By Yerima Kini Nsom
Truth is endowed with indestructible power. Thus, dismissing Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla, from the University of Buea, for setting an examination question on the reality of the Anglophone Crisis, is a ridiculous and futile attempt at shielding the brutal truth. That act itself is not surprising to those who know so well that pathological lies-telling is a virtue and the modus operandi of the Ongola establishment.
What is really unfortunate is that this coterie of shameless, chronic and unrepentant liars, have taken their mess to the university which is supposed to be a citadel of truth and knowledge par excellence. To them, lecturers that are expected to stimulate critical thinking in the varsity milieu, should be act-same and think-same motions of support robots. To them, every event that does not put a smile on their faces, should be wilfully forgotten.
Otherwise, the question that jilted the politburo sycophants to a feat of partisan dementia, should have been allowed to lie fallow as a nonevent. The examination question that Agbor Balla set in the Political and Constitutional History reads: “The Anglophone crisis since 2016 was caused by lawyers’ and teachers’ strikes. Assess the validity of this statement (40 marks)”. So, where is the aberration in this question? Why all the fuss about a question that was only intended to stimulate the scholar-thinker and analyst potency in law students? Are we saying that these future leaders of our intellectual enterprise should be brainwashed and guided away from the problems ailing our country?
Last year, a teacher was brutally arrested and detained for mentioning to students that the Chair of Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM, Prof. Maurice Kamto, is now the leading opposition leader in Cameroon.
This attitude of a very partisan administration is dousing critical thinking in our universities. Small wonder that many of those who graduate from our universities today are more or less like products of glorified secondary schools. For one thing, Cameroon universities have been transformed into cesspools of the most barbaric dictatorship and human misery for critical lecturers.
If you are a lecturer who thinks out of the box on issues of grave national import, then, your fate is already sealed as an enemy of the Republic. This explains why there is so much brain-drain in Cameroon. Many of our intellectuals who would have genuinely contributed in seeking solutions to the numerous problems plaguing our socio-economic, cultural and political development, have sought safe havens abroad.
Alleluia intellectuals who behave like politburo sycophants are the ones who often get promoted to call the shots in serving the interest of the Yaounde establishment. Thus, we grapple more often with pseudo intellectuals who sing hosanna to the partisan highest, in order to have their breakfast, lunch and super. They belong to the fraternity of self-seeking academics who have joined the sit-tight oppressors in the vicious emasculation of the masses. They are the pretenders and the wilful forgetters of the history of Anglophone Crisis in their bid to curry for more favours from Yaounde. They still propagate the falsehood that the Anglophone Crisis is the handiwork of international NGOs, western countries and unpatriotic citizens who want to destabilise and jilt them out of their quiet enjoyment of resources they have duped the people and amassed.
Many of the so called academics in our country are mere political thugs who have sacrificed academic excellence and genuine intellectual enterprise on the altar of nepotism, partisan myopia and ethnocentric sentiments. They masquerade for patriots since they sing for their soapbox masters in high places. They do not care about the problems the people, if they can meander their way into lining their pockets without being disturbed.
Barrister Agbor Balla, a critical lawyer and a frontline human rights defender, who hits facts on the head and calls issues by their real names, could not be accommodated in such a milieu for long. Abridging his teaching contract at the University is a tell-tale that Yaounde still believes that it can solve the Anglophone Problem by pretending that it does not exist. In their megalomania, some of pristine officials may be contemplating using killer robots in order to eliminate all those who have the facts of the Anglophone Crisis in their minds. It is unfortunate that such a partisan dismissal is taking place in the Anglo-Saxon University of Buea that ought to be a citadel of critical thinking on pending national issues. The genuine acquisition of knowledge cannot flower in university wherein common issues ailing the very fabric of the nation are treated as taboos.
Cameroonians are looking up to the kind of university system that would guarantee the sovereignty of freedom of expression, critical thinking and research. It should be void of partisan and clannish interference on pure academic issues. The dividend of such a university system will be the churning out of genuine intellectuals in tandem with the late Prof. Bernard Fonlon’s prescriptions. According to the late Professor, a genuine intellectual is a thinker-scholar who possesses a warm heart and uses his or her knowledge to solve problems in and promote the wellbeing of society. The authorities who like listening to panegyrics that are laced in falsehood, should learn to equally open their ears to criticisms. For, whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticisms will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery, when the chips finally come down.