Saturday, 15 February 2014

“ YAOUNDE SECURITY SUMMIT : THE RESOLUTIONS AND THE COMMITMENT “




For two days – June 24th  and  25th  2013 “ Palaise de Congres”  Yaoundé  Cameroon was host to a summit on maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. It was a gathering of Heads of State, Representatives of Governments, Regional and International Organizations, heads of multinationals, local and international experts on maritime and security.
In attendance were about 14 Heads of State of the Regional blocs of Central Africa economic Community, Economic Community of West African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission. Central theme of this summit is devising a Regional security strategy in the Gulf of Guinea. Focus is on having a united front to counter activities of pirates and other criminals in the Gulf of Guinea – with objective to strengthen economic and commerce, and attract foreign investments.

Literally, Gulf connotes a large deep stretch of sea partly enclosed by land. The origin of the name Guinea is thought to be an area in the Region, though with disputed specifics. The name is said to apply to south coast of West Africa north of the Gulf of Guinea, which became known as "Upper Guinea", and the west coast of Southern Africa to the east, which became known as "Lower Guinea”. The name "Guinea" also is still attached to the names of three countries in Africa: Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea.
The Gulf of Guinea therefore is the north easternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon north, and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (zero degrees latitude and longitude) is in the gulf.  Among the many rivers that drain into the Gulf of Guinea are the Niger and the Volta. The coastline on the gulf includes the Bight of Benin and the Bight of Bonny .Among the Countries along the Gulf of Guinea coastline are : Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Cost, Congo Brazzaville, Liberia, Nigeria, Sao-Tome & Principe, etc






The Gulf of Guinea is blessed with huge resource potentials. It’s home to about 270 million people; with very rich biodiversity – 650 million square meters of dense forest. About 100 million barrels of oil reserve and a million tons of fish reserve. It has about 70% of petrol in Africa. According to Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, there is an interest shifting from the Persian Gulf in the Middle East to the Gulf of Guinea because it is a future Eldorado for oil production. – expected to produce upto 50% of world’s oil. Europe and America gets 40% and 30% respectively of its oil from here.
This huge potential however, has been under immense threat by diverse criminal activities – sea pirates, illegal oil bunkering, illegal fishing, drugs business and kidnapping. According to expert reports / analysis, varying degree of criminal incidents occurred in this area at different times between 2010 and 2012. For instance, 42 criminal incidents occurred in 2010, 36 in 2001 and 39 in 2012. Africa here loses more than 100 million USD in illegal fishing and more than 100 billion USD in illegal bunkering. This is menacing enough to attract growing regional and international concern.


 



Some pundits believed that the Yaoundé summit is a success. Their consideration here is the level of organization and attendance – especially from Heads of State of Countries within the Gulf of Guinea; and the final resolutions adopted. Among the resolutions adopted are:
-         Financing mechanism for policies to depend on the good will of participating states.

-         The States have 3 years to implement the decisions reached at the summit.

There are inherent lopholes in this two resolutions. An in-depth of the latter implies participating States have 3 years to consult with their internal legislations for ratification. The issue here is that 3 years is so long a time to ratify resolutions. This implies that until a process of internal legislation is concluded or carried out within this period, a State or States are not committed to implement decisions. This is also a possible outcome in the event of absolute refusal by any internal legislation of States. For an issue as serious as security, giving such gap raises the question of commitment and performance on the part of concerned States.
A shorter period of ratification - say between three to six months is a better possibility. Certainly experts must have considered the peculiarities of States internal regulations in coming up with the 3 years period.  However, looking at the huge loses and danger posed by criminal activities in this Region, a faster legislation and implementation process is not a bad sacrifice to make.

On the other hand, to depend on States goodwill is not a reliable financing mechanism for an issue as serious security in the Gulf of Guinea. This is even more delicate as many of the Countries within the Gulf of Guinea  are struggling with critical domestic issues like insurgence, poverty and internal security – which places a high demand on their financial resources. Financial contributions to implement the policies could be a further stretch on their limited resources. “Goodwill” as the word implies, is void of real commitment. It hinges more on “whenever possible and whenever available.”   Dependence on goodwill could make it possible for participating States to drag feet in consideration of their share of criminal incidents Vis avis the financial input involved. Regional rivalry could also arise since there are three regional blocs concerned. This is typical of issues in Africa which are always drawn between tribal and language lines.

