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Samuel Moka Lifafa Endeley: The Nation Stands Up For A Fallen Patriarch! 

By Isidore Abah, *Kely Takang Bokwa, *Enjema Esunge &*Timothy Shing Mufua

The curtains of a blistering and luminous life of one of Cameroon’s legal and traditional Patriarchs, Nakuve Rtd. Chief Justice Samuel Moka Lifafa Endeley, drew to a close on Saturday, July 25, 2015, when the Paramount ruler of Buea was interred in his Mokunda Palace.

State funeral presided over by the Vice Prime Minister in charge of Relations with the Assembly, Ahmadou Ali, who was the special envoy of the President of the Republic, Paul Biya.

Even though the occasion was solemn, its solemnity was not short of the reverence accorded to a patriot like Endeley, who had, in his own light,impacted the lives of many Cameroonians in different domains.
The presence of the political elites to the judiciary, the religious and traditional rulers, the ruling and the ruled, the haves and the have-nots, the academia, the young and old, all spoke volumes of the kind of life the legal luminary led.

Chief Endeley’s journey to Celestial bliss on July 25, started with judicial honours at the Southwest Court of Appeal, where the judicial corps, led by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice in charge of Penitentiary Administration, Jerome Doh Penbaga, the Vice President of the Supreme Court of Cameroon, Daniel Moukube Sone, the President of the Cameroon Bar Association, Jackson-Francis Ngnie Kamga led the proceedings.

At the Southwest Appeal Court, late Justice Endeley was venerated as a Common Law icon, Judge, Advocate and Solicitor, whose legal prowess elevated him to a class of his own and made him a legal patriarch.
His astuteness, impartiality, resoluteness and shrewdness were outlined as some of the qualities that distinguished him from the others.

These qualities and his passion for the profession, according to his colleagues, made Endeley to champion the creation of the Southern Cameroons Bar Association, SCBA, on June 6, 1960.

The SCBA was later transformed into the West Cameroon Bar Association, WCBA, in 1961, and the late Endeley marshaled the association until 1966 when he was elevated to the Bench.

It was this WCBA which Endeley suckled from a legal zygote that became the Cameroon Bar Association, when WCBA was dissolved in 1970 to form the Cameroon Bar Association, which today prides itself as one of the best in the world, and counts hundreds of Lawyers.

In order to preserve the relics of Endeley, who contributed enormously in shaping the Cameroon Bar Association and the legal profession in Cameroon into what it is today, and to avoid burying his hard work alongside his mortal remains, the wig of the nonagenarian was handed over to one of his grandsons, Samuel Moka Liombe Endeley, who has just completed his degree programme in Law at the University of Buea, UB, and pending graduation.

Moka Liombe Endeley was exhorted to guard the wig, which is the oldest wig in Cameroon jealously and to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather.

Endeley ‘Drinks’ Valedictory ‘Gold Harp’

The final journey of the fallen Chief to the land of the Eldorado would not have been peaceful and cozy without an accompanying ‘Gold Harp’.

After the judicial honours at the Southwest Court of Appeal, the mortal remains of the Paramount Chief of Buea were conveyed to the legendary ‘Buea Mountain Club’, a top class relaxation spot where the late Chief used to spend his leisure time for many decades running.

The emotions among the Mountain Club members were hysteric as they bade farewell to their colleague with several bottles of his favourite beverage, ‘Gold Harp’, hoping to reunite in the next life.
The crescendo of the final journey of the SML Endeley was attained at the Buea ‘Bongo Square’, where the funeral Church service and the State official honours were programmed.

Never before has this Square been flooded with people from different walks of life like it was on Saturday, July 25, but for the 50th Anniversary of Reunification. During the ceremony, different speakers took turns to heap encomiums and eulogies on the fallen traditional colossus and socialite.

To the Mayor of Buea, Patrick Ekema Esunge, it was a moment of despair to welcome all to his municipality at a time when everyone else was mourning. To him, the Chief was the horsewhip and driving force of the municipality, especially during preparations for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Cameroon’s Reunification.

“Here lies the man, who had the grace to remind me to always follow up projects. Where will we go from here? We believe that he has joined ‘Efasamoto’,” the Mayor Said.

