National Interest Foremost

24 heures
Godlove BAINKONG | 20-02-2018 10:40

The Context

Be it in Garoua or anywhere in the country, sacrifices are primordial in ensuring that the country leaves up to standards with exigencies of hosting the 24- nation AFCON.

It is easy to pride oneself to belonging to the country of the Indomitable Lions, five-time winner of the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy. It is even more elevating to employ the sometimes famous Cameroonian dictum that; “impossible n’est pas Camerounais” literally meaning that nothing is impossible with a Cameroonian.

But how well some of those who brag about this know the sacrifices inherent in attaining such objectives, as being a pioneer nation to host the continental football fiesta comprising 24 teams or are ready to do so, still leaves much to be desired.

The population of Garoua, especially those around the earmarked rehabilitated stadium, have been gnashing their teeth in the heat of huge demolition of their houses and valuable property. Those of Yaounde, Bafousssam, Douala, Limbe and Buea; other earmarked host cities for the 2019 continental tourney, have gone through or will have to brave the same ordeal sooner or later. Stadiums like airports cannot share the same abode, or at least have absolute proximity, with people.

They badly need space and a considerable distance from human habitation for users of the infrastructure to have the concentration needed therein. Shading tears today that they are being pushed out of the vicinity sounds awkward for a people who have variously said, “Yes we can” amidst growing bashing that the country will not be ready to host the competition. National interest should and must prevail, especially under such circumstances as the ones the country finds itself in.

These stadiums, either rehabilitated or constructed, likewise other AFCON- related infrastructure, are development projects following clear-cut procedures from conception to realisation. This implies feasibility studies are carried on them to know, among others, what will be destroyed so that adequate measures are taken to compensate owners of the property.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine at any point that people could be pushed out of their sometimes century-old habitat without showing them where to resettle or at least given necessary means to relocate to their areas of choice. Usually, notification on when the occupants are supposed to leave the area concerned follows compensation.

If this has not been done, then, someone somewhere faltered. And if all these were done and the people attempted resistance, then it wouldn’t be an overstatement to liken them to nonpatriots. Sacrifices are imperative at moment in Cameroon, more so mutually, for the country to proof pessimists wrong.

Holding tight to a piece of land or a hut sometimes on a parcel that is not even owned by the individual at the detriment of quality infrastructure needed for national interest and pride is synonymous to shooting the State in the foot. Logically unwise! The joy of jealously hosting the 2019 AFCON should therefore be shared and the sacrifices likewise .

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