By Maxcel Fokwen
Apparently angered by the somnolence of certain civil servants who have frustrated the rate of development in the Region, Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, has issued November 15, as deadline for files pertaining to all contracts to leave the offices of civil servants for effective engagement of the 2014 Public Investment Projects, PIP.
The Governor gave the order in Kumba, on Thursday, October 23, during deliberations at a regional coordination meeting, grouping all Government services and development stakeholders.
According to the Governor, the 52 percent execution rate of PIP in the region is unacceptable.
He remarked that some civil servants are deliberately stockpiling files relating to contracts in their cupboards, waiting for contractors to come and give bribes and other forms of kickbacks.
Okalia frowned at the fact that things are not progressing as planned because Delegates, SDOs, DOs, Chiefs and the civil society organisations are only waiting for the President of the Republic to do everything, whereas, powers have been given to them to act.
Asked what would happen if his collaborators fail to engage all projects following the deadline, the Governor stated: “They will see what I will do to them. When the time comes, come back with your microphone and ask me this question and I will know what to tell you," Okalia told reporters.
Before now, the Governor had underscored the need for the Region to sustain ongoing national efforts to stamp out the influence of terrorist groups and to uphold the campaign against the deadly Ebola virus.
To Governor Okalia, efforts must be made towards securing the borders from illegal immigrants and to make sure Government decisions are fully implanted.
Despite expressing hope that the borders with Nigeria may be opened in the days ahead, the Governor used the meeting to announce that, over 1,600 illegal immigrants were prevented from entering the country.
SDO Risks Being Reported To Minister
During the meeting, the Governor promised to report the SDO for Kupe-Muanenguba, Anderson Ketong, to the Minister of Territorial Administration, if he fails to make full use of his administrative powers.
The Governor disagreed with justifications given by the SDO regarding the poor state of roads within his Division.
“Mr SDO, I have given you up till November 15, for all these projects to be implemented and if I see that you have not used all your powers, I will enter the game". The Governor promised.
While the SDO maintained that, some contractors are ‘protected’ from Yaounde, the Governor lamented that, no matter where contracts are awarded, the SDO has the powers, as the representative of the President of the Republic to oversee that the projects are implemented.
Governor Okalia frowned at the SDO for doing very little to help the situation, when his own car cannot ply the roads from Bangem to Nguti and even Kumba. The Kupe-Muanenguba SDO told his boss that, he boarded a commercial motorcycle to the Kumba meeting because the roads are impassable.
To the Fako SDO, Zang III, the major setback in the contract execution process is the ignorance of tenders’ board members and conflict of interest with public contracts officials.
Taking the queue, Chief Atem Ebako said the Governor was talking as if he does not live the daily realities of the nation. Ebako questioned the statutory documents which give the chief such powers to go around harassing contractors.
“That small FCFA 100,000 you have given us, you think is what will cause us to go around forcing people with millions to work?" Ebako questioned.
Other statistics presented at the meeting indicated that, within the Basic Education Sector alone, the Southwest Region is still in need of over 2,200 classrooms. The same sector suffers from indiscriminate transfer of teachers from rural to urban centres.
Councils Cough Millions To Host Governor
On the sidelines of the working visit of the Governor, The Post learnt that Councils in Meme Division were tasked FCFA 1million and 1.5milion to host the Governor for two days.
Councils such as Kumba I, II and III, reportedly paid in FCFA one millon francs each, while the Kumba City Council, Mbonge and Konye Councils contributed FCFA 1.5 million for the Regional meeting.
By the close of the Regional conclave, the Governor assured the population that visible changes will be seen in the days ahead.