|Former Prime Ministers|
EMMANUEL MBELA LIFAFA ENDELEY (1916 - 1988)
Endeley was born on 10 April 1916; his family was among the wealthy members of the Bakweri ethnic group. He was educated in Buea and Bonjongo in Southern British Cameroons and Umahia in Nigeria. Endeley eventually entered the Nigerian School of Medicine in Yaba. In 1942, he took the post of assistant medical officer in Nigeria, and in 1945, he served as chief medical officer in Buea.
Endeley was concerned with providing a voice for workers in Southern British Cameroons and for citizens of British Cameroons in general. In 1939, he helped form the Cameroon Youth League (CYL). In 1944, he was a founding member of the Bakweri Improvement Union. In 1947, he joined union organizers of the Cameroons Development Corporation (CDC) in Southern British Cameroons. He became union secretary the following year. Endeley organized and participated in petitioning United Nations delegations and in organizing general strikes. He was a founder of the Cameroons National Federation (CNF) in 1949 and later served as its president.
Political career In 1951, Endeley was elected to the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly in Enugu. He worked to have Southern British Cameroons granted special regional status apart from Nigeria; when the Southern British Cameroons Regional Assembly was formed, he was one of its first members. In 1953, Endeley joined John Ngu Foncha and Solomon Tandeng Muna in breaking from the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) to form the Kamerun National Congress (KNC), which advocated autonomy for Southern British Cameroons. However, Endeley's political views changed, and he advocated greater integration of the territory with Nigeria. In 1955, Foncha and Muna broke with the KNC to form the Kamerun National Democratic Party (KNDP). Endeley allied the KNC with the Kamerun's People Party (KPP), another pro-Nigeria group, but the coalition lost seats to the KNDP.
In 1957, Endeley squeaked out a victory to become the first Prime Minister of Southern British Cameroons; he was installed the following year. In January 1959, voters replaced Endeley with Foncha. In May 1960, his KNC merged with the KPP to form the Cameroons Peoples' National Convention (CPNC) to be the main opposition party to Foncha's KNDP. Political opinion was strongly in favour of unification with French Cameroun, and the United Nations held a plebiscite over the issue on 11 February 1961. Endeley and the CPNC opposed; Endeley released a lengthy pamphlet urging the people of Southern Cameroons to vote "no". Nevertheless, the vote came in favour of unification.
In the new federated state of West Cameroon, Endeley and the CPNC took the role of Foncha's main opposition, and also supported President Ahmadou Ahidjo's moves to create a one-party system in Federal Republic of Cameroon. He served in several more posts in Cameroon before his death. In 1965, Endeley became leader of government business for West Cameroon. He served as a member of the central committee of Cameroon National Union (CNU), and in 1966, he became president of the Fako section of CNU, a post he held until 1985. Endeley was also elected to the National Assembly of Cameroon. Endeley died on 29th June 1988 at the age of 72.
JOHN NGU FONCHA (1916 – 1999).
Foncha was born on 21st June 1916. He founded the Kamerun National Democratic Party (KNDP) in 1955 and became Premier of Southern British Cameroons on 1st February 1959. He held that position until 1st October 1961, when the territory merged into a federation with French Cameroun. From 1st October 1961 to 13th May 1965, Foncha concurrently served as Prime Minister of West Cameroon as well as Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon. He held the latter title until 1970.
In 1994, he led a 9-man delegation of Southern British Cameroonians (Ambazonians) to the United Nations head quarters in New York to petition the UN for Cameroon’s illegal occupation and annexation of Ambazonia.
AUGUSTINE NGOM JUA (1924 - 1977)
Of all the Ambazonian politicians, Augustine Ngom Jua stands out as the most perceptive, courageous, accomplished and nationalistic, ever with the supreme interest of Ambazonia uppermost in his heart. He was a grass root politician who retained a keen sense of movement in popular feeling in Ambazonia. On 9 September 1959 when contributing to the debate in Ambazonian House of Assembly on the issue of the plebiscite question to be put to the electorate, Jua forcefully argued that the matter of joining French Cameroun was not provided for in the UN charter and ought to be dismissed as one of the plebiscite question. Jua saw no reason why Ambazonia with a larger population could not be a separate state in its own right, when smaller countries like Gambia were given such a privilege. Two years later at the Cameroun-Ambazonia bipartite meeting held in the Camerounese town of Foumban, Jua lamented that he had never seen where people are expected to write a constitution in two days.
