Category Archives: Social

Deportation of US based Author a Diplomatic & Political Blunder

Cameroon- Yaounde: Early this morning, the prosecutor at the Yaounde appeal court  ordered for a halt in the legal proceedings against social activist Patrice Nganang. This news was received with mix feelings when it was announced over the National Radio that it was based on the decision by the Minister of Justice Lauren Esso and that Patrice was obliged to leave the country with immediate effect.

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The news of his release hit the waves of other international media especially based on the reasons for his arrest for allegedly threatening the life of a Long serving Cameroon President Paul Biya. Patrice Nganang was stopped from boarding his flight at the Douala International airport early this month 7th December 2017 until his release today. Nganang Patrice’s hearing was slated for 19th January 2018.

Although no reasons were advanced for his release, but the pressure from the international community and his students at New York’s Stony Brook University were associated with the release. This was a strong case of human right violation as the person in question was a human right activist.

Patrice Nganang (archive shot)

Nganang who now possesses a dual nationality Cameroon and USA was expelled from his original country Cameroon as Cameroon does not accept double citizenship his lawyer, Emmanuel Simh said. He added that his Cameroon passport was confiscated from him as well.

His release has exposed the lawless state of Cameroon where individuals sit and make laws in their offices and private homes and can override the role of the Parliament and Senate. A glaring example in the case with Nganang whose release was instructed by the Justice Minister and not the Court. The same is of Paul Ayah whose case could not get through the court because of the same Justice minister.

Worth noting that Nganang’s arrest was linked to his sympathy for the Anglophone crisis that started with the Lawyers and Teachers’ strike October 2016. These same people have deliberately with the sitting president for 35 years in power, the Parliament, the senate vehemently refused to admit and deliberate on the Crisis. The consequences has been the declaration of war against the anglophones whom they now called secessionists and terrorists, the war which has weighed a lot on the regime that has refused to call for an inclusive and sincere dialogue.

Expelling Nganang from Cameroon and the seizure of his passport has questioned its fairness as it is alleged that three quarters of Cameroon Ministers and its president all possess a foreign Nationality including players like Samuel Eto, Carlos Idriss Kamene and a host of others. There are a few  who have argued that Cameroonians with foreign nationality should not involve in the affairs of the state of Cameroon, but this has been challenged by asking those ministers and politicians with the same portfolios to teach with examples and respect the law they interpret only against the diaspora. One reliable source his asked to be kept anonymous said from Yaounde…” We have seen the Justice minister himself and Roger Milla go to vote at the french Embassy here in Yaounde.” The case of Prince  Eyango is still very fresh in their memories.

Therefore this action from the Cameroon regime is not only politically dangerous but a big blunder in the diplomatic politics and will come to play against its actions.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

 

La Rep Du Cameroon loses the force of Argument

Keeping them Honest: Beyond French and English language
Cameroon was two different nations with two distinct histories
The ongoing genocide in Southern Cameroons has dealt a devastating blow to any claim by those propagating the big, fat lie that Cameroon is one, united and indivisible.

By Ekinneh Agbaw-Ebai*

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The regime in Yaoundé has totally lost the force of argument. Its blind use of the argument of force; the only option left for it, will fail because violence has never successfully prevented a people yearning for freedom from achieving it. It is important to remind French Cameroun politicians who hardly draw lessons from history that Cameroon was a union of two distinct nations involving two different peoples with two different histories and political culture, beyond French and English languages. Great efforts were made by East and West Cameroon to develop their resources and use same to better the lot of their people, as there was a sense of healthy competition among the two federating states. It is just enough to say that by unilaterally abrogating the federation in 1972, Ahidjo snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and Cameroon’s manifest rendezvous with glory was halted. This was probably the most wicked act ever perpetrated against Southern Cameroons and current efforts to defend this anomaly only gives a bad name to democracy as a government of the people; for the people and by the people.