Some security and maritime experts reached out to, strongly believe that in order not to undermine the commitments of member States of the Gulf of Guinea and the overall purpose of the summit; it is important to seek for alternative financial mechanism. This is one area where the international community should come in – especially beneficiaries of the huge resource base in this region. Their financial assistance or input would go a long way in helping to implement policies. Donor agencies, multinationals and or international financial institutions like the Africa Development bank, Islamic Bank, etc should also be placated into making meaningful financial inputs or contributions. With this, State dependence wouldn’t pose a problem.

                                

    BY :  GODYCREATIVE

 















 







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Friday, 22 November 2013

CAMEROON – THE REALITIES OF THE COUNTRYSIDE: A TRIP TO KOTO (Part 1)




                            “A Community grossly deprived of basic amenities or infrastructure;                   
                                             yet the food basket of its surrounding cities.”

“Sir, its only in Koto you can get a good wood for your roofing work – the ‘small leaf’ specie. It will be faster and cheaper. There are many small local dealers”; Ngom Kome a local wood job man in Limbe told me.


My trip to Koto was triggered by a need. I was neither on an adventure trip nor a tourist visit. I needed specie of wood for roofing work at our construction site. My contact person Ngom Kome proposed Koto to me, for quality and quantity. Hearing about Koto was basically the second time I have heard the name as a village or community. I know it is in Cameroon but do not know its exact location. Ngom Kome gave me a better understanding to this. From more inquiries, I realized also that Koto is more of a farming community than a timber enclave where wood is commercially exploited. This actually aroused my curiosity. Otherwise there is no real excitement in making a trip to a rural area in Cameroon.


We set out from mile 4 motor park Limbe. Obviously my contact person Ngom Kome was with me. Getting him to embark on this trip cost me a compensation for his daily earnings. I don’t know how much he earns but he requested for a certain amount which I obliged him. I think for a job man living at subsistence level with his family, compensation for his daily ‘bread’ is very important to him.
Journeying through the Tiko – Douala highway, I fixed my gaze at the expansive CDC banana and rubber plantations along both sides of the highway. The Cameroon Development Cooperation (CDC) and its banana partners – Demonte occupies about 75% of lands in this. The place of the native landowners and what happen to their own farming activities is a story for another day.

My thoughts on CDC and also the need for Government to expand the highway was interrupted by security checks on the way – near the toll gate, at the popular Miselele market and at Miondo bar. Checks were mounted by elements of Routier (highway police), the Police and Gendarmerie. At these check points, it seems every driver – especially the commercial vehicle drivers know what to do as soon as they are whistled to stop and clear off the road. They approached the security personnel with their vehicle documents, which are received and again released in exchange for 500 FRS or 100 FRS cfa as the case may be. For the few minutes we spent at each of the check points, many commercial and private vehicles were stopped but none were checked; not even the passengers or vehicle occupants. I really wondered about the essence of security checks when nothing and nobody is checked. It was more of a cash contribution to security elements. Amazingly, many drivers perform this “road ritual” of cash donation with excitement. “If you refuse to give money, they will apply all measures to scrutinize and delay you. It’s a waste of time. If your documents are complete, they will take money, if they are not, they will still collect money”, our bus driver said in lamentation as he drove off the last checkpoint. “This is indeed extortion and smiling”, I muttered. May be that explains why many drivers that ply this highway hardly have proper vehicle documents. Afterall, it is cash that is checked and not documents.


After the last check, we got to Bekoko junction – main entrance into Douala commercial city and gateway out of Douala to other parts of Littoral, West, Northwest and even Southwest Regions. At Bekoko the first lap of our trip ended. We boarded another vehicle at the mini motor park and headed towards the Bekoko-Nkonsamba highway. It was same “road rituals” for drivers at security checkpoints. However, here is a better road – smoothly tarred but not expanded enough for a highway of its magnitude. ‘Narrow’ may be a common feature of road networks in Cameroon, and that is why road accident is also a common occurrence. On the side ways, the Socapalm and other private palm plantations stretched out; including the CDC rubber plantation at Kompina. Smokes from micro oil palm press located at different spots rock the atmosphere. Medium size lorry oil tankers were loading processed palm oil from small plastic containers placed at the road sides by their owners. People were really very busy here.


