Cameroon: First-Ever South West Regional Council Session Takes Place
Bakoma Elango Zacheus of Meme Division and Chief Dr Atem Ebako from Kupe Muanenguba elected President and Vice President respectively of the Regional Council for the South West Region of Cameroon.
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The first-ever sitting of newly elected members of the Regional Council for the South West Region has taken place. 90 delegates comprising 70 for the Regional Council and 20 for the House of chiefs met December 22, 2020, at the Buea council for their first session, since they won the election that took place December 6.
Bakoma Elango Zacheus from Meme Division was elected during the first sitting as President of the South West Regional Council. Cheif Dr Atem Ebako was elected as Vice President. Just one list for the Regional Council executive bureau was presented and validated.
89 of the 90 delegates took part in the voting exercise, with one delegate absent. Bakoma Elango and his list got a total of 88 votes, with one vote considered null and void, officially making his list the winner of the SW Regional Council.
“We know that there are challenges and it is enormous. You can count on us and we will not disappoint you,” Bakoma Elango, President of the South West Regional Council said.
He has noted that he intends to work with the General Assembly to move the Region ahead and for the development of the Region.
There was also the election of one commissioner for economic development (Mokoko Simon Gobina), one commissioner for security and social development (Itoe Williams Elangwe), one commissioner for education, sports and cultural development (Taking Walters Ayuk), two Secretaries (Limunga Becky Effoe and Chief Foto Felix) and one questor (Dr Tazie Andrew) were all elected for form the executive bureau.
Presiding over the solemn ceremony of the General Assembly of the South West Regional Council, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai said the implementation of the decentralisation process is one of the significant gains as concerns the management of local affairs. To him, this maiden sitting signifies the completion of the decentralisation process.
“This sitting involves the implementation of the special status, one of the major recommendations during the Major National Dialogue. The councillors have huge tasks ahead of them…,” Bernard Okalia Bilai, governor of the South West Region said.
To the councillors, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai called on the Regional Councillors to “demonstrate a high sense of patriotism, objectivity, partiality in the discharge of their duty.”
The regional council has been seen as a new dawn for politics in the South West Region. The region has been hard-hit by the ongoing Anglophone crisis that has been going on for more than four years now. The crisis has led to thousands of people displaced to neighbouring Nigeria or other areas of the country, others have been killed both on the part of the civilians, separatist fighters and government forces.
The putting in place of Regional Councils will establish the special status for the North West and South West Regions; a strong recommendation of the Major National Dialogue. The Regional Council gives powers to the representatives to carry out development in various areas of life; it is about devolving powers from Yaounde to various Regions.
The CPDM ran unopposed in elections in the North West for the first time since the rebirth of multiparty politics in 1990. They were also unopposed in the South West Region. Many opposition political parties including the Social Democratic Party, SDF MRC of Maurice Kamto boycotted the event though the SDF participated in some areas.
The proclamation of the results of this election will start as from today (December 6) by the Regional Supervisory Commission. In conformity with the legal provisions in force, the sessions as of right shall meet shortly to elect Regional Organs.
The election of Regional Councillors convened by the presidential decree of 7 September 2020 took place Sunday 6 December 2020 in all the 58 electoral constituencies. 900 delegates were elected into the Regional Council across the country, a first in the political history of the country. 700 divisional delegates and 200 traditional rulers representatives were elected.
To Frida Likowo, Regional Councillor of Muyuka subdivision, “decentralisation has come to enable us to develop our areas. We do not have to be indifferent. We all have to join together to bring the necessary changes we have all been wanting to see in the Region.”
Emmanuel Motomby Mbome, Regional Councilor from Fako said a lot is going to be achieved with this new bureau that has been put in place. “It (Regional Council) has been put in place to carter for the worries of the population. What is needed now is just cooperation that we are calling for,” Emmanuel Motomby Mbome said.
Banners such as “The South West welcomes the Regional Assembly for the unity, peace and progress of the Nation”, “Lebialem supports the Regional Assembly to Accelerate the Disenclavement of the Region” “Kupe Muanenguba welcomes the Regional Assembly for the Empowerment of the Local Population” were dotted around the Buea municipality.