After unification in 1961, French Cameroun and Southern Cameroons were developing at their own pace, under a federal system of government and the two nations were never one and indivisible. That French Cameroun lacked the main foundation of nationhood owing to the absence of a sense of belonging to one entity, as tribal loyalty competed with national cohesion, is a fact that contrasts markedly with the political maturity in Southern Cameroons. No one can dispute the abysmal level of understanding of French Cameroun politicians when it comes to the majesty of democracy. No one should be surprised, therefore, at their lack of sophistication in its practice. The French Cameroun political class has shown an impetuous proclivity to foster a recruitment process that allows the worst to access public offices. Politics in French Cameroun was so much debased that electoral competition was an odious rat race or an all-comers affair of tribal jingoists, political hangers-on and sundry jobbers, all lacking in the requisite knowledge for leadership and governance.

Unlike Southern Cameroon, primordial sentiments animated French Cameroun politics. In the 1956 elections into the French Cameroun parliament, Ahidjo’s UC party which won the majority was a loose amalgam of contending tribal interests comprising – Union de Diamare (Jean Akassou, Maigari Bello, Yaya Daicro, Kakiang Wappi, Mohamadou Ousmanou, Yerima Daicro, Ninine Jules and Guyard Joseph); Union de Bamoun, (Arouna Njoya and Seidou Njimoulouh Njoya); Union de Defense des Interests de la Benoue(Ahidjo, Babale Ousmanou, Buhari Bouba, Haman Aboubakari, Hadji Mohaman, Rene Tagrand); Defense des Interests de Logone et Chari (Garba Gueime, Sultan Marouf Youssouf); Union de L’Adamawa (Alfred Mandon, Nana Djafarou, Adamu Iyawa, Sekou Cheick); Defense des Interests de Margui-Wandala (Talba Malla, Haman Adama, Bobo Souaibo, Lamine Yerima, Andoulaye Yero, Amaoua Abdoulaye.

Andre-Marie Mbida’s party platform was basically a coalition of tribal groups which elected Gaston Medou & Ebo Ndoundoumou (Action Paysanne de Dja et Lobo); Marigoh Mboua, Ndibo Mbarsola (Defense des Interests de Lom et Kadei); Pierre Yinda, Yakana Jacques (Union Social pour la Lumiere, le Progres et Fraternite du Mbam); Jean-Baptiste Mabaya, Pierre Ninekam (Independante pour la Defense des Interests du Pays du Haut-Nkam). Also elected were Chief Djoumessi Mathias, Marcel Lagarde (Défense des Interests Bamiléké in Dschang ; Etienne Djuatio, Imatha Jean (Defense des Interests de Mbouda); Kamga Joseph, Pierre Ngayewang, Samuel Wanko (Union et Progress Bamileke in Bafoussam); Ekwabi Ewane, Gaston Behle (Auctotones des Moungo); Charles Assale, Francois Obam (Union Nationale in Ntem Valley) and Betote Akwa, Soppo Priso in Wouri. Needless to say there was no political party in Southern Cameroons, created to specifically articulate and defend tribal or sectional interests.

Besides, while French Camerounians were electing Frenchmen to represent them in parliament, the March 1957 elections into the SCHA produced a constellation of candidates representing the different political parties which served as platforms for nation-building ideas and a breeding ground for leadership and policy articulation. There was a robust opposition which was the motor-force of democracy. In Victoria Division, Dr. EML Endeley (KNC) and PM Motomby-Wolete (KPP) were elected. NN Mbile (KPP) and FN Ajebe Sone (KNC) were elected in Kumba; Ambrose Fonge (KNDP) and SA Arrey (KNC) emerged from Mamfe. In Bamenda Division, ST Muna (KNC), VT Lainjo (KNC) and JN Foncha (KNDP) were elected; in Wum, two KNDP stalwarts, AN Jua and P Mua were elected; in Nkambe, Ando-Seh (KNC) and P Nsakwa (KNDP) were elected. Five of the six elected NA members were KNC – JM Mukambi (Kba), TC Lekunze (Mfe), HD Tankoh Tah (Bda), JE Kum (Wum) and W Nformi (Nkambe). John Manga-Williams (Victoria) was an Independent. Power alternation was one of the cornerstones of Southern Cameroons democracy because of the presence of a strong opposition with a distinct ideology and policy to the governing party.

