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Prof Peter Agbor Tabi: Love, Intellectual and African Tradition.



Since the death of Professor Peter Agbor Tabi, we have been made to understand through online commentaries that he loved Manyu people dearly, he was an intellectual and due to African tradition, we shouldn’t speak evil of him.
I want to state that we are dealing here with thesame problem, same backward thinking, same psychological damage of the minds of Cameroonians by Mr Biya’s system.
Predominantly, natives of Manyu have claimed he loved them because he used his influence as a minister of higher education to ensure undeserving Manyu youths are admitted into Cameroons premier teacher training college –ENS. This was at the expense of other deserving and qualified Cameroonians. According to them, he was a bold man who played with the system for the benefit of his people.
I just want to state that I personally find these comments insulting, even though I have members of my own immediate maternal family who benefitted from this scam. There is nothing wrong in wanting to help your own people and to love them. But you do not express love to your own people by denying others of their own right as Cameroonians to pursue their own careers.
ENS was never Agbor Tabi’s personal property. It was a state institution designed to accommodate every deserving Cameroonian. Denying others the opportunity to pursue their careers there purely because they came from the wrong tribe was completely wrong. And to want to justify it purely because everyone else in his rank as minister was doing something similar is naïve.
A wicked system is a wicked system and there are always people who even in that kind of a system will always want to act right. As an example, Chiune a Japanese diplomat during World War II used his influence to help 6,000 Jews who were at risked of being killed by Hitler to leave Europe by issuing transit visas so that they could travel to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family’s lives. During the Rwandan genocide, there were people who lost their lives because they refused to act like a majority of people by killing others from other tribes. That’s how love can be expressed even in dangerous circumstances.
Agbor Tabi’s case was a choice which expressed hate on Cameroonians/Cameroon. He didn’t love Cameroon and he didn’t love even those he helped as in his pursuit for power, he was using them and he didn’t mind setting them up against other Cameroonians. Everyone wants to become something in this life and the desire to realize innate possibilities is inherent in human nature. Once rights are denied or people are forced due to circumstances to pursue the wrong career choice, then society can’t function properly.
On the issue of African tradition not to speak evil of the death, I will like to state that we are not interested in any lectures that are not based on sound moral principles and critical judgment. Just like what the Germans and Europeans did when Hitler was defeated, we are never going to be bullied but we are going to study the life of every Cameroonian who has worked closely with Biya. The reason for this is very simple – we don’t want some of the wicked things they did to happen again and we also have to try to recover some of the money they stole from the system. Once Biya is out, we are going to enact new laws to ensure what the likes of Agbor Tabi did should never happen again.
Every Cameroonian deserves respect. Those who always invoke this issue of African tradition only when they want to silence the voices of other Cameroonians should be careful. The same African tradition suggests that the youths have the right to kill through stoning anyone who is “suspected” of bewitching them. Does Mbella Moki Charles who brought up this issue consistently want us to ask the unemployed Cameroon youths to start picking up “suspects” randomly and stoning them? The CPDM should stop their foolishness and let us live.

Rexon Nting, PhD

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