JUSTICE EBONG: THE LAST KAISER
The profiling of the heroes of the Southern Cameroons quest for freedom comes to me like a duty towards home land. The history of this struggle will not go well if we don’t have a relook at our history and attempt to rewrite it to suit our generation.The hallmark of this struggle has seen fiercer hearts than what we think we have today. One of them is Justice Ebong Alobwede. If there is one who took the bull by the horns, stun the world by supprise and showed that love for father land is bigger that holding the position of a judge in a foreign country then that person is no other than Justice Ebong. He did not only speak with words but marched those words with action. Everyone knew his name not only an epitome of the struggle to free our people but no one knew that he was above the mortals who only spoke with pens and papers. He alone did what the history of Southern Cameroons must record down in the middle of its history books and the defining moments. This act of bravado must be reported to this generation of freedom fighters so that we must conclude what he started.
It was exactly 11h30 PM on the night of 30th December 1999 breaking 31st December same year. When everyone was busy arranging and preparing to feast the coming of the new year and a new millinium. When the entire Southern Cameroons was still in the preview of what may happen in a new millinium. When folklore in Africa had predicted that the world may end in the year 2000 that this gentleman, mustered with a lion courage took the occupier by surprise. He and his group stormed the CRTV colonial radio house in Buea and seized the microphones. Technicians were given a tape containing victory songs to play to the nation. The voice that thundered out of the airwaves was that of a certain Judge Justice Ebong Alobwede. In a very optimistic and promising tone, he announced to the people of Southern Cameroons after being introduced to the people by one of his close aids in the following words”… Here comes Justice Ebong…” In his own words he said, “…Justice Ebong Frederick Alobwede, Chairman of the High Command Council of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), here come to address you this 30th December 1999 on the Proclamation of the Restoration of the Sovereignty and Independence of the Southern Cameroons, on behalf of Prince Esoka Ndoki Mukete, National Chairman of the Southern Cameroons…This proclamation is to formalize the Restoration of the Sovereignty and Independence of what used to be the Southern Cameroons under United Kingdom administration henceforth to be known and called the Federal Republic of the Southern Cameroons . . . Pending re-establishment of the institutions of the Federal Republic of the Southern Cameroons, the Chairman, and the Executive council of the SCNC shall co-ordinate the day-to-day internal administration” of the state. …We the people of The Former British Southern Cameroons officially declare our independence from the Republic of Cameroon…
As from this day, we call on the former colonial master to recognize this declaration and enter into diplomatic talks with the leaders of our nation to agree on the terms of leaving peacefully…” After this declaration, the radio station was in his control until the wee hours of 300 am before external foreign troops came in from Yaounde to dislodge him.
It took the colonial powers nine good days to arrest him and transfer him to Yaounde where he was charged for treason and transferred to their usual dungeons at the SED. How long he stayed in prison was just another night mare to his captors. While in custody, Justice Ebong quickly applied for a membership of the British Southern Cameroons into the United Nations, The African Union, The Common Wealth of nations, The Economic Community of West African States and the non-Aligned Movement.
On the 1st of April 2000, the SCNC converge and Justice Ebong was elected the Chairman of the SCNC and the first Head of State of the Federal Republic of Southern Cameroons. His vice was no other than Dr Nfor Ngala Nfor who by then was the chairman of the Constitutional and Political Affaires of the SDF. In the absence of Justice Ebong, Dr Nfor Ngala Nfor was nominated Acting president of the Republic.
Justice Ebong will eventually be freed and he decided to flee to Nigeria where he sorted and got asylum to live and raise his family. In 2004, he spoke to the Post News Paper in Victoria where he explained how he fled the country. According to him, his dream for a free Southern Cameroons was still rife and will never die as long as he lives.
While researching on this great figure, I realized the Department of State of the USA claimed that the people of the British Southern Cameroons did not come out en mass to support and cheer the declaration made by Justice Ebong. I stand to proclaim that people did not come out because they were afraid at the time and simply also because the political awareness was not rife like what we have today.
That said, it is my wish to say that Southern Cameroonians should open a hall of Fame for our heroes. While we keep pushing for our liberation, I propose that people like Justice Ebong who lost their jobs and comforts for us be placed on a monthly stipends just like the refugees we have out there.