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The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines agony as ” great pain or suffering (of mind or body)”. The 11th February , the supposed plebiscite day turned Youth day has been distorted away from its real meaning, facts, and manner of celebration. The celebration of this day brings forth a great pain and suffering in the minds of all Southern Cameroonians. From the word go, the agony touches the very foundation of British Southern Cameroonians but history teaches us that the 11th February 1961 was that fateful day British Southern Cameroons voted voluntarily to join East Cameroon based on certain terms (not respected) without the third option of self-independence. This action culminated in the independence of Southern Cameroons on 1st October 1961 between La Republique and British Southern Cameroons in a two states Federal System. That is history and history can never change. Even the devil has no power to change history, therefore no government, no oppressor, no colonizer will change that. Lies can only be told, but the truth shall always save mankind. Bishop Rodrigo Borgia, in the book the family, says that what is written on paper affects history, not life. life is a different history and so is the Southern Cameroons history.

The Mystery in all these years of the Ahidjo – Biya rule has been to distort the very foundation of the people of British Southern Cameroons . Their identity has been hidden and worst of all curricula in schools right from the basic to university levels have been distorted or downplayed to show the real facts of Southern Cameroons. Most of those books have been tailored and sponsored by the regime to ensure the effective misrepresentation of our history. I have always been a bigot on the real facts of West Cameroon because it is only on this platform that the so much cherished unity of Cameroon reigns and is guaranteed and any government that shies away from the Anglophone cause will hardly succeed.

What most Cameroonians lack are the basic knowledge of their history, you must not study history in class before knowing those very fundamental issues that touch your very foundation and existence. What has triggered this write-up has been the fact that most Cameroonians (85%) especially the youth do not even know the significance why they celebrate 11th February. All they know is an avenue to meet new friends, dance, drink, march past and go home. The government also uses this opportunity for reckless spending and embezzlement of taxpayers’ money. Even the Youth day message from the head of state is nothing to write home about. However, social media is changing that as we see it in recent events.

President Richard Nixon, the former US President once said: “let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth, to see it as it is and tell it like it is, to find the truth, speak the truth and live the truth”. Why has the truth
about 11th February been manipulated from the youth? Why the change of name from Plebiscite to Youth day? Does it not suffice that even if the names are changed, the real meaning of the day could still be celebrated? Where are the Youths marching to? It is really sad to realize that all these have been the handiwork of the government.
It is shocking to realize that even the message from the head of state has never carried anything about the real meaning of 11th February. This is supposed to be a day of remembrance, a day when the government can sit and analyze how far the so-called unity and marriage between Francophones and Anglophones has gone, a day to look at the achievement done so far, what are the challenges ahead? what are the drawbacks that threaten Cameroon’s Unity and development and how to remedy such instead of the government dodges from the real facts thinking it undermines and threatens the unity of Cameroon?

Reading through Eden Wednesday 18th February 2009 N° 348 edition, page 10 of the question, “What do you know about 11th February?” I realized shockingly, that out of the few youth questioned, 98.99% of them do not even understand the importance and significance of 11th February. Most of them looked at the day as a merry-making event where new friends are made. Hear one of them “on 11th February, Youth get to meet new friends and is a day filled with joy and happiness and the field is crowded by many people waiting to watch the match past …… by Rosaline Bassah Street Care Bilingual foundation”. Another, a UB graduate, hear him”. This day should instead be turned into a day when youth are trained. I don’t even know yet any significance…….. by John Etta Egbe, UB graduate”. The rest are the same with no real answers even University students are brain empty on the significance of this day. This is terrible and a big shame. The above questions and answers given are just a reflection of the ignorance of most Cameroonians. It is really a pity.

Southern Cameroonians should get up from slumber and let 11th February be celebrated by all and sundry as a Plebiscite day where Southern Cameroonians can come out in their numbers and celebrate the real meaning of their history, the foundation of their unity and existence. This is the only truth and the only way 11th February could be celebrated if not history shall judge us all. And this can only be possible in a two-state federation as it is currently being called out.

Mark Bareta

First published, 2009, Updated 14/12/2016

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