Such a vibrant opposition was nonexistent in French Cameroun. For example, in the April 1960 elections into ALCAM, there were no competitions for the 44 seats in the North where Ahidjo’s UC party held sway. Once Ahidjo with the support of Aujoulat took over the UC leadership from Ninine Jules, his strategy was to cripple the opposition. By 1963, Ahidjo had virtually stifled all political parties and there was just one party in French Cameroun. In a streak of authoritarian madness, Ahidjo then undertook an insidious lynching of West Cameroon democracy in 1966 when all political parties were disbanded to form the CNU. The Federal Republic of Cameroon officially became a one-party state. Going forward, power, money and vanity became instruments of statecraft in the hands of CNU barons.

In addition, the Southern Cameroons civil service was very apolitical. Cabinet Secretaries were career politicians but the bureaucracy was run by Permanent Secretaries, who were not allowed to participate in politics. This tradition was maintained after unification as PJ Alpress, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources was appointed Chief Electoral Officer for the first post-independence election under the federated state of West Cameroon in December 1961. The reverse was true in French Cameroon where at independence in I960, a civil servant, Ahmadou Ahidjo, was handpicked by the French to become head of state. The tribalism, impunity, nepotism, abusive patronage and notorious corruption that is the official currency of governance in Cameroon today had its roots deeply embedded in the political culture of French Cameroun, where political leaders drew their electoral strength from tribal associations like Ngondo (Soppo Priso); Kumze (Chief Djoumessi Mathias); Bassa Mpo’o (Mayi Matip); Efoula Meyong (Charles Assale) and Koupé (Ekwabi Ewane).

And unlike in East Cameroun where traditional rulers were appointed by the colonial government and forced to wear official uniforms with ranks on their epaulets, the West Cameroon House of Chiefs was an integral part of the governance architecture and served as a quasi-upper legislative chamber. It is trite to say that there can be no democracy without democrats. Southern Cameroons having entrenched the democratic culture and ethos, a man could leave office, but the institution stays. In circumstances such as this, there is usually a predilection to invoke primordial sentiments that are inimical to nation-building. To the ordinary Francophone, government is a profit-making business and political power is a selfish tribal equation, where holders of high public office have to cater to the tribe above all else. Southern Cameroonians see high public office as a call to service; whereas to Francophones, a cabinet appointment is an invitation to “come and chop.” It was normal for an incoming Minister in French Cameroun to replace all his top-ranking collaborators with his tribesmen because “it is their turn to chop.” In such situation, the stress to governance and efficient delivery of democracy dividends from sycophancy, indiscipline, corruption and mediocrity cannot be over-emphasized.

Despite the preachments of Francophone politicians about the imperative of a one, united and indivisible Cameroon, the ethnic reactionary politics of self-preservation still pervades their psyche. A very telling situation that was a national embarrassment was when President Biya publicly declared all-out war against Anglophone terrorists. That Biya would descend to such shameless demonization of Anglophones, especially amid the ongoing genocide when the nation is in mourning and sober soul-searching, is the height of insensitivity and sheer dishonor for the dead and brutalized. In the judgment of an average sense of decency, Biya’s action is a moral weakness of asinine proportion.

In conclusion, a nation can never outgrow the performance of its leader. Such is Cameroon’s tragedy at the moment. The failure of leadership by the President, who by authority is assumed to be the father of the nation, is highly disturbing. If the president views Anglophones with such hatred, does it therefore surprise anyone why some of the president’s henchmen have been beating the drums of war? Given his apathetic refusal to dialogue, Biya wittingly or unwittingly sent a message of disdain and unwelcome to all Anglophones, including those in his cabinet, that they are terrorists, instead of patriotic citizens with a different vision on how the nation should be governed. Biya’s depth of ill feeling towards Anglophones is unhealthy for a nation in distress. He must therefore be told in whatever language he understands that Southern Cameroons and French Cameroon are not one, united and indivisible; never were, and never will be one, united and indivisible!

