Category Archives: Social

Nso Titles in the Paramount Fondom of Nso (part 1) Military & Civilian Titles

This paper shall be shared into parts to give readers ample time to be able to grasp something about the Nso Titles and its administration in the Paramount Fondom of Nso. This paper is based on the research by Shey Stephen Shemlon wo Vilan (PHD)

The Paramount Fon Of Nso

The Nso Paramount Fondom (Kingdom) is made up of the three brother Fondoms of Nso, Mbiame and Oku, (with the Paramount resident in the Fondom of Nso), and the vassal states of Nkar, Ntseh, the Noni Fondoms (Din, Mbinon, Lassin, Nkor), and other smaller Fondoms like Ndzerem, Kilun, Ron, Ndzeen, Gashong, Nshookov, Kijem, Tev, Mboon, etc.

This essay on titles and titleholders applies to practically all of the Fondoms of the Paramount Fondom of Nso, although the appellations might vary in some cases from Fondom to Fondom. However, most of our discussion is going to center around the Paramount Fondom of Nso from which most examples in this treatise will be drawn.

The titles will be analyzed in two categories; civil and military. Although controversies surround all titles nowadays, this essay will concentrate on an analysis of civilian titles where most misunderstanding abounds.

It is necessary to bring some clarity to the categorization of titles, title hierarchies and meanings, duties and obligations attributed to title categories and the processes surrounding title awards; because the reigning confusion in the field of titles is seriously undermining our tradition and eroding our culture. Some have even posited that if ignored, the bastardization of our traditional titles could spell death for our culture.

To buttress the point, just imagine what would happen to British culture if any Tom, Dick or Harry could declare themselves a Lord or Knight themselves a Sir or Lady when they so desire. Or, imagine what would happen if an Earl woke up one day and decided that the Earl title was too low for him and declared himself a Lord, demanding all the rights and obligations due him.

It is the need for this clarification that has necessitated this expose.

I. TITLES AND TITLE CATEGORIES

There are two categories of titles in the Fondoms of Nso:

1. Military Titles

2. Civilian (Social, Religious and Administrative) Titles


I-1. MILITARY TITLE CLASSIFICATIONS

Military titles are assigned to the military hierarchy as recognized in the Fondoms of Nso:

General (Nformi – all grades)

Platoon or Legion Commander (Ngwang – all grades)

Squadron or Regiment or Company Commander (Tav – all grades)

Special Forces Intelligence Officer (Gwei – all grades)

Other Derivative Military Titles

Military titles have so far generated less ambiguity and confusion, principally because a Ngwang for example is the same title in Nkar, Din, Oku or Mbiame. Gwei is the same in all Fondoms. There is also no confusion with the various regiments or squadrons (Samba, Nchoro, Jwim, etc.), even when it comes to the Derivative titles that these regiments and companies confer on their warriors.

There is still some ambiguity however as to which military title is higher than which civilian title especially since most of these titles are now just ceremonial titles, modernity having infused another dimension to our concept of chivalry or achievement and moderated our need for wars of conquest and assimilation.

No one has however attempted to rank Nformi Bah or Nformi Gham for example among the Vibai for well known administrative reasons that seek to keep authority over the military with the Fon and his councilors. For that reason we will keep the classifications separate and not attempt to merge and rank civilian and military titles.

1-2. CIVILIAN TITLES

Confusion still reigns in the category of Civilian (Social, Religious and Administrative) Titles because of the preponderance of presumption and usurpation that permeates present day Nso titleholder circles especially in the diasporas of the Cameroons, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Cases have been reported where people would decide to anoint themselves Sheys, Yahs, Fais or Shufais and insist to be treated with all the dues and prerogatives of the title.

Cases exist especially in the diasporas where people were conferred lesser titles and they decided that they deserved higher titles, either out of ignorance of the system of traditional honors and awards or because no one around them knew the truth or understood the system any better.

