Returning Gratitude,Bridging Gapsin City Council Blog
Sprawling over the north-western plateau of Cameroon, Bamenda, Cameroon's third-ranked city after Yaounde and Douala, capital city of the North West Region and capital of Mezam Division, today adorns its best gear, suitable for the reception of kings.
Indeed, 19 years have gone by since Bamenda last received the Head of State, President of the Republic. To some, these 19 years of both concerted and wasted energy seem just like yesterday; to some others, centuries. Yet, the fact remains: President Paul Biya - the one who accepted Bamenda, and by extension, the entire North West Region as his second home; the one whom the custodians of our belief systems, our customs and our traditions did crown “Fon of Fons;” the man of November 6 1982, who incarnates our Nation-State together with all its Republican Institutions; the leader, who has anchored his New Deal governance on the double index cards of Rigour and Moralisation; and above all, the one whose political manifesto hinges on a Greater Achievement policy - is right here with us.
This Presidential visit to Bamenda has more significance than many of us can ever decipher. As Supreme Commander of Cameroon's Armed Forces, President Paul Biya's choice of Bamenda for the celebration of 50 years of Cameroon's Armed Forces, offers the entire North West Region the unique opportunity of being at ease and at peace with itself and with the whole nation, 50 years into independence and re-unification.
After all, who is not aware of the contribution of the North West to the liberation struggle that led to our independence and re-unification? Again, who is unaware of the partnership the North West has always had with the leadership and governance of this rainbow nation called Cameroon?
As we commune with our Head of State and celebrate our valiant Armed Forces in gold, maybe we should endeavour to take time off to recollect our act as a people and Region these past 50 years vis-à-vis the path we have all walked individually and severally these last 19 years. We all know how rife some of our struggles and fights have been; we are not unaware how deep our wounds have gone; and again, nothing heals and sooths like time, and that too, we know. Is our healing time not yet due? Ask my opinion and I would say it loud and clear: President Paul Biya's visit offers us a healing moment as a people, as a Region. Were it not time we took a breather?
On behalf of the Bamenda City Council, and in the name of all Bamenda City dwellers and the entire North West Region, I welcome all of us to this City of Friendship and Legendary Hospitality as we join our Head of State, President of the Republic, in commemorating half a century of meritorious military service to our growing nation. As you savour the cool climate and hilly scenery of Abakwa, rest assured, as a melting pot of cultural groups and tribes, we are all about a city and a people whose commitment to self-reliance sets the pace in individual and collective development: a people imbued with our traditions and our customs; indeed, a people who are forward-looking, a people who are ready to embrace the world.
Vincent Nji Ndumu