THE KAMERUN PLEBISCITES 1959-1961: PERCEPTIONS AND STRATEGIES by Bongfen Chem-Langhee B.Ed. (Sec) Hons., University of British Columbia, 1973 M.A., Carleton University, 1974 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the Department of HISTORY We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1976 (c) BONGFEN CHEM-LANGHEE 1976 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f /• The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date i i THE KAMERUN PLEBISCITES 1959-1961: PERCEPTIONS AND STRATEGIES ABSTRACT The Kamerun Plebiscites of 1959-1961 were crucial to the rise and develop-ment of Western Kamerun nationalism. Some of the factors which shaped the events connected with that phenomenon can be traced' back to the pre-colonial period. Others emerged from the activities of the colonizers in the region during the colonial and trust period. But, i t was against the British a c t i v i -ties that a few Western-educated Southern Kamerunians, the p o l i t i c a l leaders, reacted and, in the 1940s, developed a nationalist movement. In 1953, these new leaders, who had made l i t t l e headway in their demands of the British, involved the traditional leaders, the a-Fon, in the nationalist movement. The a-Fon who commanded the loyalty and support of most of the region's inhabitants, significantly strengthened and influenced the movement henceforth. During that crucial period, however, the movement witnessed several conf-l i c t s over policy regarding the future of Western Kamerun. In Northern Kamerun, the local authorities advocated integration with Nigeria while some dissident local Fulani and the a-Fon demanded secession from i t . In Southern Kamerun, some p o l i t i c a l leaders stressed integration with Nigeria, others favoured secession from i t and ultimate reunification of Kamerun, and, yet, others emphasized immediate secession and reunification. On the other hand, the a-Fon requested secession without reunification. Thus, there were funda-mental differences among the p o l i t i c a l leaders and between them and the tra-ditional rulers. During this period, the p o l i t i c a l leaders defined and redefined their varying programmes in an effort to win over the Crowned Princes i i i who refused to budge. Realizing the firmness of the a-Fon, backed by massive support from the electorate, the organizers concentrated their efforts at the United Nations where they manipulated, confused, and engineered a s p l i t within i t s members. The division within the United Nations and among the organizers forced that organization to concentrate on reaching a compromise rather than finding out what the majority of the Western Kamerunians desired. The outcome of this approach was adverse decisions: in the case of Northern Kamerun, where the electorate, after the f i r s t plebiscite, had mistaken the reformed local administration for secession from Nigeria, the United Nations refused to postpone the second plebiscite, and, in the case of Southern Kamerun, i t l e f t out secession without reunification, the most popular view, from the plebiscite despite numerous appeals and protests from both regions. In the ensuing confusion in the North and dissatisfaction in the South, the elec-torate asked and answered their own questions at the plebiscites, interpreting the United Nations' questions to suit their local conditions and circumstances. This interpreting process was to be expected. In most plebiscites and elections, electors ask and answer their own questions, often with l i t t l e reference to the larger issues, but the timing of the second plebiscite in the North and the unfortunate wording of the plebiscite questions in the context of p o l i t i c s in the South, contributed not only a good deal of confusion to the proceedings, but also significantly impeded the process of self-determi-nation. Moreover, the conduct of the plebiscites, themselves, was charac-terized by the abuse of power by those interested groups in and out of autho-r i t y , and by suspicion and accusation which were sometimes justifiable and sometimes not. Furthermore, the plebiscite undermined the Concert of the i v Crowned Princes, the symbol of Southern Kamerun unity, and l e f t sections of the region standing at a distance from, and threatening, each other. Not only had the trust system ended in Western Kamerun on an uncertain note, but the United Nations had been less than effective in applying the principle of self-determination. V TABLE OF CONTENTS page ABSTRACT 11. TABLE OF CONTENTS v LIST OP. MAPS vi GLOSSARY vii*' PREFACE x ACOOWLEDGEMENT xxvii CHAPTER ONE THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE RISE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN WESTERN KAMERUN 1 The Northern Kamerun Situation 1 The Southern Kamerun Situation 14 CHAPTER TWO THE RISE AND EVOLUSION OF NATIONALISM IN SOUTHERN KAMERUN 1939-1953 33 CHAPTER THREE THE ROAD TO THE PLEBISCITES 1953-1959 65 The Road to the Northern Kamerun Plebiscites 1953- 1959 65 The Road to the Southern Kamerun Plebiscite 1; 1954- 1959 90 CHAPTER FOUR A TIME OF NO COMPROMISE 1958-SEPTEMBER 1959 135 The Nationalist Leaders at the United Nations October 1958-March 1959 137 The Nationalist Leaders at Home April-September 1959 160 CHAPTER FIVE STRIKING A COMPROMISE 185 I n i t i a l Reaction to the Foncha-Endeley Com-promise in Southern Kamerun October 1959 199 vi Delayed Response to the Compromise 1960-1961 201 CHAPTER SIX THE CONDUCT OF THE PLEBISCITES 1959-1961 220 The Conduct of the Northern Kamerun P l e b i s c i t e s 1959-1961 220 The Conduct of the Southern Kamerun P l e b i s c i t e 1959-1961 257 CHAPTER SEVEN THE MEANING OF THE VOTES 285 The Meaning of the Votes i n the Northern Kamerun P l e b i s c i t e s 287 The Meaning of the Votes i n the Southern Kamerun Plebiscite:: 304 CONCLUSION 340 BIBLIOGRAPHY 350 MAPS The Trust T e r r i t o r i e s of Kamerun and the United Nations V i s i t i n g Mission of 1958. 128 The Northern and Southern Kamerun P l e b i s c i t e D i s t r i c t s of 1961. 