This confusion however does not exist in the case of inherited titles. Nobody will dispute the Kibaiship of a Shufai Tsenla for example when a new one is installed and accepted by the family. In the same light no one will ever dispute the heir to Yah wo Kiyan for example if She is properly installed.

With the non-inherited civilian titles that are awarded or newly created by the Fons, confusion abounds.

We shall analyze each of these titles separately to bring clarity to the categorization of titles, the processes of title awards, title hierarchies and meanings, and the duties and obligations attributed to title categories.

I-3. CIVILIAN TITLE CLASSIFICATIONS

Civilian (Social, Religious and Administrative) Titles can be classified roughly as follows in descending order of status:

Shufai (Vibai – all categories)

Fai (all categories – some Fais rank higher than Vibai)

Yah (all categories – some Yahs rank higher than Fais and Vibai)

Shey (all categories – some Sheys rank higher than Fais, Yahs and Vibai)

Other Derivative Titles (some rank higher than Sheys)

II. CIVILIAN TITLE CATEGORIES AND RANKS

The highest civilian title next to the Fon is Shufai. There are various categories of Shufai, some lower in rank than the next categories of Fai and Yah. Even though some Sheys may be higher in functional rank than Fais and Yahs, it is rare to see a Derivative (Secondary or Tertiary) title that supersedes the other titles in rank.

We shall examine each of the title categories extensively in order of rank.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

Shall the Catholic University Institute of Buea (CUIB) betray or Unite?

Shall the Catholic University Institute of Buea (CUIB) led by its president Fr Nkeze George Jingwa be the Lone Private University at the University games in Bamenda? Rumor has it that they arrived yesterday already with a 90 man delegation.

Photo credit CUIB

The message that has been circulating online with a negative connotation given to its president Rev, Father Nkeze George Jingwa shall be analysed below based on the trend of events.

“The Private University of Rev Fr George Nkeze, which in the public eye passes for an institution of the Diocese of Buea is already in Bamenda with a delegation of about 90 students to take part in the Universe Games. They arrived Bamenda a today, a day earlier than the official time of arrival for the delegations of participants.”

photo credit CES Buea

Yes, the university games are scheduled from the 22nd to the 29th of April. Arriving on the 19th of April, 3-4 days before the event entails a whole lot of things, extra cost in both accommodation and feeding, extra cost in security measures but also give them room to rehearse on the ground ahead of the games. The church teaches more on assisting the needy, of what use shall an institution spend huge amounts to provide for 90 students and maybe their guardians for 4 days when this shall weigh later on the parents and students be it on the high paid fees or lack of school facilities to make education affordable for all? Could this be some kind of misdirected charity or a ploy to extort more money from the Government and the organizers? Whoever is paying for this should think of the doctors working in deplorable conditions, poorly equipped hospitals, lack of good roads etc.

“This arrival was planned early enough by Fr Nkeze to be sure that nothing disturbs his arrival, not even the trial of the Bishops of Bamenda and Kumbo. It looks like this is the only Private University in the Southern Cameroons that is going to participate in the games.”

CUIB for credit

Yes, there is no doubt that this year’s games shall be marked by the absence of private higher institutions in the NW and SW regions due to the strike that has been going on for 6 months. Even the Equinox TV reporting yesterday confirmed to have been on the field and confirmed that schools have not been going on in these regions, as such they can not participate in the games since they are closed. For CUIB to be reported as already landed in Bamenda, can be interpreted by many as not only the lone private school but as the school that has betrayed the Anglophone cause. This is not the first time Fr Nkeze is being linked to as betraying the Anglophone struggle. In the mid January 2017, the interim consortium attacked Fr Nkeze on this same issue which led to the Executive Assistant of the Institution Lynn Nanyongo Masua sending out a disclaimer that Fr Nkeze was in the USA and had not done anything as such.

CUIB

“Fr Nkeze does this with impunity always. He does not even bother that his Bishop has been booked by government. What does Fr George Nkeze want to teach the Diocese of Buea and the Universal Catholic Church? What is he up to?”

