The current Anglophone crisis has so far been a true test to see if the Oroko (Ndian Division) politicians will fold into their usual docility again or rise in a rare occasion to speak truth to power.
By. Jackson W. Nanje.
For close to sixty (60) years since the dawn of Cameroon’s independence in 1960/61 the Oroko politician has never seen himself as a relevant partner in Cameroon’s body politic and conversely, the way Cameroon politics is organized, it has hardly had any need to include the Oroko politician in the national polity. One would think that with the wealth coming out of the Oroko land (45% of Cameroon’s GDP which includes 85-5% of oil and natural gas revenue), it should have given the Oroko man the much-needed leverage to be a viable political player in the nation. But no, the possession of wealth in the division, which is always a difference maker elsewhere in the world, has not made any difference to an Oroko politician or brought economic development to their area of jurisdiction. Before we continue with this essay Nanje School of Creative Thinking should define who is and Oroko man?
For historical and geographical perspectives, let’s give a brief history of the Oroko people and their locations on the map of Cameroon. Shortly after independence, the Oroko people were lumped up in one division called the Kumba Division in the South West Region. However, in 1967, considering how large the division was, President Ahmadou Ahidjo decided to split Kumba division into two. This is how Ndian and Meme divisions came into being. The composition of Ndian division has 129 villages (Oroko people), plus the Barombi people of Abor extraction (11 villages), Isangele, Kumbo Etindi, Idabato, Bamuso, Kumbo Abedimo, and the newly acquired Bakassi Peninsula with villages totaling 146 with an estimated population of more than 500,000 people. There are 88-verified Oroko villages in Meme division (https://www.orokousa.org/clans-and-villages/), making the Oroko tribe the largest assembly of tribal villages in the country. Despite the portly size of the Oroko population, the Oroko politician is yet to deliver anything major to any of its divisions. The two divisions (Ndian and Meme) are the second and third largest of the six divisions in the South West Region after Manyu division. However, with the inclusion of the Bakassi Peninsula, Ndian division is arguably the largest division in the South West Region, presently. This essay will emphasize more about Ndian division because most of the wealth in the South West Region and Cameroon is from the division.
Ndian division does not only possess 85.5% of Cameroon’s oil and natural gas; but possesses a huge supply of cocoa, coffee, and timber. With the wealth that Ndian possesses one would think that it will present the Ndian politicians a formidable platform to lobby for substantial amount of money coming from proceeds of their resources to bring some vitally-needed economic development for the division. The docility of the current Ndian politicians is hereditary. For the more than twenty Ndian parliamentarians (politicians) who have represented and are still representing the people since the dawn of independence, just Chief Victor Ngomo Obie-CNU (Ijowe), Honorable Nwalipenja Nkwelle Lobe-CNU-CPDM (Lipenja) and Hon. Martin Mokube-CPDM (Bafaka Balue) have been true representatives of the people due to most of their interventions. The rest have been hogwash who were and are still being intimidated by their French-speaking colleagues in parliament, especially the unshakeable Speaker of Cameroon Parliament, Djibril Cavayé.
The current Anglophone crisis has so far been a true test to see if the Oroko (Ndian division) politicians will fold into their usual docility again or rise in a rare occasion to speak truth to power. In a unique occasion where the anglophones in Cameroon are complaining of marginalization by their own French-speaking Cameroon brothers with whom they signed the Foumban Accord to unite as equal partners in the formation of the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972, the Ndian and Oroko politicians have been complete bystanders in this impasse. Even if they become vocal as they are expected to, it would have been for genuine reasons because their French-speaking counterpart have done so much wrong in the dismantling of all known companies that flourished and brought prosperity to the region in the past. Furthermore, the Oroko and Ndian politicians’ silence have been so deafening even as they know that the South West Region has the economic leverage because of the huge contribution they make to the nation’s overall Gross Domestic Product (60%) and 45% of which comes from Ndian division. The absolute lack of economic development activities for more than 50 years in the division should urge our politicians to be vocal participants in this anglophone crisis.
Their unbelievable withdrawal from the struggle has been quite unimagineable and a spectacle to behold because there are no roads, no hospitals, no electricity in the entire division, no communication network like radio, television and internet and no banking facilities. The division is equally infested with substandard schools which have been created without funding with many of its teachers and administrators that were posted to schools in the region refusing to honor the government’s transfer requests and as usual, the Oroko and Ndian politicians are unconcerned about the decaying problem. The division is completely disconnected from Cameroon mainland because of the absence of these amenities and yet, the voters and the only three miserable Ndian parliamentarians continue to vote 100% in favor of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) party, oblivious of their demise and for fear of the heavy-handedness from the Speaker. On one side, these Oroko politicians who, in the most part, are myrmidons to the CPDM-led government shall be confronted henceforth by an increasingly angry constituent who elected them into office with the hope that they will deliver for them, but have rather decided to serve the government to their detriment.
