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Analysis: Requiem For NOWEFU 

By Peterkins Manyong

Cameroon is indisputably a unique nation. Those who conceived the phrase "le Cameroun c’est le Cameroun" did some good thinking to arrive at it What they meant was that the things that happen in Cameroon can’t happen elsewhere. In Cameroon nobody believes in anything which does not have as goal the gratification of the appetite. Creativity, therefore, has as source of inspiration the urge to put food on the table.

The ingenuity of the Biya Regime lies in its ability to convince its citizens that  they are moving ahead when , in reality, they are only turning round like one seated in a rocking chair. Cameroon is yet to be equaled on the African continent in the domain of slogans and white elephant projects.

Within the last two weeks, the Cameroonian press has been reeking with news about the formation of an organisation called The National Traditional Rulers’ Forum. When we consider the rate at which our tradition is being degraded with each passing day such a forum is an absolute necessity.

What, however, arouses suspicion about the whole affair is the excessive enthusiasm for the new traditional rulers’ grouping by members of the Northwest Fons’ Union, NOWEFU, which, within the last one and a half years since it elected a new executive, has been in a state of complete inertia. Why this enthusiasm to be part of a forum which has practically nothing at stake when the Northwest Region is metaphorically in flames?

The formation of a national union for traditional rulers is a further step in the direction of emasculating the formerly formidable custodians of culture. This means that Northwest Fons will henceforth sit in conclave with ragamuffins that pass for traditional rulers, chiefs dressed like forest guards and even women. Soon, we shall hear honorific forms such as "Mr. Fon" rather than "Your Highness" The most pathetic thing about it all is that this process of reducing Fons to garbage is enjoying the blessing of prominent newspapers of Northwest origin .A national forum for Fons is anything but a ridiculous idea. But the first function of a Fon is to rule his people.

By maintaining peace and unity in his Fondom he is performing a greater patriotic duty than sitting in the full glare of TV cameras and talking national integration. .Those who strove to unite Northwest Fons struck the right note .Northwesterners needed a forum where numerous tribal conflicts that plagued the region could be discussed. They also needed a lobby for their development and collective well-being. .

Those who heap encomiums on greedy Fons seeking to position themselves at the national level are grossly unfair to the indigenes of Bamali and Oshie where the poison tree of hatred has been growing with lightning rapidity; a tree which would soon be watered with the blood of the innocent, if its growth is not immediately halted. Fons should stop behaving like the owner of a house who, rather than try to put out the fire in his house chooses to pursue a rat escaping from the flames.

Our Fons have since become tragic heroes, not as a result of fate or some supernatural cause, but because they have since become "eating chiefs" Nobody deserves to be trusted who acts on the dictates of his appetite. The fall of a tragic hero in Aristotelian and Shakespearean concepts cause pity and fear. What reigns in the Northwest as a consequence of our royal tragedy is neither pity nor fear but scorn. It was not a misfortune when in 1996 prominent Fons agreed to head CPDM council lists. It was vaulting ambition.

And when their subjects lambasted them with the excuse that they were addressing politicians and not Fons. Their only fear is, fear of the unknown as they see their cultural edifice, the only assurance of their security collapsing. In the past, mysteries like the white dust now descending on the heads of Bamenda residents could be resolved by Fons after consultations with their ancestors. No punishment is too severe for the hypocrite who in the midst of a heated controversy, pretends to be neutral.

Necessity is the mother of invention, goes the hackneyed saying. When the Northwest was burning as a result of tribal conflicts, Fons and concerned Northwesterners cried out for salvation. God said "Let there be NOWEFU" and the situation was brought under control. Just after the populace had heaved a sigh of relief, NOWEFU, collapsed like a house of cards.

It is hoped that those who destroyed the Northwest should not carry their fire of greed to other regions of the country. The Fons of Bali and Guzang therefore had very sound reasons to express their reservations about such a forum on CRTV’s Tuesday, March 23 "Morning Safari" programme. This is the moment of truth.

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