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Search For Chief Endeley’s Successor Takes Another Twist 

 Kingmakers Reject Prince Robert Esuka

 Say Likenye Family Cannot Hold Buea Hostage

 Buea Chiefs Divided Over Candidates

 Elites Using Succession To Settle Political Scores

By Isidore Abah
CHIEF SML ENDELEY DIED

On April 6, 2016, a segment of the royal family (Likenya family) of Buea rolled out the traditional drums of the Bakweri people in ecstatic jubilation for what they termed “the emergence of a new Paramount Ruler of the Bakweris and successor to the late Nakuve Chief Justice Samuel Moka Lifafa Endeley.”

Their echoes were resounding, the ambiance majestic and the gloomy atmosphere that had enveloped Buea following the demise of the legal colossus was drowned in euphoria.

Robert Esuka Endeley, son of Dr. Emmanuel Mbella Lifafa Endeley, was paraded as the successor of Chief Justice SML Endeley, following an alleged election conducted by the royal family that led to his triumph over his cousin; Prince Charles Efugani Endeley, by 10 votes to 3.
Prince Esuka Endeley was again presented to the Buea public in a grandiose ceremony organised by his collaborators and peers, where champagnes flowed like am river.

This public presentation came after the Kingmakers and Traditional Council of Buea had instructed the Likenya family to present a candidate for the vacant throne before May 30, 2016.
However, the profligate public presentation of Robert Esuka Endeley seems to have been contrived, as Kingmakers of the first-class Chiefdom of Buea, June 26, met in an enlarged in-camera conclave at the Mokunda Palace, Buea Town, under the canopy of the Traditional Council and rejected his designation.
The enlarged meeting was attended by Kingmakers, notables, internal and external elite, matriarchs and patriarchs of Buea, quarter heads, and some senior traditional rulers invited from some chiefdoms of Buea Subdivision.

Welcoming all present, the Chairman of the Royal Traditional Council, Dr. Humphrey Ekema Monono, said the raison d’etre of the enlarged meeting was prompted by the inability of the Likenya family to present a candidate to the Traditional Council for the vacant royal stool, after the May 30 deadline, which the Council gave the family.

According to him, the throne of Buea is distinguished in Cameroon and cannot be mortgaged by murky forces. “The Likenya family cannot hold Buea hostage.”
As Chief co-ordinator of the village affairs, Monono beseeched the house to chart the way forward so that the First Class Chiefdom of Buea does not remain vacant.

Mounting the rostrum, Mola Wose Njoh, a Kingmaker of the village asserted that; “chieftaincy in Bakweri tribe is from father-to-son and from the ruling house.” According to him, since the demise of the Justice Endeley, it is incumbent on the sons to choose a leader among themselves.
He was corroborated by another speaker, Mola Loka, quarter head of Bonya Lyonga. He insisted the Likenya family had shown unpardonable disrespect to the Traditional Council and that the Council should take the bull by the horns to give Buea its rightful leader without delay.

The head of the Likenya family representing the estranged faction stood up to challenge the motion. He boasted that they received the letter of the Traditional Council and went ahead to make their selection although he would not state why they did not report back to the Traditional Council.
As expected, dissenting voices rose and questions were raised whether another selection should be done during the enlarged Council session.

The question was considered out of place and discarded, even the invited traditional rulers frowned at the irregular conduct exhibited by the royal family and pleaded that sometime be given to them to meet the Traditional Council and then make a choice that would be in conformity with the rules in force.
It was stated that since the late Chief had sons, it would not be necessary to bend the rules for a choice out of late Endeley’s house.

Royal Family At Dangers Drawn

According to reports Prince Charles Efungani Endeley and Prince Alexander Ngomba Endeley have a torrid relationship over the succession question, as the latter is reticent to the appointment of the former as their father’s successor.

On their part, the children of Dr. Emmanuel Mbella Lifafa Endeley, led by Robert Esuka Endeley, want their father’s throne which was reportedly given to the late Nakuve to be reverted to them.
According to reports, SML Endeley inherited the Buea traditional stool from his uncle and not his father as prescribed by the Bakweri succession laws.

Reports hold that when Chief Gervacius Endeley died, Dr. EML Endeley was chosen to succeed him. But the former Prime Minister of former British Southern Cameroons was not psychologically prepared to lead his people. As such, he declined from his royal responsibilities, suggesting that the throne should be handed over to his younger brother, Justice SML Endeley.
After the demise of the former Chief Judge, the family of Dr. EML Endeley thinks that it is their turn to rule the Buea people.

Buea Chiefs In Factions Over Candidate

Meanwhile, the Buea Council of traditional rulers seems to be in splinters over the legitimate heir-apparent to the Buea Paramount throne.
While a faction of the Chiefs threw a flamboyant party for Robert Esuka Endeley, hailing him as their Paramount ruler, another faction rallied behind Prince Charles as their preferred choice.

Political Animosity Taking Centre Stage

It is an open secret that Buea has been split into two warring political factions midwifed by the CPDM. While the progressive faction, led by Mayor Patrick Ekema is backing the young Robert Esuka as Paramount ruler, the conservative faction led by Senator Peter Mafany is lending its broad and sturdy shoulders to Prince Charles.

These warring factions have transformed the succession process into a political arena, where political scores are settled and the chieftaincy institution of the Bakweri people is becoming politically polarised.

However, many locals have become more and more restive as they await the final emergence of their Paramount ruler. They are equally appealing to their political elite not to sacrifice their rich cultural heritage on the altar of political self-aggrandisement.

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