Paul Biya: The Visionary Leader

The President of the Republic of Cameroon is one of the rare leaders in the world with an unmatched wisdom in the running of State affairs. In Africa, he remains the maestro other leaders look up to for counselling.

Shawn-Nathan Epang

President Paul Biya is among the wisest leaders the world the world have ever seen. Since taking office in November 1982 as the Head of State of Cameroon, he has shown his sagacity in several domains of national and international concerns. His savvy and wisdom on State issues and his ability to project into the future has made him a visionary leader.

When he took over the helm of the nation, the dynamic leader immediately published a book known as “Communal Liberalism” which is still an inspiration to many issues of national concerns today such as fight against corruption, democracy just to name these few. He also introduced the policy of “rigour and moralisation” in a bid to impart virtues of servitude and patriotism in the people and wipe away negative mentalities that could mar the progress of the State.

President Biya also saw the evolution of the world and cautioned his party members to be ready for competition. Thus, he reintroduced multiparty politics and placed Cameroon on the rails of democracy in early 1990s, a period when most African leaders still held tight to power. He opened the way for democracy with freedom of speech, press, association amongst others coming to reality. From one election organising body to the other, President Biya then created Elections Cameroon, an independent election management organ, to ensure fairness and transparency in all elections in the country.

The heterogeneous nature of the country with over 250 ethnic groups is another challenge that is not easy to surmount. Cameroon, it should be noted, is the only country in the world with such enormous diversity. This explains why the visionary leader again created three more regions taken it from seven to ten so as to bring administration closer to the people and give the people the feeling of belonging. The concept of national integration and unity then became a watch word for President Paul Biya who has not relented in ensuring the unity and oneness of Cameroon as well as protecting its territorial integrity. The President has also ensured the equitable distribution of national wealth with regional balance in development and appointments.

On protecting the territorial integrity of Cameroon, President Biya’s resolve to take the border dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria to the International Court of Justice was and is still a big lessen to world leaders. He avoided blood bathe and opted for a peaceful and diplomatic settlement of the crisis that would otherwise throw Cameroon and her neighbour into a full fledge war that would have resulted to loss of thousands of lives.   He again in the early 2000s created the elite force, Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR). As if he knew Cameroon will today be attacked from all angles by enemies of the fatherland. The BIR has been a formidable force in the protection of territorial integrity in the Far North Region where Boko Haram terrorist group has been attacking since 2014. Same situation in the East Region with Central African Republic rebels who carry out incursions in Cameroon. Today, it is the case of armed separatist groups in the North West and South West Regions. The elite force together with other defence and security forces that also witnessed a lot of mutations to face the contemporary challenges of terrorism, are fighting severely to crush the enemies with success.

On the economic perspective, the slump in the prices of crude oil and raw materials would have had severe consequences on the economies of the Central Africa sub-region if not of the visionary leadership of President Paul Biya. Sensing danger on the horizon, President Biya convened an extraordinary CEMAC leaders meeting on Yaounde in December 23, 2016 to discuss the way forward. International Monetary Fund, IMF boss, Christine Lagarde and French Finance Minister were invited and the future of the six-member countries was discussed. Today, most if not all of CEMAC countries are on IMF Extended Credit Facility programme which will enable them come out of the crisis without the devaluation of the CFA Franc.

Internationally, President Biya called a global riposte to terrorism stating that it is not an affair of one country. Several countries have been stroke by terrorism and he and Lake Chad Basin Commission members formed the Multinational Joint Taskforce to combat Boko Haram. The joint efforts have produced palpable and far reaching results as the Boko Haram scourge is today almost annihilated.

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