The construction of the Olembe Stadium at the Olembe neighbourhood in Yaounde – Cameroon has without doubts brought a good number of positive changes to the quarter. However, the people of Olembe continue to decry the treatment given them by those behind the construction of the stadium.
“Our quarter is now very popular, well known worldwide because of the stadium, but our people have been deprived of their major source of livelihood and the various compensations promised are still on the way.” Says Alphonse Eyegue, notable of Olembe II village, focal point of the Olembe Sports Complex Project.
The focal point of the Olembe Sports Complex project spoke to News Upfront in the presence of the traditional ruler of Olembe II, who revealed to this reporter that fifty two (52) families gave their lands for the construction of the stadium and they were promised the sum of FCFA 3 billion including a relocation site and other advantages like the construction of portable water points and health facilities among others.
“The site chosen for the project was the heart of the Olembe people, it was the main source of portable water, it was there that we used to get medicines for ourselves and our animals, it was the most fertile area in the village for farming activities by our women, we used to refer to it as our “deep freezer”, but now it’s all history and we are left with our eyes to cry.” Says Alphonse Eyegue.
Traditional authorities of Olembe have used almost all possible means to fix the challenging situation and cause those who made promises to respect them but to no avail.
“We have tried our best for our people, we cannot use force against the government or whosoever because we don’t even have the force, we are a peace loving people, all we ask is for the promises that were made to us to be respected. Some of those who were promised have died within time, others are dying, time waits for no one.” Eyegue Alphonse said.
Despite the challenging situation faced by the people of Olembe, they are however happy with the construction of the modern sports infrastructure in their village, because it has brought along a good number of positive changes to the quarter.
“Before the coming of the stadium, there was no road linking Olembe II to the main slaughter house in Yaounde, but now, we don’t only have a road, but a highway. This has greatly facilitated transportation, and opened way for other activities.” A youth of Olembe II told News Upfront.
It is true that where a road passes, development follows. At Olembe II, the Stadium and its access road networks have promoted the proliferation of a multitude of new businesses while old economic activities have been modified owing to the changes.
“The few shops that used to exist at this junction usually close up by 6:00 pm because of insecurity, but now with the presence of the stadium, security forces are constantly on patrol, the street lights too at nights have encouraged businesses to run till late in the night thereby increasing the ambiance in the quarter and that is more gains to business owners.” Viviane, who owns a restaurant at the entrance to the Olembe stadium recounted.
The ambiance is even more with the present AFCON competition that is been played at the stadium.
The Olembe multi-purpose stadium is now serving the population a great deal as many are those who visit it for sight seeing, others for sports while some go to learn how to drive around the stadium.
The stadium it should be noted is constructed on a surface area of 34 hectares (84 acres) in the Olembe neighborhood in Yaounde, some 13 km (8.1mi) from the city center. The stadium is the largest in all of Cameroon with a capacity of 60.000 seats.