334 v i i GLOSSARY a-Fon P l u r a l of F o n — a t r a d i t i o n a l r u l e r . The B r i t i s h r e f e r r e d to the more powerful of these t r a d i t i o n a l r u l e r s as eit h e r 'Fons' or 'Paramount Chiefs.' Those the B r i t i s h regarded as less powerful were c a l l e d 'Chiefs' while the l e a s t powerful of them, according to the B r i t i s h were simply ' V i l l a g e Heads.' But i n Kamerun, a Fon i s a Fon and receives any respect due to a Fon. I t should be remembered, however, that the pronunciation and s p e l l i n g of the word d i f f e r from one t r a d i t i o n a l state and/or ethnic group to another. AG CCC Action Group. A Western Nigeria-based p o l i t i c a l party. Cameroons Commoners Congress. A Southern Kamerun p o l i t i c a l party formed i n 1959 by Fon Stephen E. Nyenti. I t s p o l i t i c a l goal was the creation of an independent state of Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration. CDC Cameroon Development Corporation. A Corporation of the Nigerian Government which ran the German plantations i n Southern Kamerun. CFU Cameroons Federal Union. A p o l i t i c a l organization of Southern Kamerun which operated i n the l a t e 1940s. CIP Cameroons Indigenes Party. A p o l i t i c a l party of Southern Kamerun formed i n l a t e 1960 by Fon Jesco Manga-Williams. Its p o l i t i c a l goal was the creation of an independent state of Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration. CNF Cameroons National Federation. A p o l i t i c a l organization of Southern Kamerun founded i n 1949. CPNC Cameroons People's National Convention. A p o l i t i c a l party of Southern Kamerun formed i n mid-1960 out of a fusion of the KNC and the KPP. Its p o l i t i c a l goal was the in t e g r a t i o n of Western Kamerun with Nigeria. CWU Cameroon Welfare Union. O r i g i n a l l y a Bakweri c u l t u r a l organiza-t i o n founded i n 1939 i n Southern Kamerun but, a f t e r a short time, i t became a p o l i t i c a l pressure group which then included both Bakweri and non-Bakweri members. CYL Cameroons Youth League. A p o l i t i c a l organization of Southern Kamerun founded i n Lagos, Nigeria, i n 1940 by a group of Kamerun students. I t superseded the CWU, Lagos Branch. EKWU Eastern Kamerun Welfare Union. A s o c i a l and, to some extent, p o l i -t i c a l organization of the Eastern Kamerunians resident i n Southern Kamerun. I t superseded the FCWU. v i i i FCWU Fon Fondom KFP KNC KNDP KPP KUNC KUP Lion NCNC NEPU NKDP French Cameroons Welfare Union—the original name of the EKWU. A traditional ruler in Kamerun. A traditional state in Kamerun. The plural i s 'Fondoms.1 Kamerun Freedom Party. A p o l i t i c a l party of Northern Kamerun founded in 1960 to fight the second Northern Kamerun Plebiscite. Its p o l i t i c a l goal was secession from Nigeria and ultimate reuni-fication of Western Kamerun with Eastern Kamerun. Kamerun National Congress. A p o l i t i c a l party of Southern Kamerun founded in 1953 out of a fusion of the CNF and KUNC. Its p o l i t i -cal goal altered with time and circumstances. Kamerun National Democratic Party. A p o l i t i c a l party of Southern Kamerun founded by John Ngu Foncha between late 1954 and early 1955. Its p o l i t i c a l goal was secession of Western Kamerun from Nigeria with no clearly defined end. Kamerun People's Party, founded in 1953 by Paul time and circumstances. A p o l i t i c a l party of Southern Kamerun M. Kale. Its p o l i t i c a l goal altered with Kamerun United National Congress. A p o l i t i c a l organization of Southern Kamerun formed by Jabea R.K. Dibonge in 1951 during a sp l i t wihtin the CNF. Kamerun United Party. A p o l i t i c a l party of Southern Kamerun founded in 1959 by Paul M. Kale. Its p o l i t i c a l goal was the creation of a Smaller Kamerun State, a state of Western Kamerun. A term of respect by which Kamerunians address their traditional rulers. National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons. based p o l i t i c a l party. An Eastern Nigeria-Northern Elements Progressive Union. A Northern Nigeria-based p o l i t i c a l party with l e f t i s t inclinations. Northern Kamerun Democratic Party. The f i r s t p o l i t i c a l party of Northern Kamerun founded in early 1959 to fight the f i r s t Northern Kamerun Plebiscite. Its p o l i t i c a l goal was secession of Northern Kamerun from Nigeria, unification of Northern and Southern Kamerun, and ultimate reunification of Kamerun. NPC Northern People's Congress. The major p o l i t i c a l party of Northern Nigeria with conservative inclinations. One Kamerun. A p o l i t i c a l party of Southern Kamerun formed in 1957 by Ndeh Ntumazah. It was a disguised rejuvenation of the UPC and i t s p o l i t i c a l goal, among others, was the reunification of Kamerun. United Middle Belt Congress. A p o l i t i c a l party of the middle belt of Nigeira. Union des Populations du Cameroun. A p o l i t i c a l party of Eastern Kamerun which operated in Southern Kamerun between 1955 and May 1957. Its p o l i t i c a l goal, among others, was the reunification of Kamerun. X PREFACE The Kamerun Plebiscites of 1959-1961 were crucial to the rise and evolution of nationalism in Western Kamerun.* The participants in these plebiscites were of two main categories: the organizers and the res-pondents. The organizers included the United Nations, the Administering Authority (the British), the Western Kamerun Western-educated p o l i t i c a l leaders, and the Western Kamerun traditional leaders who acted in some respects as organizers and in others as respondents. The respondents *The choice of the name and the spelling need some explanation. The name given to the whole territory, of which a part i s the subject of this study, by i t s f i r s t colonizers was Kamerun. After the partition of this German Kamerun Empire in 1919 between France and Britain, the French called their own section Cameroun and the British called their own part the Cameroons. O f f i c i a l l y the French section was referred to f i r s t , as the Mandated Territory of the Cameroons under French Admini-stration and, later, as the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under French Administration. The British section was referred to as the Mandated Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration and, later, as the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration. But the o f f i c i a l nomenclature was hardly ever used. The French simply referred to their section as Cameroun and the British referred to theirs as the Cameroons and occasionally as i f i t were part of Nigeria. The world population, even up to today, refers to the two sections as the French Cameroons and the British Cameroons. The Kamerunian populace themselves, to a man, pronounce the word as Kemerun; because the British version had an 's' at the end, the English speaking Kamerunians pro-nounced i t Kameruns. The choice of the name "Kamerun1 by this study i s in conformity with the way those to whom the word refers pronounce i t . The standard use of the word in this study i s therefore as follows: Kamerun to stand for the German Kamerun Empire; Eastern Kamerun to stand for the section under French administration un t i