From a legal perspective the two choices are mutually exclusive. However, from a pragmatic panorama the former is but the precursor of the latter. We, the people of West Cameroon aka Anglophones, aka, Southern Cameroonians aka ‘Les Anglo’ have experienced both alternatives. Lest we forget, in the context of nationhood, the name ‘La Republique du Cameroun’ is anathema to the spirit of the union between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun in Oct.1961. Why we should stand against the Cameroonian project.
- The present name of Cameroon totally negates and renders the Oct. 1961 plebiscite null and void. Thus, as it stands we the people of Southern Cameroons have been ‘assimilated’ under duress.
- The question of identity is central to any nation as it’s the bedrock of patriotism. Cameroon as a State lacks a solid identity. Football is no baseline of patriotism. It’s a mirage. Values and ideals shape, inform and instill patriotism.
- We of West Cameroon identify with ideals and values that are foreign to most sections of French Cameroun: The rule of Law, Common Law, and West Cameroon Education System rooted in English, respect for Institutions and elders, absolute equality before the law, healthy debates, fairness and probity.
- For a nation to flourish it needs to tap into the deep well of her heroes. Our heroes are different from those in French Cameroon. We Anglophones West of the Mungo see ourselves as sons and daughters of Endeley and Foncha- our towering statesmen. Ahidjo is alien to our consciousness.
- In order to be an indivisible nation, the people must FEEL that bond to each other, must instinctively know they belong. We Anglophones of West Cameroon don’t feel we ‘belong!! We feel foreign, insecure and apprehensive ironically in a land we call home. Cameroon ‘feels’ like two different States. We do not belong and we are often told point-blank we aren’t welcome; with names like ‘ Les Biafras’ ‘Les Bamendas’ ‘Les Anglos la’
- An inseparable nation must have a common National Anthem which inspires and channels patriotism. Cameroon got two versions of an anthem that says completely different things in French and English. No wonder most Anglophones west of the Mungo remember only the first and last stanzas of it. As a people we don’t connect with this anthem. We might connect with Dr. Fonlon’s second version not the first.
- Finally, Anglophones West of the Mungo are a people!! Had a parliament, a judiciary, a Prime Minister, and was a de facto State prior to Oct.1961. We know where we are coming from thus; we know where we are heading.
- La Republique du Cameroon was conceived in violence and oppression. Its thirst for violence, torture and oppression goes back to its birth- Remember the massacre of thousands of Bamileke-Bassa UPCists? Remember Ruben Um Nyobe, Ernest Ouandie, Felix Moumie?
As evidenced by their continuous brutality on peaceful citizens, the Forces of law and order in La Republique du Cameroun are still tied to their umbilical cord of violence and torture. The crimes they have committed in Buea and Bamenda will not be forgotten. Given the above, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that sooner or later Cameroon will be at a crossroads where we will have to make that seismic choice of Federation or secession.
As a people we have the inalienable right to self-determination guarantee under International law. When the time comes-and come it must; my vote, sweat or blood will be for secession. The political class East of the Mungo have proven themselves callous, duplicitous and incapable of positive change. Enough!
By Peter Azinui Suh