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Atanga Nji deposes elected leader of the True Church of God

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By Daniel D.

The Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, has deposed Pastor Landry Tchana, the elected leader of the Christian denomination, True Church of God of Cameroon, recognizing Pastor Abate Francois.

In a ministerial order of May 24 that has further intensified the Church’s leadership dispute, Atanga Nji told Governors and Senior Divisional Officer to arrest anyone posing as the Church’s leader without the mandate of Abate Francois.

However, Pastor Abate is not popular among his fellow believers and is accused of conniving with the administration to usurp power.

The Minister is weighing in following a leadership crisis that broke out in the church earlier this year.

The True Church of God of Cameroon, founded by Rev. Apostle Toukea Nestor, has been mired in turmoil since Apostle Nestor’s death in 2020.

Prior to his passing, Apostle Nestor established a statute outlining the procedure for selecting the church’s next leader.

According to this statute, Pastor Landry Tchana Tchamy was unanimously chosen as the church’s president during an Extraordinary General Assembly held in Ngousso in 2021.

The assembly was chaired by Pastor Abate Francois, who officially installed Landry Tchana in the presence of representatives from the church’s 600 assemblies across Cameroon.

However, two months after this installation, Pastor Abate Francois, who did not meet the criteria stipulated by the church’s founding statute, unilaterally drafted a new statute that favored his own leadership.

This act sowed seeds of division within the church. Pastor Abate proclaimed himself the leader and relocated the church headquarters from Ngousso to Ayos.

Leveraging on his connections in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and in the judiciary, he has gained favor from law enforcement officers who have often brutalized and arrested those belonging to the camp of Pastor Landry, the elected leader of the True Church of God.

Pastor Landry has been arrested and jailed several times for not renouncing his position as leader of the church.

Last Saturday, Christians in Bafousam who belong to the camp of Pastor Landry went praying, and some that belong to Abate’s camp came and attacked them.

The attack, as MMI reported, was bloody. Minister Atanga Nji, after several interferences, is at it again.

“I have the honor to inform you that Reverend Pastor Abate Ndengue François is the President of the Executive Office of the True Church of God of Cameroon,” the Minister wrote.

“As such, he is the corporate representative of the said church throughout the national territory and beyond. In any case, you would like to prohibit any illegal demonstration, requested or organized at the VEDC by Mr. Tchana Tchamy Dantse Landry or any other individual not mandated by Pastor Abate Ndengue Françols; if necessary, have the troublemakers arrested.”

Despite Atanga Nji’s decisive stance, the leadership dispute is still pending in court, leaving the final resolution of the church’s governance in legal limbo.

©Mimi Mefo Info

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Cameroonian Journalist Mbuh Stella Illuminates Bamenda’s Resilience at r0g Agency Event in Berlin

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The r0g agency headquarters in Berlin recently hosted the second part of the #defyhatenowseries, “Navigating Bamenda,” focusing on countering disinformation and youth extremism. This segment featured Cameroonian journalist Mbuh Stella, who offered a compelling exploration of Bamenda, a city once celebrated as Cameroon’s “City of the Future,” now struggling with the impacts of a decade-long separatist insurgency.

Stella, deeply connected to Bamenda, guided a diverse audience through the city’s transformation before and after 2016. Her session painted a vivid picture of a resilient community amid conflict, highlighting Bamenda’s vibrant agricultural economy. “There’s a vibrant agricultural economy in Bamenda; though on its knees, it’s still alive. People don’t stop living even in conflict zones,” she shared, emphasizing the enduring strength of Bamenda’s residents.

The #defyhatenow series aims to counter disinformation and youth extremism by sharing authentic stories from affected regions. Stella’s contribution underscored her commitment to inspiring hope through her journalism. Stella said, her work in countering disinformation was highlighted as a beacon of resilience and truth.

Despite the conflict’s devastating impact, Mbuh Stella conveyed a message of hope, asserting that “Bamenda’s story is far from one of despair.” She urged the audience to recognize the tenacity and perseverance of Bamenda’s people, who continue to sustain their livelihoods and communities against all odds.

The first part of the Navigating Bamenda series took place on May 10, featuring Cameroonian youth leader and 2024 Young Global Changers Recoupling Award winner Nduku Louis. Louis discussed his efforts in rehabilitating former youth combatants and reshaping the narrative of conflicts in Cameroon’s Northwest Region.

