Twelve months in office, elected officials and senior executives of the South West and North West regions have just concluded a three day capacity building seminar, aimed at sharpening their skills on managing regions with Special Status. This workshop ran from Wednesday January 26 to Friday January 28, 2022, in the premises of The National School of Local Administration – NASLA, in Buea.
While observing COVID – 19 barrier measures and protocol, these executives from the Regional Assemblies of the two English speaking regions were schooled on methods to speed up the different aspects of the Special Status within the framework of decentralisation. This was coupled with the hope of improving on their competences in the implementation of the Special Status, especially as they hope for the speedy return to normalcy in the conflict ridden North West and South West Regions.
Representing the Minister of Decentralisation and Local Development, His Excellency Georges ELANGA OBAM, the Governor of the South West Region Mr. Bernard OKALA BILIA, applauded the British High Commissioner to Cameroon for partnering with NASLA in organising this very important workshop aimed at equipping participants with required expertise; in order to fully implement the noble mission assigned them by the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities. To him, this is proof of the British government’s commitment to assist President Paul BIYA in his drive of fostering decentralisation in Cameroon. The Governor called on participants to take advantage of the presence of the resource persons to seek all necessary clarifications, so as to be able to meet the aspirations of the people. He equally urged facilitators to focus on practical issues and maintain consistency. As he opened the workshop, he cautioned that resolutions arrived at, should be in accordance with the country’s development objectives.
On his part, the Chief Organiser, the Director General of NASLA, Mr. TANYITIKU BAYEE said the seminar was in fulfilment of the legal obligations of elected officials which warrants that Regional and Local Authorities be trained; and also in fulfilment of NASLA’s mission to build capacity in the domain of decentralisation. He explained that, though there are no specific expertise qualifications to be elected as a regional or local authority, the functions require a lot of skills and knowledge. “With the transfer of powers and resources to the regional and local levels, we are moving towards higher requirements in terms of management, knowledge of the environment, of the existing laws, of good practices, generating resources for the regions and managing resources. The complexities involved in this process make it necessary that the persons charged with piloting the regions, acquire minimum knowledge in all these aspects”. He stated.
Mr. TANYITIKU thanked the participants for responding positively within a short notice, and urged them to take advantage of the presence of NASLA in this part of the country to equip their staff, because it is only when staff are competent that results can be achieved. He encouraged the officials to make use of NASLA trainees when recruiting their staff; assuring them that they will be well trained.
He continued that, with the financial support of the British High Commission to Cameroon, NASLA decided to undertake this workshop for the Regional Local Authorities of, first, the two Special Status regions, and in mid February for the same officials of the other eight regions.
In his keynote address on Day one of the workshop, Mr. David ABOUEM A TCHOYI; a onetime governor for the then North West and South West Provinces respectively, treated the regional representatives to a four module discourse on the Decentralisation Law and the Special Status, while prescribing modalities for their effective implementation. The expert dwelled elaborately on the general considerations of the Special Status; the historical background; the legal content; and challenges of the Special Status.
The seminar went on for three days with other speakers like :
Mr. NGAI NGONG Stephen (D.O West Coast Sub Division);
Mr. CHO NGU Ernest (Director of Human Resources of Regional and Local Authorities, MINDDEVEL;
Mr. ONDUOA Serge Herve (Director of Decentralized Cooperation And Partnership MINDDEVEL);
Mr. MBUA Isaac EMBOLA, (Head of the Monitoring and Management Control Division, MINDDEVEL);
Mme TANYI Rose MBIANYOR (Ngeh Edison Development Consultancy, Former Technical Adviser No. 1 MINEPAT/MINFI);
Mme Olivia MUKAM WANDJI (Founder/Executive director, Solutionneurs Initiative);
Mr. Joël TEUBISSI NOUTSA (Director of the Division for Training – NASLA);
Mr. Joseph ENYEGUE OYE of Sight Savers International;
Dr LAFON Honoré (Magistrate, State Counsel Batibo);
Mr. GATSI Eric ADOL (Specialist In Constitutional Law, University Of Buea);
Mr. ATANGANA ATANGANA Alexandre (Regional Coordinator PNDP/South West Region);
Mr. WAMBANG NYA MALUM Alfred (Permanent Secretary of The Budget And Finance Disciplinary Board – CDBF).
According to His Royal Highness, FUNUI Stanley NGUFOR AZEFOR III, the Paramount Fon of Nkwen in Bamenda, and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the North West Regional Assembly’s House of Chiefs, the workshop has opened the minds of those attending, and has given them deepened understanding of what decentralisation is all about, and the diversity involved. He added that they have been enlightened on how they can better maximize the Special Status and make it work for the good of all.
Moderated by Mr. FONKWA Dickson of NASLA, the workshop ended with the reading of the workshop report, a vote of thanks from the people’s representatives, and award of attestations to the participants.