By Fa Cassian Ndi
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)
Politics is the oldest business on earth which is often presented as a development catalyst but when those whose development ideas begin and end in their pockets are elected to power; they mussel up developing themselves and not the people who voted them into office. However, this has not been the case with the Mayor of Babessi Council, Choh Isah Buba. Choh Isah Buba is the mayor of Babessi Council in Ngoketunjia division of the North West Region of Cameroon. On April 15, 2014, Choh Isah entered into the annals of Cameroon politics as the first mayor to present a balance sheet of his first 100 days in office. This was during a Press Conference that took place in the presence of his deputies and councilors. In his opening statement at that Press Conference, the reechoed how in his inaugural speech of October 16, 2013, he outlined the strategies and programmes of the CPDM run Council. Presenting his first 100 days in office,(on the 199th day) Choh Isah Buba disclosed that when his team took over the council their plans were to work for the welfare of the population. “There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind that we are determined to carry out our programme to it logical conclusion”, he continued. Implicitly, Isah Buba has established himself as the most intrepid political actor and his local government as the most dynamic. During the Press Conference, he demonstrated his natural gift as a good public speaker has enabled him to invoke alchemy of a great vision.
From the vision, the man is not a man is not a coward. In analyzing the ups and downs of his 100 days in office, Choh noted that the council was able to develop a local action plan with particular emphasizes laid on the five priority needs of the people as expressed during the participatory consultations. To him, “being a mayor, a leader, is not something to be done like a job”. It is a call, the type that imposes grave responsibilities on men and binds them to their times. “It is a call that has been strengthened and reinforced by a sense of a mission” given that he did not arrive at the helm of that council area as an empty man. He said the first action was to translate all the aspirations and political promises into action. “Our first action was to immediately rehabilitate and extend the council office I constructed 11 years ago as pioneer mayor of the council.
Access to electricity and the development of access roads to all the villages he said was the priority. And it is on the basis of these needs expressed by the population that the Babessi council worked out its development strategy as well as out-source for potential partners to achieve that objective.
In presenting the balance sheet on Access to Electricity as top priority in the municipality, the Mayor of Babessi revealed that all village hotspots have been electrified with street lights and electricity was also extended from Makulung to Mbisang in Bangolang. Baba, Babessi town, Babungo etc has street lights. In order to overcome the problems of movement, the Babessi council also rehabilitated all roads leading to all the villages and major quarters. Roads were graded and literates poured on them.
Chronologically, the council he disclosed helped in the construction of classrooms in GSS Mbinze, GBHS Babessi, GSS Vengo, GSS Koume, GSS Vemgang, GS Ndumunkwi, GTC Babungo, and the rehabilitation of GS Mambim. In addition, the Babessi council he said also recruited 55 teachers for the various primary schools in the municipality as well as a Laboratory Technician and nurses for the various health units. Besides, he has been able to complete the construction of the mayor’s residence. And that the feasibility studies for the new council complex and the construction of the Babessi main market have been forwarded to FEICOM for funding.
As such, Isah Buba told journalists with satisfaction such a success is likely to spin development and as such increase agricultural productivity given that with development partners like the Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Livestock, the council also organized a farmer’s feast which was a crowd puller, with encouraging prizes dolled out to distinguished farmers. He revealed that one of the major solutions that council intends to give is to establish a farmer’s bank for farmers. On human resource, he outlined that 28 youths were employed and empowered as council police.
One of the major impediments to rural infrastructure, the mayor said is the lack of equipment, yet he has bought a 20 ton truck for the council. In the domain of good governance, Isah Buba reiterated that in order to ensure that the current infrastructural investments are sustained by its beneficiaries over time, there is an urgent need for communities to develop a better sense of ownership. He said the notion that every project implemented by the council is a property of the mayor, his deputies and councilors is what the Babessi Council is trying to wipe-off the minds of the population. Especially with the advent of decentralization, the Babessi Council intends to build grassroot social structures such as village development associations in order to better solicit their active participation in their own development. He revealed that the Babessi Council has the intention to build a befitting council chamber to host its services.
On what the council is doing to solve the problem of flood in Babessi, the mayor said that government needs to provide the minimum for the population to the new settlement. Without rambling on the issue, Isah Buba was categorical that the flood was due to the fact that the drainage systems were blocked by construction work on the ring road. “Last year, we recorded no flood and I think with the drainage haven been improved, the flood issue is history”. He however revealed that the residence of the mayor is being construction on the new site which implies that it is a new layout for Babessi and gradually, the population will move to the site with time. Journalists who took the pains to travel to Babessi went back to Bamenda convinced that Babessi will not regret the choice of their mayor. Choh Isah Buba has confirmed self as a new “builder, custodian of council property” and manager of general interest services” in Babessi which has as primordial role to oversee the present and to take care of the future.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)