The question that has always baffled the investigators of Nanje School of Creative Thinking about politics of Ndian Division is whether the Ndian politicians are to blame for the misgivings of the division or the voters who, after more than 50 years of politicking continue to vote into office same party politicians who cannot deliver for them or do not serve their interest?
These are the politicians who have served the Ndian people in the past.
- Chief Victor Ngomo Obie -CNU (Ijowe)
- Hon. Mbile Namaso -CNU (Lipenja Batanga)
- Hon. Okha Bau -CNU (Lobe Town)
- Hon. Gabriel Etongo -CNU (Bamuso),
- Hon. William Ebeku -CPDM (Bisoro Balue)
- Chief Daniel Basembani Monyongo - CPDM ( Dikome Balue)
- Hon. Nwalipenja Nkwelle-Lobe -CNU-CPDM
- Hon. Sylvester Itoe Imbia -CPDM (Dikome Balue)
- Hon. Ebune Nakeli -CPDM (Mundemba)
- Hon. Besingi -(UNDP)
- Hon. Mosaki -CPDM ( Mundemba)
- Hon. Nobert Nangia Mbile -CPDM (Lipenja Batanga)
- Hon. Benedict Namongo -CPDM (Bamuso)
- Hon. Peter Mokube -UNDP (Dikome Balue)
- Hon. Martin Mokube -CPDM ( Bafaka Balue)
The following three representatives of the people shall be up for re-election in 2020: Honorable Peter Njume who represents the 27 Balue villages, 11 Barombi villages and 15 Balondo Ba Nanga villages; Honorable Daniel Ngalle Etongo who represents only Bamuso district; and Honorable Mary Meboka who represents 36 Ngolo villages, 26 Ngolo Batanga villages, 19 Bima villages, 3 Balondo Ba Diko villages, Kumbo Etindi, Kumbo Abedimo, 3 Bakoko villages and Isangele. The next election must signal the beginning for the newly-informed Ndian voters to start taking a hard look at candidates who intend to run for office whether they are qualified to be good servants of the people. Equally, the people must react against any candidate imposed on them without their approval like it is often the case.
After studying the sphere of influence of each of these three parliamentarians, we have concluded that there is a need for at least four (4) additional Members of Parliament (MP) to be awarded to Ndian Division because the few MPs that we currently have cannot possibly cover the large topography and represent their people effectively especially as the transport network system in the division is extremely deplorable. In addition to the four more MPs, Ndian needs two more Senators not just one as is presently the situation. There should be no reason why Fako, which is one of the smallest divisions in terms of size and population in the South West Region to have three Senators and Ndian just one and the Ndian politicians are happy about this designation. These injustices must be corrected by our docile MPs. Secondly, besides being naïve in expressing the needs of their constituencies in parliament, the large expanse of land has proven to be ungovernable by the expressionless MPs of Ndian Division.
This issue of naivety is one of the problems the Ndian electorate must correct in subsequent elections. Thirdly, there is a need for an enlightened electorate to vote for qualified individuals who are required to know the problems of the division. The quest to elect people because we ‘like them’ should be an issue of the past. Qualifications and not love should be the crowning jewel of an educated Ndian voter. Finally, the voters and the candidates for MP must come to terms with the realities of the division by drawing a Social Contract, like that drawn by Jean Jacques Rousseau (a French Philosopher) in 1754. This Social Contract must contain the needs of Ndian division which, the MP candidate must sign as a prerequisite to be voted into office. And if 50%-75% of the items on the Social Contract are accomplished he/she shall be retained in office. But if they cannot fulfill a greater majority of the items on the Social Contract we cannot, in no practical terms re-elect them. We cannot continue to elect individuals who do not have the priorities of the Ndian and Oroko people at heart anymore.
In conclusion, it is seemingly untenable for the current crop of Ndian and Oroko politicians to win the trust of the people they were supposed to be serving because, for ten (10) months since the advent of the anglophone crisis none of these elected politicians have expressed their dismay, opposition or dissatisfaction to the current political dispensation in Cameroon much to the mortification of the constituents. Rather, they have been great bedfellows with the administration.
Jackson W. Nanje.