By Solomon Agborem (on Special Assignment)
The Minister Delegate in the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Paul Njukang Tasong, has made a clarion call to the people of Lebialem to send their children back to school come September, as education is the livewire and engine of success worldwide.
Speaking at Nkongle Fondom, Wabane Sub-Division in Lebialem Division, Minister Paul Tasong told the mammoth crowd that he has brought a message of hope; hope that will soon end the sufferings of the people so that those taking refuge out of home can return safe.
He regretted that the crisis rocking the English-speaking Regions of Cameroon have greatly affected the population of Lebialem which he holds jealously to his chest. He urged the rousing population still at home to hold fast to their conviction and to pray to the Almighty as the day of bliss and glee is near for everyone to remember what the Division is passing through in the past tense.
The Minister said he decided to take the challenge and come and visit the people, commune with them and identify himself with them, assuring them that in every situation, he is with them.
He said he brought a message of hope and love and urged Lebialem people to dialogue and engage in peaceful co-existence for the good of all and sundry, by advising those in the bushes to lay down their arms for peace to return in the Division.
The exciting population was so overwhelmed that they thronged the entire Nkongle market square singing glorious songs to welcome Minister Paul Tasong, accompanied by Member of Parliament for the Lebialem, Hon. Dr. Bernard Foju; Hon. Senator Fon Lekunze Andreas Nembo; all Lebialem Fons led by the First Class Traditional Ruler of Lebang, HRM Fon Fontem Asabaton and many others. The Minister had just one message for the population he visited in Lebialem and IDPs in Dschang but slightly different because some people were addressed at home and others out of home.
“Our Lebialem visit was safe, very safe as we went and returned without a single bullet in the air. We were not frightened, we went and returned safe because it is our homeland,” Minister Tasong told the huge crowd that turned out to welcome him.
While in Dschang, after departing Lebialem, he fervently appealed to Lebialemers to send their children back to school come September, calling on separatist fighters to lay down weapons so that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) can also return and continue their life in their undeviating places of abode.
During his remarkable speech, Minister Paul Tasong said the Prime Minister, Head of Government Chief Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute sent greetings to them and appealed to Lebialem people to embrace peace, love and harmony.
He said the Prime Minister has asked him to encourage their children in the bushes to drop their guns and return to their homes so that children can return to school without fear or blemish, given that education is a lifetime sure investment.
Donations of the items championed by Minister Paul Tasong, Hon. Bernard Foju and Hon. Senator Lekunze, estimated at over FCFA 15 million, brought together hundreds of IDPs to the Dschang municipal grandstand.
As for the gamut of items donated, Minister Paul Tasong announced the consignment was from the Head of State, Paul Biya and some Lebialem elite.
The items donated included 300 mattresses, 310 blankets, 166 bags of rice, 75 cartons of soap, 232 bags of salt, 112 cartons of exercise books, 170 packets of pens and 407 packets of pencils. The Star gathered that there was another list with other items.
Speaking on behalf of the Lebialem Internally Displaced Persons in Dschang, erstwhile Mayor of Alou Council, Pierre Marie Fogap said for close to three years, they have been out of their homes and comfort zones, making life more difficult for them.
He thanked Minister Tasong for coming, President Paul Biya and Lebialem elite for the donations which according to him is a commendable gesture. He also appreciated the administration of the West Region especially the SDO and people of Menoua Division for their hospitality and prayed for the return of peace so that they can return home.
The donations were equitably distributed to the three Sub- Divisions of Alou, Fontem and Wabane with focal persons appointed to implement the redistribution exercise to the Lebialem IDPs in Dschang.
Minister Paul Tasong was accompanied by the SDOs of Lebialem and Menoua, Hon. Dr. Bernard Foju, Hon. Senator Fon Lekunze, Mayors, Fons, Chiefs of Lebialem and some prominent elite.
Heavy feasting and religious exchanges graced the solemn ceremony seen by many as highly successful.