According to ELECAM, Biya obtained 89.21% of the votes in a region with some unedifying statistics. Even before the Boko Haram insurgency ravaged the region, the Far North, was and remains the poorest part of the country.
According to the World Bank, 74% of the population lives below the poverty line, compared to the national average of 37.5%. At least 170 primary schools remain closed because of insecurity and about 23,000 school-aged children are out of school.
Unemployment, among all age groups, is at least 75%. A 78.8 billion CFA emergency fund to finance 94 projects in road construction, railways, energy and agriculture has remained a luxurious desire. Teachers have all fled the region, and international human rights groups have documented the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Cameroon security forces against civilians, mostly women and children.
The political baron of the region, House Speaker, Cavaye Djibril, aged 78, was first elected MP in 1970 at the age of 30. The husband of four fives and 15 children has been Speaker since 1992. He was quick to defend the regime after videos showing Cameroon soldiers executing women and children in Kolofata went viral on social media.
While the international outcry forced the regime to admit the crimes were committed by Cameroon soldiers, there was no condemnation or outrage from the FN CPDM political elite. Everything about the region is about Cavaye, his family and his Mada tribesmen to the exclusion of all others. When Cavaye launched CPDM campaigns in Maroua, TV images showed less than 200 people in the scantily attended event. Cavaye was so angry that the people were calling for change that he staged a public arson of Kamto’s MRC campaign gadgets.
Biya himself was greeted in Maroua with banners displaying less than complimentary messages. But despite all this, ELECAM wants us to believe that these people cannot figure out why they are poor; Tchiroma even claims the Grand North has a blood pact with Biya and know one thing and one thing only – to vote for Biya and the CPDM.
By Ekinneh Agbaw-Ebai