Dear Dr Nick Ngwanyam, we have come to the end of 2013. Would you say it was a successful year? What did we do that was good and what went bananas? — We want to thank all Cameroonians for a peaceful 2013. We hope that we shall continue to enjoy the same peace and harmony in 2014 and beyond. We are a united country and we are also bilingual to some extent. For these we thank God. We also have a lot of free forest we can cut and sell, I mean others can cut for us and pay us what they think we are due.

We have other natural resources and we do not have to work. This is a real blessing and I think we had a lot of ‘boose’ as well. We thank God for his kindness. Before I forget, you know that we live on about 95 percent of imported products. We have no capacity to make anything except to bottle some water which by all standards is very expensive on our markets.

The most beautiful part is that we have a lot of rice. There will be no strikes during the Christmas and New Year feasts because we have enough Chinese, Pakistani and Indian rice on the market. Those who have money can get Uncle Bens and perfumed rice. We have a lot of imported fish and sometimes chickens wings and pork chops in plenty. If you ask whether or not we have succeeded, there should be some land marks or mile stones by which we have to judge ourselves. Without such bench-marks; we would be blowing hot air and turning in circles till thy kingdom come.

We are talking about success in our families which are units of society and Cameroon at large. If the family fails, Cameroon would fail as well. The question to ask is what have been our goals in our private lives and that of the nation. What have been the objectives? How did we tackle the tasks we were supposed to do? What results did we get? It is the cumulative balance sheet that tells us who we are, where we are and what adjustments we need to make to get to where we want to be or aught to be. Just making blanket statements and claiming success with no tangible proofs or measurements of such success is self deceit at its worse.

Collectively, as a nation, we have not succeeded past 40 percent of what God expects of us. We underrate ourselves in what we are capable of doing. We have an underdog mentality and suffer from a lack of self esteem. We think that only whites and Asians can do things for us. We do not have a ‘Do It Yourself’ mentality. Until you can do it yourself, you cannot claim any measure of success. If you pay others to do it because you have no technical abilities; you can baptise yourself a failure.

We call in the Chinese, French, Lebanese and others from around the globe to build our roads, cut our tress for us, make puff and bake bread for us and do our dirty work. We sell oil to buy puff-puff and we are unable to provide running water at the National Assembly building for years on end.

If they cut a lot of wood and we see piles on piles of it enough to balance our trade deficit, we will still be failures because we use that money, I mean five hundred billion every year to buy rice, champagne and beautiful cars and watches and we cannot sell to them anything that we manufactured. We only sell what God gave us for free and we are so ill-mannered that we never thank God for such manna from heaven. That is the trouble with Cameroon. We take a lot for granted.

So, in your assessment, we are no good. What should we do exactly to be counted amongst human beings with some sense of reasoning? I understand we are acting like animals.

God made us to do four things on earth. Animals cannot do the four things and God does not expect respect from such creatures. We are supposed to LOVE HIM, PRAISE HIM, WORSHIP HIM and then WORK.

If I do anything that does not reflect any of the above objectives and reasons for which God created me, I have failed! When you love God, you must, by necessity, love man, your neighbour. If we do not love each other in our families and in our nation, we have failed! When we are greedy, cheat, do not respect merit and are corrupt in all manner of ways; when we sex for marks, opportunities and positions, we insult God.

What is work? What is work that is well done? What is self discipline, intellectual honesty, respect of the environment, prayer? Do they mean anything to us? What does it mean to give? Sacrifice?

If I am a Senator, Minister, Parliamentarian or Mayor; if I am the head of our family and I have power, money and wealth, have I succeeded if I do not use all these things for common good? What is common good? What is happiness? What is self satisfaction? If I am happy, does it matter really if everyone else is unhappy? If God is so kind to me, why should I bother about others who probably are not favoured because they are sinners?

 We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God in Cameroon. In 2014, we must correct these errors and we shall see the light. We must change our educational system, change all the curricula and enhance professional and technological education. We must try to do everything ourselves. We must seek for divine wisdom and make sure that we fear the Lord. We must change our attitudes positively towards one another and towards work and God. Anything not in line with this would be another failure extended into 2014.

May God the Almighty give us WISDOM.  We must work and live according to values and principles. We must love, respect life, and truth. God is spirit and we must worship him in spirit. He is soul and we must watch our souls.  He is infinite intelligence and so we must seek to operate in that sphere of intelligence. Happy New Year

First published in The Post print edition no 01493