l independence in 1960; Northern Kamerun to stand for the northern portion of Cameroons under British Administration and Southern Kamerun to stand for the southern portion of that section; and, Western Kamerun to refer to both Northern and Southern Kamerun. When quoting, however, the exact words of those quoted would have to be adhered to. xi consisted mainly of the Western Kamerun traditional leaders and their subjects, literate or i l l i t e r a t e . Both the organizers and the respon-dents had their objectives involved in the plebiscites. This study dwells upon the objectives of the organizers, on the one hand, and the aspirations and reactions of the respondents they polled, on the other. But, since the plebiscites occurred during the last three years of the rise and development of Western Kamerun Nationalism, attention i s also paid to the period preceding the plebiscites. Sources for this study reflect the fact that there were many groups of actors at the plebiscites. Basically, the sources are. . the United Nations' documents although they came from a variety of sources. Some of them originated with the United Nations General Assem-bly, the Trusteeship Council, and the United Nations Visiting Missions to Western Kamerun. Others came from the British and are mainly the United Kingdom Annual-Reports f i r s t , to the League of Nations and, later, to the United Nations, and statements made by British o f f i c i a l s in West-ern Kamerun, in Nigeria, in the United Nations, and in London concerning Western Kamerun. S t i l l other sources came from the Western Kamerun p o l i t i c a l leaders consisting mainly of their policy statements in Western Kamerun, Nigeria, London, and the United Nations, of the petitions they addressed to the United Nations, and of the arguments they made at the United Nations and elsewhere. There is no problem with these sources originating from the organizers. The same thing cannot be said regarding sources originating from the respondents. Originally, this study was to use interviews as a means of obtaining information at the grass-roots level while making allowance for x i i human inab i l i t y to recollect feelings and ideas held fifteen or seven-teen years earlier and for human tendency to colour the facts after the event. But the present writer had to confine himself to the petitions which these actors at the grass-roots level addressed to the United Nations during the plebiscites period.* These petitions are, therefore, the main sources at the grass-roots level. Nevertheless, there are a number of problems involved in this source. Many of them are direct translations of phrases and idioms from the various Western Kamerun languages into English. As a result, someone whose f i r s t language is English might not be able to understand exactly what the petitioner is attempting to communicate. This was not, however, a major problem to the present writer. To be sure, a few of these peti-tions were troublesome but, after some consultation with Nigerian and Kamerunian students, the petitioners' ideas were easily understood. Secondly, the petitioners were actively involved with the plebiscites. This is both an asset and a l i a b i l i t y . Because the petitioners were active participants, their feelings, sentiments, objectives, in short, *Although oral evidence always has i t s limitations, interviews would s t i l l have performed an important and useful part in this study. But, a number of problems and considerations stood in the way of the present writer conducting such interviews. F i r s t , the writer found i t financially d i f f i c u l t to make the attempt. Secondly, for such interviews to be exhaustive and f r u i t f u l , a lengthy period would have to be allotted to them, and such an amount of time was not available to the writer. Thirdly, and more importantly, even i f money and time were available, such interviews would have been of limited value when conducted by either the present writer or any Kamerunian at this point in time. At a time when most former Southern Kamerunians claim to have voted for the reunification of Kamerun, i t is unlikely that many would be willing to say earnestly to any Kamerunian interviewer how they f e l t at the time of the p l i b i s c i t e and how they perceived the phenomenon. xlll their perceptions of the plebiscites at the time were preserved; this gives a more accurate picture of the situation to the scholar. But, because they were active participants with differing objectives and perceptions, there was bound to be a high degree of suspicion and exag-geration in whatever was reported. However, having been active at the plebiscites himself, and having read through these petitions disinter-estedly, the present writer has come to the conclusion that, when the petitions are stripped of the elements of suspicion and exaggegation, the basic ideas reported were for the most part, accurate. Experience has thus enabled the writer to cope with this second problem. The next problem might be put in form of a question: who wrote the petitions for the i l l i t e r a t e ? The literate did. How can one then be sure that the ideas expressed were those of the i l l i t e r a t e rather than those of the writer? Letter-writing in Western Kamerun of the time was not a commercial aff a i r . Moreover, the i l l i t e r a t e did not just pick any literate from the street and ask him to write his letter; letter-writers for the i l l i t e r a t e were usually family members (of whatever level of education), trusted friends and close associates, some of whom were teachers. Perhaps more importantly, the majority of the petitioners,other than those written by the literate for themselves, were written on a group basis. The secretaries of these groups shared the objectives and attitudes and more or less transmitted these to the United Nations. The next problem, possibly the most important, has to do with those petitions which the United Nations o f f i c i a l s summarized. Usually, when one event occurred in Western Kamerun, say the arrest of one p o l i t i c a l leader, the United Nations could expect to receive between 3,000 and 4,000 xiv petitions dealing with the event as the major issue but including other complaints not always related to the main event. In such cases, the United Nations would declassify the petitions, summarize them into one petition of about ten pages, and then destroy the originals. x This was unfortunate because f i r s t , the United Nations in the process might have destroyed just those ideas that could be crucial to the student in under-standing better the plebiscites and, secondly, by merely stating "some of the petitioners argued that," the summaries make i t d i f f i c u l t to know just whom these petitioners were and what they supported. This is a problem which the student may regret but which he can do nothing to remedy. Closely related to this problem is that of not being able to decide easily which objective held during the plebiscite the petitioner was supporting. In some cases, this i s indicated either by the organization issuing the petition, or by the ideas advocated in the petition. Where this is not the case, the present writer uses his personal experience by looking at the geographic area from which the petition originated and makes his decision on that basis. But where this too is not helpful, unless the petition i s crucial, i t i s l e f t out. More than 600 categorized petitions (about 8,000 were declassified and destroyed) were read although not a l l of them are included in the study.