Bamenda: Positive outcome of Archbishop Kleda’s trip to SWR & NWR

Positive Outcome of Bishop Kleda’s Tour:
Archbishop Kleda’s trip might be a positive one:
For him to have admit that the radio and Tv has been spreading lies, and that he found the truth himself is enough reason for him to have made that trip. It might help him when writing the next letter.
The question is? How come, of all the & dioceses, Kumbo Diocese was left out, What did the people of Kumbo do this time around:
The Intervention of Mgr Lafon patrick and Hon. Jua were timely and fearless.
Another opportunity for the regime to start a fresh dialogue.
This and more on this article. Read, share and comment
http://sheytatah.dk/bamenda-positive-outcome-of-archbishop-kledas-trip-to-swr-nwr/

A lot of ink has been spit on the on-going tour made by the National Episcopal Council of Cameroon (NECC) president  Archbishop Kleda Samuel of the Douala archdiocese. The trip was a follow up to the letter he signed on behalf of the bishops to convince catholic bishops and other institutions get schools to resume in those regions and call off the strike. The meeting ended today with the Archbishop visiting 4 Dioceses out of 5 with Kumbo being the only one left out. Reason for this is still unknown.

The first visit in Buea on the 2nd on May as reported by Fr Niba Herbert couldn’t start until the arrival of the Governor who came with heads of all services (police, brigade, gendarme, procurer general, Mayor, GCE board registrar, & 3 of the people who took the Bishops to court. “Over 25 man entourage and the Governor finally became MC of the meeting, (appointing who to talk, ordering the drafting & signing of a communique.” He said.

At the end of the meeting it was reported that ” The Bishop of Buea Mgr Bushu Immanuel  was resolute about maintaining the status quo until a frank dialogue with the state was initiated and that The Bishop went further to say he and others had done their best by keeping their schools open but that the solution could be sought in the hands of Southern Cameroons Parents”

The case of Kumba and Mamfe needless to belabored as the Archbishop met with the same results and resistance as the parents did not only get angry in Kumba , Mamfe Bishop Called for calm and challenged the Mayor to be the first to bring his kids to schools as the Catholics schools never were closed.

Meanwhile that of Bamenda was the peak of the tour as Archbishop Kleda came face to face with reality not only in words but in the field as he convinced himself that not only Catholic schools did not resume but the Government schools as well.

Although nothing was mentioned about the reactions from the Archbishop of Bamenda yet, the main headlines and echoes were those of MGR Patrick Lafon of Nso Origin. He is the former Secretary General of the Bishop’s Conference of Cameroon, Mgr. Patrick Lafon, and present Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Cameroon, CATUC, Bamenda, He vehemently vomited out that the Bishops should be honest and state clearly what they need which is Federation and that asking for Federation was not a Taboo in Cameroon.

Then came the powerful intervention from Hon Jua Paulinus; ” We know the problems but because of greed we don’t want to accept.The Francophones don’t love their children as much as we love ours.If there is no genuine dialogue I can assure u your Grace that you will not have any solution. You are not more Cameroonian than us. If you care you bring all the armies from Yaounde here to Bamenda we will not send our children to school.”

The PTA president of St Paul’s college Nkwen thrilled the crowd as well as an orator, as he hammered on the aspect of fear they experience. He quoted that since he completed primary school in the early 60s up till date, he has never seen a situation where military has to be deplored for people to study. He said this is another reason many children do not want to go to school, as such, all military people should return to the barracks. His speech lasted 2min 25secs but was rich in substance.

It was only at this point that Archbishop and his delegation saw the whole picture painted in their brains. It is reported that “they were shocked that as opposed to what is read over radio and shown on TV, even the government schools in NW and SW  still remain closed.Hammering that lies telling should not be part of the media”

The worries are…Shall the delegation continue to an unannounced trip to Kumbo? Have they had enough information that going to Kumbo might be of less importance? Did someone advise them not to come to Kumbo? What did they say about the Kumbo people? The mystery behind this “forgotten” diocese in the Bishop’s tour shall soon be unveiled.

