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Lawyer says Fecafoot-Minsep crisis exposes power vacuum at Etoudi

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By Daniel D.

Cameroonian lawyer, Legenju Vitalise, has suggested that the ongoing power struggle between the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) and the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education (Minsep) reveals a deeper issue of a “power vacuum” within the country’s leadership.

He made these remarks on Monday, following the prolonged dispute over who should lead the men’s national football team, the Indomitable Lions.

As Cameroon gears up for its crucial playoff qualification match against Cape Verde for the 2026 World Cup, the national team remains in disarray.

The conflict, which has lasted for close to two months, revolves around the appointment of the team’s technical staff, with both Fecafoot and Minsep asserting their authority based on purported “high instructions” from the Head of State.

The crisis initially seemed to reach a resolution when Samuel Eto’o, President of FECAFOOT, issued an apology to Belgian coach Marc Brys and reinstated him as the head coach.

However, the situation quickly deteriorated, with both institutions continuing to clash over the management of the team.

The dispute escalated dramatically when two separate teams arrived at the Hilton Hotel, each claiming legitimacy based on the same high-level directives.

This chaotic scene has only intensified concerns about the effectiveness and clarity of leadership emanating from the Unity Palace.

Barrister Vitalise Legenju, reflecting on the unfolding events, expressed skepticism about the current state of governance in Cameroon.

“With conflicting authority and assumed delegation and no clear intervention from the Unity Palace, I am now inclined to believe those who suggest that there is no captain steering this ship,” Legenju stated.

“It appears that the ‘high instructions of the Head of State’ may simply be the creation of any official holding such a document, indicating a suspected power vacuum at the Unity Palace.”

Legenju’s comments highlight a growing perception of disarray at the highest levels of government.

The absence of decisive intervention from President Paul Biya or other top officials has left the public and stakeholders questioning the strength and coherence of national leadership.

The implications of this crisis extend beyond the realm of sports.

As Cameroon prepares for its World Cup qualifier, the lack of unity and clear direction within the national football administration could undermine the team’s performance on the international stage. Additionally, the broader message sent to the public is one of instability and uncertainty within the government’s operational hierarchy.

This perceived power vacuum is particularly concerning in light of other national challenges.

Cameroon is still grappling with the protracted Anglophone Crisis, which has seen widespread violence and displacement in the North West and South West regions since 2016.

The government’s inability to effectively address this issue, coupled with the current sports administration turmoil, suggests systemic issues in governance and crisis management.

Observers and analysts are calling for urgent and transparent interventions to restore order and confidence in Cameroon’s leadership.

The resolution of the FECAFOOT-Minsep conflict is seen as a critical test of the government’s capacity to manage internal disputes and maintain stability in critical sectors.

©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.

Mimi Mefo Info

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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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