* The last problem involved those peti-*The present writer has endeavoured to bring nearly a l l the ideas ex-pressed in the petitions into the study. Petitions l e f t out either ex-pressed ideas already taken from other petitions or they were so vague and so exaggerated as to be of l i t t l e value. For example, two or three po-:'. l i t i c a l leaders in Western Kamerun, originally from Eastern Kamerun, might be arrested by the British and repartriated to Eastern Kamerun where they were, for the most part, executed. One petitioner would report the X V tions written in French. This would have been a big problem for the present writer. But the United Nations solved the problem by translating them into English. Other primary sources which ought to have been included in this study are Western Kamerun dailies and memoirs particularly those of Western Kamerun p o l i t i c a l leaders. There were no dailies in Western Kamerun unt i l late in 1960 when the p o l i t i c a l parties began to campaign. Then, the particular daily published almost always the contents of the p o l i t i c a l programme of the party which owned the press, and rehashed only the offers which the party was already making verbally. This has been taken account of from other sources. Memoirs have not been published or even written. Only P.M. Kale, one of the p o l i t i c a l leaders, wrote some-thing in form of a book but which i s actually a mixture of his memoir, a chronological cataloguing of events, and a book of documents. This piece of work has been very useful. The only other sources included in the study are secondary materials. These include mainly books and journals. Generally, the articles in journals and periodicals exhibit a very poor understanding of the plebis-cites and are not, therefore, very useful. The situation i s not very different with books. Except for one book, books are useful insofar as incident stating the time of the arrest, the time .of repartriation, the names of the victims, and the time of the execution. The other petitioner would report that 'the British are going around arresting every Eastern Kamerunian refugee in Western Kamerun and sending them to Eastern Kamerun to be k i l l e d . ' The arrest, the repartriation, and the execution are common to both petitions, but in such cases, the present writer leaves out the latter petition, and makes use of the former as a fact, when supported by other evidence, or as an allegation when there is no further evidence to substantiate the ideas. x y i they describe the major events in their chronological order and make use of some important documents, and also direct the student to major sources of the plebiscites. It appears that these secondary sources are not very useful because the authors ignored almost completely sources from the grass-roots level. The introduction of these grass-roots sources into the study re-presents the f i r s t major change from the existing approaches to the study of the Kamerun Plebiscites. The current literature on the subject has concentrated on the organizers; nearly a l l of them have studied the subject from the viewpoint of the organizers. Nearly a l l the authors have con-centrated on sources originating from the organizers. Nearly a l l of them have disregarded the sources originating from the grass-roots level. Nearly a l l of them have written on the subject from above. Finally, nearly a l l of them have limited themselves to the number of votes without any serious attempts to find out the meanings of the votes. The outcome of this common approach has been the establishment of several theses which lend themselves to challenge. With the introduction of this long existing, but never-before-used evidence from the grass-roots sources, this study differs from the existing literature. The evidence from both the organizers and respondents i s exploited to i t s maximum. The subject i s studied from the point of view of both the organizers and the respondents. The respondents, for the f i r s t time, are given their adequate role in the events. The subject i s studied, therefore, both from above and from below. Finally, this study looks at the number of votes but goes beyond the number to find out what the votes actually meant. The outcome of this approach is the establish-x v i i ment of several theses which run contrary to what exist in the current literature. But, since these new theses are the subject of the present study, this preface limits i t s e l f to identifying the theses currently existing in the literature. The f i r s t of these assertions depicts a p o l i t i c a l l y disorganized pre-colonial Kamerun. In 1884 the rest of what is now the Cameroon was inhabited by a multiplicity of t r i b a l groups having l i t t l e in common with one another, but sharing a general suspicion of and h o s t i l i t y to strangers. Only in the Cameroon north, beyond the tropical rainforest, was there any sense of p o l i t i c a l cohesion, but i t was a cohesion imposed by the Fulani conquests of the early nineteenth century. 