February 11, the day Cameroonians West of the Mungo, opted for reunification remains significant in our political history.
On that day compatriots in this part of the country when it was still a United Nations Trusteeship administered by Britain, voted massively for reunification and proved to the rest of Africa, and the World at large that the political machination of divide and rule can be redressed in spite of Socio-Cultural differences.
That courageous and patriotic deed marked the end of a geopolitical divide, and the beginning of other developments that would continue to prove that blood is indeed thicker than water .
Whether the patriotic spirit that moved Cameroonians to concretize the reunification dream is still burning in all parts of our country as it did in those days is the challenge we all face as we look forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of political independence and self-government. We at least have no cause to doubt the need to be united despite our diversities, as the craving for consolidated unity and its pride continue to manifest in various ways:
When it came to choosing a date for reflection, celebration, and focus on the needs of youths, our political elite thought of 11th February, the day Cameroonians, most of them youths went to the polls and voted massively for reunification with their kindred of the former United Nations trusteeship east of the Mungo.
This could not have been considered an accident of history or miscarriage of priorities, for we do not doubt the importance of that courageous and patriotic decision which has since meant much to our country, and its challenge to remain united in spite of challenges.
From Camerones to Kamerun, Cameroun, and Cameroons, citizens of this country have proven their uniqueness and the need to protect the elements of progress, with focus on youth who must be nurtured and constantly mobilized to be effective participants of nation-building.
The importance given our educational infrastructure besides other means of youth mobilization speaks for itself. But such efforts must not make us undermine our shortcomings which include societal ills government is today fighting against.
As we prepare to celebrate 50 years of political independence with the challenge for our youths to contribute to its consolidation, it is an obligation to teach by good examples. We also face the task of forging a better future by giving our youths an enviable today, and a better tomorrow. But this cannot be achieved if we see nothing wrong in corruption, favoritism, theft, fraud, and inertia. For, we cannot continue to deprive our youth of what they need to serve their nation when their bodies and minds are still alert.
With the present high rate of unemployment and technological advances in electronics and telecommunication, many youths are tempted to get involved in various ways of getting rich fast no matter the means: Scamming, internet marriages and various forms of fraud today, unfortunately rationalize the concept of the “end justifies the means”. Yet, in a blessed country like ours, it is possible for these youths to make good use of our natural resources and thus render themselves catalysts of development and not liabilities to their communities. But their elders must help redress the negative trends.
Some years back, Government through the National Civic Service for Participation in Development trained many youths who on graduation initiated a variety of self-help projects which occupied other youths. But unfortunately, the service wound up when graduands started rushing to government offices in search of jobs instead of being self-employed. Others went to garages to train as motor mechanics, incidentally causing the regrettable changes that came up. Fortunately, there are plans to relaunch this important programme, which we believe will not again peter out.
The reforms in our universities, on the other hand with a focus on professionalization, it is believed, would mean much to our youths and their future. But they face the challenge of making good use of what is offered for their good and that of the nation.
Government’s creation of a National Youth Council for example, whose aim is to give youths opportunities to participate in decisions-making, is laudable. With the elections to this council having been completed at various administrative levels in the country, our challenge now is to render it an effective forum for youth mobilization and action for development.
We need this spirit of corporate action to give meaning to our independence, through consolidated unity and progress, without which we cannot be proud of our sovereignty.