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Mbat Population Sing, Dance Silver 

By Francis Tim Mbom — The sounds of royal drums, gongs and other traditional musical instruments rent the air at the Mbat Palace, Bangem Sub-division, on Saturday, March 31.

Blasius Ngome (M) and Mbat youths cutting the anniversary caper

The sons and daughters here joined their Chief, Michael Ngwesse, to fete the 25th anniversary of the Mbat Cultural and Development Association, MBACUDA. “Home, Home Again,” the people, men, women and children sang, marched, gyrated and wriggled to the tunes of traditional music.

The Behons or the Mbat sacred society, in their red socks-like caps and all in black attire provided a deep traditional hue to this cultural and development feast organised to mark 25 years since the birth of MBACUDA on April 17, 1982.

Chief Ngwesse used the occasion to thank many of his subjects and friends of Mbat who have over the years been of assistance to the development of Mbat. He recognised with satisfaction a string of financial and moral assistance that they have received from the National Oil Refining Company, SONARA.

He disclosed that when Mbat decided to build a befitting church house in their village that could help the people worship and pray, SONARA extended to them assistance of FCFA 2 million, “being one-fifth of the total projects cost.” Again, the Chief said, FCFA 500.000 was received from SONARA for their 25th Anniversary and another FCFA 400.000 which they also got.

Ngwesse crowned the General Manager of SONARA as one of the notables of Mbat. Awards of recognition were also bestowed on Blasius Ngome, his wife, Ethel, the President of the Elung Women, Mrs. Eyong Nicholine Ebole, the Historian, Gilbert Ndialle Etube, among others.

It was also an occasion for the Chief to extend words of thanks for the enormous financial and moral support received from the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Philip Ngolle Ngwesse.

Health Centre Gets Bike, Materials

MBACUDA punctuated the occasion with an instant donation of a motorcycle to the Chief of the health post, Charlotte Dione. The motorcycle, they said, was to facilitate the Chief of Post’s going to work. They said since the opening of the health post by Government, the personnel have hardly attended to the health needs of the people there.

The Elung Women and Daughters Cultural and Development Association, EWOCUSA, led by Mrs. Eyong, complemented the donations with medical equipment worth over FCFA 700.000 to the health post. “We want that the health post should become operational and attend to the health needs of the Mbat people,” Mrs Eyong said. The EWOCUSA women said the donations were coming from their sisters in the US.

The Chief thanked the women and all for their contributions towards the development and advancement of Mbat which they hold is a pace-setter in the entire Bangem Sub-division. Chief Ngwesse said that he was thankful because for his ten-year tenure as the Chief of Mbat village, his subjects have been behind him in every development move.

The celebrations were marked by a fervent call from the Chief and the President of MBACUDA, Bernard Etapalle Ajah, for all sons and daughters of Mbat to continue working hard for a brighter future of their village. Geographically, Mbat is a village hugged by the hilly slopes of the Muanenguba Mountains in Bangem as one mounts one’s way up to the mountain top where the famous Muanenguba twin lakes are located.

The MBACUDA President said that as one of their achievements, they had to build a concrete track on a hilly portion of the road leading up to the touristic lakes. “I want to congratulate MBACUDA for this effort,” the Mayor of Bangem Council, Simon Ekuh Ojeh, said. “Other villages will not do such,” he added. The Mayor was congratulating the efforts that MBACUDA has made towards the development of Mbat and Bangem as a whole.

MBACUDA, from its records, has, in collaboration with Government, provided potable water to the village, encouraged the creation of a youth association involved in farming and thanks to it, the youths are now gainfully involved in the growing of cocoa at Mbat itself. “I want to congratulate them and I say I would like to work with them,” the Mayor added.

He said MBACUDA, as Mr. Ngome in a poem he presented tilted “Mbat The Pacesetter” recalled that the smooth and peaceful designation of a new Chief of Mbat ten years ago, in the person of Retired Colonel Ngwesse, was really a mark of Mbat in an area where chieftaincy fights abound. The President of Mbat, above all, said Mbat’s celebrations were rooted more in the love, peace and unity which they have achieved for the past 25 years.

He said in the past, the village was plagued by the problem of witchcraft but with the efforts made by MBACUDA to get the Mbat understand the need to shun such a practice and embrace love, their coming together has enabled them to achieve so much as a people.

“With the coming of MBACUDA, we got all the Mbat people to come together and take a vow to do away with witchcraft; be it real or imaginary,” he said. “And some young people were hardly coming to the village again, but today they do and are living and working peacefully.” As Mbat strides into the future, they will, according to their Chief and MBACUDA President, work harder to usher electricity to this pacesetting village.

First Published in The Post print edition no. 1333

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