For some time now, Cameroon’s flamboyant and noisy territorial administration minister, Paul Atanga Nji, has been missing in action even as thousands of the country’s army soldiers are being killed and humiliated by a ragtag military that started off with machetes and clubs to defend the population and its territory against the invaders from East Cameroon.
The man who said there was no Southern Cameroons crisis when the problem hit the international stage and the author of many new expressions, including “the boyses in the bushes” and “burying the bereaved” has suddenly disappeared from the public’s eye and nobody is talking about him in public.
The conman par excellence had told his bosses in Yaoundé that if given the territorial administration portfolio, he would end the high level insurgency in days given that he knew the terrain and was an Anglophone.
Strangely, after more than two years in such a high position Paul Atanga Nji has not achieved much and things have gone from bad to worse despite all the tactics he has used, including killing young males and placing weapons on their corpses and creating groups pretending to be new Southern Cameroonian factions in the conflict.
Some people are also holding that he might be helping the other Paul, the one struggling for his life in Geneva, with his illnesses. It is still tough to many sound minds to understand how a person can help a sick person when illnesses are not transferable.
However, many regime insiders are warning that Paul Atanga Nji is someone who can transform sand into gold and that he could still pretend that his presence by the ailing Paul might help reduce his pain. No one should underestimate Atanga Nji, a regime baron advised.
From every indication, the territorial administration boss seems to be seeing the writing on the wall. The crisis in Southern Cameroons will not be over anytime soon and his promise to mop up the mess out there cannot be fulfilled, especially as Amba fighters have procured more sophisticated weapons and have also sharpened their hit-and-run tactics.
He may also be seeing the end of the massive scam that his government has put in place. The architect of this scheme has been pinned down in a Geneva clinic by many debilitating illnesses and the chances of him recovering are very slim. Paul Atanga Nji may just be plotting his exit strategy as he knows the next president will not be using his services which have done much to send many young soldiers to an early grave and have deeply divided the country.
Paul Atanga Nji, the man with very limited formal education, is very responsible for the killing of more than 10,000 Cameroonians in a war that could have been avoided if the right words and approaches had been used.
He strongly believes in the use of a hammer to kill a fly and holds that negotiating or talking to opponents is a sign of failure and this has plunged the country in a pretty mess. Now that things have spiralled out of control, he has gone underground. He is simply tired of “burying the bereaved” as the “boyses in the bushes” continue to put up a huge show that has left the government wondering.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai
Cameroon Concord News Group