Speaking on behalf of the Fako elites, Senator Peter Mafany Musonge said it was with heavy hearts that the Fako elites received news of the passing on of Nakuve.

According to him, Endeley was an inspiration to the natives of Fako, Cameroon and the world at large.

“He was a symbol of excellence, a distinguished Pharmacist and Judge; his Fako Scholarship Scheme has produced numerous successful men and women. His water project in Buea Town has quenched the thirsts of many. He was a community development agent.”

Borrowing from the axiom that some people are born great; some achieve greatness while others have greatness conferred upon them, the President of the Southwest Chiefs Conference, Nfon Victor Essessemengo Mukete, said Chief Endeley combined all these values, including mobility and dignity to make him what he was. “He embraced dignity from his education and law practices.

True to himself, he embraced only noble professions.” According to Nfon Mukete, “Endeley was not only an Anglophone or Francophone; he was also a ‘Bakweriphone’ because of his love for his native values.”
On his part, the Vice President of the Supreme Court of Cameroon, Daniel Moukube Sone, said the demise of Endeley was a great loss to the judiciary family, because he was an embodiment of courageous, yet impartial, an epitome of probity, integrity and clairvoyance.

To Justice Moukube Sone, even though Endeley pushed for the respect of the bi-jural system of Cameroon, “his passing on and expertise, especially at a time when Cameroon’s legal system is undergoing changes like the harmonisation of the Common and Civil Laws can only be regretted.”

Taking the floor, the Secretary General of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM, Jean Kuete, said the Party grieves with the family of Endeley for their loss.

According to him, Endeley was not only an actor of unity and a rallying force of the CPDM, but he was also one of the very an influential traditional rulers who supported President Biya in the creation of the party in 1985.

Jean Kuete hailed Endeley for upholding the cultural heritage of Cameroon and for playing a pivotal role in the creation of “Ngondo”, a festival that seeks to uphold and preserve the culture of the Sawa people of Cameroon.

To the CPDM Scribe, the party has not only been deprived of a committed militant, but also of a notable and patriarch.

In a soul searching sermon titled; Teach Us how short our lives are, so that we can count our days; delivered during the Funeral Church Service by the Moderator Emeritus of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, PCC, The Very Rev. Dr. Nyansako-ni-Nku, the erudite Moderator said; what is certain about life is that one day we must all leave it.

According to him, there are many people who have gone to school, have all the degrees, money, power and fame, but are not wise. He wondered what would profit anyone to have all the aforementioned gifts and yet, have to pay an eternal price.

The eloquent Dr. Nyansako-ni-Nku said the late Endeley led an exemplary life as a Pharmacist, Lawyer, Judge, Barrister, traditional ruler, Christian and father. But just like human, he said the late Justice Endeley may also have had his own human weakness and frailties and prayed God to forgive his shortcomings and grant him eternal rest.
He exhorted the family of the deceased not to strife because the late Jurist led a fulfilled life.

According to the Moderator Emeritus, “the true value of life is not its duration but its donation.”
In his condolence message to the Endeleys, presented by the Senior Divisional Officer for Fako, Zang III, President Biya and wife urged the family of the late Chief to remain united.

Chief Endeley Immortalised

Meantime, after the speeches and eulogies, the representative of President Biya, Minister Ahmadou Ali, posthumously decorated the late Chief Justice Samuel Moka Lifafa Endeley with the medal of the Grand Condon of the Cameroon Order of Merit.

Prince Charles Endeley Prays For Unity

On behalf of the Endeleys, the fallen patriarch’s first son, Prince Charles Efungani Endeley noted, “You all have given us the honor to experience this event we would not have imagined in our wildest dreams.

It is said ‘a prophet is never recognised in his hometown. The heroic funeral we are seeing here today, will keep us humbled over a very long period of time.

I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge the support we have received from the State, the forces of law and order, from our natural leaders, Fako Elites, SWELA; it indeed shows another dimension of our society.

That is not to ignore the other stakeholders. We should all stay united and strong, especially at these trying times with attacks from the Boko Haram.

I am not here to bore you with so many details, but from our hearts, we want to say our humble ‘thank you’ to all that have supported us in one way or the other.”

*(UB Journalism Students On Internship)

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