2 It is important to note that sources from the grass-roots level are not very useful as a means of challenging this assertion. But there are very good and useful secondary sources which did not concern themselves with the plebiscites but which question every aspect of this assertion. With this perception of Kamerun in mind, i t was d i f f i c u l t for i t s author to acknowledge or even attempt to find out what role the traditional rulers of Western Kamerun played in the development of nationalism therein. The second assertion claims that neither Nigeria nor Cameroun Republic was interested in acquiring Western Kamerun between 1959 and 1961. Adding to this uncertainty is the publicly-optimistic, privately-pessimistic attitute of responsible Nigerian and Camerounian politicians. Publicly, they favour integration or unification, depending on whether they speak from a Lagos or Yaounde rostrum. Privately, they admit that anyone who gets the Southern Cameroons acquires an economic and finan-c i a l l i a b i l i t y , and almost come to wishing i t on someone else.3 Following an assertion like this, one would expect to see no Nigerian or Cameroun authorities involved in anything that would secure any part of x v i i i Western Kamerun for either Nigeria or Cameroun. A third assertion makes John Ngu Foncha, one of the earliest Southern Kamerun nationalists, the rallying point of the reunification-i s t s . When the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), an Eastern Kamerun p o l i t i c a l party, was banned in 1957, the UPC l e f t "unification" behind as the rallying cry of the Kamerun National Democratic Party (KNDP), 4 Foncha1s p o l i t i c a l party. If the KNDP was the rallying cry of the reuni-ficationists, and Foncha a strong reunificationist, one should, f i r s t , expect to find Foncha and the KNDP pursuing a very vigorous reunification policy, and secondly, one would not expect to find another p o l i t i c a l party claiming and convincingly demonstrating that i t was really the only reuni-ficationist party. The fourth assertion states that reunification as a p o l i t i c a l idea and objective and nationalism were imported into Western Kamerun from Eastern Kamerun. Cameroon nationalist sentiment developed f i r s t in the French Cameroun and then gradually found i t s way into the British Cameroons as i t grew in strength and intensity. Two dominant themes in the growth of Cameroonian nationalism can be traced in each part of the Cameroon: (1) in the French Cameroun, Cameroon nationalism per se and i t s outgrowth, the demand for the 'reunification' of the two Cameroons (to use Cameroun nationalist terminology); (2) in the British Cameroons, f i r s t , Southern Cameroonian separatism (from Nigeria) and later, under the impetus of ideas and pressures from the east, a mounting pressure in that territory for 'reunification' with the French Cameroun.^ To assert that nationalism was imported into Western Kamerun from Eastern Kamerun i s to assume four things at least: that there were close p o l i t i c a l contacts between Western Kamerun and Eastern Kamerun in the late 1930s; that Western Kamerunians did not have any p o l i t i c a l problems of their own which could force the rise of nationalism; that nationalism rose in Western Kamerun in about 1947; and, that nationalism rose in Western Kamerun in form of either separation or a demand for independence. To assert also that reunification was imported into Southern Kamerun is to assume that there were no Western Kamerunians who were either bothered by the inter-Kamerun boundary line or saw i t as unacceptable, and that an idea cannot be indigenous to two or more different parts of the same territory or region. The birth and origins of ideas are too d i f f i c u l t to prove or disprove in history. But the existing evidence suggests very strongly that the idea of reunification was as indigenous in Western Kamerun as i t was in Eastern Kemerun. To be sure, when the Eastern Kamerunians crossed over to Western Kamerun, the idea became more poli t i c i s e d and gained new strength, but that is no reason to assume that the idea was imported into Southern Kamerun. When the f i r s t real attempt at studying the Kamerun plebiscites by Claude E. Welch, Jr. pointed out that the idea was not imported into Western Kamerun,6 the author who originally made the asser-tion, without further research, argued simply that there was no way of knowing "for certain either way: what is sure is that i t seemed to have found expression in both French and British Cameroons about the same time 7 — that i s , between 1947 and 1949." After this implicit admission of error in a footnote, this same author continued to reassert the error in g the same book in which he admitted i t . Had this author made further research before reasserting his position, he would have served the academic world much better. The last of these assertions is the most popularized probably because XX i t i s central to the study. Although different authors have stressed different aspects of i t , they have one thing in common, namely, the acceptance of the main assertion: that there were freely and democ-rat i c a l l y conducted United Nations plebiscites in Western Kamerun between 1959 and 1961. Following a United Nations supervised plebiscite in which the southern part of the British protected Cameroon voted for Federation with i t s Eastern French-speaking neighbour, the Federal Republic of Cameroun was formed on October 1, 1961. What this unidentified author asserted was the existence of a United Nations free and democratic plebiscite in Southern Kamerun in 1961 in which the Southern Kamerunians voted in favour of reunification on a federal basis. The form and nature of reunification was thus known before the electorate went to the polls. In 1961 a plebiscite was held in the British Trust Territory of Cameroon under the auspices of the United Nations, the . result being that the Southern Cameroon opted for unification with the former French Cameroon while Northern Cameroon chose union with Nigeria.-1-0 The existence of two United Nations plebiscites in Western Kamerun in 1961 in which the meaning of the votes coincided with the meaning of the United Nations plebiscite questions is thus s t i l l asserted. In February 1961, the Northern and Southern Cameroons voted separately in a plebiscite, by which the 'Southern Cameroons' elected to join 'Cameroun Republic,' and the 'Northern Cameroons' to join the Federation of Nigeria.H The preceding assertion has once more been repeated. The result of the plebiscite was a clear victory for Foncha's programme in the south, and a decision in favour of Nigeria in the north.