It was indeed a year of surprises, most of them unpleasant: Radical extremists, terroristic activists, geometric rise in the number of illegal migrants, and resurfacing of the ugly trade in human beings, and the atrocities of sadistic sects made many wonder if the 21st century was fast becoming an era of doom.
However, these societal ills of the year, 2017 were some of the misdeeds that eclipsed the positive part of the year. Regrettably, elsewhere, the unpleasant surprises which included the killing of innocent worshippers in churches and Muslims in mosques, driving into crowds of people killing many, and wounding some, were so common that many thought human beings were fast becoming inhuman in their thoughts and action. In some parts of our global village, life was almost rendered not worth living as a result of crime, natural disasters, bomb explosions, wild fires as was the case in California, and deadly floods, the most recent in the Philippines. Unfortunately, despite the fact that floods are believed to be caused by global warming, not all industrialized nations are committed to the efforts being made to alter the trend.
The Paris, One Planet summit, however, gave some hope about the commitment of most development countries to weather the storm. Great! But the challenges ahead are many and must be tackled by all nations. However, while many peace-loving countries cried foul as they deplored the fact that not all industrialized countries are prepared to be part of the struggle to reduce the effects of global warming, the rise of Sadistic sects like Boko Haram, violence and radical extremist groups kept many people worried about our common future. Peace-loving countries, for example, deplored North Korea’s relaunch of Nuclear experiments and appealed for an end to such an undertaking.
Others greatly disturbed by the atrocities caused by Boko Haram in the west and Central countries of Chad, Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria, cooperated to stall the nightmare Cameroon which for long had been known for its peace-loving endowment, besides the confrontation with Boko Haram faced another nightmare stemming from a strike action that regrettably degenerated into a socio-political crisis. A strike action launched by common law lawyers and teachers union had regrettably become, a Socio-political conflict in which lives were lost and property destroyed.
What a shock! Some pleasant surprises, however, emerged, during the Common Law Lawyers and Teachers Strike. President Paul Biya was going to demonstrate the good will towards meeting the demands of the striking lawyers and teachers when the strike action surprisingly attained a disturbing stage. Besides the violence and civil disobedience trends that emerged, came the politicisation of the demands. A regrettable development it turned out to be. The main reason given by separatists and those craving for return to the federal system of governance was the delay in decentralization believed to facilitate a balanced development if judiciously implemented.
Friendly countries cooperated to end the crisis, one of these crusaders for peace, being the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, the Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland. While in the country, the Commonwealth chief scribe did not limit her mission, to contacts with the president and members of Government. She also met leaders of opposition parties, traditional rulers and the Clergy to fish out information that could enable her to understand causes of the crisis and how to forge ahead with the solution of the crisis peacefully.
This was laudable. We believe that the fruits of this important visit would be rewarding as we enter the year 2018. We also hope that the international community would continue to contribute in a sincere way to all that is necessary to stall this nightmare so that Cameroon does not join the trouble spots of Africa. We expect more of pleasant surprises, than the unpleasant, during the New Year, 2018, but these can only be ushered in by Cameroonians who genuinely love themselves and their country.