Southern Cameroons or Ambazonia as some people will like to call it had its independence on 1st October 1961 by joining an independent La Republique Du Cameroun who gained independence on 1st January 1960. Southern Cameroonians join the union on the status of a two states Federation- The West and the East States. However, within the years we have seen the erosion from the Federal Republic of Cameroon to the United Republic of Cameroon and now United Republic of Cameroon-the name La Republique had at independence.
Since the 1990’s Anglophones have complaint about marginalisation and the faulty spirit of the Union. The All Anglophone Conference in 1993 and 1994 which called for the return of Federalism failed as Government gave a dead ear. The movement transformed to Southern Cameroons National Council-SCNC with only objective as the restoration of Southern Cameroons Independence.
Within the years, there is no denial that Anglophones have faced series of marginalisation. They have been robbed of their statehood. However, most Southern Cameroonians are divided on the way forward. While some see the need for Federalism, most want a total restoration to their own state, others still believe making a way in this present union.
Speaking to the media last week, the Prince of the Catholic Church in the Cameroons, a vocal critic to President Biya, Cardinal Tumi had a say on the form the country should take. Hear him:
“I personally think we should move towards federalism, with several states. This is also the view of many Cameroonians. We may change our constitution and erect the 10 regions in Cameroon in 10 federal states. It will be difficult for us to avoid going towards federalism. Having 10 federated states does not mean that Cameroon will not be a united country. The United States has 52 federal states, in Nigeria there are fifty with elected governors. Whenever we raised the issue of federalism in Cameroon, one is immediately accused of trying to divide the country. This is not true.
Federalism presupposes a central authority. When you are in Nigeria for example, you realize that federalism was a factor in development, and you can tell the difference between development and state and one driven by the central authority of the federal government. While home regions of Governors are appointed and do not derive their power base. Things are clear. We do not need to study political science to understand. “ – the Prince concluded.
BaretaNews agrees with the Cardinal on the platform that what Cameroon needs at this moment is a Federation but the manner and form of Federation matters. We totally disagree with the 10 states proposal because it defeats the purpose of Southern Cameroons States joining La Republique. The 10 state Federal states legitimize an illegal union between Cameroun and Southern Cameroons.
The 10 states federation cheats the people of Southern Cameroons. It is the position of BaretaNews that the most feasible way ahead is to have a Federation of Two States as originally wanted- A southern Cameroons states and an Eastern Cameroon state. However, before then the instrument which legalises the Union should have been agreed and deposited at the UN as any other state which gained independence. We of this platform still holds it true that whatever Federation the country takes- the NW and SW regions which made up the Southern Cameroons should not be separated. La Republique could have divided its country into three Federal states or 4 but that of Southern Cameroons must remain as ONE.
That said, the issue of Federation is a long shot, the government still finds it very worrisome and a political suicide but that is the best future for the Cameroons- Federation. The form or manner it would take will take a lot of debates and political will. Are we there yet?
God is still saying something.