University Games: Despite Unfinished Infrastructures, 20th Varsity Games Opens in Bamenda with Call for Unity and Peace
The event which took place at the newly constructed Grand Stand of UBa saw the lighting of Games Flames by Mountaineer Yvonne Ngwaya.
It is the first time UBa is hosting the games, which unfortunately comes on the wake of series of strike actions and so called ‘ghost towns’ which have paralyzed activities in the North West region. This situation was reflected in the attendance and the usual effervescence that used to characterize opening ceremony of the University Games. Attendance was low and fanfare less attractive as compared to previous games.
In his welcome address, the Mayor of Tubah Council, Tanjong Martin, on whose soil the games are being played, urged athletes to exercise discipline and fare play, he applauded government for restoring internet in the two English speaking regions of the country. The Lord Mayor pleaded on government not to abandon construction of ongoing projects in the school after the games.
Higher Education Minister Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo used the opportunity to preach peace by enumerating what President Paul Biya has done to solve problems raised by entire Anglophones. He told the students that the laptop promised by the Head of State is not just a dream but that the dream will come true in the shortest possible time.
Officials decry dilapidated football pitches which served as playing ground for the close to 3000 athletes taking part in the games. Some infrastructures have not been completed leaving many wondering if Bamenda was ready to host the games this year. However UBa Officials claim 97%of work had been done.
First Football Matches
The host, University of Bamenda, UBa, female football team beat their counterparts of the University of Ngaoundere 2-0 in the opening match while University of Buea lost to National Advance School of Public Works, 1-0.
The Catholic University Institute of Buea, CUIB, on the eve of the games announced its non participation in the 20th all Varsity Games. The news Friday April 21, 2017 was first seen as rumor but later confirmed Saturday in Bamenda when no athlete showed up. Though no official reason was given for the withdrawal of CUIB, some athletes and Officials say she could have been angered by the Court summons of some Catholic Bishops in Mamfe and Buea who were expected to appear before the Buea High Court next Monday April 24, 2017. Others ources talk of financial constraints.
Though the court case has been postponed to June 5 this year, sources say the clergymen were embarrassed by this summons which came just a week after their colleagues in the North West also received a Direct Summons by the so called “Consortium of Parents” which is claiming damages in the non resumption of classes in Catholic Schools.