^ Foncha's programme to which this author refers was reunification. Thus th author asserts that the votes in Southern Kamerun were votes for reunifi-z x i cation and those in Northern Kamerun were votes for Nigeria. In insisting on a showdown on the question of reunification versus integration, the British and the U.N. forced on Cameroonians only what they themselves had f i r s t and continually demanded.13 This author actually has two assertions here: that reunification was one of the United Nations plebiscite questions; and that the majority of the Western Kamerunians demanded reunification and continually for that matter. One author, however, propagated this assertion once too often. The alternatives put before the electorate were identical — t h a t i s , a choice between joining the Cameroun Republic or Nigeria . . . the Southern Cameroons opted for the Cameroun Republic by a vote of 233,571 to 97,741, while the Northern Cameroons chose to join the Northern Region of Nigeria by a vote of 146,296 to 97,659 . . . The huge margin with which the Cameroun alternative won in the South Cameroons was undoubtedly mainly due to the s k i l l with which Prime Minister John Foncha of the Southern Cameroon managed the plebiscite campaign.^ . . . the fact remains that when in 1961, the issue of u n i f i -cation was put to the electoral test in the British Cameroons, a large majority of the voters consciously chose to implement the 'Kamerun idea.' 1^ The 'Kamerun Idea' as far as this author was concerned, had reunification as i t s hub. As he also indicates, in another assertion, the results of the plebiscite in Southern Kamerun were "an overwhelming vote for uni-fication with the Cameroun Republic." 1^ One author directed his attention only to Northern Kamerun and came out with the most highly sophisticated explanation of the plebiscites in that region but the conclusions s t i l l f e l l within the conventional wisdom. . . . the issue of the apparent reversal of position in the second plebiscite was, in fact, not a reversal. The Marghi and their pagan neighbours maintained an unchanging position of self-interest throughout. To be sure, they voted more x x i i 'against' a choice than 'for' i t s alternative, but far from f a i l i n g to understand p o l i t i c s , they adapted party p o l i t i c s -to :their .own institutions, and understanding fu l l y that the party was only a device for achieving goals, they switched parties when the leadership proved insensitive to their w i l l . 1 7 The sad thing about these assertions is that they soon get incorporated into text books and they begin to take on the aspect of facts or reality. This has already happened in the case of Northern Kamerun. In fact there should have been no surprise that Northern Cameroons joined Nigeria. There had never been a strong, leader, or a powerful p o l i t i c a l party, in favour of a merger with French-speaking Cameroon. The people had many things in common with Northern Nigeria, including a language, Hausa. Similarly the fact that most people in Northern Cameroons profess Islam made i t easier for them to want to join Northern Nigeria. Before the advent of the British or Germans, Northern Cameroons had been part of the Emirate of Bornu and later when the British administered Adamawa and Benue Provinces as part of this system, they were in fact preserving a 'status quo' which the people saw no reason to a l t e r . 1 8 This strong explanation i s a consequence of accepting ideas from books that are in themselves suspect. It is true that the contents of votes, that i s , the meaning of votes as opposed to the assumed meaning of them, in most plebiscites and general elections for that matter hardly ever correspond to the larger issues at stake. But, i f the authors of these assertions had made any real attempts to find out just how much the contents of the votes in the Kamerun plebiscites differed from the obvious implications of the United Nations' questions, the assertions might not have been questioned. Yet, the majority of these authors failed to do just that. Their conclusions are derived mainly from the number of votes cast for each alternative at the plebiscites. The present writer does not ignore the number of votes z x i i i but he attempts to go beyond that and find out the hard contents of 19 20 those votes. As Johnson and Welch suggest, what i s crucial in understanding the Kamerun plebiscites are the issues involved in the plebiscites at the time they were conducted. It may also be added that not only the issues are crucial, but also the way the plebiscites were organized and conducted, how the electorate perceived the plebiscites generally, and the circumstances under which the plebiscites were conducted, namely, the timing of the plebiscites and the questions put to the electorate. Until these aspects are pursued more intensively, the Kamerun plebiscites would have to remain largely unstudied. The approach adopted in this study i s just a beginning in the right direction. The organization and conduct of the plebiscites are probed. The perceptions of the electorate and the meaning of the votes are looked into more carefully. This of course means using sources from the grass-roots which existed and were available to the public as early as mid-1961 but which the existing literature has ignored. The main purpose of this approach, and indeed of the whole study, i s to take another look at the plebiscites, to i n i t i a t e a more intensive study of the plebiscites, to aid scholars in their approach to the study of Kamerun affairs, and more importantly, to attempt to give a more accurate picture of the Kamerun plebiscites by showing what role the traditional leaders and tradition played i n the events. The focus of the study is mainly the Western Kamerun scene and the contact of the Western Kamerunians with the United Nations. Nigeria, Britain, Eastern Kamerun, and France are brought into the study occasion-all y where appropriate. But the main purpose of the study i s to depict xxiv the roles played i n the ; p l e b i s c i t e s by Western Kamerun's Western-educated p o l i t i c a l leaders, i t s t r a d i t i o n a l leaders, and i t s voting c i t i z e n s . In an attempt to accomplish t h i s purpose, the study i s organized i n seven chapters. Chapter one provides the background to the events: i n the case of Northern Kamerun, i t i s the background to the p l e b i s c i t e s ; and, i n the case of Southern Kamerun, i t i s /the background to both the r i s e and development of nationalism i n Southern Kamerun and the p l e b i s -c i t e s . Chapter two dwells on the r i s e and evolution of Southern Kamerun nationalism from e a r l y 1940scl953. Chapter three handles the road to the p l e b i s c i t e s i n both Northern and Southern Kamerun from 1953-1959. Chapter four looks at the process leading to the United Nations' decisions. Chapter f i v e handles the United Nations' decisions and the response to them. Chapter s i x dwells of the conduct of the p l e b i s c i t e s i n both Northern and Southern Kamerun. The l a s t chapter attempts to examine the meaning of the votes i n both Northern and Southern Kamerun. There i s a conclusion which attempts to p u l l the main findings together, and to pose three questions on larger issues which are r a i s e d i n d i r e c t l y by the study. X X V Footnotes - Preface U^.N., T.C., Examination of Petitions, T/SR.943, Apri l , 1959, pp. 11-12. 