Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tension at University of B’da as Chancellery, Convocation Ceremony, Leave Campus

By Fai Cassian
Prof. Tafah Edukat Edward: Vice Chancellor
As plans to transfer the Chancellery of the University of Bamenda from Bambili and the Vice Chancellor’s Residence to Bamendakwe, the race is said to assume a dramatic twist as tension started mounting within the academic community over alleged preferential treatment.  An atmosphere of uncertainty is reported at the University of Bamenda where students are threatening to go down to the streets to express their disapproval on the obnoxious decisions to move the convocation ceremony from the University Campus as well as plans to construct the Chancellery some 20 km away (precisely at Bamendakwe). Some students expressed their grievances during the convocation ceremony at the Bamenda Congress Hall last January 18, 2013. “I cannot understand why this important event could not take place at our campus” one student remarked.  According to what we gathered, it is alleged the students are aghast with the fact that the convocation ceremony has been transferred from the university campus to Bamenda Congress Hall which can not even accommodate the 1800 graduates. “I came to the Bamenda Congress Hall as early as 9am, and here I am sitting outside, I cannot see what is going in there whereas I ought to see my daughter receiving her diploma” a parent told this reporter.
“Should the university administration refuse to take the current opportunity to put back all these facilities and defend education, then it is our intention to move to escalate action, including a strike action" another student whispered.
 Public opinion however holds that the fact that the convocation ceremony has been moved out of University campus completely defeats its purpose due to the fact not all the students in the lower courses travelled to Bamenda to witness the graduation ceremony of January 18, 2013. Even those who took the pains to travel to Bamenda could not make their way into the congress hall due to lack of space whereas a convocation ceremony per se usually serves as a spur to young students.
It is not surprising that since Monday, January 08, 2013 most of the University workers have been gathering in groups discussing these developments. All efforts by this reporter to get to Prof. Educat Tafah Edward could not yield any fruits. However, as it is, a fragile peace exists in the University as many of the academics and other affiliated staff are worried about the level of injustice, ethnic chauvinism.
In a speech presented by Fon Awemo 11 of Bambili to the SDO for Mezam during his maiden tour in which he did not hide his emotions, he told the SDO, Nguele Nguele Felix, that the Head of State President Paul Biya, created the University of Bamenda with Bambili as its legitimate seat. He questioned why the Chancellery of the University of Bamenda (UBa) is planned to be set up rather at Bamendankwe, Bamenda 1 Sub-Division, as he has been reliably intimated.
According to Fon Awemo, the Chancellery is the heart of any University and must be located at the seat of the University. Beside, he disclosed that his Fondom, Bambili, and other neighbouring villages of Tubah have already allocated over 1000 hectares of land for the extension of the University. The said land is far more than the land owned by any of the state universities of Cameroon. Moreover, the fons of Tubah said they were ready to add more land if came to that.  
Confirming the rumour, the SDO disclosed that he saw a file to that effect on his table two days after his installation as the new SDO for Mezam. He promised to go through the file before deciding on what to do.
In spite of the SDO’s response, the Tubah elite were overheard cursing the Vice Chancellor of UBa, Professor Educat Edward Tafa, as the architect of the plans to locate the University’s chancellery at Bamendankwe. Some of the elite including the Fons of Tubah intimated this reporter how the Vice Chancellor openly hates Tubah elite including the fons.
They cited the case where Tubah Fons wrote to Prof. Educat Tafa indicating their plans to accord him a reception when he was just appointed as the pioneer Vice Chancellor to UBa. Hear them; “Prefessor Educat snubbed our request saying that he had no time for such an occasion because of his busy schedule”. They regretted that a week after, the same Educat received his Momo fons in his residence in Bamenda III during which his fons gave him a traditional title.
Visibly incensed, the Tubah elite said all the support staff of UBa hail from Educat’s village, Oshie, in Ngie, Momo Division, even though the youths of Tubah applied long ago before his appointment.
It was because of the show of hatred to their land that the Tubah elite intimated that they had no choice than to form a union dubbed, Tubah Union for Peace, Progress and Prosperity (TUP3) to fight for their rights shortly after the installation of Educat.  
However, if the chancellery is constructed some 20km away, it won’t be within the trekking distance and it would be difficult for students to use some of the services attached to the chancellery. The University they say is like a one-stop shop and transferring the chancellery away from the main campus will defeat that notion. But what are the reasons of transferring the university chancellery. Notwithstanding confidential sources hinted that the SDO for Mezam recently signed a Prefectoral Order appointing members of the committee for the inspection of the site to construct the Chancellery and the Vice Chancellor’s Residence at Bamendankwe. Prefectoral Order No 03 o/E.29/712/S2 of January 8, 2013 setting a site Board Commission for the selection of a parcel of land for the construction of the Chancellery and Residence of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bamenda appoints the SDO of Mezam or his representative as Chairman. it also appoints the Divisional Chief of state lands as secretary, while other members include: The Divisional Officer for Bamenda I, The Divisional Delegate of state property, Divisional Delegate of Housing and Urban Development, Vice Chancellor, Divisional Chief of Service for Surveys, the Mayor of Bamenda I, the Fon of Bamendakwe and two notables (A suivre)

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