It is hoped that the facts gathered by the NECC President shall open was to fresh dialogue and that the Regime shall know the truth and accept the situation while seeking a lasting solution.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

 

Reactions to Bishops letter (Very Mixed feelings from West Cameroonians)

The Bishops letter dated 29th April on the current Anglophone crisis has sparked mixed feelings as many believe they still do not understand the problem but playing the moral part on the crisis without understanding the situation. The Bishops are bent on promoting Decentralization and social Dialogue yet ignoring the release of those arrested and demilitarization of the regions yet calling for schools to resume. Many have read this letter and have the following to say:

The Bishops of Cameroon have spoken well, like the respected men of God that they are. They have provided a succinct diagnosis of the problem and rightly noted that it has evolved from a trade union issue to a political, administrative to constitutional issue. We all know that this escalation of the problem is due to the bad faith, excessive violence, murder, mayhem, and disdain of the government. The bishops offer a way out of the crisis that I think is reasonable: a dialogue that concerns the institutional form of the state, and reinforces the separation of powers between the executive, the judiciary, and the legislative. Biya needs to get that off the ground, They also want the state to “decide the destiny of the detainees according to appropriate judicial procedure.”

With all due respect to the men of God, I think they fail to understand the nature of the Biya regime. Biya is has only one way of communication and governance–rule by decree. In 35 years in power, he has not demonstrated a culture of dialogue or compromise. He engages only in monologues. The word dialogue does not exist in Biya’s vocabulary. How can the bishops expect Anglophone civilian political detainees who are charged with death penalty offenses to receive justice in a military tribunal? I fear that the bishops of Cameroon did not read the message the Holy Father, Pope Francis gave to President Biya when he visited the vatican last month. The Pope clearly told Biya to “respect human and minority rights” of Cameroonians! That is a clear reference to the atrocities perpetrated in the Northwest and Southwest regions. http://www.news.va/…/pope-francis-receives-president-of… The Bishops want dialogue between the parties. That is a good thing. There is just one small problem. Who is going to dialogue with the government when the Anglophone leaders are in jail? The Bishops need to tell Paul Biya one Latin phrase: habeas corpus! Release all the Anglophone political detainees. They have to remind him what the Pope told him, namely, that he has to respect human and minority rights in Cameroon. Left to itself, the Anglophone problem is slowly spinning out of control before our very eyes. The bishops of Cameroon mean well, but their message may be too little, too late to move Paul Biya. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Lyombe Eko Prof. at Texas Tech University but hails from Buea.

Aboh Anjah Martin questions if the Bishops have the legitimate write to call off the strike;

“Did this bishops organize any strike in Cameroon if no then why is it that they are those trying to call off the strike?”

Mark Bara laments on the letter stating that; “You must have read a certain Communique coming from the Bishops Episcopal conference signed by Bishop Samuel Kleda. They are calling for resumption of schools, end of ghost towns etc. In fact, the wordings of the Bishops sounded exactly like the CPDM government prepared text delivered to them in a holy masked because it failed the test woefully. In fact, we can grade it -5/20…I am by this short notice calling on Southern Cameroonians to reject the Bishops of Cameroon latest communique signed by Bishop Samuel Kleda. That Communique which fails to even call for the release of our people, it does not meet the aspirations of the Southern Cameroons people…The communique from Yaounde signed by Bishop Samuel Kleda is another form of tyranny and slavery. Enough.”

Ndzi Kibuh hammers that “Bishop kheda and his Episcopal council hate the TRUTH, the Bible says know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.

