Patrick Ekema: ‘Ambitious patriot’, burst bubble and fighting the dead

By Charlie Ndi Chia

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th American president (1913-1921) is famous for stating that there is no higher religion than human service and that to work for the common good is the greatest creed. Admirers of Patrick Esunge Ekema, saw the late mayor of the Buea council as a patriot, ready to lay down his life for his people and country. Ekema acted foul and fair, to stamp his mayoral authority on Buea and enter regime good books. He was brash. He openly dared the head of state to toy with his Buea jurisdiction at one point.

Ekema once told off the Buea Divisional Officer, DO, in public, reminding him of his inherent powers as elected mayor, defender of ‘aboriginal rights’ and the indivisibility of Cameroon. Ordinarily, serving one’s country in any capacity is tantamount to serving humanity. It is a pleasant privilege. But such service ought to be sincere, radiating from the heart and soul. And it must seek basically to build and not to bleed those being purportedly served. This could have been late Ekema’s mission, why not?

However, Ekema’s modus operandi raised quite some worrying questions about his intensions. Was he a problem solver or a problem multiplier? Did he have an alternative to anger, poverty or even death? Going by the crass methods he employed did we see tangible results except on paper and through the propaganda machinery of rented media?

Ekema was rightly or wrongly accused of zipping the mouths of certain supervisory “hyenas” whose lifestyles were woven around taking undue advantage of the late man’s “inordinate ambition” to steal state money and expropriate native Fako land. The tourniquet around the bleeding spots he was purportedly healing or stopping is still loose, seeping out the odious fluid of corruption into the pockets of those who either flattered or duped him outright. Amba kidnappings, mutilations and ghost towns still exist; military summary executions and arson are still there.

With all the taunted facts of the Ekema era, with all the rented media propaganda and wrestling with demented ‘Amba’ generated terrorism and clumsy lockdowns, insecurity and attendant poverty and premature death still dwell in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. And as long as the turpitude continues to pour its rain of tears on these two beleaguered regions, young girls with beautiful futures will continue to join the ranks of prostitutes. Young men will remain entrenched in armed robbery, sadistic amputations and kidnapping for ransom. Young Cameroonians will gloat over signing up in Libya, Kuwait and Mexico with no desire to return home. Older men and women will be shamelessly recidivistic; singing for their supper on radio and television and hailing the old emperor’s stark nakedness. And Cameroon as a corporate entity will remain in a hoity-toity stranglehold, with or without the likes of Ekema. The Lord Mayor is back to the ultimate eternal Mayor. We could do with learning bitter lessons, not fighting ambition that is dead and buried…        

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