Fon Yakum Kevin, President of the North West House of Chiefs.
For about a month now, you have been meeting with traditional rulers of the seven divisions of the North West Region. What motivated these consultative meetings?
The North West House of Chiefs is the principal organ charged in empowering traditional institutions in the region. It works closely with traditional rulers to ensure the preservation of culture and tradition, and peaceful living together in the various communities. I started these meetings on August 17, 2021 with the Mezam division, and I have equally met with traditional rulers of Momo, Mechum, Donga Mantung, Bui, Ngoketunjia and Boyo divisions. My last meeting of September 9, 2021 was with the Lamidos, Ardos and Sarkis of the region.
The main purpose for meeting with traditional rulers of the region is to reorganize them and the institutions they incarnate. Traditional rulers are custodians of tradition and the auxiliary of administration, implying they have to see to the respect of cultures and support administration in governance. While carrying out the reorganisation, peace is of principal importance because without peace, none of those things can happen. A peaceful environment is needed for the execution of projects. During our various meetings, we discussed a way forward for the return to peace in the region. Our children need to be educated in a secured environment. We need to develop our localities, reason for these peace talks.
What are some of the recommendations made at the end of the various consultations with traditional rulers of the North West Region?
Several propositions were made by the traditional rulers during our different consultations. Traditional rulers requested to be empowered to engage in income generating activities and be provided with financial resources to begin holding peace talks at their village levels, in order to be able to reconcile the population through traditional councils and quarter heads. In addition, within the context of the ongoing crisis, Fons should perform traditional rites to dissuade separatists, call for a ceasefire and mediate for a return to normalcy. Traditional rulers offered themselves to mediate and bring an end to this prevailing crisis and solicited empowerment from government through the North West House of Chiefs to enable them carry out individual efforts and participate in collective efforts to bring an end to the upheavals. From every indication, traditional rulers of the North West Region are ready to work with authorities in promoting peace in the region. Globally, recommendations centred around reinforcing traditional institutions in order to give more powers in executing their functions. Besides being the custodians of culture and tradition, they promote the concept of social cohesion in their various communities.
Any planned actions by the House of Chiefs for the population?
We have a series of projects for the region which border on peace and development. Elected to represent and serve the people, we are ready to work with different stakeholders for the growth of the region. I plan on meeting elite of the North West Region who are in other regions of the country, for us to come up with more strategies. After that, a plan of action will be mapped out. Traditional rulers are all members of the community. When we develop the community, we also benefit from the development. Traditional rulers are fathers of the community with the population considered their children. Without going into details for security reasons, our plans are to have them developed in various aspects. In most cases, people will just see us executing projects for the community.