News that some chiefs in Limbe had urgently rallied deliberated and issued a politically motivated communiqué distancing themselves from the paramount ruler Elect who handed the country’s opposition scribe the key to the city is still making news wave around the country
Fru Ndi once again surfaced on the spotlight last week during his tumultuous visit to the embattled South West region and was honored by paramount ruler elect with a symbolic key during his official visit to the South West which took him to major corporations affected by the crisis in the region
In a trip which was boycotted by mainstream media, snubbed by most top-ranking government officials and general managers of state corporations in the regions with many delegating powers to their distant deputies as the chairman struggle for political recognition in a region he was always honored with a rock star reception
In a region like North West where the chairman hails from, there is no political appetite for political “niceties” and jubilant ceremonies for political leaders many belief are the cause of their suffering and death of many relatives irrespective of their political leanings
In a video which made rounds on social media, the DO told the chairman he cannot go to SONARA because a commission of inquiry has been put in place to investigate the cause a fire which consumed part of the refinery days before, consequently his visit can hamper their work, forcing the veteran politician to embarrassingly make u-turn with his delegation as armed police officers looked on
But Fru Ndi’s woes were far from over, as stops in CDC, Cameroon’s second largest employer after the state which has been brought to ruins by the crisis saw the chairman being welcome by a low-level official as the general manager and his deputy where nowhere to be seen
Fru Ndi says they had all ran away but their offices say they were out for official and pre-planned programs, but many wonders why all of them just within that period of time when the most powerful political force in the country after Paul Biya is visiting
But amidst the political humiliation and retributions from southwesterners, perhaps the biggest worry was the key issue which pitted traditional rulers at daggers drawn in the town of Friendship-threatening to further polarize the increasingly traditional sphere.
During Fru Ndi’s tumultuous visit to Limbe last weekend, the Paramount Chief elect John Elufa Manga Williams handed a symbolic key of the town to the Chairman saying he is always welcomed to the city.
The act did not go down well with other traditional rulers who have distanced themselves from the move describing it as controversial.
Sitting at the Mokindi Chief’s palace on Monday, the Limbe sub-divisional conference of traditional rulers called on the Paramount Chief elect to tender an apology to the Limbe Chiefs Conference “with regards to the handling of the tradition key to Ni John Fru Ndi”.
They have equally tasked the Paramount Chief elect to address a letter to Ni John Fru Ndi “captioned withdrawal of Traditional Key” to inform him of the said withdrawal
Initially, SDF supporters and party hierarchies downplayed the news, describing it a non-event, but the reverberations were far beyond the boundaries of Ntarinkon
SDF Limbe District Head Thomas Likiye Otto fireback back, blast the chiefs, describing their actions as embarrassing to the people of the city.
“The Chairman was much honored to receive the Keys to the Chiefdom of Limbe from HRH Johny Manga Williams the Paramount Ruler of Limbe. As the Chairman always says he is a ‘kolanut eater’. For those who don’t know, kolanut eaters are respecters of tradition and there was no way he could visit the great city of Limbe without honoring the charismatic traditional ruler of a city that for centuries has practiced and preached the culture of living together,” Thomas Likiye Otto said.
Is the debate necessary?
One of the very reasons why many young Cameroonians have taken up arms to fight for the restoration for their statehood is lost in amongst other things cultural heritage
Chiefs and Fons in the British colonized Anglophone Cameroon were considered secret and hereditary, their stool a symbol of authority and their personality revered
Many argue that the current system has disintegrated this once envied and nostalgic past, forcing traditional rulers who were once unifying forces in their communities to join politics and treat their subjects on political lines
Armed civilian fighters have kidnapped more than two dozen chefs and later freed during the course of the crisis, rubbishing the very secrecy many feared the Fons and chiefs were enjoyed
With eh creation of many villages and politically appointed chiefs by regional officials as they grab lands and make huge businesses why the people suffer the political debate in Limbe concerning chiefs is certainly regretful but not surprisingly
For a Cameroonian who has done so much in the country and written his name in gold in the annals of our history, many would expect all the chiefs of Limbe to rally behind their paramount ruler elect to hand Fru Ndi the key to their beautiful city, after all, it’s a symbol of hospitality for one of the greatest figure of our country and Limbe is a town of Friendship
After all, that is what the Anglophone culture is all about, honoring hard work, excellence irrespective of political divide or tribal lines
If Limbe cannot honor Fru Ndi, who will the city really honor?