Together, these sessions provided a comprehensive view of Bamenda’s past and present, illustrating both the challenges and the unyielding spirit of its people.

Mimi Mefo Info

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Remembering the Disappeared Fon of Akum

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The Northwest Region of Cameroon mourns the ‘disappearance’ of HRH Fon George Ngwashi Ndikum II, the revered Fon of Akum, also known as “Small London.” After ruling the Akum clan for an extraordinary 66 years, the Fon passed away at the age of 89. His disappearance, as per tradition, signifies his transition to join the ancestors.

Fon Ndikum was one of the oldest and most respected figures in the region. He served as a member of the Northwest Regional House Assembly and was a steadfast advocate for peace in an area devastated by armed conflict since 2016. As an adviser in the region, his wisdom and guidance were invaluable. “When I am with them, I tell them that I am more or less their dictionary, their Bible, and that anything is in doubt, they should ask me,” he had said, reflecting his deep connection to his people.

A passionate proponent of peaceful conflict resolution, Fon Ndikum condemned the use of arms, particularly in addressing the Anglophone crisis. His leadership was marked by efforts to reconcile disputes amicably. He chaired the Northwest House of Chiefs during the harrowing period when Fon Yakub of Bangorain was kidnapped and held captive for over a year. “All we pray is that God should give us long lives to do what we can before we pass away,” he once said, underscoring his dedication to his duties until the very end.

On a visit to his people in the United Kingdom, Fon Ndikum encouraged the diaspora to contribute to the development of their homeland. “They should not forget that they are from a village in Cameroon. They see the beauty of the UK. I want them to imitate. Akum is called Small London. I want it to be a whole London. That will be done through hard work,” he urged.

Fon Ndikum’s legacy is deeply rooted in development and community building. Despite ascending to the throne at a young age, he quickly brought his people together with a vision for progress. “We sat down with the notables and a few elites and decided on how Akum could be developed. We started by digging roads in the village to connect the quarters. We did this, and then the missionary who was in Akum at that time came to me and wanted a plot for a hospital. I invited a couple of people who had some large plots, and we agreed and gave out the land to the church,” he recalled in a 2017 interview.

Under his reign, the village saw significant infrastructural improvements, including the construction of roads and a community hall that became a venue for marriages and other significant events. Ensuring access to drinking water was another key project that Fon Ndikum championed. His commitment to development earned him widespread respect among his people.

Fon Ndikum was also a staunch defender of Akum’s rich cultural heritage. Despite modern influences, he ensured that traditional practices and values remained strong. “Akum people have a very rich culture, and they are doing everything to maintain this rich culture. In all the quarters, we have traditional dances for both the men and the women. As concerns marriages, we intermarry,” he said, highlighting the cultural vibrancy of his community.

The establishment of the Akum Fondom, comprised of 25 quarters, has seen the reign of eight fons, with Fon Ndikum’s leadership being particularly transformative. His historical knowledge and leadership style provided a strong foundation for the community.

Excerpts from an Interview with Fon Ndikum

This interview was conducted by Francis Ekongang Nzante of Cameroon People Magazine and Manasse Vushigo of Sky Sports Radio, Bamenda and is published in its entirety on the Akum Welfare Association United Kingdom (AWA-UK) website.

Who are your neighbors and what type of relationship do you have with them?

“Formerly, Akum was bordered by Bali, Pinyin, Babadjou, Baligham, Awing, Bambili, Nkwen, and Mankon. Now with the coming of other villages, the colonial masters who were here took Akum land and gave it to Mbatu, Chomba, Nsongwa, Alateneng, Mbei, Njong, and Mendangnkwe. These are the villages that were given land to settle. Now with the present administration, I also have boundaries with Mendangnkwe, Mankon, Mbatu, Nsongwa, Alateneng, Mbei, Njong.”

Why is Akum sometimes referred to as Small London?

“It is a nickname that came about when the Colonial Masters were still here. Most of the Akum people worked under them as cooks and stewards. When the Europeans were going on leave, they would say they were going to London. Some of them stayed in London for a month or two. Akum people who worked for them during these periods equally said that they were going on leave to Small London. That’s exactly how that name came about.”

The Bamenda metropolis seems to be expanding much more towards Bambili and Mankon, Bali and Bafut than it is doing towards Akum. What do you think accounts for this?

“I think that Akum is also expanding because the Bamenda City Council has expanded to one of my quarters, Azaane. That’s my boundary with Mankon where you have the old CENAJES. This is an indication that the city is expanding into Akum as well.”