The popular A.N Jua was Prime Minister of Ambazonia from 1965 to 1968, a mere three years. But they were eventful ones. Immediately prior to his appointment as Prime Minister on 12 May 1965, Jua held the portfolio of Minister of Finance in the Ambazonian Government. He was the able finance minister who saw Ambazonia through difficult economic period. He thus did good service as minister of finance and was the moving force behind heroic efforts to improve the economic situation in Ambazonia. He and P.M Kemcha (Finance Minister and Vice Prime Minister during jua’s premiership) were instrumental in the restructuring of the state’s Development Agency under the aegis of which were established a number of companies as joint ventures between private investors and Government of Ambazonia.
Jua was an exponent of state’s rights. He actively championed total independence for Ambazonia and strongly asserted its specificity and individuality. He was a citizen of Ambazonia first and foremost and turned down appointment to Yaoundé as deputy Federal Minister of Health. One of his commendable acts on becoming prime minister was his rapprochement with the opposition party, CPNC. “The opposite is respected and respectable”, he declared in parliament in Buea stretching a “right hand of fellowship” to the opposition and its supporters both from within and outside the House of Assembly.
He formed a KNDP-CPNC coalition government of national unity which saw the return of Dr. E.M.L Endeley to ministerial rank as leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly. The KNDP-CPNC communiqué issued on 19 August 1965 when Jua became Prime Minister affirmed that the leaders of the two parties were agreed: to maintain and defend the sovereignty and independence of Ambazonia and “to work for the preservation of our parliamentary system and political institutions in Ambazonia.” This communiqué suggest that both leaders were probably aware of the machinations of Ahidjo to destroy Ambazonia. Had Jua still been in power in 1972, it is doubtful to the extreme that Ahidjo and his Camerounses accomplices would have overthrown the informal federal constitutional order and so brazenly occupied Ambazonia to this date.
For almost three years the Jua government directed the affairs of Ambazonia in a spirit never known since the 1959-1961 acrimonious politics of pro-Nigeria pro-Cameroun and since the KNDP/CPNC cloak-and-dagger politics from 1962 up to the time of jua’s accession to the premiership of Ambazonia. Jua’s rapprochement was the final healing of the old rift in the pre-independence movement in Ambazonia and was very well received by the people of Ambazonia.
Jua’s government was poplular and established and Jua himself was much loved by the people of Ambazonia. This did not go well with Ahidjo who was the president of the Federal Republic of Cameroon. In a sense, Ahidjo was envious of Jua who, unlike himself was a man of the people and an elected and popular leader. Ahidjo saw Jua who had a strong and commanding personality and spoke with a British accent, as a threat to his absolute power. To Ahidjo, Jua was simply a criminal that had to be convicted at all cost. Ahidjo did not take kindly to the fact Jua had brought into the government of Ambazonia politicians who had doggedly campaigned for the joinder of Ambazonia to Nigeria rather than to Cameroun.
Jua’s government took exceptions, backed by cogent legal arguments to the federal meddling and consistently challenged Ahidjo’s absolutism and “annexationist agenda.” Ahidjo had not anticipated challenge from the government in Buea, at least not in this way. He saw Jua and his unity government as representing a dangerous attitudinal, if not policy shift; a leaning westwards towards Nigeria rather than eastwards towards Cameroun as he expected.
In January 1968, Ahidjo in complete disregard of the constitutional conventions of Ambazonia, appointed Solomon Tandeng Muna to replace A.N Jua as prime Minister of Ambazonia. Read More about Jua-Ahidjo Tug-of-War
Culled and edited in parts from “Imperialist politics in Cameroon: Resistance & the inception of the restoration of the statehood of southern Cameroons” by Carlson Anyangwe (2008).
SOLOMON TANDENG MUNA (1912 – 2002)1947-1951: Teacher in Batibo, Ambazonia;
1951: Elected official with the regional Parliament of Eastern Nigeria;
1952-1954: Becomes public Minister for Labour of Eastern Nigeria;
1954-1957: Minister in charge with the Resources and Public works with West Cameroon (Ambazonia);
1959-1961: Public Minister for Labour, then Industry and Trade, Minister for Finance in Ambazonia;
1961-1968: Ambazonian Minister for Transport, Mines, Posts and Telecommunications;
1968-1972: Prime Minister of the federated state of West Cameroon (Ambazonia);
1972-1973: Minister of State in the United Republic of Cameroon.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 04 June 2011 10:31|