SOWEDA and the Mayor of Buea, our major problem now is water. We need clean running water. We keep asking for your help for our community to grow.”
Handing over the rehabilitated road to the communities, SOWEDA General Manager, Dr. Besong Ntui Ogork, told the population that he was elated to be handing over the road to them.
“I want to say that why you are all very happy for this road, we too in SOWEDA are also very happy. We are happy because we were able to realise this project at very difficult times.”
The GM further asserted that despite carrying out the project in the heart of the Rainy Season, and with meagre funds made available for the project, the job was wonderfully done.
“I want to use this opportunity to congratulate the heavy-duty equipment of SOWEDA for the work they have been able to do. We have driven on the road, we have seen areas that could have been better, but knowing the envelope that we had, we had money just for earthworks. There are lots of culverts that this road needs but there was no provision for them. Our engineers were ingenious to make local ones.”
Dr. Besong Ntui Ogork expressed satisfaction with the economic impact the road is already creating. “I can assure you that this road is not tarred, but we are all hoping that the tar will come one day. But before the tar comes, it is our responsibility to ensure that this road stays the way it is.”
Bwassa -Likombe-Mapanja Water Problem Will Soon Be History
Reacting to the problem of potable water, the SOWEDA GM assured the population that their water problem will soon be a problem of the past. According to him, SOWEDA will under the Agricultural Infrastructure and Value Chain Development Project, “be rehabilitating water schemes and one of them is the Bokwango Buea West. We are working with the Mount Cameroon National Park Project, which also had that project in mind. I want to assure you that in a few months, water would probably be flowing here permanently.”
The Divisional Officer, DO, for Buea, Abba Abduraman, said the inhabitants of the three villages have every reason to thank the Government for alleviating their plight. He said the road will facilitate the transportation of crops to the market, patients to the hospital and will open up the communities to more trade and other economic activities.
He urged the population to jealously protect the road from degradation. “The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture has played its part by providing funds for the road rehabilitation; SOWEDA has also played its part by carrying out its duty, now the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the beneficiary local communities to ensure that the road remains passible as long as possible.”
He said for the tarred road to come, the people must show proof that they can take care of the earth road. He exhorted them to have regular community work and invite him when necessary.
The DO lauded the professionalism exhibited by SOWEDA in carrying out the project and installed the Road Management Committee along the stretch of road.
Meanwhile, the MP of Buea Urban, Hon Malomba Esembe handed over an envelope to the Road Management Committee to help them maintain the road. Also, SOWEDA handed over FCFA 300,000, Wheelbarrows, cutlasses, and shovels among others to the Road Management Committee to assist them in the task.