As one-time Secretary General of the now outlawed Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) I had reached the conclusion that Cameroon was one and indivisible as was being propounded by the ruling elite of this nation. This followed the response of the UN Secretary General, Dr. Kofi Annan , to the many applications submitted to his office on various occasions by the SCNC as a way of reconciling the people of the English speaking Cameroon with those of the French speaking to ensure a one united and indivisible country, rich in diversity. At the end of that visit Dr. Annan invited the Head of State Mr. Paul Biya to the UN to prepare and lay the framework for dialogue, a mission which Mr. Biya undertook in the company of Mr. Simon Achidi Achu and Chief Endeley of blessed memory. I was to play a role in the organization of that dialog but before it could take off my colleagues of the SCNC frustrated it by ostracizing me from the Southern Cameroon aka Ambazonia. As a result we reached a dead end with that effort.
The governing Council of “SCACUF” has today reached its own dead and it is the same end that the founding fathers of Cameroon reached when they returned to the UN with the Conveners of AACI and AAC2 after their meeting in Buea and Bamenda in 1993 and 1994 respectively. It is the same end that Fon Gorji Dinka and Ambazonia reached, etc. There is no blue and white flag in the UN to be picked up by Southern Cameroon aka Ambazonia
The education of the children of the Anglophone regions of Cameroon has been frustrated. We were fooled in to believing that UNESCO would award Anglophones with a Blank, School Year if we followed the advice to keep our children out of school indefinitely, that international institutions will not recognize certificates from Cameroon if we allowed our children to write what was described as ‘political’ GCE, and so on and so forth. In doing this we were forced to abandon the SCNC’s philosophy of the “Force of Argument” and accept the sacrifice of having our children maimed and our businesses paralyzed. The result was the carnage of 1st October 2017 No blue and white flag came from the UN. UNESCO is still to award the much trumpeted certificate of a blank school year to Cameroon. What do we have to offer for the blood and destruction resulting from the events of Sunday October 1st 2017 except to lay the blame on the excesses of the forces of law and order of La Republic?.
The foregoing not withstanding I believe that the way forward is to embrace the true and inclusive dialogue advocated by the UN. In this respect, I think that we should endorse the efforts of pacification being made by the elite of the North West and south West Regions led by the Prime Minister’s Office. These elites are no less Anglophones than we. It is only and atmosphere of peace and confidence that meaningful and productive dialogue can take place. In this way we will come to realize and accept the oneness of Cameroon albeit in two systems.
Ati-Nyong, Pioneer registrar GCE Board.
Member of Order of International Fellowship
The Anglophone crisis in Cameroon – BACK TO THE FUTURE I
FROM THE BooK OF MY BRIAN Azong-Wara Andrew. Friday August 18 2017
On the 12th October 1993 the entire nation of Cameroon came to a standstill. Anglophones wherever they found themselves in the national territory descended into the streets in tension to demand the publication of the text of application of the presidential decree of 1st July 1993 creating the Cameron General Certificate of education Board. The military, the police and the gendarmerie were deployed ostensibly to enforce law and order. In their characteristic manner they pumped acid “rain” from water cannons on the gathering of Anglophones notably in the premises of the Ministry of Education in Yaounde where the ‘who’ of the Anglophones had assembled. Across the nation songs of no turning back rang. God heard our prayers and opened the heavens. His rains poured down and neutralized the acid rains of the tormentors.
Then the Government gave in. at 1:00[.m., and for the first and only time in Cameroon’s history, the national news opened in English with the reading of the text the Anglophones were demanding when the reading ended there were uncontrollable outbursts of it not the text’ some evil hand had played monkey tricks with it and the pressure the Anglophone public was mounting on the streets had caused the prime Minister to panic and sign the text without ensuring that it was the same as had been prepared by the commission he had set up for the purpose. A visibly disturbed Achidi Achu called Bamenda from where I was coordinating the strike and pleaded with me to call the Anglophone public off the streets and give him two (2) days to redress the problem. The leadership I had displayed to the Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC and the trust I had in the Prime minister permitted me to concede.
On the 15th of October 1993, Anglophones from all over the country reassembled in Longla Commercial College (LCC) Mankon to listen to TAC read the PM’s promised text. The Messenger was Dr. Peter Abety, the present Chairman of the Council of the GCE Board. He handed the document to me in front of the large crowd which constrained us to read the document in the presence of all and declare on the spot if it was the right one this time round. We complied and after carefully reading through the text we concluded that it was indeed what we were expecting. As the leader I took my responsibility and pronounced the end of our mission which was acclaimed spontaneously through out the country.
