Thursday, November 15, 2018
You are here: Home » Latest News » Lawyers Bookmark This Page

Lawyers 

Interviewed By Bouddih Adams

CameroonPostline.com — Ntumfor Barrister Nico Halle has praised lawyers for the coming together, burying the hatchet, carrying on elections in serenity and living in solidarity, which, he says, is healthy for the Cameroonian nation. He an exclusive inter-face with The Post, he also announced that he will not run for the post of CMF National President when his mandate ends in a couple of years to come.
Excerpts:

The Bar elections finally held in Bamenda, how would you describe the conduct of the elections?

Before I get to describe the conduct of the elections, I will like to duff my hat to the Cameroonian media that reported very responsible on the crisis that rocked the Bar Association. I will like to thank God Almighty who presided over the deliberations and the elections. Now, my impressions about the elections can only be positive.

The Elections were scheduled to take place within two days, that is August 11 and 12, but, eventually, they took three days because the number of lawyers has increased enormously; previously we had about 700 lawyers, now they are in the thousands, so you can understand why the elections dragged on. Barrister Tang Emmanuel was elected President of the General Assembly and the Vice Barrister Vivian Nana and Barrister Francis Sama the Bar Council President.

Barrister Sama is a very level-headed, trusted, hard-working lawyer and has had a track record on the Bar Council over the years; so his election, to me, was not a surprise, because he has the trappings, the experience, he has the know-how and I’m very, very convinced that he is going to deliver. The past Bar Presidents, during their various mandates, did their best and left their legacies.

I think Barrister Sama would start from there and I pray that God should stand by him to make the Bar the envy and the pride of the lawyers. I’m very optimistic that, with God, he will deliver. Fortunately we have a Minister of Justice, Laurent Esso, who is a sound Magistrate and an understanding personality with whom we are going to work. I am confident that he will give us the necessary support.

A lot of animosity preceded the Bar Elections. What mechanism has been put in place so that such cannot happen again and the association doesn’t take two years before elections are held?

I think we learn from our mistakes, our shortcomings and imperfections. It’s only a fool who will not learn from the past and make amends. I think that the new Bar Council, with a very dynamic Bar President who is also very spiritual, who is a Christian, and the other 14 members of the Council, will make their mark and I’m sure that all the lawyers in Cameroon would be able to support and give advice when necessary. The conflicts and accusations that have existed in the past that have paralysed the Bar Association for more than two years should not arise again.

You can be sure of that from what I noticed when I reconciled the conflictual factions; the former Bar Council President, Barrister Eta Bissong, and the Bar Assembly President, Hypolite Meli. I had an avalanche of phone calls, SMS and E-mails from lawyers all over the nation, including those that I don’t know, thanking me for having taken that initiative. I think that their presence in Bamenda was proof of their appreciation of what I did and also their determination to see that this does not happen in future.

I know that shortly after taking off, the new Bar Council are going to address some of these issues and I think that the President of the General Assembly, in no distant time, should be able to convene an extra General Assembly during which we are going to be looking at the problems. We are dealing with learned men, though it’s true that learnedness is not wisdom, but I think that they now understand that nobody benefits from violence, animosity, conflict, hatred or from disorder.

The Bar Association has greatly suffered from this because it paralysed the organisation of the exams for pupil lawyers and that has done a lot of damage because the image or the reputation of the lawyer was dragged in mud. I want to congratulate all lawyers through this medium for their behaviour in Bamenda; there was lot serenity, a lot of camaraderie, love and oneness.

As a matter of fact, after the reconciliation of the 4th of June, things got calm, hatred was buried, we sorted out the problem and everybody went to Bamenda in love, in joy and I think that victory is that of the lawyer, the association, those who were elected and, above all, victory is that of God. Because, when lawyers are in factions, are torn apart, our laws are torn apart, justice is torn apart, the sovereignty is shattered, their image is shattered; because, when lawyers strike, their strike is very big and can cause huge financial losses for the nation.

This should not happen again, they should be seen to be defending the weak, the voices of the voiceless and those whose rights have been trampled upon. I think that the lawyers, more than ever before, would continue to play the major roles they are expected to play for the growth and the development of our beautiful, darling nation.

The sanity brought back into the Bar Association makes it the envy of every other association in this country and moves young people to want to practice law. What with the Law School harangued some time ago?

We have been clamouring for a law school – for more than 10 years now. Most nations have law schools; why not Cameroon? So, who is benefitting from this vacuum? That frustrates young aspirants who should get into the profession, because, there is now a generational gap and if lawyers are not admitted for three or four years, it means that in the future they will be a generational gap of three to four years and our law is going to suffer.

