Solid Historical Foundation Amid Salutary Consolidation Efforts

The founding fathers of present day Cameroon had set the stage for national unity through the reunification of the British Southern Cameroon and French Cameroon in 1961. President Paul Biya since taking over power in 1982, has taken tangible and salutary measures to consolidate national unity, peaceful coexistence and national integration.

Cameroon is commonly referred as “Africa in miniature” at the international scene. This is because the country is not only blessed with natural and man-made endowments but is also opportune to have over 250 ethnic groups; making it a mosaic of cultures found across Africa. However, sustaining peace, national unity and concord and ensuring living together by these 250 ethnic groups with varied languages and culture is the greatest challenge.

Historically, Cameroonians had taken the option to return to one country as was the case before colonialization and during the German annexation. After the defeat of the Germans in Cameroon in 1916 by ally forces of Britain and France, the territory was partitioned into two unequal parts (British Southern Cameroon and East Cameroon) and placed under Mandatory territories of the League of Nations under the authority of Britain and France. It later became Trusteeship territories when the United Nation’s was created.

Eventually, French (East) Cameroon gained independence from the French in 1960 with Amadou Ahidjo as President. On February 11, 1961, a plebiscite was conducted in the British Cameroons to choose whether they want independence by joining the Federal Republic of Nigeria or La Republique du Cameroun.  While the British Southern Cameroon overwhelmingly voted to join their brothers of French Cameroon, British Northern Cameroon (Present day Bornu State in Nigeria) voted to join the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The choice of Southern Cameroons to join their brothers was mainly to return to the precolonial one Cameroon that existed. This marked the beginning of reunification between the two Cameroons. The two entities then formed what became known as the Federal Republic of Cameroon in October 1, 1961.

Given the exigencies and expenses of running the federal system, President Amadou Ahidjo called for a referendum on May 20, 1972 during which Cameroonians voted to abolish the federal system and became United Republic of Cameroon with the two star national flag giving way to just one-star to signify unity.  In 1983, President Paul Biya created three new provinces (today known as regions) and in 1984, he changed the name from United Republic of Cameroon to Republic of Cameroon. This was a return to the original Cameroon.

President Paul Biya has since taking office as President of the Republic of Cameroon in 1982, been relentless in consolidating national unity and fostering national integration. Through the constructions of unity infrastructure like roads, bridges amongst others. Peace, unity and stability remains his constant preoccupation and Cameroonians in their vast majority have remained jealous of their unity, peace and integration despite disturbances in some parts of the territory. President Paul Biya, the architect of modern day Cameroon, is resolute in maintaining the country’s stability and its indivisibility. Reason why, he is fighting with his last energy, Boko Haram terrorist and secessionist groups in the Far North Region and the English-speaking part of the country respectively in order to preserve Cameroon’s national integrity and sovereignty. The man who cherishes dialogue as the only way of solving problems created the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in a bid to foster the living together of Cameroonians. He has also been a promoter of sports given that Cameroonians of all shades of opinion rally behind their sports men and women as one man especially the Indomitable Lions.

Shawn-Nathan Epang 

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