After a difficult year during which Cameroon faced an unprecedented socio-political crisis, the year, 2018 could usher in some changes for the better. In his state of the nation address to compatriots on the eve of this New Year, President Paul Biya, despite his appreciation of some strides taken in football, Health, the economy and infrastructure, regretted the negative effects of the crisis affecting the North-West and South-West Regions of the country.
The loss of lives, destruction of property, children’s inability to continue schooling, and the declaration of “ghost town scenario in the English- speaking regions, constituted a nightmare which peace-loving Cameroonians would not tolerate. Government, he recalled had taken a number of decisions which portrayed the good will of the President to weather a storm that was fast becoming too costly to undermine.
“It is my duty to ensure republican order, social peace, unity of the nation, and Cameroon’s integrity.”
President Biya made it clear to compatriots that he is aware that the wish of every Cameroonian of good will is to see an end to the tensions in the North-west and South-west Regions and return to normalcy. Besides the fact that all citizens desire greater participation in their affairs, especially at local level, President Biya said, “I have ordered the implementation of the necessary measures to speedily give effect to this major reform; decentralization.
This good will of the President has always been portrayed in his speeches and important declarations, but the problem is the deadly spirit of keeping for tomorrow what can be done today in the interest of the country and its people.
The Cameroon leader in his speeches has often deplored the societal ill of inertia, but it seems that those who clap and praise the President for taking important decisions often forget that the Head of State himself cannot move from office to office ensuring that what is expected of his collaborators is carried out. Here lies the challenge! How many of us doubt that the problem in the Anglophone regions has been aggravated by failure or delay to implement decisions that were taken several years back?
While such a delay does not guarantee the radicalization of the steps being taken to put things right, we should be reminded of the truth that it is inacceptable to use the wrong method to attain a desired goal. What is expected of all citizens is demonstration of the virtue of patriotism and maturity without which it is difficult to embrace the principle of constructive dialogue in the solution of problems.
In this light, the steps government has already taken in the effort to give our bilingual status, the importance it deserves should be judiciously exploited to help the nation forge ahead as a country truly united in diversity with a common future. The year, 2017 was plagued by societal ills that almost robbed us of the virtue that qualified Cameroon as the “laboratory of African unity”.
We need to maintain this virtue, sustaining through patriotism and political maturity what made possible the decisions of 11th February 1961 and 1st October 1961. To achieve this we must all sincerely work hard to see that calm replaces the storms of the year 2017.
We should also note that while we prepare to host the African Football cup of Nations, next year, we can also lose the pride of a host if we do not work hard to maintain peace, national security, cleanliness, and developmental values that attract investors and tourists. Let’s welcome, 2018 with a genuine spirit of changes for the better.