Admission should be a yearly thing. This is one of the challenges that our new Bar President, his team and all of us should be able to face squarely. There needs to be regular statutory organisation of Bar Examination. Those who guarantee human rights, rule of law, good governance and peace and so on are the lawyers and if they are not there, you can imagine how shaky the system can be.

Why would you prefer to be a kingmaker instead of being the king?

That’s a very challenging question. Over the years, my colleagues have asked me to run either as member of the Bar Council or the Bar President or the General Assembly President, but, because of the many things I handle, I think I prefer that my colleagues go in because you know when you handle so many things, you become ineffective and inefficient.

I remember some years ago there was a lot of clamouring that I should take over the Bar President but I saw my hands full. But, again, you must understand that I’ve said over and over that there are people who might think that it is Nico Halle carrying the load, no! God is the one using me to achieve his proposals. I use the Bible, I use his Word, it’s not Nico Halle’s word.

I meditated and prayed when I went in for reconciliation, I thank both Eta-Besong and Meli and their teams for the honour that they gave me because they were not obliged to accept the proposal; but they gave me the honour because it was the Holy Spirit that spoke and victory is God’s victory, the Bar’s victory and the victory of Cameroonians because the Bar belongs to Cameroon.

Don’t you think that at one moment, when certain things have put in place, when load is off your hands, you’d want to become Bar Council President?

Let us say God has our future in His handsGod determines what I will be. Before I was born, He knew what I will become. If it is His will for me to move into any post, I will. But if it is not his will, I will not. I never force anything, I never force anything because when you force something, you fraud something, you bribe in something, you rig something and you get in, you don’t own it because you have stolen somebody’s thing.

However, I don’t want to think that the doors are close, and if I were to run, then, it will not be that of the Bar President, I would want to just be the President of the General Assembly. If the people say I’m less charged in future, then I should run to make my own contribution.

I would tell you that before the beginning of this year, before the problem started, I had lots of phone calls that I should run, even when I did the reconciliation, people said; ‘what are you doing, go in for the Bar President, go in for the Bar General Assembly and I told them I had no interest, my interest now is that general interest that peace and love should return in the house. I never have hidden agendas.

With your other many responsibilities, how are you steering the President of the Christian Men’s Fellowship, CMF and how is going?

The movement is waxing strong, growing in leaps and bounds, more and more dynamic, seeking more souls for Jesus, not just any souls but spiritual souls; it is growing numerically and spiritually. I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of the CMF movement, all the officers at the national level, at the regional level, at the presbytery level, zonal levels and groups levels for the wonderful collaboration and cooperation that we have had since I took over as the National President some three years ago

. I thank the hierarchy of the Church, led by the Right Reverend Moderator, Dr Festus Asana, for the wonderful support that has been accorded us and of course, I can’t forget the Rev Professor Emmanuel Anyambod, who has been very, very helpful in the growth of the movement because, he is the boss of all the movement’s inter-denominational structures.

Let me also thank all the other Christians of the PCC, because, if the CMF is growing in leaps and bounds it is thanks to the other structures like the Christian Women’s Fellowship and the Christian Youth Fellowship, Non-Group Men, Non-Group Women, the Pastors and all the groups and the Churches and the Almighty God. May be I should announce to you that we are having the Nat-Com on August 31 – that will be the Exco and, of course the Nat-Com proper on September 1 and that will be at the Presbyterian Church Centre in Bamenda.

I wish all my Presbytery Presidents and other members who will be coming, including the National Secretary for Men, National Secretary for Women, National Secretary for Youth Work and the National President for CWF and all the other officers, I am praying that the Lord should bring them safely, that we should have a very peaceful meeting, after which they should return to their places safely and we keep glorifying God.

You say the Church is growing numerically and spiritually, but the other churches are mushrooming and growing also, which means the traditional churches are otherwise loosing their members to these new churches?

Well, it is true that some Christians are discouraged by the way some clergy and some Christians behave – you can either be discouraged or sent away by the clergy or the laity or both. But I want to state, underscore and highlight that Christ is everywhere, if you are a member of the Presbyterian Church, stay there, you are not going to see a different Christ somewhere, what you should do is to stay on, address the issues that discourage and hurt you squarely; because it will look as if you are a coward.

Ezekiel 3:18 and 19 is very clear; if you see your brother sinning and you don’t tell him not to sin, he will sin and die and go to hell, but you will be held responsible, so, why must you leave instead of telling your brother to depart from sin? To be very honest with you, nothing can take me away from the PCC, I am humble, sober, and proud, but not the negative pride, to be Presbyterian. So, when you see people moving from one church to another, it shows that they have lost their bearing, they are misguided and misled.

No normal man will leave one denomination to another, because, he had already been baptised; and going to baptise in another denomination shows that you are like a prostitute of a Christian, thus showing that you have no bearing,  that your spirituality is doubtful. If I cannot find Christ in the PCC, I am not going to find Christ in other churches; I must stay in the PCC and find Christ.

