By Solomon Lyonga
Tuesday Professor Horace Ngomo Manga, former Secretary General at the Ministry of Higher Education was appointed new Vice Chancellor, VC, of the University of Buea, UB, taking over from Dr. Pauline Nalova Lyonga, who retires.
News of her retirement following a presidential decree signed Tuesday June, 27 has come as good news to some who remember especially her misdeeds. Dr. Lyonga, Professor of English at the University of Buea, was appointed VC June 29, 2012 and within her tenure in office she constantly had disagreements with the teaching staff that spilled over to the strike action called by Anglophone teachers in November 2016. On social media some posted derogatory remarks linking the erstwhile VC with the tribalism that has entrenched itself within the UB milieu. And some are still pointing accusing fingers at Nalova Lyonga for provoking a severe military crackdown on UB students last year who had gathered in front of the central administration to demand the respect of their rights. It is alleged that on Nalova Lyonga’s instruction students were teargased and chased right into their rooms by forces of law and order. Pictures that emerged from the November 2016 protest of UB students drew widespread condemnation from human right groups.
Nalova Lyonga, who was the fourth to lead UB as VC since its creation in 1993 will however be remembered as a brilliant scholar. She is co-editor of Anglophone Cameroon Writing (Bayreuth, 1993), editor of Socrates in Cameroon: The Life and Works of Bernard Fonlon (Yaounde, 1989), and author of numerous articles on feminist theory and literature in African countries.
The new VC, Prof. Ngomo Horace Manga, is an Associate Professor of Applied Chemical Engineering. He obtained his PhD from the University of Lagos in 1990. He hails from the Oroko tribe in Ndian Division, Southwest Region of Cameroon.
Since its creation in 1993, the University of Buea has had four VCs: the pioneer being, Dr, Dorothy Njeuma. Later, Cornelius Lambi whose days came to a quick end following a controversial entrance exam into the UB medical school. Prof. Vincent Pryde Titanji was appointed as UB’s third VC in 2007 and replaced in 2012 by Dr. Nalova Lyonga.
The challenges ahead of the new VC are enormous especially as the Anglophone cr
isis continues to affect schools in the two English speaking regions of the country. But, if he assumes his responsibility and creates an enabling environment for dialogue he may do better. Many see the recent appointments as a compensation for those Anglophone Varsity dons who stood against the Anglophone protest and fought actively on the side of the Government to blacklist English speaking University syndicate leaders, who had risked their wellbeing calling on the Government to give Anglophones more opportunities in the country.
In the same presidential decree, Prof Uphie Chinje Melo was equally appointed Rector of the University of Ngaoundere while Edward Ako Oben, hitherto Rector of the University of Maroua becomes Pro Chancellor of the University of Buea. He replaces Prof. Maurice Tchuenté who is now holding a similar function in the University of Yaoundé II.