Ayah Paul Abine, supreme court advocate general and chairman of the Popular Action Party, PAP, has been tipped as the best candidate to lead an opposition coalition against Biya in the forthcoming presidential election. Officials of the PAP national working secretariat said that so far, the PAP chairman is the most suitable person to lead a coalition of opposition parties that can crumble the 34-year old Biya regime. The tipping of Ayah comes after PAP forwarded a statement to The Guardian Post, indicating the party’s willingness for the opposition to front a unique presidential candidate. “PAP of Ayah Paul requested for and has now procured a copy of the statutes of ‘The Republican Pact’.
In 2012, a year after the 2011 presidential election, a platform dubbed ‘Pacte Repubilcaine’ – an umbrella to unite the opposition was formed. “Conscious of some hidden scheme by the Biya regime to organize upcoming presidential election by ambush, PAP believe that the time has come for the opposition to ‘conclave’ under the Pacte Republican or any other generally accepted platform to select a unique presidential candidate. PAP assures the Cameroonian people that it will work this time,” the PAP statement read. According to the secretary general of PAP, Akoson A. Raymond, PAP had prior to the 2011 presidential election nursed the idea of forming a coalition. Akoson disclosed they had contacted Fru Ndi of the SDF but he was more interested in leading the coalition on the premise that Ayah is his “younger brother.” He said they also met Garga Haman Adji of ADD. Garga Haman is quoted as saying that Ayah has only a few followers in the North West and South West regions while he has the entire grand north, and as such should be the coalition candidate.
We learned the coalition did not come to fruition because some politicians in the like of Albert Dzongang of La Dynamique turned down the idea while Kah Wallah of the CPP preferred only collaboration at the level of polling stations. Akoson said though the PAP-initiated coalition did not see the light of day, they have decided to join the Republican Pact, a coalition formed by opposition leaders of the Cameroon Democratic Union, CDU, of Dr. Adamou Ndam Njoya, the Alliance of Progressive Forces, APF, headed by Barrister Ben Muna at the time and PADDEC of Jean de Dieu Momo. It was formed on May 12, 2012.
However, Akoson noted that PAP is yet to fully adhere to the Republican Pact. Contacted on phone on who he thinks could best lead the coalition as a single presidential candidate, Ayah shied away from the question, only stating that “the leader will be chosen when the time comes.” Nonetheless, he did not rule out the possibility of him being the candidate.
The Republican Pact, it should be noted, is a breakaway faction of the famous G7, a group of seven opposition political parties that came together in a botched effort to challenge and unseat President Paul Biya during the 2011 presidential election. When the then coalition fell short of its objectives (not winning the election), a thing which was blamed on the greed of some of the opposition leaders, three of the parties; CDU, APF, and PADDEC decided in Foumban to form what they called the Republican Pact.
The Republican Pact earlier this year invited other opposition parties to join forces with it so as to mount a united front come 2018. Alice Sadjio, chairperson of the APF and Dr. Ndam Njoya of the CDU, on behalf of the other Republican Pact members, had urged all major political parties yearning for a genuine change of leadership in Cameroon to join in so that a possible opposition coalition could see the light of day. Observers believe the other opposition parties the APF chair was referring to are the Social Democratic Front, SDF, of John Fru Ndi, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, MRC, of Prof. Maurice Kamto and the Popular Action Party, PAP, of Ayah Paul, which is seen by Cameroonians as strong.
In the meantime, analysts have advanced that Ayah Paul being an Anglophone could make a good unique coalition candidate. The proponents say Anglophones are generally viewed as peace-loving, less corrupt and people who can do things genuinely and honorably, without fear or favor. As speculations heighten that President Biya may quit power anytime soon, various geopolitical groupings in the country have already gone to work; burning the midnight candle lobbying to have the country’s top job. Although the Anglophone lobby does not look as powerful as those from the Grand North and the grand South, there are increasing calls that Cameroon can only remain in one piece after Biya if the presidency goes to either a South Westerner or their North West cousins.
A senior CPDM senator, speaking anonymously told The Guardian Post that based on the unwritten Foumban accord, succession in Cameroon is supposed to shuttle between Francophones and Anglophones. Going by that unwritten Foumban arrangement, the CPDM senator screamed that it was wrong for the former president, Ahmadou Ahidjo, to have hand-picked Biya, another Francophone, in 1982 as his successor. He insisted that it will be a big political miscalculation on the part of the current leader if an Anglophone is not given the opportunity to succeed him at the helm of the state. He swore he was confident President Biya will like to weaken the argument of the SCNC and other political groupings that Anglophones are being marginalized by giving the presidency to them.
Another reason advanced by political watchers why an Anglophone would make the best choice for president after Biya is the growing fear that should power go back to Northerners who are often tagged as those who “hardly forget and forgive”, they might want to revenge the April 6,1984 abortive coup d’etat that saw many of theirs massacred. On the other hand, it is also widely feared that should President Biya decide to hand over power to another Francophone from the Grand South, Northerners who have never hidden their eagerness to take back power would not look away while such an arrangement goes smoothly. Bamilekes are apparently too preoccupied with the feeling, and rightly so, that they are the economic powerhouse of Cameroon. It makes meaning recall that there is no country in the world where both economic and political power is held by people of a geo-political zone. The above analysis, therefore, leaves an Anglophone as the next best president. It should be recalled that in the 2011 presidential election, Ayah Paul, who went in for the first time, emerged the fifth out of some 23 candidates.
The Guardian Post Newspaper