You say you have people who look up to you. I suppose you have studied the Bible from the manner in which you quote it off hand. Would you not create a Bible school or your own church?

If I were to tell you today that I want to create a church, then, just know that I am on my way to a mental home, that I am definitely getting mental. I will be creating a church when there is already a church and we have God’s grace there, his mercy? The Holy Spirit is roving in my church. Where I am, I am a Lay Preacher, I go round and preach.

Besides, all Christians should be preachers, we help the pastors. If you have a gift of preaching, administering or ministering to others, stay in your denomination and save the Lord. If I go and create my own church, it is true that I will have a big following, but it will be an empty big following in the sense that I created it for a reason which was not spiritual; what spiritual reason can make Nico Halle leave the PCC?

I will never ever leave the PCC because the PCC is a big church to reckon with and it is growing by leaps and bounds, the PCC has a wonderful leadership; the moderator Rt. Rev. Festus Asana is a blessed pastor, a good gift to the PCC, and our pastors are well trained and I want to say most of them are very spiritual because, being well trained is one thing and being spiritual is another. We may have doubtful cases, but we pray for them. It will be a disaster, cataclysmic, suicidal, demonic and satanic for Nico Halle to dream of creating a church. God forbid!

Your mandate as the National President of CMF is running out; are you going run again?

The constitution and the rules and regulations of the movement make for two mandates of five years; so, I will be qualified to do a second term, but since I have been a crusader for people to stay in office for just short period and quit so that new blood can come in, I will quit after this first term because CMF does not belong to Nico Halle.

When you stay in a post for long you privatise it; you make it your farm to the detriment of the members. So, you can be sure that at the end of my mandate, I must quit in order that another brother should take over. We are about 20.000 CMF members, why will you be there for more than five years.

So, if you do 10 years, you are saying that in 50 years, only fine people would have ruled, which is scandalous. We should learn to quit when the applause is still high. When you stay long in a post you become counter-productive, you start repeating yourself. Especially for a post in a spiritual arena, Christians should share. When you see a Christian who is staying in a post for more than five years, then, he is seeking for notice.

What if the 20 000 members decide that you should be there?

Why must they decide that I should be there? In all my university studies, I did not study CMF; so, as far as I am concerned, any of them is qualified to be National President of CMF. I should quit! I should quit! And quit!

Now, with all your hands, head and shoulders full, even your feet full in responsibility; the Government still appoints you President of Market Development Commission, what is this magnetic force that keeps pulling things to you?

You will agree with me that when one is simple, humble, respectful, honest, hard-working has the fear of God – because, when you open to Mathew 6:33 which says seek ye first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and all the other things will be added on to you – I have souht the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness, so all of these things are coming. I am not loaded because I am not the one carrying the load; I am very light because I know how to share my responsibilities.

Take, for example, I am the National President of the CMF, but I delegate to my presbytery, secretarial and group Presidents to do most of the work. Same goes to NATCOM where I send my colleagues to carry out the events. This is because I do not monopolise power; when you want to monopolise power, it shows that you are vaulting and seeking for notice, and we do not use the church to do that.

How do you manage all these responsibilities?

The Lord is managing and I am only moving over it simply. I will tell you that you can heap 10 more other responsibilities and I will take them because it will not be Nico Halle handling them, God will handle them for me, the Lord uses me and I promptly execute assignments that he places in my hands. You have known my track records in other areas; I have not failed any Cameroonian.

God controls me, guides me, directs me, leads me, blesses me and shows me the light. Once you believe in God, he takes over your problem and your load. Most people who have only one assignment are more loaded than me who has five, six, seven assignments because they want to carry their load themselves, they do not want God to carry their load. I am just doing supervision and God takes care of the rest.

You can be sure that if you want me to sweep the street, I will sweep the street in a way that ministers, directors will want to resign to come and join me. I like doing my things and doing them well, honestly and having the satisfaction that an assignment that was given to Nico Halle has been credibly done and that is my track record and legacy.

We started with elections in the Bar; as a former member of NEO, now ELECAM, which takes care of elections in the country, how do you read the way things are going as registration begins in September?

I can only say one thing: let the Lord Almighty guide all the stakeholders, give them the Holy Spirit in order that everything should be put in place for elections to be free, fair, transparent, credible and acceptable, to bring glory to His name and honour to this nation.

What can you tell the Bar, your Christian body and Cameroonians?

I can address my messages of good will to all Christian of the PCC, all denominations, I greet all the lawyers in this nation, once more I am vey proud of them, they should continue in their solidarity, I greet all state institutions; I wish all of them God’s blessings and that peace reigns in this nation to God’s glory.

First published in The Post print edition No 01368

    Add a Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    *


    *