Thirty-five minutes drive from Bekoko got us to Kombe Market or better still Pendaboko Junction. This is a popular stopover along the highway. It is also one of the famous food crop markets in the Littoral Region and Mbanga rural Council in particular. It is equally the gateway into and out of Koto community and Pendaboko. I followed my contact Ngom Kome towards the direction he was going and my senses soaked in the scenery before me. The details registered. The environment I found myself was typical of a motor park in Cameroon. Confusion and measure of insanity reigns – noisy drinking bars with echoes of loud music, petit traders and hawkers jostling around for their daily bread. Drivers, vehicle loaders and other motor park touts shout and run helter-skelter at the sight of persons asking for their destination. Places like this are obvious safe haven for petit thieves.


“Pa, una di go wusai”(meaning-where are you going), a voice shouted in pidgin English. “Koto UP, Koto Eshimbi, Pendaboko camp, Corner wata”, other voices echoed as Ngom Kome and I approached what seemed to me like a motorbike park at a corner of this junction.  Several of them were here, of different make and model – Sanili, Nanfang, Benco, etc. I saw the Chinese technology in display which I believe tells much on the cordial Chino-Cameroon trade and economic relation. Who benefits more from this trade relation is an issue for economist and economic analyst to deliberate on. Some experts have said that the proliferation of this brand of Chinese technology in Cameroon has been a blessing. It has provided alternative means of transportation especially in the rural areas. Generally, it has been a source of livelihood to many – direct and indirect employment to youths who forms the bulk of riders and repairers; business to spare part dealers, importers, etc. However, as these blessings abound, so do curses or tragedies even more. The high rate of urban and rural tragic deaths and sudden physical deformation especially among the youths has been linked to ghastly motor bike accidents.


I realized that many of the motor bike riders here were youths – of under 20’s and 30’s. It struck me why these boys preferred commercial bike riding to going to school. While engulfed in my thoughts, my contact Ngom Kome negotiated a motorbike to carry both of us. I objected to this and on my insistence, he got another bike for me. I did not object out of indignation but I really considered the risk involved in riding ‘double’ on a bike, in a dusty-bumpy earth road moreso with no covering helmet. For this reason also, I warned the bike rider brought to me to go easy and slow which he obliged me. The bike rider gave me his name as Nelson – 22 years old from Northwest Region. He lives with his parents who relocated to Koto for farming. “I dropped out of school at form three due to financial constraint. But I have been able to finish apprenticeship in furniture making. I am doing this bike work on lease for now, to support my parents buy my working tools and get a workshop”; Nelson told me as we discussed on our way.


Riding into the wide dusty earth road ahead of us; we got to the first village in Koto community few minutes later. This is called ‘KOTO-UP’. Between the Motor Park and Koto-Up is what I called a “vacuum”. It is a vacuum of sprawling expanse of land on both sides of the earth road that seems endless in sight. It is cultivated mainly with cassava food crops and rubber plantations which is larger in size; belonging to some influential individuals and CDC. This should be one of the wonders of this community. From Koto-Up, we got to another village called Koto-Eshimbi, our final destination. It was a big relief, after a less than 6 km ride on motor bike.


My contact Ngom Kome left me at a thatched village drinking spot to get the local wood dealers. We had a good discussion with them and I engaged them to do the job. My discussion with them however gave me more insight about this community. I saw a village or community of hardworking young men and women, even the old; going about their activities as early as possible. Many of them have one destination – their farms. I also saw a community that is deprived of basic amenities or infrastructure. This actually made me decide to make a return trip to KOTO.


Saturday, 31 August 2013

SERVICE OR RELATIONSHIP

What does God really require most from us as Christians; service or relationship ?. This is a mind searching question which I believe many has never reflected on. But this is an issue of concern for all and sundry in the body of Christ.

In the beginning of creation, God did not create servants or errand boys who will be at his beck and call, carrying out all sort of activities for him. God said "Let us make man in our own image...". It is never, "let us make servants to render service for us". In other words God created man in his express image and gave man dominion over his other creatures. God established a relationship with man (Genesis 1:26, Genesis 3:8). God did not call man into servitude as servants who must laboriously exhaust themselves to please their task master. God called man unto sonship(Galatians 4:6-7) for fellowship and relationship.

