Cameroon Journal, Kumba – Former two-terms CPDM MP for Akwaya who is also Chairman of the People Action Party, PAP, Ayah Paul Abine has been elected new leader of the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC. He was given the confidence to lead the group during a gathering held in Kumba yesterday.
While accepting the confidence bestowed on him, Ayah, however, did not say if he will resign his position as PAP national chairman or not.
The meeting, initially scheduled to hold at Kumba Catholic School Hall was held in a private residence after the church officials refused to allow the activists use the hall. The move, our reporter was hinted, was fuelled by government’s refusal to grant the meeting organisers authorisation to meet.
Even though the Kumba gathering was boycotted by most North West SCNC members, Nfor Ngala Nfor, former vice chairman to the late Chief Ayamba sounded rather excited that Ayah Paul will now sit on the movement’s hot seat. “Ayah Paul’s election as national chairman is good news for the Southern Cameroons’ independence struggle,” Nfor told our reporter by phone last night.
Ayah Paul who himself was present at the elective assembly told delegates that his priority assignment will be to undertake a trip to the United Nations and Europe early next year to speed up the Southern Cameroons independence. He is equally expected to reconcile all the various factions and put in place a dynamic national executive; comprising activists from both the North West and South West regions. It was announced at yesterday’s meeting that Ayah Paul’s policy statement would be made public only later today, Dec. 16.
Anglophone mayors, parliamentarians, senators and diplomats invited to the meeting all stayed away. Fon Martin Yembe who was among front-liners for the post of the next SCNC national chairman rather reacted angrily when his opinion was sort; on the eve of the Kumba assembly. “I have heard of the SCNC elective general assembly in Kumba but that does not interest me…,” Yembe who is also first deputy mayor to the Ndu SDF-run council told our reporter.
It should be recalled that since the creation of the SCNC, only South Westerners have led the group. The first was Sam Ekontang Elad. He was succeeded by retired Ambassador Henry Fossung. He was forced to exile abroad and was replaced by Prince Ndoki Mukete.
Mukete abandoned the movement when in 2000; Justice Ebong Frederick seized Radio Buea and declared the Southern Cameroons independence. Mukete who was a FECAFOOT official in Yaounde might have feared he would be linked to the Buea radio seizure and resigned his position as SCNC national chairman.
Logically, he was replaced by another South Westerner, Justice Ebong who had championed the CRTV Buea independence declaration. When he was arrested, detained in Kondengui and later freed, Ebong took refuge abroad and so was replaced by Chief Ayamba who had also participated in the independence declaration on CRTV Buea.
According to an unwritten arrangement that has stayed on since its creation, the offices of the SCNC first vice chairman, treasurer and secretary general among others are reserved for the North West. It is however, not clear if North Westerners who boycotted the meeting will maintain the arrangement.
The SCNC first emerged in Buea as All Anglophones Conference. It witnessed the cream of who is who from the North West and South West regions. It had in attendance, among others, the late John Ngu Foncha and Solomon Tendeng Muna. Its intention then was to address the Anglophone issue in the 1996 constitution that was being revised in Yaounde.
The meeting later continued in Bamenda as AAC II before transforming into SCNC after the Yaounde authorities failed to give an ear to Anglophone marginalisation and the abrogation of the federal system of government on which union between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun was founded in 1972.
SCNC’s vision, according to organizers of the Kumba assembly, remains the same and is guided by the motto: “The force of argument, not the argument of force”.