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Hon. Foju: I am the lead architect of Modern Lebialem
Category :- Politics Author :- Anu Paul 
Posted on October 23, 2017, 12:00 am
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Anu Paul caught up with Hon. Bernard Foju, the lone member of parliament for Lebialem Division to get his opinion on the current state of affairs in the South West and North West regions of Cameroon and how it is playing out in Lebialem Division. The MP started by addressing allegations that he was chased out of Lebialem on the 17th of October 2017 by an irate population opposed to the Prime Minister’s dialogue mission.

Good Morning Hon. I learnt you and other elites were chased out of Lebialem last Tuesday October 17­?

Hon. Foju. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I have never been chased out of Lebialem, our division of origin. I got the news of some unfortunate happenings there last week. Personally, I was not there. I was still in the regional head quarters when the sad news got to me.

But you are a member of the Presidential dialogue peace mission to Lebialem?

Hon. Foju. A Prime Ministerial good will mission was sent out to reassure the population and bring back their grievances for solutions. I was in both delegations to the region and division leading none of them as some lie.

Your house was burnt down?

Hon. Foju. It is not just my house; it is the depository of our Lebialem educational and health history. That is where the first standard 5 and 6 came to existence in 1948. That is where Seat of Wisdom College started where Mary Health of Africa Hospital began, where Saint Chiara, our benefactor spent nights. I am still in disbelief; people do not destroy their glorious history.

You as MP for Lebialem, how are you trying to calm down your people as concerns the current Anglophones crisis?

Hon Benard Foju, MP for LebialemHon Foju. Since the current crisis, I have been to Lebialem more than ten times, trying to understand, trying to see the correlation between school boycott and the crisis. Even some known religious extremists allow boys to go to school while others refuse only western education and not all education. Tough problems call for tough solutions. As soon as the missions come back with well defined problems well defined and satisfactory solutions will be found. I remain optimistic and ask my people who in their vast majority remain peaceful, non-violent and very hard working to exercise some patience and to put across their many problems as peacefully as possible.

According to some reports from the ground, the Lebialem people seem very disappointed?

Hon. Foju. Leaving with them, I understand our grievances, but dialogue is the only viable way forward. Some preach violence. This is wrong for violence begets violence and solves no problems. I am in denial; the people of Lebialem are not capable of the violence being described.


Some part of your population seems to be very disappointed with you. What can you say about this?

Hon. Foju. That is normal. I have never won my mandates with 100% of the votes; at best 90%. So, you see a small percentage of the people do not and will never like me. Again, this is normal. Lebialem people are very responsible and respectful people. I don’t need to go back on how I found myself in parliament. I used to be Special Adviser with rank of Vice Minister at the Prime Ministry when the people led by traditional and nontraditional leaders visited to plead for me to represent them in Parliament. I have done so to the best of my ability and to their utmost satisfaction.

Many Lebialem people seem to be disappointed with their elite?

Hon. Foju. I am not very sure; many great projects have been realized in Lebialem thanks to the lobbying capacity of the elite. Foju's house burnsPersonally, when I came first into politics in 1996 Lebialem was in total darkness. It took an entire day to reach Menji from either end. There was a division only in name; no official buildings, no streets, no energy, no nothing etc etc. Then I worked with others to get the councils CPDM, got the Vice Minister post which we used to lobby and get many Lebialem elite appointed, and lobbied the Government for the electrification of the Division. Lebialem was the second home of the then Prime Minister Musonge who came there four (4) times. Our elite appointed did not sleep getting our annual investment budget from a few millions to billions. Under my watch the elite have performed miracles. Today it takes two to two and half hours in the heart of the rainy season to get to Menji. I think its progress. Tomorrow will be better. I will proudly say that for the last twenty years during which I have been involved in our Development, Lebialem has made a lot of strides; today Lebialem has many official buildings, three up and running councils, numerous colleges and primary schools, and other social amenities like Electricity, health districts and hospitals and many ongoing water projects.

Many complained of your invisibility in the Division as MP,

Hon. Foju. My division is large, and I am alone. I cannot be in all the places all the time and fulfill all the requirements of my mandate. The people have always shown their appreciation by insisting that I represent them and showing it at the polls.

What future plans for upcoming elections?

Hon. Foju. I remain committed today only to fulfilling my current mandate.

Can you list some outstanding achievements as MP?

Hon. Foju. As MP I have voted many laws and controlled government action. Strictly speaking that is all an MP is required to do by law.

However, many of us do more than that using our rich background to further the development of our divisions and regions. Now people want to judge us with what are strictly speaking side issues.

However, permit me nonetheless to add to the list above of the achievements of Lebialem lobby in Yaoundé under my watch. Remember my last campaign poster which saw me moving from dirt roads to tar. It is reality in Menji today. So many streets are being opened and tarred at my personal request and follow up. Most important our main access road is a priority road with detailed studies completed. If we did not ask for more feeder roads during the environmental hearings, the file would have gone further. Since government listens to the people so considering these new requests is delaying the file. Electricity is being extended to many places. Ministries are building their delegations; bridges are being constructed over several rivers etc etc. Even the blind are feeling the transformation.

What is your relationship with Lebialem mayors?

Hon. Foju. Very good. I work with all of them very closely. I am their relay in Yaoundé. I also use my contacts in Yaoundé to have their pet projects approved and financed.

Comparing Lebialem with other Divisions in the South West, do you think it’s satisfactory?

Hon. Foju. I think so, for we are having our fair share of the national cake thanks to the dynamism of our lobbying elite and me who are not even well placed in the hierarchy of state. I don’t think we are the last Division in the South West. I got many opportunities to talk to many civil servants, who acknowledge they prefer working in Lebialem than in other Division in the South west. Lebialem has its own challenges just like other Division in our region. But we keep working to get things better on a daily basis.

Thank you.

Hon. Foju. The pleasure has been mine. God bless you, God bless and bring peace to Lebialem.




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Tagged Keywords: foju, lebialem, roads, electricity
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