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Why Are Cameroonians Fleeing Their Country? 

By Bouddih Adams — January is the time, when all “bushfallers” who came in to commune with their family and friends during the festive season, are going back to their ‘homes’ abroad.
During their sojourn here in the Cameroons, they made arrangements for their siblings and links to join them abroad.

So, after the bushfallers’ massive exodus this January as their return to their homes abroad, there will be another massive exodus of their siblings and links following them. And it will go to on like that throughout the year. If you doubt me, visit the Douala Airport and see how hundreds of young Cameroonians are leaving – fleeing as it were – everyday.

One of the discoveries in my travels and travails, scholarship and stewardship, is that the economic, social climate and or political leadership of a country can be determined by the number of citizens fleeing from it. The dream of every young Cameroonian man or woman today is to go abroad; to flee from this socio-geo-political contraption called Cameroon.
An Igbo proverb holds that if the wind does not blow, you cannot see the anus of a hen.

The trouble in Central African Republic, CAR, is actually the wind that has blown and exposed the anus of the hen – 8,000 Cameroonians in landlocked CAR, which depends on Cameroon for all its needs. CAR hasn’t as many resources as inundate the Cameroons, or the opportunities that these resources would have provided if the Cameroonian nation were led by level-headed people.

It is, theretofore, clear that though inferior in resources, the job market or business climate and opportunities in CAR are superior to the Cameroons. That is why there is this sort of osmosis between CAR and the Cameroons – the stronger solution being CAR. The difficult political climate and un-conducive economic environment here is scaring young Cameroonians out for greener pastures.

The authorities that be are so preoccupied with keeping power that they have no time to format and reformat the system and render the economic conditions fair. Yet, when these young people flee and make it out there in the Diaspora, the regime sends missions upon missions to convince them to come and invest in the country, with the entire hard political and harsh economic climate.

The other day, we were talking about the Government wooing Cameroonians who have made in the Diaspora to come and invest their finances and brains gain back home. Let’s take the case of Ndedi Eyango saga as an example. What they are doing Eyango cannot encourage any of them to come and invest back at home.

All of us know Ndedi Eyango to whose “You Must Calculer” and other hot numbers we wiggled and jiggled to in the 80s and 90s. In fact, the tract evokes memories of when TV just came and invokes nostalgia of those moments when every boy or girl in the neighbourhood created friendship with me and every man or woman with my parents so they could come home and watch TV. Ndedi Eyango even won many awards for his different hit songs.

Then, he saw an opportunity to go abroad, from where he harvested resources to set up his PREYA Music House back here at home that has sponsored and projected many young Cameroonian talents in the art of music. Then, he thinks he should not invest only his financial resources but should also invest his human capital earned out there in managing the music industry and, “Pop! Goes The Weasel,” to borrow from John Kellerman’s novel’s title.

Prince Eyango runs for election in SOCAM and wins. SOCAM, which has been mired in management miasma over years; and where he would have brought in savvy in governance acquired in USA and, suddenly, there are cries of him having dual nationality.

Now, is it better to have dual or half Cameroonian citizenship and head a civil society organisation like SOCAM or to have an entire foreigner to head our public institutions? The Director of CUSS, who deals with the very lives of Cameroonians, was a Frenchman. Two Koreans have headed a very strategic corporation like the National Shipyard Industrial Complex (Chantier Naval).

A Dutch just left as head of the very delicate national liner, CAMAIR. A Frenchman is heading the very dicey telecommunications sector – and you can name the rest. If the problem is with our law on nationality, which is antithetical to the Government’s appeal for the Diaspora to come and invest in the country, then let’s deal with it. Repeal that law because it is anti-progress. It is an obsolete law.

We used to have so many Ghanaians in the Cameroons – most of them doing basic occupations like hairdressing and shoe mending or some menial jobs in the beauty and fashion industry. That is when their country was rippled with coups and every military leader mismanaged the economy as they came in rapid succession.

Some Ghanaians even naturalised in their host countries. But after the second coming of Jerry Rawlings and the clean sweep he made of corrupt officials and embezzlers of State resources, Ghanaians returned to their country and their Parliament quickly adjusted their nationality laws and they invested in their country and it has emerged, at least democratically, and it is emerging economically.

If you doubt me, look around and you may count Ghanaians on the fingers of your one hand. Before the West came and did what they did in Libya, how many Libyans could you find in the Cameroons? Khadafy was a dictator by dint of his longevity in power, but his economic management of the country made Libyans not to envy any country. What with a country ruled by sit-tight dictator who is at the same time a devastator of economy?

While nationals of other nations participate in the politics of their home countries, Cameroonians in the Diaspora cannot participate in politics back home due to dual nationality. But most of the members of the regime have dual nationality and have been voting and being voted every time. So, they and their master have been breaking the law. Eyango and his lawyer simply have to swing around and sue them.

The powers that be, since they simply sit and milk the motherland, don’t know how these guys toil and moil out there in Diaspora. To make it out there, you must acquire the nationality of your host country to get exonerations, opportunities and other advantages offered to their citizens. You would then toil and moil to earn the bread, brain and brawn and when you come back to invest and you are told that you have dual nationality.
Shit Maeen!
Are We Together?

First published in The Post print edition no 01498

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