Service and or sacrifice to God is good. It is desirable and most pleasant, but it should never take the place of relationship. It should not be meant to create relationship with God either because it is our reconciliation with God that gained us relationship with him. It is not by works but by faith in Christ(Ephesians 2:8-9).
Our service or sacrifice to God must have a foundation. A foundation with the seal and recognition of God. It is upon this foundation that God recognizes those who are really his(2Timothy 2:19).This foundation is the platform of our relationship with God and when we stand on this foundation our service then becomes an expression of obedience. It becomes a reasonable service, a sweet smelling savor and not an activity or task.

Until we are recognize on this foundation, our rigorous church attendance, prayer meetings, fund raising, giving, choir and youth leadership, preaching, teaching etc becomes a laborious religious activity. We must stand first on the covenant platform of our Lord Jesus Christ before our service could be acceptable (Psalm50:5). God created and owns the world(Psalm24:1-2)and requires not the permission of man for whatever he wants. Yet he sincerely craves for relationship with man - with you and me.

Seek relationship and fellowship with him today.


                       BY : GODYCREATIVE

Friday, 16 August 2013

“WHEN GOD REACTED TO DESPISE”



To regard something or somebody as worthless, low, with disdain and or angry dislike; that is an expression of Despise.Consciously or not, we all get entangled in Despise in different ways.  We can show it in words, expressions and remarks.  We can also show it in our actions, behaviors, attitude and looks. In whatever ways, Despise is usually directed to a person, persons or thing.

When we treat the poor around us with great disdain. When we deliberately overlook or disobey parental instructions (for example, contracting a marriage in total disregard to parental consent and presence). A mockery expression to friends or people going through trial moments in life, disregard to those who helped  us get to the top, keeping visitors ( especially the poor) waiting for too long for no good reason before receiving them – either in office or house, etc. Sowing Despise could be as a result of our status in life and society, seniority, financial ability, talents and or mere inherent character. These are deliberate and unassuming ways we express Despise and in most cases, we easily go away with it. One of the reasons here could possibly be that the person or persons we show Despise to lacks the audacity and ability to react.

It is however a different ball game when we show Despise to God. A Despise to the Church / Body of Christ, to a Church Leader / Leadership, to Divine / Kingdom responsibilities handed to us – are great Despise to God. Most dangerously, when we doubt God in gross unbelief – to the potency and efficacy of his word, and his ability to do that which he says he will do. God frowns at this. His reaction to it may be spontaneous or prolong; but certainly it must come to pass especially where repentance is not shown.
God remains the loving and ever merciful father we all know. But he is also a consuming fire, the God of vengeance and judgment. In I Samuel 2:30; the Bible says God honors those that honor him and those that despise him shall be lightly esteemed. This sounds scary but it is the truth. One lesson of note here is that Despise is an off-shoot of a “proud look” – one of the seven abominations God hates. (Read Proverbs 6:16-17).

In 1Samuel 2:22-30; God was angry with Eli the Priest and his two sons (Hophni and Phinehas). They despised divine responsibility. They despised to God.  They ministers together with their father in the house of God but at a time they took divine charge for granted. They laid with women who came to the house of God and also manipulated offerings brought to the house of God. Both of them were in the business of immorality and covetousness in course of their duties. Eli served God faithfully as a priest (remember he offered the prophetic prayer that manifested Samuel). But God’s anger to Eli was his inability to discipline his children on serious issues like this – even when God brought it to his awareness. God warned but they heeded not.

In 1Samuel 2:31-36, God reacted to their great Despise. In Samuel 4: 11 & 18, God’s reaction came to pass. The two sons of Eli and even Eli himself died. Above all, the Priesthood was taken from their family and given to another. There was a replacement and little Samuel was the choice.

