The Governor of Cameroon’s Littoral Region, H.E. Samuel Dieudonne Ivaha Diboua, has assured that foreigners living and doing business in Cameroon have nothing to fear. He went further to allay their worries, encouraging them relax and enjoy their time in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Naija Diaspora Magazine, he noted, “More than ever, the Central African country, famed for its hospitality and friendly atmosphere, is willing to open its doors to genuine and legitimate business prospectors, as this will ultimately translate to a win-win situation for both parties.”
Diboua made a name in governance and administration in Douala, Bonaberi, Nkongsamba, East Region and Yaounde in various capacities before he was appointed the Governor of the Littoral Region. Before his appointment, he was the Governor of the West Region (2010) and Eastern region (2012 – 2015).
While acknowledging that the Littoral Region is home to a large community of foreigners, most of whom are Nigerians, Diboua also commended the presence of foreign-owned companies in the region, particularly Dangote Cement, and the joy it has brought to his fellow citizens.
“By situating his manufactory in Douala, the Dangote Company has helped to maintain the price of cement at a good level in the country.”
According to Diboua, the vibrancy and competition the Nigerian company has brought to the market has forced competitors like Cimencam, CIMAF and others to bow to the rules of market forces and keep prices at a reachable level for average Cameroonians.
“This would not have happened if you were alone in the field,” Diboua added.
Aside from Dangote’s investment, he also commended the impact of other Nigerian businesses like Air Peace and MRS CORLAY, as well as banks like UBA and Access.
“The first General Manager of Dangote Cement in Cameroon was a Nigerian, but today it is a Cameroonian. Sometimes, you see that even a Cameroonian who goes to work in Nigeria also becomes a leader inside the company. So, we cannot say we are really foreigners—no, we are together.
He also acknowledged the contribution of migrant Nigerians in the area of vehicle maintenance.
“We also have many Cameroonians traveling to Calabar, to Abuja, and coming back with business opportunities.”
Diboua ascribed the secret of his administrative success to Jesus Christ. He also assured that his administration would use ceremonies such as the National Feast Day to further strengthen ties with Nigerians and other foreigners.
This, he said, would promote a sense of belonging and the confidence to integrate with other Africans despite our border differences. He also noted the seamlessness with which nationalities of both countries interact and mingle across the borders, stating that it is a testimony that delineation is only on paper.
“Even the population are just speaking the same languages; English, Pidgin, this and that; same with the traditions. When you see how the people of Douala call the Sawa people, it’s not different from Bakweri and from Igbo and Calabar people; they are close to the Anglophone Sawa. We can actually see it’s wealth that we share with one another. Living together is a master key to good development between the two nations, and we are proud of it. We can say that it is good.” He reiterated.
The governor further spoke of his close relationship with some Nigerian spiritual leaders, with whom he exchanged prayers every now and then. He said both countries share similarities in many significant spheres, including culture and sporting achievements.
“I attended a wedding somewhere in the country where the Nigerian community came to ask the hand of a lady from Cameroon in marriage. And when we were just joking, one of the Nigerians said, ‘Ooh, this Cameroon. If we can make Cameroon a part of Nigeria at the level of football grounds to play in!’
“And then I said, ‘So Cameroon for you is a sports platform, a sports place to play.’ I also told him that for Cameroonians, Nigeria is a business land. Of course, when you talk of football, the two countries have to respect each other. Both have good players. That is why, in my speech, when I was installing the new Nigerian Consul General, I said our two countries are the only African countries that have won the Olympic Games Men’s Football gold.”
“We have the same physique, the same face, and even eating and clothing habits. If they stop sending Okra, Garri and Egusi, I think there will be a strike in Calabar. We thank God because the head of state, President Paul Biya and President Muhammadu Buhari are making much effort toward cooperation. We have the roads, the bridge of Ekok, and even the roads to Enugu. If we didn’t have the problem of secessionists and Amazonians, we probably would have more good, large roads, facilitating easy movement of people from Enugu to Douala.”
He expressed hope that more peace would be achieved in both countries to give room for more development and regional prosperity.
Notably, he also expressed hopes of improvement between both countries in the area of aviation.
“We don’t have many flights between the two. If we have them, I think that we can gain more in business.”
On Littoral Region, Cameroon, and Successful Hosting of AFCON
Speaking on Cameroon’s successful hosting of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the second time in 50 years, Diboua said:
“We had two or three challenges. The first was to have beautiful stadiums, and the government, along with the head of state, worked so hard to ensure this was achieved.