It is worrisome that Bishops with all respect will involve themselves in such dirty political game masterminded by the Biya regime. God is supreme no matter what.” Marie Sengue

“Bishops who do not realize the arrest of innocent citizens, Bishops who do not demand for fair treatment of all are culprits in disguise…” Lestrong WCam

“This is worth nothing… See who is talking about decentralization here? We don pass that stage…. Finally the francophone bishops are simply doing something else. They need to understand what SC needs” Don Papi

I expected u start by urging Biya to release those who can dialogue nonsense.if you want to use God’s name be honest and call a spade a spade” Gillian Lemma

Total nonsense.see Bishops playing politics. at what time are they calling parents to send their children to school.to go study what? At what time?Has the school year not ended or they are talking of next year?they are threatened by the case against them?sorry they are out of topic” Enesto Akanga

Rubbish!!! The bishop that value country stability and financial motivation as school subsidies need to be recalled by God because he has missed the line of his calling already. No single francophone support the freedom of anglophones even their clergy!!! If you are my church leader, you must act in line with Christian norms or we disown you. That we have already done for any one who still wish to enter into covenant with injustice!!!” Grace Siefrank

Its a pity for Cameroon. Bishops are too carried away from the path of the people. What humanity do they want to protect with that crap. Shame to those Bishops”  Illoh Ikenge

Since the crises sparked off 6 months ago, I have been to Church on many occasions and have listen to Mass Intention with captions like:
– For Peace to reign in our beloved country Cameroon
– Asking God to grant peace in Cameroon etc….
Bidding prayers or Prayers of the faithful have also taken same suit and coining. I have NOT heard any Prayer in church supplicating for retributive and equitable Justice. Does this pretext challenges Pope Pius X’s (he himself a Conservative Roman Catholic) assertion that “where there injustice there is no hope of peace because peace is the work of justice”? Cameroon’s painful troubles are embedded in the number of gross unjust and hidden agendas inflicted on Southern Cameroonians for 55 years. Let us do Justice then peace will reign!
” Tangka Eric

Mbilam Samson Jumbam thinks that the letter does not reflect that written by the Bishops of Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province reiterating that; “The current Letter proves nothing but complacency of Francophone Bishops. How long have they taken to react to the Anglophone crises? The message is teleguided. After all, petrol bonds will flow

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

Nso Titles in the Paramount Fondom of Nso (part 2) Shufai

II-1. SHUFAI

Administratively the Shufai is the highest authority that is next in rank to the Fon. The Shufai belongs to the select council of “taakibu” advisors of the Fon.

The highest ranked Shufais are the original ten lords from Kov Vifem (Vibai ve Kov). They sit on stones (instead of stools) in the Fon’s court to signify their permanence as advisors to the Fon. All of the ten lords from Kov Vifem came as Fons between 1450 and 1800 and submitted their people and culture to be integrated into Nso.

Here below in order of rank are the  ten Vibai ve Kov Vifem (Vibai ve tiy se taakibu):

1. Shufai Ndzendzev (Duy)

2. Shufai Tankum (Duy)

3. Shufai Tsenla (Mtaar)

4. Shufai Do Run (Mtaar)

5. Shufai Do Ngwen (Mtaar)

6. Shufai Ndzendzev Tsen (Duy)

7. Shufai Yuuwar (Duy)

8. Shufai Shuv (Duy)

9. Shufai Lun (Duy)

10. Shufai Wainseeri wo Yer (Duy) <—- about to change

It should be noted here that in matters of state duties Yah Yefon (Fon’s mother – the queen mother or her  representative) is ranked third after Shufai Ndzendzev and Shufai Tankum.

Because of the pacts drawn at Kov Vifem before the palace was moved to Kimbo, it was very difficult  for any Fon to promote any Fai or newly arriving Fons to the rank of Kibai. The ten Shufais from Kov Vifem fought very hard to maintain their number at ten from 1825 when the palace moved to Kimbo until the reign of Ngah Bifon I (1910-1947).

Ngah Bifon I (1910-1947) insisted on increasing the council of advisors to include Fais with a broader view of the modern world that Christianity and European colonialism were bringing and to better advise the Fon on matters of Education, Trade, Commerce and Industry. Despite stiff resistance from the ten Vibai Ngah Bifon I (1910-1947) convinced Nwerong of the necessity to increase the number of “taakibu” councilors and in 1929 he elevated Fai Sov to the rank of Kibai.

This elevation angered the most senior Kibai (Shufai Ndzendzev) so much that a rift was created with the Fon. This rift ran for the next three decades and resulted in the Ndzendzev crisis of 1956/1957. Despite this, the1929 elevation of Fai Sov opened the door for the elevation of other Fais to the rank of Kibai.