In 2 Kings 7:1-2; in the midst of sever famine in Israel, God spoke through his servant Elisha for a miraculous abundance of food in less 24 hours. This should bring the famine to an end. The officer assisting the King doubted the word of God spoken through his servant. He remarked that even if God opened the windows of Heaven, it would be impossible to have abundance of food in Israel as Elisha stated.  What an open Despise to God!!.
Instantly Jehovah reacted through his servant. Elisha pronounced that the officer would see the abundance but won’t partake in it. In verse 17 and 18 of this same chapter; the reaction of God came to pass. The king’s officer was knocked down and trampled to death at the gate by people who were rushing for food; the same people he was asked to coordinate.

As Christians, we must be watchful. Our behaviors and actions could suggest Despise to Almighty God diverse ways. He may be silent but certainly there is a day when he will react.

Monday, 12 August 2013

‘ THIS THING CALLED “COMPROMISE”






There are varying definitions of Compromise. However for the purpose of this write up we are going to take on one – which defines Compromise as making someone or something open or expose to dishonor, ridicule, shame and or danger. In other words, there are acts or actions that can bring one to dishonor, ridicule, shame and danger of hell fire.

There is what I call the “double digits” of Compromise. The first one is that an individual can personally compromise him or herself. That is to say, with your own hands or by yourself, you indulge in acts which exposes you to dishonor and shame. Not necessarily before men but before God. I say so because most act of compromise men or Christians indulge in are acceptable to men. Immorality, cheating, corruption, pride, etc. For instance, a marriage between a man and his fellow man is accepted in society today in the name of respect for right. Making money by dubious and or diabolic means is heralded by men and those involve in such act tagged as successful men; and possibly given tittles. These actions no matter how they are praised by men are despised by God.

In Genesis chapter 39 verses 7 – 9, before men, it couldn’t have mattered much if a Youngman like Joseph slept with his master’s wife. Afterall, it was the woman who came calling. Today it is an acceptable lifestyle amongst youths who indulge in such act as a means to an end. Society applauds it but before God it is not allowed. In Daniel chapter 1 verse 3-8, before men it is acceptable for Daniel to eat of the King’s food. There is nothing wrong with that, the King willfully provided it. Is it wrong to eat nice food provided by the King? But before God, it is not acceptable because Daniel by so doing could have compromised his status and be distracted.

The second or other digit of Compromise is that an individual can also allow him or herself to be compromised. May be by someone, friends, family, circumstances and or situations. This happens when you follow multitude, popular opinion or societal trend, just for the gains and at the end you displease God. In Genesis 39 : 10-13, Joseph refused to allow his Master’s wife to cause him to compromise. He chose to please God. Same Genesis 37:2, Joseph refused to be compromised by his brother’s evil actions. He always reported them to their father. In Daniel 3:14-19, the three Hebrew boys refused to allow the threat of being thrown into the furnace of fire to cause them to compromise. They chose to disobey the King and please God.

As humans, we all move to places to attain our dreams, aspirations and life goals. In the course of this, God allows us to dwell among different people and in different locations. It might be school, workplace, neighbourhood, business places, etc. The issue here is not where you find yourself or where you are, but you being able to maintain your identity as a Christian and refuse to compromise or be compromised.

There some reasons why as a Christian or child of God, you must not allow compromise. First, for the fear of God. You don’t own yourself; you are accountable to someone somewhere, and who demands your reverence, love and accountability. In all this, if you are found wanting, he will definitely bring you into judgment. Read Eccl. 11:9-12. Second, the thing that lures you to compromise has one target – your soul. Your sudden destruction and eternal damnation. Read 1 Peter2:11. Third, for the sake of your dreams and or aspirations in life.  If you have plans and a strong desire of what you want to be, where you want to be – as having a big picture of the future. For this you must be focused and discipline yourself against the enticements of compromise. Joseph did it, you can do it.

There is also what I can the cost of compromise. This is the price or consequences of compromise or of being compromised. Compromise is a dream killer. By it you can truncate your destiny and frustrate God’s plan for your life. The life (birth) and end of Samson speaks volume here. Samson had a peculiar birth – with great and glorious destiny from God. But a life of compromise made him to die a blind and desperate and frustrated man. Read the book of Judges 13:3-5, and chapter 16. Also read Jeremiah 18:9-10.

REMEMBER SAMSON. DO NOT COMPROMISE YOUR DESTINY.

          

                      BY:    Godwin Luba
                               (Godycreative).
                      godycreative.blogspot.com