The second was to fight against Covid-19 and to take measures so that people could go out and come back safely, whilst the third was at the level of insecurity. So, we worked hand-in-hand with the population, the gendarmes, and the policemen, to ensure people were secured everywhere.
“As a team, we won in these three challenges, and I’m glad for it.”
On the diplomatic front, where Governor Diboua has also distinguished himself, earning accolades amongst foreign diplomats, including those from Nigeria, he was quick to say that the success is a collective one.
“We have a Douala branch of the External Ministry here in Douala (the MINREX), and it is working very hard to strengthen the relations and even improve on them. We regularly hold meetings to see which paths to take to strengthen and improve the relations. The other thing is that every time the Nigerian community has a ceremony, they invite us to attend the meetings, assist, and even to share what is very common to us; and what can be more useful for everybody.”
The governor also commended Nigerians in the country for the respect they have shown to their host country by not meddling in its internal affairs and remaining law abiding.
Speaking on internally displaced persons (IDPs), Diboua said the country has its share, as well as refugees from Central Africa, Chad, and so on.
“When I was the East Governor, I saw that those who are based in the East Region are mostly fishermen; they are practicing agriculture. This category of people are not coming to Douala. Those coming to Douala are likely traders and businessmen coming to do business. That is why when we have to help them, the approach is different, and the emergency cases are the ones that leave in the East region of the North. But some of those who are here are teachers, engineers, and so on.
“Notably, this category of people has to integrate into society. Consequently, my government is working with the United Nations branch for refugees to give fleeing refugees a new way of life.”
Placements for these people are usually done carefully because, according to him, “we have to know who is who. We need to know that you are a valuable person in your country. But first, such immigrant has to be registered at the UNHCR.” Diboua said.
Another good thing, according to the governor, is the hospitality of the Douala people, who welcome migrants with open arms. To that effect, there are no camps in Douala. “Such hospitality is also enhancing growth.” He added.
“If there is a football match, you will see that there are many people there. If you go to Youpwe to see how you can buy fish, you will see many people there as well. They are living as brothers and sisters, and have made the place a kind of homeland. They are in peace within us, without any problem, but there is still a need for the international community to help and give sustainable measures to help them. We cannot do it alone.”
H.E. Samuel Dieudonné Ivaha Diboua would like everybody to be vigilant, as the world today is made up of tools that can be used for good or otherwise.
With particular reference to technology and the new media, the governor said, “You have to be careful because when information is given, it is better to go and ask the authorities if what you have heard is true or not.”
He also appealed for vigilance amongst citizens and prompt intimation of the authorities when things go wrong, while pledging confidentiality. This would serve as intelligence to help forestall unwholesome incidents.
“When we are living in a quarter and not behaving very well, it is good to come and tell us what is happening. But be sure I won’t stand and say, ‘Okay, Sister Esther told me that you have this and that.’ When we have information as professionals, we know how to handle it. So don’t let situations get worse; give good information in time, and we will react in time and ensure peace in our Littoral region. We cannot live in peace if we are not sharing information.”
Gallery: Diaspora Excellence Award 2023
At the occasion organized in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Naija Diaspora Magazine, several individuals, companies, governors, traditional rulers, business owners, government agencies and parastatals as well as politicians were honored for their outstanding performances in 2023. The publication celebrated its
10th anniversary with a two-day event that included the Symposium and Annual Diaspora Excellence Award. This platform provided a unique opportunity for collective learning, networking, and gaining insights into government policies that relate to communities. Attendees were empowered to navigate pathways of positive change. The Symposium lecture was titled: ‘Building a Nation’, with several dignitaries as speakers.
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Inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament Triumphs Amidst Adversity
On the 6th of August 2023, a monumental event took place at St Michel, Terminus, Douala, marking the commencement of the First Edition of the Anambra State Union Football Tournament. Under the stewardship of Sir Emeka Uzoka, Chairman of the Anambra State Union, this tournament emerged as a testament to unity, sportsmanship, and the indomitable spirit of the Anambra community.
The opening ceremony set the stage for what would become an unforgettable showcase of camaraderie and competitive fervor. A true celebration of tradition and athleticism, the tournament kicked off with a Veteran Match at 2:00 pm. The clash between Aguata Local Government Union and Nnewi Local Government Union resulted in a gripping encounter, with Aguata securing victory with a 2-0 score line.
Distinguished figures graced the event with their presence, adding prestige to the occasion. Among them was Mr. Oliva Ochi, Consul 1 at the Consulate General Douala, representing the esteemed Consul General, H.E. Amb. (Mrs.) Efe A. Clark-Omeru.
