By SAH TERENCE ANIMBOM
The minister of Decentralisation and Local Development, Georges Elanga Obam was in Bamenda Tuesday, October 20, 2020 to hold a working session with stakeholders of his ministry in the region and to inspect prospective structures to host the Regional Council which will be coming into existence after December 6, 2020 when the first ever Regional Councils will be put in place in Cameroon.
After paying a visit to the North West Regional Delegation of Tourism and Leisure where it was initially thought that the Regional Council premises could be suitable, the minister proceeded to inspect the building belonging to Brigadier General Agha Robinson, former commander of the joint 5th Military Region and native of the Menchum Division in the North West.
His comments of the ultra modern mansion were visibly those of approval. He appreciated the sitting room space that can serve as a good conference room as well as the parking space and quality of the structure.
The structure is one of the finest private residences owned by an individual in the region and is valued at over FCFA 650 million. Housing experts say such a structure if placed on rents to the government could be rented at nothing less than FCFA 2 million monthly.
It is thus estimated that if this structure were to be confirmed as the North West Regional Council quarters, which is sure to be confirmed according to reliable sources, the Regional Council will spend nothing less than FCFA 24 million a year on rents alone and a total of nothing less than FCFA 120 million in the five years mandate of the council.
At the meeting with mayors, nothing was said about factoring in the possibility for the regional council to (in the future) have a permanent structure of its own, which would be more sustainable.
Mayors however focused their attention on asking the minister to work in synergy with his colleague of the ministry of defense to provide more security cars and security to enable them return to their municipalities.
After the last municipal and legislative elections of February 2020, 31 out of 32 municipal councils in the North West were taken over by the ruling CPDM party.
Mayors have since been unable to return to their respective municipalities out of Bamenda. A few Mayors however though under tight security like those of Fundong and Tubah have been able to make a few trips to their municipalities and to effectively carryout some development projects while most have remained fugitive mayors.
The mayor of Bamenda II though operating in his town has been forced to abandon the magnificent Bamenda II council structure at Mbinfibieh in Mankon and has relocated to the center of town from where he is operating with his team.
Minister Georges Elanga Obam was categorical that the setting up of the Regional council will usher in the special status
“I came here to have a meeting with the administration on the high instructions of the President of the Republic to find the building that can host the Regional council.”
“I also had a very fruitful discussion with Mayors. We had considerations about the human resources, finances, civil status and others. We gave some advices where it was necessary, we made strong recommendations and gave instructions”, Minister Obam told the press.
The North West Region will have 70 councillors at the house of Divisional Representatives and 20 members at the house of chiefs
This visit by the decentralisation boss to the region is the first visit since his appointment into office. It renews the hope of his collaborators as 15% of the budget of the state of Cameroon will be decentralised from 2021.