‘Southern Cameroonians’ ignored boycott calls and brushed off threats from separatists to attend the ‘listen to the people’ event and condemned separatists’ atrocious acts.
Four days to the meeting organized by the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, on Thursday May 31, 2018, the communication secretary of ‘Ambazonia interim government’ Chris Anu sent out a ‘call to order’ – an audio clip, asking the population of the North West not to attend the event and threatened the lives of those who will attempt. He declared the commission persona non grata. On the eve of the event, the PCC Ntamulung Hall, the venue was torched. Church authorities ran to the commission to refund the fee but the Governor of the North West Region Lele L’Afrique in an order maintained the hall. Even some commission members panicked and suggested a ‘safer’ place – Ayaba Hall.Surprisingly, on Thursday, the population showed up in their numbers even Ni John Fru Ndi leader of the main opposition party SDF, who rubbished the commission and promised not to show up two days earlier when his invitation was served, turned up. However, the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church invited for the ecumenical service were absent but the Baptist Church, Full Gospel and Moslem Imam were present to say a prayer for the country.
The President of NCPBM Peter Mafany Musonge’s rousing speech was the kicker. He narrated his links with the North West Region. Engineer by profession, Mafany Musonge’s first duty post was in the former North West province; where he found his wife and married in the region. He was one time president of legendry PWD Football Club. The former prime minister enumerated some projects he carried out in the region. His greetings in some languages in the region thaw the ice and boosted the morale of participants who vented worries and proposals without fear. Peter Mafany Musonge had been accused of making xenophobic comments against the people of the North West in a CPDM rally in late November 2016. In three hours, the cross-section of the North West population touched the need for the Head of State to visit or speak to the people of the two English-speaking regions in a specific address not suffocated in an already-known-calendared speech. President Paul Biya was also asked to work on the situation of the refugees who have fled the conflict to neighboring Nigeria and those internally displaced to safer towns or bushes. Participants also lamented the excesses of the military, called for restrain and punishment for those found guilty of immoderation. A speaker regretted the training of the military exclusively in French as misunderstandings sometimes ensued from language barrier between the civilians and officers. Killings, rustling, marauding, arson, extortion and other atrocious acts by armed separatists were condemned while asking amnesty for those incarcerated and pardon for those sentenced. Federation was voiced as the form of the state they would like but not necessarily a two-state form. More was said at the audiences the President guaranteed those who requested at Ayaba Hotel from the end of the event up to Friday after the commission stopped over at Ni John Fru Ndi’s house to honor his invitation for breakfast. Meanwhile, three committees – bilingualism, multiculturalism and living together made up of commission members granted audiences.