Cameroonian Christians joined their counterparts the world over on December 25 to celebrate the great event of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior whose remarkable life of virtue, teaching and sacrificial death on the Cross of Calvary form the bedrock of the over two thousand-year-old Christian religion. Even in a nation overrun by materialistic wooliness, self-centered pedestrianism and other social vices impacting negatively on spirituality and morality, a nation witnessing an inexorable decline in public morality and Christian values, the continued influence of Jesus Christ is nevertheless unmistakable.
Cameroonian Christians should therefore reflect on Christ’s compassionate life and instructions and apply His teachings in their individual lives. Through His love, Christ demonstrated God’s mercy and compassion for mankind. So, Cameroonians should always show mercy to all in their communities with love and charity that touches the lives of those around them. In a nation begging for good exemplars, President Biya and the ruling elite occupy a unique place in that deficiency. The soul of the country is lost and the nation has been taken hostage by a cabal of octogenarians tottering on the borders of senile decay. The President is completely out of touch with reality and his underlings are stealing the nation blind in his name. In Cameroon today, it is now fashionable to steal only in billions. Just look at the scandalous contracts in the AFCON 2019 debacle. As a result, a blessed nation seems cursed and rudderless in life’s ocean.
This should engage the attention of all in this festive season. Christmas, of course, has come to be associated with festivities, the celebration of family and friendship, with the exchange of visits and gifts. For Cameroonians, however, this year’s Christmas is bringing to a close, a year of forlorn hopes and shattered expectations. The nation has been struggling to cope with poverty, worsening economic crisis, decaying social infrastructure and even more widespread insecurity, especially in the Northwest and Southwest regions; in the throes of a full blown armed insurgency by Ambazonia restoration fighters.
Reports of monumental corruption and mindless looting of the treasury continue with the scandalous contracts awarded in the countdown to the AFCON 2019 debacle. The fight against corruption appears lost as the regime has surrendered to the superior firepower of graft. The rising insecurity accompanied by kidnapping for ransom especially in the Anglophone regions has made every Cameroonian a prisoner in his own land. So hostile is the land that many youths would do anything including trekking across the desert to escape it and not minding the risks being taken. As a result, when not dying on the voyage, Cameroonians have ended up as slaves being sold in the open market in North African countries.
In spite of the agony and the social chaos that have buffeted in the country, the celebratory spirit of the Cameroonian is one that is most irrepressible. This incurable optimism in the average Cameroonian is what appears to have secured the peaceful quiet that prevails in many quarters today amid the subsisting trauma of life. Cameroonians, their pains notwithstanding, live the truism that Christmas is indeed the proclamation of good news. It is a celebration of joy and of hope. The Christ whose birth was celebrated on December 25 has given the world a roadmap to abundant life, peace and prosperity. Taken seriously and applied in individual and corporate lives, the values preached by Jesus Christ, namely, sacrificial love, justice, compassion, leadership by service, forgiveness, humility and purity of heart, will transform Cameroon for the better.
And so, in the middle of the festivities, Christians are once again challenged to live up to the core values of their religion, and impact positively on their socio-cultural and political environment. Christians are challenged to reject the prevailing cult of greed and selfishness, to shun the widespread cult of pleasure, to reject the dominant cult of money and strive to live purposeful lives devoted to the advancement of the common good. It is time for Cameroonian leaders to exhibit the attributes of Jesus Christ in order to build a just, peaceful and prosperous nation. Until that happens, Anglophones will continue to see no reason to belong to a country run by gangsters and kleptocrats.
By Ekinneh Agbaw-Ebai