Why should Fr Nkeze bother when he is allegedly receiving assistance and support of the Regime? It is even said that the regime assisted in the transportation and security of students when upon return decided to continue to keep the school running. Fr Nkeze in February based on the Open letter to the Interim Consortium leaders that circulated challenged them and according to the message on his Facebook page by Walters kimah and i quote.

“Canon Law regulates the powers of a Diocesan Bishop. Can. 391 (1), “It is for the diocesan bishop to govern the particular church entrusted to him with legislative, executive and judicial power according to the norm of law.”

Can. 394(1) “A bishop is to foster various forms of the apostolate in the diocese and is to take care that in the entire diocese, or in its particular districts, all the works of the apostolate are coordinated under his direction…”

The Bishop is the proprietor of schools, colleges and universities within his jurisdiction, and everything is coordinated “under his direction.” The Bishops of the Ecclesiastical province just issued a letter telling the government they did not close any schools.”

If the Bishop is what he claims to defend, then why should Fr Nkeze choose to go to Bamenda to fulfill a government call to an event and ignore that of his boss which is mobilizing stuidents to appear before the Buea High court on the 24th of April. Does it mean that he prefers to run the school with the Government and not with the Bishop and the church?

The contradiction of Fr Nkeze’s actions again come in when he in the same letter states:

“The Anglophone struggle is against the government and elites who have and enjoy political power. It is against the forces of law and order and the police who militarize and brutalize our citizens. It is for a two-state Federation. It is for the release of all Anglophones locked up in jails with no due process. It is against CRTV that propagates lies, and it is for the restoration of the internet in our zone. The reason why I supported Dr. Agbor Nkongho was because he articulated these issues in the most succinct, clear and non-violent manner. He did not attack people even when they disagreed with him. He always repeated that he did not have the monopoly of knowledge and solicited advice to strengthen the struggle. He knew all anglophones did not support the struggle, but was ready to persist in his belief. That is why I joined this struggle. I contributed as an intellectual with my vast knowledge in political science and Law. I articulated the problems and solutions, but never advocating for Biya or the Betis who do not support us to be killed or harassed. This is the struggle I know and subscribed to. ”

Are his actions based on the fact that he should not be attacked because he disagreed with the idea of no schools to address the anglophone problem or that is his own way of standing with the struggle to get those released by working with the regime that has put all on captives?

Fr Nkeze therefore needs to be watched closely if one needs to look at the Fr Nkeze of 2015 22nd June when Median post Newspaper reported that he made a comment to the Cameroonian Youth on how to be Self reliant and Job creative and the Fr Nkeze of today.

“youths need to realise that the developmental goals are a vision, and that they must be at the centre because it concerns them. He urged government not to stop seeing the youths as a thread to their position or people always ready to go on strike but as people whose needs and views need to be taken into consideration since their future depends on how the government invest on them.  Discussions at this Youth Symposium were under the theme, “Emergence before 2035, myth or reality”; wherein, participants presented pictures of a Cameroon they want and are working for. The views ranging from a self-sustainable Cameroon, a Cameroon free from the pangs of bribery and corruption, a society of peace with accountable and reliable leaders, and a host of others.”

When Bishop Bushu of Buea wrote that the Priests of that Diocese have never accepted and received him, was Fr Nkeze amongst? Or is he amongst those spearheading this rejection and thus reasons for his actions?  What really is Fr Nkeze up? People do really change.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

 

I won’t Go to Court on Tuesday 02.05.2017,Barrister Akuwiyadze fires Back

A lot of noise has been made throughout mainstream media well and social media on the Press Release by The Bar President Jackson Kamga asking common law lawyers to return court on Tuesday the 2nd of May as indications of calling off the Strike. Barrister Joseph Akuwiyadze a Barrister at Law in Kumbo has reacted to Bar president fearlessly as another warrior of Nso. Worth reading and sharing