Here in order of seniority (year of elevation) are the Shufais that were elevated by Ngah Bifon I (1910-1947), Sehm III (1947 – 1972), Ngah Bifon II (1972 –1983) and Ngah Bifon III (1983 – 1993).

1. Shufai Sov (Mtaar)

2. Shufai Nkavikeng (Duy)

3. Shufai Kuy Meliim (Mtaar)

4. Shufai Ngangndzen (Mtaar)

5. Shufai Nsaansa (Duy)

6. Shufai Mbisha (Duy)

7. Shufai Kuyla Yer (Mtaar)

8. Shufai Kii Kitiwum (Mtaar)

9. Shufai Rookov (Mtaar)

10.Shufai Nkim Vekovi (Mtaar)

There is a third category of Vibai that are all of the extended royal family (Duy). These Vibai are considered lower in rank to Fai Taawong and Yah Yeewong. They play the role of state councilors of sacrifice and are also prominently in charge of the Fon’s burial.

Here in order of seniority are the seven Vibay ve Kpu:

1 Shufai Bashwin (Duy)

2. Shufai Njavnyuy (Duy)

3. Shufai Ndzendzev Ntintin (Duy)

4. Shufai Dzem (Duy)

5. Shufai Bambuy (Duy)

6. Shufai Koongir (Duy)

7. Shufai Taaway (Duy)

Only an existing Faiship can be elevated to a Shufaiship. Neither the Fon nor Nwerong can create a new compound or lineage and immediately elevate it to a Shufaiship. The process is complicated and drawn. The Fon must not only obtain the consent of the other Vibai (willingly or by coercion), he must get the consent of both Nwerong and Ngiri who must admit the new Shufai as a “ngang” Ngiri and/or “ngang” Nwerong.

In addition to these impediments the Fon must also contend with the “parents” (extended family and lineage) of candidates for elevation to a Faiship or a Shufaiship or for a newly created Faiship. It is considered an affront on a lineage for the Fon or Nwerong to attempt to elevate a Faiship to a rank that will be considered higher than that of his fatherly lineage. This is largely due to the tacit agreement in Nso society that someone cannot inherit a Faiship or Shufaiship when his father is still alive. This would be interpreted as an attempt to kill the father. For this reason a new Faiship cannot be created or elevated  without authorization from the “father” Faiship to create the new “Kisher” (extention) of the family lineage.

This haggling with lineage heads on elevations and awards even occurs between the Fon and his own brothers of the extended royal  family (Duy). When the Fon attempted to replace Shufai Tsenla Yer with Shufai Bambuy in the rank of “Vibai ve Kpu”, he faced a revolt from almost half of the royal family despite the fact that Fai Bambuy was the descendant of a Fai Taawong. The Fon finally won the day with support from the senior Vibai and Shufai Tsenla Yer lost his position in the “Vibai ve Kpu” ranks, but retained his Shufaiship and in addition gained the title of Ngang Nwerong, a title which was not automatically granted to the “Vibai ve Kpu”.

As shown above Ngah Bifon I (1910-1947) defied all odds to elevate the Sov lineage to a Shufai. Other Fons following him encountered similar problems. When Fon Sehm III (1947-1972) attempted to create a new Faiship with Professor Nsokika Bernard Fonlon as head, Fonlon’s extended lineage of Jem objected. It took until Ngah Bifon II (1972 – 1983) to reward Fonlon with a Faiship (Fai Ntoondzev), after he and Nwerong convinced Jem that Fonlon was no longer their son but a symbol of Nso given his relations with the external world that permitted him to interact with big world leaders like the Canadian Prime-Minister and bring portable water to Kimbo. The pressure was too much for the Jem lineage to bear. They relented and Fonlon became Fai Ntoondzev.