As we rose to leave the late Mr. Albert Mukong requested to say a word before we close I obliged in his intervention he called me and my colleagues traitors. He said the fight must not stop because he had expected us to carry it on and on until the independence of Southern Cameroons. In other words Mr. Mukong wanted to convert the struggle for the creation of the GCE board into a fight for the independence of Southern Cameroons perplexed I turned to the population and cast a look of expectation for help but everyone was as disturbed as we were. Then in a flash of inspiration I put him off in the following words.
Sir we received a mission from the Anglophones to create a GCE Board. The Board has been created and that mission has come to an end. If the same Anglophones want to assign a new mission to us to take them to Southern Cameroons we are ready to give the thought”
There was a resounding “no!” and we left LCC happily.
A week or so later Anglophones converged in Bea at CEFAM to witness the installation of the Board and its Pioneer Chairman the Late S.N. Dioh by the minister of National Education Dr. Robert Mbella Mbappe. This was the main antagonist of the G.C.E. Board but when in Buea he was pleased to announce that “As Azong Wara has said, I too was there”.
THE TEACHERS’S STRIKE OF 20TH NOVERMBER 2016
Barely 23 years after the creation of the GCE Board, precisely on 20th Novembers 2016, the Teachers Unions and Associations embarked on an indefinite strike action to address some ills they had identified in the Anglophone sub-system of education. It is important to emphasize that the teachers at no point in time questioned the authenticity of certificates issued by the GCE Board. In fact in studies carried out together with the Cameroon education Forum it had been observed that.
· The General Certificate of Education Examination Board has impacted very favourably on on the office du Baccalaurean in terms of the setting. Organization and conduct of Examinations. It was the GCE Board which brought the office du Baccalaureate into membership of the prestigious Association for Education assessment in Africa (AEAA).
· Cameroon (thanks to us Anglophone subsystem) was one of the few countries selected by the Republic of South Africa and Namibia during the 1980s (years of political instability and armed conflict in these two countries) to give secondary education to their children. Children from these countries studies in St. Joseph’s College Sase. Saker Baptist College in Lime and others.
· Finally, at nor recorded time or period, has the United Kingdom or any other countries of the world doubted the validity, reliability and worthiness of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education as an entry qualification for admission into the University.
Therefore the information being circulated in the social media that GCE certificates will not be recognized is total nonsense.
Again the argument being sponsored in the same media that certificates issued to graduates of Cameroonian Universities are worthless because holders are truck pushers and Buyam Sellams, or what have you, is a baseless one. After all there are graduates in the Diaspora who are making their leaving by washing corpses, taking care of the elderly, pumping fuel at petrol stations, driving taxis, etc. the absence of good jobs is not related to the lack of proper qualification et al.
Excuse this digression! Back to the future?
The teachers’ strike pushed the government to set up an Ad Hock Committee headed by Prof Ghaogomo to study the problems presented by them and make recommendations’ for solutions. The Cameroon Education Forum was represented on that committee as were the teachers unions/associations and many other education stakeholders. At the conclusion of the work the Teachers scheduled an explanation meeting at the Presbyterian Church Centre Ntamulung Mankon. It was a meeting like the 15th October 1993 meeting at LCC Mankon Regrettably that meeting has not hold till date by some twist of circumstance or fate it will appear that, this time the spirit of Mukong resurfaced in the form of the consortium and took over the teachers strike to carry the fight to independence.
The question that haunts me and many that share my thoughts is this
Does the Anglophone children’s education constitute a weapon in the hands of the consortium in the war of independence?
Is it still weapon the Teachers Unions/Associations are using to fin solutions to the problems which engendered the strike of 20th November 2016.
Since the schools boycott was an upshot of the strike action I believe the onus of answer lies with the teachers Unions/Associations. In other words the parents who are required to make the ultimate sacrifice need to know whether it is for achieving independence of the Southern Cameroons or it is for a better education system for their kids. Why am I having this sour feeling that the future will have no pity on the Teacher Unions/Association if they fail to answer this question?
While we wait for the answer I wish to state that my position on the Anglophone crises in Cameroon is congruent to that of the Cameroon Education forum, CEF for which I am secretary General. In its contribution to stemming the tide of the Anglophones Crisis in Cameroon CEF holds that, “mindful of government promise to methodically and in an orderly manner implement the resolutions of the Ghogomo Ad Hoc Committee, and, hoping that we have all learned our various lessons of history and strikes and minority rights, and that our children have been scarified enough, the government, the church, the parents, the teachers and all Education promoters, stakeholders and the Civil Society should pave a smooth way for the children to go back to school” the right to education is a fundamental right of the child. Let us do the right thing by allowing them full exercise of that right.
Secondly, I join my voice in appealing to government to free all detainees involved in the protracted strike action, create an atmosphere of trust and regard the demonstrations in Cameroon Embassies, abroad as misguided so that a prodigal son approach can be encouraged to give peace a change.
All-Njong, Pioneer registrar GCE Board.
Member of Order of International fellowship