2 Victor T. Le Vine, "The Poli t i c s of Partition in Africa: The Cameroons and the Myth of Unification," Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 18, No. 1, 1964, p. 205 and passim. 3Victor T. Le Vine, "A Reluctant February Bride? The 'Other Cameroons'," Africa Report, Vols. 6-7, 1961-1962, February, 1961, pp. 6, 12. 4 Ibid., p. 6. 5Victor T. Le Vine, The Cameroon Federal Republic, Ithaca and London, 1971, pp. 16-17. 6 Claude E. Welch, Jr., Dream of Unity, Cornell University Press, N.Y., 1966, p. 159. 7 Le Vine, The Cameroon Federal Republic, London, 1971, p. 17, Foot-note 9. Q Ibid., pp. 16-17. 9 "The Last Federation," West Africa, Nos. 2535-2565, 1966, April 2, 1966, p. 371. x^Peter H i l l , "Cameroon Microcosm of African Unity," The Times, Monday, June 30, 1975, London, p. v i . 1 1Edwin Ardener, "The P o l i t i c a l History of Cameroon," The World Today, Vol. 18, 1962, p. 342. 12 Neville Rubin, Cameroun: An African Federation, Praeger, London, 1971, p. 88. 13 Willard R. Johnson, The Cameroon Federation: P o l i t i c a l Integration in a Fragmentary Society, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1970, p. 152. 14 Victor T. Le Vine, "Calm Before the Storm in Cameroun?" Africa Report, Vol. 6, No. 5, May, 1961, p.-3. "^Victor T. Le Vine, "The p o l i t i c s of Partition in Africa: The Cameroons and the Myth of Unification, Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 18, No. 1, 1964, p. 209. x 6 V i c t o r T. Le Vine, The Cameroon Federal Republic, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 1971, p. 15. p xxvi James H. Vaughan, Jr., "Culture, History, and Grass-Roots Politics in a Northern Cameroons Kingdom," American Anthropologist, Vol. 66, Menasha, Wisconsin,'U.S.A., 1964, p. 1094. 18 T. Eyongetah and R. Brain, A History of the Cameroon, Longman, London, 1974, p. 158. 19 Johnson, op. c i t . , pp. 47-48. Welch, op. c i t . , p. 225. x x v i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I am very grateful and indebted to the following for the varying assistance I received from them in the course of this study: the University of British Columbia, which gave me financial assistance, and i t s Library staff, particularly Government Publications and Inter-Library Loan Divi-sions, who put in a great deal of time trying to locate United Nations documents and to loan documents and secondary sources respectively for me; Joseph N. Lafon, Paul Mdzeka Ndzegha, Francis and Celine Fai Mbuntum,. and Lawrence Bongfen Jumbam who provided me with information and some primary sources from Cameroon; the Nigerian and Cameroonian students who helped me make meaning of some of my primary sources; Sandra Archer who sympathized with and morally encouraged and pushed me forward when I was getting discouraged and leaning backwards; and, f i n a l l y , Dr. Robert Vincent Kubicek who allowed me to think freely, supervised and quided this study, whose penetrating, insightful, and searching criticisms were instrumental in reshaping my ideas and structuring this study, and without whose guidance, sympathy, sacrifices, patience, understanding, and encouragement this study might have been a total disaster. in memory of my father shey chem-langhee 1 CHAPTER ONE THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE RISE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN WESTERN KAMERUN Northern and Southern Kamerun were technically and legally one and indivisible trust territory under the administration of the United Kingdom. But the societies of these two regions, before and during the colonial period, differed greatly in some respects from each other. As a result, some of the factors which influenced the rise and evolution of nationalism in both regions differed from each other. It seems more appropriate, therefore, to treat each region separately in this chapter. The Northern Kamerun Situation Prior to the Fulani (Fulbe) intrusion of the early nineteenth century, the geographic region which later became Northern Kamerun comprised four main groups of people. These included the aborigines, the Korofa, the Batta, and the Mandara. Three of these groups acted as invaders and con-querors at one point or the other. The Korofa invaded and conquered the aborigines. The Batta invaded and conquered both the aborigines and the Korofa. The Mandara were the last invaders and conquerors of the society they found in Northern Kamerun.1 There appears to have been no assimilation after each conquest. What seems to have happened is that, after each conquest, the conqueror settled separately in one area of the region and, in line with most of Africa of the period, demanded tribute and recognition of authority from the conquered. Before each invasion, the previously supreme group appeared 2 t o have been under one c e n t r a l a u t h o r i t y . But a f t e r each i n v a s i o n , t h e conquered s u f f e r e d some d i s i n t e g r a t i o n r e s u l t i n g i n t h e m u l t i p l i c a t i o n o f independent a u t h o r i t i e s w i t h i n t h e same group. A l l t h i s i s what, a f t e r an i n v e s t i g a t i o n , a B r i t i s h a n t h r o p o l o g i s t employed by the C o l o n i a l O f f i c e seemed t o s u g g e s t . S u c c e s s i v e waves o f K o r o f a , B a t t a , Mandara, and F u l a n i i n v a s i o n s have had a d i s i n t e g r a t i n g e f f e c t , which the broken n a t u r e o f the c o u n t r y has f u r t h e r a g g r a v a t e d , so t h a t i t i s not u n u s u a l t o f i n d groups o f p e o p l e l i v i n g a l o n g s i d e each o t h e r , s p e a k i n g the same language and s h a r i n g a common c u l t u r e , y e t f i e r c e l y i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c and m u t u a l l y d i s t r u s t f u l . 2 But t h i s d i d n o t mean p o l i t i c a l d i s o r g a n i z a t i o n f o r t h e r e g i o n . I f a n y t h i n g , i t meant p o l i t i c a l f r a g m e n t a t i o n o f the r e g i o n . Each fragment was a p o l i t i c a l e n t i t y r u l e d o v e r by the Fon o r monarch. Some o f t h e s e monarchies o r Fondoms were l a r g e r t h a n the o t h e r s . Some o f them were i n t e g r a l p a r t s o f l a r g e r p o l i t i c a l e n t i t i e s which were i n themselves v i r t u a l l y empires. In some, the a u t h o r i t y o f the Fon was u n l i m i t e d . In o t h e r s , t h e Fon s h a r e d a u t h o r i t y w i t h the e l d e r s o f t h e s t a t e e i t h e r i n a c o u n c i l o r o t h e r w i s e . In e i t h e r c a s e , the p o l i t i c a l l o y a l t i e s o f t h e i n h a b i t a n t s o f t h e v a r i o u s p o l i t i c a l e n t i t i e s were t o the a-Fon. The p o l i t i c a l power o f t h e h e r e d i t a r y a-Fon was enhanced i n some cases by t h e i r f u n c t i o n as r e l i g i o u s and m i l i t a r y l e a d e r s . Many o f them would a l s o band t o g e t h e r t o f a c e e x t e r n a l t h r e a t s . 