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Courageous Stewardship

It is believed that what matters in life is not its length, but quality and achievements.

 But in leadership, especially at the helm of a nation, both, (duration and achievements) are important. For, in a democracy, those who do not deserve trust and confidence of the electorate do not last. The ballot, not bullet takes them off from their leadership positions sooner than expected.

The electorate in free elections maintain in leadership positions compatriots they believe have the love, will, and above all courage to continue serving fellow citizens. While the credibility of such opportunities of stewardship is said to depend largely on the democratic culture of citizens, the rest goes to the individual whose competence, charisma, and leadership style attracts support.

When Paul Biya took over from Cameroon’s first President, Ahmadou Ahidjo on 6 November 1982 after his surprise resignation, on the 4th of that eventful month, Cameroonians prayed for peace, patriotism and courage to lead them effectively. Keeping united and progressive a country that had been geopolitically separated by colonialism, was not an easy task. For almost half a century, Cameroon, once a former German Colony was administered as two U.N. mandated territories. Blood is thicker than water. Reunification at last was possible, and Ahmadou Ahidjo became Cameroon’s first president.

Those aware of the 33 years of the Biya administration and what it has faced cannot doubt that the Almighty Creator to whom they prayed heard Cameroonians’ prayers. The storms have been many but, fortunately always weathered.

Despite his declaration of rigour and moralisation with and commitment to the cleansing of societal ills, President Biya’s compatriots seemed to have believed that they were mere slogans whose violations could go unpunished. They were mistaken. He has since proven that the law is no respecter of persons.

Some thought that despite the peaceful transfer of power to a constitutional successor, it was more rational to effect change through the barrel of a gun than the ballot, but the God of our fatherland on 6 April, 1984 did not allow this to happen. Peace was regained and the unpatriotic elements taught a lesson.

The Biya era since 1984 when the attempted coup d’état was crushed has been marked by a number of trying times. After the coup attempt of the 6 April 1984, came an economic crisis, the Bakassi conflict, the lake Nyos disaster, a turbulent reinstatement of multi-party governance, energy crisis, and today, the Boko Haram insurgency. But like others, they will fail. For, we believe in peace, cooperation, and support from friendly countries.

The credibility of the Biya administration does not only stem from its ability to weather storms. Difficult times came with the challenge to think and go into action aimed at a redress of disturbing trends.

With the reinstatement of multi-party democratic governance came the challenge to restructure the administrative units and decentralize. This demands the availability of physical and human resources, without which this can be relegated to wishful thinking. The institutions created to coordinate action as well as fight corruption portray this good will of seeing that instead of worrying over problems, we have to seek their solutions.

This search in recent years has included the mobilisation of citizens not only to meet the New Millennium Development Goals, but also to count Cameroon among emerged nations by the year 2035. This demands much of what makes life worth living in the rural and urban areas. For an economic take-off to become a reality by the year 2035, the Biya administration knows that the country needs, potable water, sound education of citizens, health facilities and effective cooperation with the international community. Despite Obvious constraints efforts are being made to forge ahead.

The Mem’evele and Lom Pangar dams, as well as other developmental infrastructure will not only guarantee lighting in homes, but also boost industrialisation. The creation of institutions of learning at all levels with emphasis on professionalization will contribute greatly to the provision of physical and infrastructure facilities for nation building.

We have to work for our common future. Meanwhile, the Biya administration that has already enjoyed 33 years of governance faces the challenge of giving more hope to compatriots through listening to them and giving priority to development projects and strategies that keep Cameroonians proud of their nation.

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