First Cameroon helicopter takes off in Kumbo
What started as a joke ended up wowing the public. Despite repeated mechanical issues that punctured the helicopter from taking off, the inventor,Suimo Nsaitenla Jude, finally broke the spell a few hours ago when his helicopter took off for a few minutes amid a crowd of residents in Kumbo, Cameroon.
According to journalist Tah Peter Fomonyuy, Suimo invited four friends to work with him on his initiative that started in 2010. It was inspired by his love for toys as a pupil. “Many question the ability of the copter to fly, saying that it could be a dead trap,” Fomonyuy reports.
The body is made of metal and looks solid. But Suimo says the helicopter could only take off “completely,” because it uses an eight horse power engine, and not a 250-horse power engine.
The initiative is on a budget, he says, citing his only source of funding from renown Harvard scholar and Malaria expert Prof. Wilfred Mbacham. Prof.Wilfred Mbacham offered him FCFA 300,000 when he first heard of the initiative in 2010, Suimo confirms.
Suimo, a youth below 30, now studies in the U.S., but still coordinates the project he started years ago before he left the country. He was raised in Kumbo, a remote town and one of the major opposition strongholds for Cameroon’s main opposition party, SDF.
Observers posit that the initiative needs to be promoted and that such youths need scholarships to broaden their skills, and not Chinese-made laptops offered in a “gangster-like manner,” by the 34-year regime to its University students enrolled for the 2016 year only in state universities across the country.
“Presently, I am studying power plan and air frames, after which I will continue with avionics in a big jet. The Cameroon government has no hand in it. I am supported by the US government,” Suimo updated us hours after this post was published.
“Why do we have misplace priorities? The first plane was manufactured under similar circumstances. We too can encourage our youths to do same,” writes Chei Jude , a Kumbo resident who responded to me from Chicago, USA.
Youth unemployment and underemployment nears 80 percent according to government figures. Less than 7 percent of Cameroonians are below above 55, citing the 2016 World CIA Factbook. Most of them still cling to power, have denied retiring, and are complacent working for their unemployed skilled children and grandchildren.
President Paul Biya, 83, seeks to renew his seven-year mandate in 2018 despite widespread criticisms. His renewal, if successful, would extend his 34-year rule in the West African nation whose annual growth rate has never hit 6 percent under the regime.
By Tapang Ivo Tanku
God is still saying something.