Editorial Feature

Who is fooling who: Atanga Nji invokes September 22nd memories with peace plant political stunt

Newly appointed MINAT boss, North West born Paul Atanga Nji has concluded his two days official visit to the restive south west region of the country.

The former minister of special duties at the Presidency of the republic held high level discussions with different stakeholders, religious leaders and administrative officials in a move he termed extending a hand of peace

Coming from one of the country’s most controversial ministers who became a household name by openly denying the existence of an Anglophone problem, a problem which he now says he comes for peace. Many have looked at the seemingly repentant Attanaga Nji with plenty of suspicion.

But Minister Atnaga Nji is no political novice and his move to the increasingly hostile South west region is a well calculated political ploy in his quest to find lasting solution to the ongoing crisis

Political past

Atanga Nji has been an active politician within the ruling CPDM for decades now and his rise to the top of the party should not come as a surprised but an appreciation of a hardworking servant.

Minister Atanga Nji took North West by storm, created Ntarinkong sub section of the ruling CPDM in a bid to challenge the opposition dominance in Mezan and succeeded to challenge the country’s chief opposition in their own backyard, achieving a feet his predecessors and political godfathers could only have dream of.

He enjoyed massive support from his grassroots militants and was known as the soldier of the party as his untraditional rallies and massive calls for the people to support the chairman unconditionally, resonated with his base and gain him favor from hierarchy.

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But just as he was quickly received, so too was he quickly rejected by the same people who once sang is songs of praise.

When the country’s spy chief denied the existence of Anglophone problem, his people distance themselves from him and even Party comrades failed to support him, leaving the firebrand minister in political wilderness.

He was even stoned in Bamenda when he visited during the peak of the crisis and only rescued by security forces in 2016 and many considered him traitor of the people

His denial and constant one-man support to the party and President of the republic earned him the position of ministry of territorial administration in a move political observers condemned all round

Early days as territorial administration boss

Soon after taking office, he unleashed a series of executive orders, ordering his governors to report to him twice daily, banning motorbikes for a week in some areas of the two affected region. His orders were met with repudiation and violation in some quarters while it others did respect it.

Soon after that, he followed up with his official homecoming to his native North West region where was poorly received did not deter him

Armed to the teeth, the defiant minister visited affected areas as military helicopters trailed his move and held meetings with traditional ruler and other stakeholders.

After spending close to a week in Bamenda, distributing motorbikes to some people and helmet to others, Minister Atanga Nji quickly rushed to Yaoundé to handclap the transparency of recently held senatorial elections before speeding to the South west region for his peace mission. Arriving to the south west region, Mr Atanga Nji quickly won the hearts of some as he flouts protocol, commune with the people; rubbishes tradition and even gave “gombo” to journalists personally.

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Before long, some were singing his praise in some quarters while other still look at him with suspicion.

But for Minister Atanaga Nji and those who knows him, he is a political guru in his own right and knows how to play the game and win

But the image which has stunt many is the one with the minster carrying peace plant in the South west region

Why it matters

The last memory of people carrying peace plant was in September 22nd 2017 when the population of almost every town, and villages in South West and North West region took to the streets, overpowered a visibly unprepared government and under-staff security officials to declare their dislike for the government and call for independence on October 1st that same year.

What follows after that was a brutal crackdown and escalation of the conflict today which have left many dead, thousands displaced and living as refugees in neighboring Nigeria and around the country with many more death?

Many have taken to social media to mock at the minister for carrying the same plant peaceful protesters used and were met with bullets even though the government has denied all the allegations of killing civilians saying it is fighting terrorists forces who wants to divide the country.



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