By Maxcel Fokwen
The First Assistant SDO for Meme, Southwest Region, Veckline Epulewane Mbua, stumbled through her speech, April 17, while presiding over the 2013 administrative and management accounts session of Mbonge Council.
Epulewane Mbua’s entourage was rendered nervous by the administrator’s disjointed speech. The audience was equally perturbed as it murmured for over five minutes while the Assistant SDO turned to her close aides to rectify a mix-up.
Recovering from the confusion, the administrator apologised, insisting that the mix-up was caused due to emergencies at the SDO’s cabinet in Kumba before the entourage took off for the Council session.
“I am sorry for that mix-up. We had an emergency this morning so there was a mix-up somewhere,” Epulewane Mbua said.
When the session rose, an aide to the administrator told reporters that before leaving Kumba, a crowd from Wone village had stormed the SDO’s office.
One Aghen, who is said to have been the speech writer, explained that everything was already intact and adjustments made to suit the First Assistant SDO, because the speech was first drafted for the SDO, David Koulbout.
Despite the gaffe, Epulewane disclosed that Mbonge Division had realised more than 60 percent of its 2013 budget for the first time ever.
She said FCFA 437 million of the over FCFA 756 million budget was effectively invested in community projects.
According to the Assistant SDO, this is testimony of the commitment the former management executive had for the population of Mbonge Subdivision.
She urged the new management team headed by William Ekong to look for more revenue openings so that more projects will be executed in the communities. She cautioned revenue collectors who pocket the council’s internal revenue at the detriment of the community’s interest.
Earlier, the Mayor of Mbonge Council, Chief William Ekong Sakwe, noted that most of the projects would not have been realised without contribution from the State and other development partners.
Ekong told the councillors that there is need for the communities to adopt the spirit of voluntary service and self-reliance for Mbonge Subdivision to keep its development record.
As concerns the challenges facing internal council revenue, the Mayor stated that even councillors who indulge in acts that deprive the council of revenue would be sanctioned, according to the laws of the nation.
The Mayor noted areas such as forestry and mobile revenue collection as key sectors where stringent follow-up will be carried.
For SDF Councillor, Harrison Itoe, there is no clear-cut distinction between the revenue generated by the council and money from the State and other development partners. According to him, this breeds confusion when it comes to meaningful assessment of development.
Responding to the worry, Mayor Ekong said all projects carried out in the communities are usually done with contributions from the respective councils; adding that it will be unwise to separate the projects especially in this dispensation of decentralisation.
Beyond the appreciation of the accounts, the councillors and administrative officials present expressed the need for Mbonge Subdivision to have a sub-taxation centre for better tax assessment and collection.