The history of the creation of the University of Buea, lifting it from a school of translation to a full-fledged university takes the form of a long trek to a promised land.
We are talking here of a promised land, being the down-to-earth desire for the English people of Cameroon to have a university, which reflects their Anglo-Saxon cultural upbringing. It took many years of lobby to convince those in authority to acknowledge the reality in that demand.
The reality was however not just trumped up amounting to an over- statement, but the numerous challenges that the English speaking students, and to a certain extent, lecturers faced during close to half a century since the establishment of the mother university, the University of Yaounde.
After much pressure, backed-up by the collective will of the population of this part of the country, the head of state finally signed a decree which transformed the Buea School of Translation into a university, with some bias in favour of the Anglo-Saxon university educational system.
This historical background underlining the establishment of the University of Buea, therefore seems to have a grip on the mind-sets of the English speaking population which compels them to guard jealously, the University of Buea, as a child of circumstances. Coincidentally, however, the media in the country has been awash with the news that an annex of the University of Buea is about to be created in Akonolinga, in the Centre Region.
It is obvious that a piece of news item such as this, is not likely to go down well with many of those who have continued to nurse the affection for an Anglo-Saxon culture of university education. To such therefore, it would be expected that, there would be multiple interpretation to the purpose of such a request, coming from a population whose university education culture runs parallel with each other, and that the motive of such a request must be having a hidden agenda. We want to believe that, the reaction of the South West chiefs must have been derived from this presumption. If this is the case, we want to believe they had a point. The truth is that questions had started being raised, one of which was obvious: Why UB annex in Akonolinga.?
We therefore appreciate the Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea, Professor Horace Ngomo Manga, for his initiative to throw some light into the Akonolinga UB Annex story. Professor Ngomo Manga admitted that there was a delegation from Akonolinga with the request, but explained that it was a request to be studied, but he also disclosed that some lecturers and students of UB, accompanied by their students had already been carrying out research in Akonolinga area.
Critics however raise the question why some lecturers, accompanied by their students decided to select Akonolinga as focus for the research? According to the Vice Chancellor the Akonolinga community has already pledged 161 hectares of land to UB to help cover the activities of the researchers. The VC’s explanation might have dispelled the fears that surrounded the possibilities for the establishment of a UB annex in Akonolinga but not without further questions, especially when he further stated that, in an annex, you will have all what the main campus has, and that in the case where hierarchy decides to create such a structure at all, then at some point, it will be under some sort of autonomous management.
This is where some fears about the true motive behind this request is bound to remain a puzzle until it is proven the contrary.. But for now we will take the Vice Chancellor’s explanation as the reality of the issue.