Pictures taken infront of kumbo high court with Shey Tatah last year

I WON’T GO TO COURT ON TUESDAY 02.05.2017!!!
(By ShuSheey Barrister AKUWIYADZE)
===============
I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Lawyers in West Cameroon have lost income for six months and their families are suffering. Were they sacrificing for the usual promises?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Consortium Leaders are in jail, some on self exile, while their families are suffering in Cameroon. Did they ask for promises?
No, Mr. President of Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Over 100 West Cameroonians, arbitrarily arrested and incarcerated in East Cameroon are suffering in jails for months. Is that why they are paying this price?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Some of our children have been killed and their families are still in pain. Did they die for promises?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Our children have sacrificed a whole academic year; parents have lost school fees paid; teachers in private schools are without salary for 5 months now. Is that what they sacrificed (and are still sacrificing) for?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Business people in West Cameroon have lost income from sales by adhering to Ghost Towns. Some have seen their fortune go up in flames! What have they got in return?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

My colleagues are in jail while others have been forced to go on exile for daring to stand for the TRUTH! Are Lawyers not the watchdogs (whistle-blowers) of society?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.
How can I go to court in a country where a Superscale Magistrate in active Service at the Supreme Court (Ayah Paul Abine) is arrested and incarcerated with impunity ~ without due process?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

How can I go to court when an Honorable Member of Parliament (Joseph Wirba) who did nothing more than his duty as a true Representative of the people (and not a hand-clapper) has been forced out of his country for telling the TRUTH?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

West Cameroonians have suffered more than enough in this Triangle since 1961 as their heritage has been completely wiped out!
Where is Cameroon Bank?
Where is NPMB?
Where is WADA?
Where is PWD?
Where is Yoke Power Station?
Where is Santa Coffee Estate?
Where are our much cherished Institutions? Health? Education? Justice? Law and Order? Etc, etc?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, you are not an Anglophone and I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

If I should go to court on the 02.05.2017 or thereafter:

1. ALL our brothers and sisters arrested as a result of the strike action that we (Common Law Lawyers) started on the 11.10.2016 must be UNCONDITIONALLY RELEASED (with guarantees that there won’t be any further arbitrary arrests).

2. Internet Connection cut off from West Cameroon on 18.01.2017 must be re-instated.

3. The towns and villages of West Cameroon flooded with soldiers, must be de-militarized.

When the above pre-conditions would have been met, dialogue will resume so that the problem of marginalization of Anglophones in Cameroon is dealt with once and for all. The time is Now!

Is this a poem?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017 or any date thereafter as I’m ready to boycott the courts for two years (renewable) until JUSTICE is done and seen to have been done to us.

ShuSheey AKUWIYADZE,
(Barrister-At-Law)
Kumbo.
West Cameroon.

Titles and Cult Membership in Nso (Part 9)

If you missed part 1 to 3 you can get them part 1 here , part 2 here, part 3 here , part 4 here , part 5 here , part 6 here , part 7 here and part 8 here :

VI. NSO’ CULTURAL MODERNIZATION AND THE FUTURE
There has been a lot of talk lately about the rapid degradation and modernization of Nso’ culture. Some have postulated that this has been caused by the cheapening of the cults and the admission of foreigners to master our occultist secrets and thereby gain too much power and influence in the Nso’ Kingdom both within and outside the Palace Court. Some have pinpointed to specific examples of individual influences of these recent immigrants (still considered foreigners) in our Palaces and cult groups, and claimed it as the root cause of this degradation.
Looking back at Nso’ history we can note that immigration and the structured absorption of immigrants has been the greatest strength of Nso’ culture over the last 600 years. The reaction from those who consider themselves authentic Nso’ has as expected always been resistive to the integration and empowering of new comers. This is what happened when newbees like Ndzәәndzәv and Taaŋkùm were catapulted to the number two and three spots in the land while old Mntaár Lords like those of the original Mbiiŋgiy lineage were relegated to Tárnto’ status. It was even new comers like Tsenla’, Do’ Ruun and Do’ Ŋgvәn that became recognized as Mntaár Lords while some original Mntaár Lords could only be promoted to Faáy Won Jemer ve Fòn with their moribund Taa-Mbàn cult.