The honorable gathering was further enriched by the participation of key personalities, including: Hon. BIC Okwujiaku, President of the Nigerian Community Douala, HRH Eze Jonathan T. Onyenagubor, Eze Gburugburu 1 of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Cameroon, Sir, Lovinus Ezeh, Vice President, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Alex Nwoye, Vice President 2, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Uche Obiekwe, Patron of the Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Innocent Obiorah Odoh, Patron Anambra State Union, Chairmen of Imo and Enugu States Union, Esteemed members of the Anambra State Union.
The event also extended its reach to include esteemed guests from Douala and beyond.
In recognition of the paramount importance of safety and well-being, the organizers ensured the presence of dedicated medical health and security personnel, assuring attendees a secure environment throughout the event.
Despite the inclement weather characterized by heavy rain, the unyielding spirit of the Anambra community remained unshaken. A testament to their passion for football and unity, a remarkable number of attendees braved the elements, converging to witness the unfolding of history on the lush fields of St Michel, Terminus.
The final was held on Sunday 12th of November 2023 @ Bonamousadi Stadium Douala. Oyi Local Government lifted the trophy while Aguta Local Government took the bronze and Idemili Local Government took silver.
The inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament stands as an embodiment of shared values, intercommunity collaboration, and the timeless appeal of sport. This event not only etched a significant mark on the sporting calendar but also served as a reminder of the resilience and unity that define the Anambra community.
As the tournament concluded its first chapter, it left in its wake a legacy of camaraderie, sporting excellence, and the promise of more remarkable editions to come.
CAMEROON: Miniature Africa
Cameroon, nestled in the heart of Central Africa, is a country with a captivating blend of rich cultural diversity, stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. Often referred to as « Miniature Africa, » Cameroon offers travelers a unique and multifaceted experience, showcasing the continent’s essence in a single destination.
With more than 250 ethnic groups and languages, Cameroon is a melting pot of diverse cultures, traditions and customs. The capital city, Yaoundé, and the economic hub, Douala, provide excellent starting points to dive into Cameroon’s cultural wealth.
Cameroon’s diverse geography offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes, each with its unique charm.
In the West, the mist-covered peaks of Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa, beckon adventurous hikers to climb and witness awe-inspiring views of the surrounding scenery.
Towards the North, the Sahelian region boasts vast savannas and semi-arid landscapes, offering visitors an opportunity to spot magnificent wildlife, and in the East, the dense rainforests of the Congo Basin teem with a rich variety of flora and fauna, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and exotic bird species.
Tourism Spots on a Budget
Here are a selection of the most distinguished and captivating tourist destinations in Cameroon. These remarkable locales boast accessibility without undue strain on one’s financial resources, making them irresistible choices for tourists.
Mefou National Park:
Mefou National Park houses the Mefou Primate Sanctuary, a rescue center managed by Ape Action Africa. With over 300 rare and endangered primates, it’s a significant conservation project in Africa, providing lifelong care and rehabilitation for animals rescued from illegal trades.
Formerly known as Victoria, Limbe is a port city with a diverse flora and fauna influenced by its colonial past. The Limbe Wildlife Centre/Botanical Centre offers a close-to-nature experience, rescuing and caring for ill-treated and endangered animals.
Mount Cameroon, also called the « Chariot of the Gods, » is West Africa’s highest mountain and an active volcano. A popular destination for adventurers and hikers, the trek offers stunning views, diverse landscapes and encounters with wildlife like monkeys and birds.
Kribi Beach, in the southwestern region, boasts long white sand beaches and clear waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy the Chutes de la Lobé waterfall, where they can swim under the falls. Local cuisine and seafood delicacies await at various restaurants.
Korup National Park:
Korup National Park, renowned for its bird species, offers pristine tropical wilderness. Visitors can enjoy lodging infrastructure and spot unique primates like the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and Perseus’s red colobus. Located near the ocean, Mundemba serves as a starting point for tours to the park, where guides often speak the local Cameroonian language.
Cameroon stands tall as a remarkable destination for audacious travelers seeking a blend of cultural diversity, awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling adventures. From the depths of the rainforests to the heights of its mountains, and from the bustling cities to the serene beaches, the land beckons with open arms, ready to share its enchanting beauty and warm hospitality with all who venture to explore its wonders. As tourism in Cameroon continues to grow sustainably, the country’s potential as a captivating and memorable destination will undoubtedly flourish.