Can titles be bought in Akum?

“There are two types of titles. There is the title of Nkum or King Maker. They have their number and this number increases only when a Fon is lost. When this happens, the first son joins the group. This title cannot be bought. The second title which somebody can come up for is the Cho. It is not anybody who comes up for it. When somebody comes up for it, we have to be sure that the person in question is of good morals meriting such a title. The third title is that of the red feather. Formerly, when a young man in the village killed a tiger, he was entitled to a red feather.”

Can His Highness use this medium to send out a message to his subjects?

“I call on my subjects both in Cameroon and the Diaspora to always remember home no matter what they become and where they are. Each time I travel abroad, I always advise them. We have a shrine here in Akum called Minjiilem, and we go there every year to pray to our ancestors to bless the yields so that we have plenty of food.”

A Legacy of Unity and Progress

As the Akum community reflects on the life and reign of Fon George Ngwashi Ndikum II, they celebrate a leader who was deeply committed to the development and cultural preservation of his people. His disappearance into eternal glory leaves behind a legacy of unity, progress, and cultural richness that will inspire future generations.

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Champion for Peace: Fon Ndikum of Akum Disappears

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HRH Fon George Ngwashi Ndikum II, the Fon of Akum in Cameroon’s Northwest Region, has ‘disappeared’ at the age of 89. The Fon, who ruled the clan, also known as “Small London,” for an incredible 66 years, is said to have “disappeared” to be with the ancestors, according to North West tradition.

The disappearance of HRH Fon George Ngwashi Ndikum marks the end of an era. His disappearance is a significant event for the community, where he was a stalwart of peace and cultural preservation in a region marred by conflict since 2016.

A Life Dedicated to Service

Born in 1935, Fon Ndikum’s life was a tapestry of dedication to his people and their traditions. After receiving his primary education in Akum and continuing at Saint Joseph’s School in Mankon, he briefly worked for John Hold as a clerical clerk. His reign began on January 7, 1958, following the death of his father. Over the decades, Fon Ndikum became not just a leader but a repository of wisdom and cultural heritage for the Akum people.

In his own words during a 2023 visit to London for the Akum Welfare Association (AWA) fundraising, he expressed his role in the community: “When I am with them, I tell them that I am more or less their dictionary, their Bible, and that anything is in doubt, they should ask me,” he told MMI’s Mimi Mefo.

Champion of Peace

Fon Ndikum’s tenure was marked by his efforts to foster peace in a region that has seen significant turmoil. The armed conflict in Northwest Cameroon, which began in 2016, has wrought havoc on the local communities. Despite these challenges, the Fon remained a beacon of stability and a trusted advisor within the Northwest Regional House Assembly.

Preservation of Culture

Throughout his reign, Fon Ndikum emphasized the importance of maintaining the rich cultural heritage of the Akum people. In an interview with Cameroon People Magazine and Sky Sports Radio Bamenda, he highlighted the community’s efforts to blend modernism with cultural traditions. “Akum people have a very rich culture and they are doing everything to maintain this rich culture,” he said. He detailed how traditional dances, both for men and women, and communal events like “Contry Sunday” play a crucial role in preserving their cultural identity.

Development Initiatives

Under Fon Ndikum’s leadership, Akum saw significant development. His initiatives included building roads to connect various quarters of the village, establishing a hospital, and ensuring access to drinking water. The Fon also spearheaded the construction of a community hall, which has become a hub for social activities such as weddings and other gatherings. “Immediately I took over, I brought my people together… and decided on how Akum could be developed,” he recounted.

Historical Insights

Fon Ndikum was not just a leader but also a historian of his people. He traced the origins of the Akum from Tikari to their present location through various migrations due to soil infertility and tribal wars. This historical perspective has been vital in understanding the identity and resilience of the Akum community.

A Lasting Legacy

Fon George Ngwashi Ndikum’s legacy is multifaceted—one of peace, cultural preservation, and community development. His passing is a poignant moment for the Akum people, who now look to continue his work and uphold the traditions he so passionately safeguarded.

As the community mourns the loss of their Fon, they also celebrate the life of a leader who dedicated his entire existence to the service and betterment of his people. His disappearance into eternal glory is a reminder of the enduring impact of a ruler who was truly a dictionary and a Bible to his people.

Mimi Mefo Info

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