Monday July 3rd, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Washington D.C – Once more, we Southern Cameroonians find ourselves at the crossroads, as in February, 1961. We find ourselves confronted with the choice of how we want posterity and generations of Southern Cameroonians, born and unborn to remember us.
Fifty six years ago, our ancestors found themselves in this very position. The choice they made, the decisions they took are the reasons why we are in this present mess. Now that we are here, now that God appears to be giving us a second chance, what are we going to do? What are the choices we are about to make? Are we about to repeat the same mistakes they did?
At their own time, the choice of independence was either to join LRC or Nigeria. Today, the choice is whether we want a federal state or total independence. In the debates leading up to the referendum in 1961, one person, and only one person had real insight into what the future with LRC was going to look like. We are reminded of the warnings of the venerable Dr. E.M.L. Endeley. We are reminded how before the vote to attain independence with LRC, Endeley posed a number of intuitive questions to Southern Cameroons voters, in attempts to persuade them vote to remain with Nigeria, since the option of immediate self-governance wasn’t on the table.
Weighing the two options of either joining LRC or remaining a state in Nigeria, Dr. Endeley in a very emotional and apocalyptic speech addressed Southern Cameroonians voters saying;
“If you vote for union with LRC, you will forever fail to secure independence for the Southern Cameroons because LRC is still a Colony of France.
If you vote for union with LRC, under the French system, you cannot have a fair trial. Anyone accused of an offence will be manhandled and flogged and will be generally treated as a guilty criminal. Even the most junior policeman there seems to have the power of “life and death” over the common people! This is a bad system and must be rejected by the voters.”
“Who amongst you (Endeley asked), would like to live in a country where your life and property are constantly in danger? Who amongst you peaceful citizens of the Southern Cameroons will like to live in a country where you may be shot at as you move along the street, or your wife killed as she toils the farm?
Who amongst you will like to live in a country which lacks complete respect for human dignity and where you cannot speak out your mind freely or pursue your business in peace?”
Endeley concluded, “if you want to avert the impending confusion that will befall the Southern Cameroons, and if you want the territory to develop into a country where all will be fairly treated and adequately catered for; where there will be equal opportunities for everyone, irrespective of tribe, creed, race or political association, then cast your vote in the GREEN BOX during the Plebiscite on February 11.”
In another recorded address, Endeley told the people that in life, you don’t leave home to take a flight to an unknown landing. Unfortunately, the voices of Foncha, Muna and Jua over shadowed his own, and led us to the mess in which we find ourselves today.
But thank God for second chances. We have since seen another opportunity knocking. What are we going to do with this opportunity? That is the million dollar question on the table.
The current phase of this struggle began with our people asking for mere reforms – legal and educational reforms – which were denied them. For daring to make demands, we saw our lawyers assaulted on the streets and their wigs and robs confiscated from them. Then the gendarmes and police proceeded to the University of Buea, arrested, brutalized, raped and killed some of our children. In the face of this, we asked for a return to the 1961 Federal status and LRC responded by arresting our leaders and they have had them in jails ever since. Few days ago, speaking to Issa Tchiroma, Minister of Communication in LRC, he said federalism doesn’t exist in the constitution of Cameroon, inferring that it was treason for our leaders to have asked for federation.
At the Cameroon Journal, we ask, under what grounds does anyone in the Southern Cameroons still believe in a federation? We continue to see this great division on social media of people advancing the argument that federation is the way to resolve this crisis.
Please, can we listen to the voice of Dr. E.M.L Endeley crying in his grave? He knew then that it wasn’t going to work, and he knows now that it isn’t going to work. Federation isn’t going to settle this crisis. Francophone elites have never have, and will never have honest dealings with us Southern Cameroonians. We should not be under any illusion that this time if we fix it by going back to federation, that they will respect the terms – not at all, because there is nothing that has changed in the mentality of an average LRC elite.
Just as Endeley stated 56yrs. ago, LRC is still a colony of France. We still live in a country where you cannot have a fair trial. We still live in a country where our people are manhandled, flogged, and generally treated as guilty criminals. Issa Tchiroma confirmed it a few days ago to the Cameroon Journal. Policemen and gendarmes in LRC still have the power of life and death over us.
If we make the mistake of choosing or negotiating some type of federation, our produce will still go to Douala for processing, our Timber will still go to Douala, our Oil will still go to Douala and Yaoundé where they have built reserve tanks, our exports will still be done in Douala, despite the presence of a seaport in Victoria. SONARA, CDC, PAMOL and others will still be dominated by Francophone staff. They will still force our children to speak or learn French, a language that has grown to no value in international business and politics.
We will still go to Yaoundé, instead of Buea and Bamenda to chase documents. Our infrastructural development will still come at their mercy. Our tax money will still go to Yaoundé. Gendarmes will still be there to harass and brutalize us. We will still be led by unelected SDO’s, D.Os, and Gov’t Delegates instead of elected Governors and Mayors. If we choose federation over total independence, our children’s children will still live to fight this fight.
We have a second chance here. Dr. E.M.L Endeley is doing spines now in his grave hoping that we make the right choice at last. We must resist any form of federation that LRC attempts to offer. We have gone past that point. It is complete independence now or never. We will get it, whether they like it or not through peace or through the barrel of the gun.