Such rapid promotion of the newcomers often led to serious resentment that at times resulted in assassinations like that of Faáy Sov (Foinso’) in the 1840s.
In this debate some have even questioned whether someone of Berber origin (Mbororo or Fulani) could be a senior ranking member of a Nso’ cult or even the Paramount Fòn of Nso’. When we look back at history we realize it may already have happened given the Nso’ Kingdom’s very efficient policy of assimilation and acculturation by at times forced intermarriage. It is very possible that a Mntaár Lord could have married a Berber woman whose daughter, grand-daughter or great-grand-daughter became the Fòn’s wife (wiyntoh) and produced the next King, afterall the only requirement was that the future King’s mother should be from the Mntaár lineage. Recent Fòns’ matrilineal lineages have been traced to Kitukela-Ndzeng, Dzekwa, Meluf, Nturkui-Kikaikelaki and Sangfir-Mbam. Given the integrated nature of the families in these communities with the Fulanis and Mbororos in the last few centuries, can we be so certain that none of these Fòns have Berber blood through their matrilineal lineages?
Pushing the argument further, we have many vibrant Mntaár sons in the diasporas like Wo Ngomrin and his siblings. If one of these young men marries someone of European or Asian descent who later produces a daughter or grand-daughter who becomes a wiyntoh, isn’t it conceivable that we could have a kimbang (white) Fòn? As Africans, thanks to Kenya we are proud to have an Obama in the American White House, so may be we should accept the possibility that decades from today a Cherokee (American Indian) King could proudly say: “My son ‘Ŋkarjume Thasungke Witko Nso’bani (Ŋkarjume Crazy Horse Nso’bani) is the Paramount King of the Powerful Tikar Kingdom of Nso’ in the African Savannah grass fields”.
VI-1. ROOT CAUSES OF NSO’ CULTURAL DEGRADATION
From the analysis we just made in this essay we posit that these apparent degradations cited above are just symptoms of a deeper desease that is eating into Nso’culture in this modern era, a disease that must be cured if the culture is to survive. In this last section we examine this disease and propose some remedies for it, in a bid to save Nso’ culture from eventual collapse.
The problems affecting Nso’culture are four-fold:
 The collapse of the system that maintained our traditional institutions (from the Palace through the cults to our individual lineages) structurally, morally and financially.
 The relative ease of induction into the cults which has led to an avalanche of unworthy Men of Title being admitted into the inner fold, with full powers and influence in the Palace Court.
 The collapse of the required mandatory period of training and apprenticeship for cult members as well as members of the inner Palace Court.
 The collapse of the system of checks and balances that has led to corruption within the Ŋwéròŋ and Ŋgírì cults as well as the inner Palace Court.
All these problems can be corrected if we can just go back to what used to obtain in the old days and modernize it appropriately as we propose below.
VI-2. REMEDY FOR THE MNTAÁR LINEAGES
Some of the skirmishes that have been encountered lately with the Mntaár Lords and their associated lineages which recently exploded in the Do’ Ŋgvәn Crisis of 2010 can be remedied by allowing the Mntaár lineages to belong to the Ŋwéròŋ cult, since most of them are free commoners. If this is accepted we can then allow the leading Three Aboriginal Mntaár Lords to belong to both Ŋwéròŋ and Ŋgírì cults as is the case with the other Seven Lords of the Court (Vibay ve Samba).
VI-3. CULT MEMBERSHIP INDUCTION UPGRADE
We propose that the conditions for admission into the Ŋwéròŋ and Ŋgírì cults should be severely revalued upwards. In 1970 it used to cost (in goats, fowls, palm wine, salt, oil, firewood, constuction and roofing materials, etc.) about 150,000FCFA (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Francs CFA) to become a Sheèy wo Ngang Ŋwéròŋ or Sheèy wo Ngang Ŋgírì. If we compound this amount at an average 3.0% – 5.0% annual inflation rate (conservative estimate here) and add the 50% devaluation of the FCFA this amount is about 1,650,000FCFA (One Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Francs CFA) today. If we tell any Tukov Kimbinin who wants to become a Sheèy wo Ngang today that it would cost him 1.5 Million FCFA to do it, he would think twice before accepting that tan, kibam or bar that he is trying to buy from a Sheèy or Taafu in the dark corners for 10,000FCFA. Tukov Kimbinin will even say NO if the Fòn calls him and tries to give him a title. It would also stop the Sheèy and Taafu from distributing titles indiscriminately.
Titles are a prerogative of the Fòn (even aSheèy who are kishers of lineages must be approved by the Fòn), so the traditional institutions must make sure that only the Fòn can award a title.
Such an amount will be very helpful in that it would provide enough for the other cult members to feast on and enough would be left over to distribute to Kibam ke Fòn, Kibam ke Vikiyntoh and Kibam ke Ŋwéròŋ and/or Kibam ke Ŋgírì. It will also be enough to provide for the upkeep and upgrade of all Palace institutions.
In addition, the cults will be ridden of unworthy candidates if they apply the same upgrades to their initiation and rank promotion fees.
The amount will be upgraded commensurately for aFaáy and aShúufaáy. For the inherited titles, the new Title Holders will use the opportunity to bring their families together to contribute for the enstoolment. Part of these family contributions will also go to the upgrade and upkeep of the new Title Holder’s compound, thus preserving a vital part of the Nso’ culture that is also falling apart (the lineage, clan and sub-clan compounds).

