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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Ambazonia: Memory Lane Jan 1, 1960

Message of J.N. Foncha, Premier of Southern Cameroons, to the People of La Republic du Cameroun on their Independence Day.

I wish to say how happy we of the Southern Cameroons are... We look forward to seeing you enter courageously among the sovereign nations of the world. In this happy venture we wish you God’s guidance. Premier Foncha.

Mr. President of the Republic of Cameroun, Honourable Ambassadors and Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the people of the Southern Cameroons, my delegation and myself take this opportunity to congratulate the people of Eastern Kamerun for their well-earned independence. It gives me the greatest pleasure to be here in Yaoundé to take part in the celebration of this historic occasion. This happy day has not come as a surprise, it is the result of hard struggle. Congratulations to the architects of this resounding victory and masses of the population who have in their various ways contributed to the success.

The people of Kamerun, like other nations of the world are freedom loving. Our forefathers received the European traders kindly for the purpose of exchange of goods, but did not hesitate to resist when they started to colonise the territory. In vain they fought the Germans, not knowing the terrific might that supported them. Resistance was quelled down by treaties which enabled them to secure the goodwill of the coastal chiefs as a spring board to penetrate into the interior where they met still greater resistance. When vanquished our people still hoped for freedom through collaboration and coexistence.

Through no fault of ours, we were destined to pass through the tutelage of many masters as the result of world wars which had nothing to do with us. The Kamerun, a German creation was unfortunate to become a booty of two conquerors who without regards to human feelings ad ethnical affinities shared it between them and created an artificial boundary. The people on both sides have been unable to see any reason for this separation. 41 years of separation has made very little change in their outlook as a nation, and by determination the artificial boundary is about to be removed.

But thanks to the League of Nations and the United Nations for their foresightedness to independence instead of their outright annexation, the territories were given in trust. I appreciate the efforts of the distinguished members of the United Nations and their governments who have watched the progress of Eastern Kamerun and seen to it that independence was not delayed any longer than it was due. I wish to say how appreciative we are for their acceptance to be present at the celebration of the independence of today.

Thanks to France and the good Frenchmen and women who, recognizing their sacred trust to Eastern Kamerun, have carried out intensive developments as the means of achieving the objective of the Trusteeship Agreement. The achievement made within the space of 41 years is one everybody should admire. Most in particular, I want to congratulate France as the Administering Authority for accepting independence when it was due and for assisting for have it effective today. I hope having led the territory to independence she will play the role of friendship towards its international relations.

Today, we of the Southern Cameroons see the beginning of the unity of our great country in the independence of the Eastern Kamerun. We have always believed that the shortest course to unity of the two sectors is through independence. I have all along been immensely impressed with the unanimity of the demands for the independence and reunification in Eastern Kamerun, a unanimity which obliged even the UN to rule out the need for a plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people. Encouraged by the patriotic spirit, I would like to assure you that we on the other sector of the Kamerun are working hard to make possible the coming into being of this great country of Kamerun.

Now free, we have given you the option to forge ahead with international negotiations for diplomatic relations. We, however, knowing what we are looking for, would advise that we be consulted in any such international relations with the free countries of the world.

Fellow citizens of Eastern Kamerun, independence brings with it vast responsibilities which must be borne by everybody. The first responsibility is the maintenance of peace and order. Peace is the key to progress, and I strongly hope all will endeavour to cooperate in order to make it possible. This done, your energy can be concentrated in tilling this fertile land and producing the wealth so much needed in advancing the social wellbeing of our people. This is the sure way to build the nation. It is better to correct from within rather that from without. Cooperation gives you the chance to say what you have in mind. You are as important in the building up of a prosperous Kamerun as any other person. To do this you should say what you want if you are able. Democracy is the rule of the people by the people themselves under the law enacted by themselves. Its principal method of procedure is by freedom of speech to enlist the sympathy of the majority towards an opinion. It is the majority that decides. Therefore, come forth, and if you have an opinion for the betterment of the people, appeal to them and weigh the strength of its popularity.

Once more, I wish to say how happy we of the Southern Cameroons are, to know that this sector is free. The eyes of the people of the whole world are focused on Eastern Kamerun. The bonds of imperialism have been thrown away today. We look forward to seeing you enter courageously among the sovereign nations of the world. In this happy venture we wish you God’s guidance.

Long Live the Republic of Eastern Kamerun,

Long Live United Kamerun”.

Source: “A Speech by Hon. J.N. Foncha, Premier of Southern Cameroons on the Occasion of the Independence Celebrations of the Cameroon Republic”. Southern Cameroons Information Service, Buea. Press Release No 620, 6 January 1960.