Professor Bernard N Fonlon

A few years after the creation of the Ntoondzev Faiship, Ngah Bifon II (1972 -1983) attempted to elevate it to a Shufaiship but failed. This time the strong objections came from Nwerong who felt elevating a Nchelav Faiship to a Kibai would diminish the power of the Atarntohs in “taakibu”. It took until Ngah Bifon III (1983-1993) for Nwerong to be convinced that the same reasons that necessitated the elevation of Sov in 1929 could be equally compelling in the elevation of a Nchelav Fai to a Shufai. Nwerong accepted the argument and Ntoondzev was elevated to a Shufaiship a few years before Fonlon died in 1986.

Here  is the list of Shufais in the recent category discussed above:

1. Shufai Tsenla Yer (Duy)

2. Shufai Rookov Meluf (Mtaar)

3. Shufai Kiron (Mtaar)

4. Shufai Tsen Nkar (Duy)

5. Shufai Keeri (Mtaar)

6. Shufai Ntoondzev – Fonlon (Nchelav)

7. Shufai Kuyntoh Wonntoh (Duy)

8. Shufai Taankum Kuy (Duy)

Ntoondzev’s  elevation to Shufai opened the way for other Nchelav Faiships to be elevated to Shufaiships. The case of Shufai Langhee is notable  among Nchelav Shufaiships not only because Nwerong outwitted the Fon but because of the astonishing collaboration between Nwerong and Ngiri to achieve this.

Langhee was a Nwerong page who went through the traditional palace stewardship of nine (9) years. He graduated automatically as a Shey and started the Langhee lineage. When the original Shey Langhee died, the Langhee Sheyship was elevated to a Faiship and his son Professor Chem Langhee who succeeded him as the first Fai Langhee quickly rose in Nwerong ranks. He endeared himself to the extended royal family by marrying a princess. Fon Ngah Bifon III (1983 – 1993) whose daughter Fai Langhee married attempted unsuccessfully to elevate Fai Langhee to a Shufai after his success with Ntoondzev. The other Vibai strongly objected because in their eyes “Chem Langhee was no Fonlon”. However, an unusual collaboration of Ngiri and Nwerong convinced Fon Sehm Mbinglo I (1993 – Present) to elevate Langhee to a Shufai.

This unusual but welcomed collaboration of Nwerong and Ngiri was recently aired again when in 2003 Fon Sehm Mbinglo I (1993 – Present) saw the need for a Fai in the American diasporas and created Faa America Faiship. In 2004 when Fai Faa visited the palace with the Fon who was returning from medical treatment in the United States of America, both Nwerong and Ngiri wanted to have the charismatic Fai Faa America as a “ngang”. So, in a strange chain of events, they tricked both the Fon and Fai Faa to commit Fai Faa as both a Ngiri and a Nwerong member. The only way to resolve the issue was for Fai Faa America to be a “ngang” Ngiri and a “ngang” Nwerong. To do this, the Fon had to elevate the Faiship of Faa America to a Shufaiship. Negotiations for this elevation took two (2) years because of some resistance from the Vibai despite the fact that the Fon really had no choice when confronted with the Nwerong and Ngiri political chicanery. Shufai Faa America completed his en-stoolment and “kibunfon” as the newest Kibai in December 2006.

As we can see from above, the elevation of a Nchelav (commoner) to a Shufaiship is rare, but some have been elevated in recent times to increase the realm of the Fon’s councilors.

Here is a list of some recent Nchelav elevations to Shufai:

1. Shufai Kuy Ka (Nchelav)

2. Shufai Langhee (Nchelav)

3. Shufai Taashiv (Nchelav)

4. Shufai Kitav (Nchelav)

5. Shufai Faa America (Nchelav)

Elevation to the rank of Shufai is a very public event that involves the whole palace, Nwerong, Ngiri , Duy, Nchelav and the public. The preparations take time, the celebration is grand and the event is registered in public memory. The “kibunfon” of the new Shufai is memorable and is generally followed by a “tee shishur she Ngiri” or “tee shishur she Nwerong”,  a “fum mfuuh” and a grand “kitar yiy” for the family.

We shall in the next part examine the title of Fai which is next in rank to the Shufai, with some  Fais (especially Atarntohs) having functional and administrative ranks that are higher than some Shufais.

Shey Stephen Shemlon (PHD)