That Fru Ndi’s Limbe visit

EDITORIAL 25 Jun 2019
That Fru Ndi’s Limbe visit

The last few days have certainly not been the best for Ni John Fru Ndi, Chairman of the Social Democratic Front, SDF. His woes have come in a very close succession.
First it was his snubbish reception on his way to SONARA, where he took the initiative to visit after the explosion incident, which caused some substantial damage in a section of the refinery. At the Limbe Head Office of the Cameroon Development Corporation, where he also stopped-over, his reception was equally not the best.
As if this were not enough embarrassment for the national chairman of the SDF, a personal initiative taken by the chief-designate of Limbe, Elufa John Manga William, to hand over the symbolic key of Limbe to the SDF chieftain, has since been greeted by an uproar.
We would want to believe that Fru Ndi’s visit was in good faith. Moreso, it could have had no other meaning other than what he himself later explained, that is to observe and sympathise with the managements of these establishments, following the unfortunate incidents that have befallen them. There can be no better expression of good faith from a leader of a country’s leading opposition party opting to show concern for two state-owned establishments that are facing such calamities. The details of the manner in which he was snubbishly treated, first at the office of the Senior Divisional Officer and at the gates of SONARA at Ngeme, are indeed regrettable.
The reasons advanced, for not allowing the Chairman into the premises of SONARA are indeed lame and unimpressive, at least, not for a man such as Fru Ndi. That he could not be allowed into the SONARA premises because a commission of inquiry had been put in place sounds unconvincing. The authorities had already declared that the explosion was not an act of sabotage as it was widely feared, but that it was a technical fault. If this was so, and the authorities were true to themselves, did this require a whole commission of inquiry to establish the fault?
To come back to the issue of blocking Fru Ndi from getting into the SONARA premises, one would be curious to ask whether Fru Ndi’s presence would have altered the course of the inquiry? The answer is certainly No. All that is clear is that, if the management of SONARA were acting in good faith, Fru Ndi could have been received in the Boardroom, without necessarily getting even closer to the affected sections of the refinery. The truth is that he was simply being denied the right to express his concern and show some solidarity to the management of the establishment.
In the case of the CDC, where the General Manager could not be reached, Fru Ndi was however received by the financial director, Foteh Vincent, who explained that he has taken the initiative because he was not delegated by the management to receive the chairman, but that he was doing it on his own. It is obvious that the management will interpret Foteh’s initiative as out of place, but on the contrary, Foteh has simply saved the image of the corporation on the side of courtesy. It certainly costs nothing to show courtesy, talkless to a national figure like Fru Ndi. This is where we have spotted out the dirty hand of politics and lack of good faith.
However, unlike the melodrama at SONARA, Fru Ndi had a rather warm reception at the Palace of the Paramount chief-designate of Limbe, Elufa John Managa William. Fru Ndi and his entourage were warmly welcomed, exchanged words of courtesy, offered a meal and above all, received the symbolic key of Limbe from the chief-elect.
Unfortunately, this gesture has been loudly greeted with an uproar that has increased the chairman’s woes of his Limbe visit. Municipal authorities and Limbe chiefs have strongly condemned the Chief’s action, describing it as illegitimate. They are right, especially from all indications, the chief-designate acted without due consultations. Those criticizing the chief are also right for the fact that he is yet to be enthroned officially.
However, considering the fact that the controversy over the succession to the throne of Limbe is one that had taken many years, we would want to appeal to the municipal authorities and the chiefs to exercise restraint and mend fences, rather than open up new controversies.
Let the new chief accept his mistakes and face his people with the greatest sense of humility. After all, it is his first mistake and we strongly believe this singular misjudgment bears all the chances of being put behind in order to move forward.
Fortunately, it seems the paramount chief-elect has done just that and we praise him for swallowing his pride and accepting that he erred. It is our wish that the minister of territorial administration should uplift the ban on chieftaincy designations especially in Limbe where there was overwhelming consensus for Prince Elufa Johnny Manga William to sit on the throne.
It is unacceptable for the Limbe paramount chief stool to continue remaining vacant almost 16 years after.

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