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Analysis: PM Yang – Prodigal Son Or Political Messiah? 

By Peterkins Manyong

No matter how popular a man may be to the rest of the world, if he is not respected in his home he is like a bird with beautiful feathers which looks attractive outside but beneath is just like any ordinary bird – Cyprian Ekwensi "Beautiful Feathers". There is no occasion more appropriate for testing the popularity of an individual, as hinted above, than home coming. Conversely, nothing can more expose that person’s rejection by his kindred. A political prophet must first be recognised in his own home.

Philemon Yang will be in Bamenda on October 4. It is difficult to know and useless to enquire why the visit when the same Biya Regime he serves recently banned homecoming. What is, however, relevant is the fact that the news of the impending visit caused quite a stir in the Region. As to whether a majority of Northwesterners are enthusiastic about it is left to time.
What is an indisputable fact is that CPDM barons of the Region have held several meetings in Bamenda; the most massively attended being the meeting of the Northwest CPDM Coordination led by former Transport Minister, John Begheni Ndeh.

The executive of the Northwest Fons’ Union, NOWEFU, have, reportedly, also scheduled a confab for this weekend, the focus being the impending visit. The CPDM barons, among them, the fascinating Hon. SN Tamfu, did the unexpected. Rather than chastise Fru Ndi (the Atanga Nji style) they are genuflecting before the SDF Chieftain with the plea that he should soften up because Yang is a "son of the native soil". The Ad hoc Committee for the Revitalisation of Northwest Development, created on March 26 by Governor Abakar Ahamat, has also resolved that Yang will be accorded a hero’s welcome.

At the level of Yaounde, preparations are being coordinated by Dr. Calistus Fuh Gentry, known to be a very meticulous organizer. He has reportedly been crisscrossing the country to ensure that nobody stays away as a result of ignorance or neglect. Judging from the above activities, it is easy to predict that Yang will be received with considerable enthusiasm. But what is not certain is if he will leave the people of the Region with the same degree of optimism that warmed the heart of the populace ahead of the visit.

This optimism can only be occasioned by assurances that government will give Northwesterners their most cherished desires, the first being the tarring of the much talked about Ring Road, a project President Biya promised in 1991 "to personally supervise".
Incidentally, the PM is coming when part of the Ring Road, the stretch between Babungo and Baba 1, is becoming completely impassable. While in Bamenda, the PM will have the opportunity to know why that stretch of road, the contract of which was won by Hon. Richard Walang, is in that pathetic  state.

If the Almighty listens to Hon. Tamfu’s supplications, the sky will "split open" on that day so that the PM, who is no stranger to impassable roads, can be jolted aback to reality. If the reception has to take place in the Bamenda Congress Hall, the PM and his entourage, if they hadn’t done some jogging before, will have the singular opportunity of being well jostled as their cars amble along the pothole-ridden stretch of road to the house of the ruling CPDM.

Another request Northwesterners will be making is that of a university of science and technology. This will be the logical conclusion of a process which began with the granting of a technical higher institute and the Second Cycle of the Higher Teachers’ Training College, ENS, Bambilli. ENS Yaounde is attached to the University of Yaounde 1 and it is logical that a university be created in Bamenda to which these schools should be affiliated.

Northwesterners would not be riding an unwilling horse to death if a referral hospital tails the list of demands, given that good health is the prerequisite to genuine development. While in the Northwest, the PM is expected to do what he considered inappropriate soon after his appointment: accept decoration by Northwest Fons. In a move which many considered dancing lame before the occasion of the real dance, members of the Northwest Fons Union paid him an expeditious visit even when the newly appointed PM was yet to take up residence at the Star Building. This does not, however, make the PM infallible.

But if praise must go where it is deserved, Yang is a very competent and level headed administrator as demonstrated by the following account although it must be admitted that soon after his appointment, he produced and distributed road maps to all 31 ministries-a break from the past when various ministers produced their own road maps. This ensures more efficiency as none of them is at a loss about what to do. Besides, there is absolute discipline, as all members of government, including "super scale" ones, attend all cabinet meetings and, (unlike what transpired before) speak only when permitted to. 

As proof of his determination to eradicate corruption, the PM has ordered his Director of Cabinet to hands off the very lucrative activity of awarding contracts. The PM has also refused to intervene so that relations and tribesmen gain admission into high profile professional schools like ENAM and ENS. He has even ordered investigations into corrupt practices in ministries with a promise of sanctions for culprits.

Above all, the PM is said to have demystified the Star Building by receiving all those who seek audience with him. His courage demonstrated by his intervention to check Mebe Ngo’o’s Anglophobia in the recent Gendarmerie Competitive Exam Affair, has greatly neared Yang to a majority of Anglophones.

So, whether Yang is to be received as a prodigal son or as a political messiah, what matters is if he will leave the Northwest better than he found it. Only then would he deserve the same panegyric given by Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to the white headed Roman Senator: "His silver hairs will purchase for us golden opinions and make men commend our deeds."

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