Saving SONARA

EDITORIAL 12 Jun 2019
Saving SONARA

No matter the climax of the crisis the country is going through, no matter how wide the dividing line may seem to pose itself, the government of Cameroon on the one side, the separatists, or “Ambazonians” on the other, we think there is some reason to believe that the National Refining Company remains a prized jewel, no matter the eventualities of the present crisis.
Not even the “Ambazonians” should afford to celebrate, or even be part of a plot to execute the destruction of a lone oil refinery plant. The truth is that in one way or the other, our lives depend on its existence.
Our joy, however, is that the secessionists seem this time around, to have been vindicated, that is, according to an official statement which places the blame on a technical fault, and not on the “Ambazonian” fighters as it has most often been the case.
Government has also promised to carry investigations to situate the technical fault that led to this incident. We are obviously aware that we may not be speaking in the same language with the local population of this part of the country, where the refinery plant is located, because we are equally aware that this same population bears genuine grievances against the government for what has, down through the years, been regarded as an outright sidelining of the population in many ways than one. One of which is the fact that the impact of this giant company is hardly felt by the local population.
This is however quite another matter altogether. For the moment, we wish to appraise the recent incident at SONARA with a human face, short of prejudices, because no one should attempt to downplay the importance of petrol in a world that survives on that one commodity. We appreciate the prompt action that was taken to save the situation from advancing beyond control. We can only imagine the desperation which people all over the country would have suffered without the regular supply of this indispensible commodity along with its bye-products such as kerosene etc.
However, that measures are being taken to ensure regular supply of petroleum products is indeed consoling, and we only hope that those responsible for this task will sincerely be up to it. In addition to this assurance, that the minister of water and energy, Eloundou Esomba Gaston, echoed that the damage at SONARA will take nine months to rebuild, only goes to justify government’s concern over the incident and its aftermath, in as much as the plight of the people is taken into consideration.
But the concern of we in this Newspaper is based on the fears that another corridor has been opened in which the dubious contract lobby game will find a level ground, producing a mysterious conduit pipe for huge sums of money to find its way into the hands of hawkish contract bidders.
We say so because there is no way we can boast that our economy is so buoyant that it can carry out the project of rebuilding the damaged sections of the refinery without tears. Our fear even extends to the fact that like the preparation for CAF 2019, which flopped, the reportedly nine months deadline advanced by the minister of water and energy resources, Eloundou Essomba Gaston for the reconstruction of the damaged part of the refinery, may be skipped to a longer date and the consequences we may not be able to predict with certainty at the moment.
If we even mention the state of our economy, it is simply because we are reminded of the fact that the SONARA incident has only come to add up the tragedies that have crippled two other economic giants of the state, namely the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC and PAMOL. The government cannot pretend that it does not feel the pangs of these tragic situations. Therefore, while we appreciate government’s prompt action towards SONARA, it should also focus its attention towards these two tragedies for a solution to revamp them.

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