Compiled and shared by

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

GCE Catch up Classes or FENASCO Games Scam or Reality?

The Two Communiques from the Ministry of Secondary Education and that of the Ministry of Sports are either contradictory or confusing. The Ministers are asking GCE students to use the Easter Holidays as a catch up period for their classes, while at the same time Organizing FENASCO B & A Games in the  Regions at the same period.

school team

Fenasco games are usually organized during holidays to make sure that students who are participating do not miss classes while sacrificing on behalf of the schools with their talents. That is why if the games are scheduled during school periods, classes are suspended until the athletes return.

This is no longer the case from the communiques issued by the Minister of Secondary education and that of Sports have been received as a scam by some and confusing to others especially as the launching that was expected to take place today in Bamenda is now being displayed on the CRTV text as Buea.  What was supposed to take place in Bamenda today despite threats of ghost town has been shifted to Monday the 3rd of April.

GBHS Kumbo

Many now question if the confusion in dates and venue is as a result of “April Fool” or strategy for the Government to get mercenaries to participate in the place of the students. Many wonder why a budget of 500 Million shall again be squandered for 4 days for an activity that has not been planned and prepared for. Schools have been deserted for close to 6 months and yet one wonders when the competition took place at the divisional Levels before arriving at the Regional and National. As we write, CRTV is reporting that thousands of students are going for Easter holidays as they visit travel agencies. Why should others be deprived of this same luxury?

Bihbara Richard questions if the GCE has been reduced to nothing that someone can study for two weeks and then ready to get into the Examination room. Shey Mbuh doubting why the Ministers are talking only about the GCE exams ignoring other classes, and the primary pupils if, the school year did not affect them as well. This poses the question of why the Minister wants to cajole the students with Mock prizes while others are in the sports arena.

Shall those from the examination classes be exempted from the Fenasco games or how do they intend to combine the catch up classes with the Fenasco games. Either this is another scam to swindle the 500 million Frs CFA or another scam to lure students register for the GCE that may never take place. Why should a student from Sabongari, Ako etc spend more than 20,000 frs as transportation without accommodation to travel all the way to Bamenda to register for an exam that may cost less and may not take place as students might not go to school due to the Games that are yet to take place.  What about teachers and students who book Easter Holidays for their personal activities to assist families? Shall they also abandon these activities for catch classes and Fenasco games? The government still needs to think and “strategize” well before coming out with communiques that may end up in the garbage.

Shey Tatah sevidzem