3 One o f t h e s e e x t e r n a l t h r e a t s , which a l t e r e d the i n t r a - r e g i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , was p r e s e n t e d by the F u l a n i About the e a r l y n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , the F u l a n i began t o p e n e t r a t e the r e g i o n as p e a c e f u l immigrants who p a i d t a x e s t o th e i n d i g e n o u s i n h a b i t a n t s they found i n N o r t h e r n Kamerun f o r g r a z i n g t h e i r c a t t l e on t h e l a n d . D u r i n g the J i h a d s , many o f the F u l a n i , who had now s e t t l e d i n N o r t h e r n Kamerun, 3 embraced Islam and came under the leadership of Modibbo Adama. By 1823, a l l the Fulani enclaves in the region owed allegiance to Adama. Whenever Adama conquered any area of Northern Kamerun, he installed a Fulani as the supreme authority of the area. The peaceful relations between the indigenes and the Fulani had begun to alter. The Fulani had become masters over their previous masters. Worse s t i l l , the Fulani began to enslave many of the indigenes both for themselves and for the yearly tribute to Sokoto. Consequently, the indigenes came to "see Islam as a threat to their cultural identity" and lives, a threat personified by the , . 4 Fulani. However, while this was the general perception of the Fulani held by the indigenes, during and after the Jihads, not a l l the indigenes f e l l under the suzerainty of the Fulani. A good number of them refused to embrace Islam and to f a l l under the authority of the Fulani. Yet, the Fulani penetration and invasions accelerated the disintegrative process. The effect of the Fulani penetration was to dismember [the indigenous] Kingdoms. With some the invaders made treaties, others were converted to Islam, while many withdrew to the sanctuary of the h i l l s . In.a few cases a Fulani governor of tact and character acquired some personal influence with his pagan subjects, more especially i f he had married the daughters of important local chiefs or had himself been born of such a union.^ It appears that the complete domination by the Fulani of the region, which Le Vine has asserted, and the wide-spread adoption of Islam as the religion of the area, which Eyongetah and Brain have stressed, were s t i l l a far cry from reality. Indeed, as late as the 1930s, non-Muslims outnumbered the Muslims in Northern Kamerun. While out of an estimated population of 200,000 in what later became Dikwa Emirate, only about 66,666 were non-Muslims, out of an 4 estimated population of 208,322 in what later became Adamawa, north and south, about 142,660 were non-Muslims. The grand total of the population then was 408,322, of which 198,996 were Muslims and 209,326 non-Muslims.6 What seemed to have existed in the region, before the Germans came, was a form of compromise: "Pagan lands in the plains were held on . . . a compromise: the Fulani refrained from harrying the farmers on the under-standing that the pagans allowed cattle to graze unmolested up to the 7 foot of the h i l l s and to the broader valleys during the dry season." It was this compromise which characterized the Northern Kamerun society before the New Imperialism, not the domination of the region by Islam and the Fulani. However, that society had more characteristics than the accommodation between the other groups on the one hand, and the Fulani on the other, before the New Imperialism. There were already five indigenous groups of inhabitants: the aborigines, the Korofa, the Batta, the Mandara, and the Fulani. The f i r s t four were organized into several Fondoms which, though probably independent of each other, could come together in the individual groups to face an external enemy. These Fondoms were mutually suspicious and individualistic. But they co-existed with each other. The last, the Fulani, owed allegiance to Yola, the capital of Adama's empire, and through Yola to Sokoto. They attempted to establish an overlordship over the other four groups and to convert them to Islam. But the attempt was not yet completely successful. The relations between the other four groups on the one hand and the Fulani on the other were generally bad because of the latter's slaving a c t i v i t i e s . However, because the Fulani dominance was far from complete, there existed a form of compromise between the 5 Fulani on the one hand and the other groups on the other. Unfortunately, the features of the Northern Kamerun society were lost to the new conquerors. When the Germans subdued Northern Kamerun between 1885 and 1901, they perceived a "well-organized, unified, and extensive" p o l i t i c a l system ruled over by the Fulbe princes in a g "quasi-feudal machinery." Here lay the basis of the German administ-rative Adamawa Creed: to administer Adamawa well, one must gain the !. loyalty of i t s traditional rulers; to gain the loyalty of the traditional 9 rulers, one must recognxze their authority and rule through them. What this Creed or rather policy involved was simple. The supreme authority in Northern Kamerun, aside from the Germans, would be the Fulbe princes. The German residents or commissioners in the region "were not supposed to interfere with the internal management" of the peoples. They were expected "to confine themselves to keeping the peace between [the peoples] and maintaining German rule.""*"^ But there could be no peace between the other groups on the one hand and the Fulani, who continued to raid for slaves, on the other. Without investigating the cause of the apparent disorder, the Germans instead provided the Fulani princes with guns which they used to effectively enslave and suppress the apparent rebels."''"'" With the guns in their hands, the Fulani now regarded the other groups "as f i t t i n g objects of numerous slave raids." Indeed, even in 1914, the Fulani took guns from the Germans to fight the British but instead 12 used them to enslave and k i l l the other indigenous groups. The Germans had, thus, increased the tension in the region before the British came to the scene. During the British period, the situation was modified but not altered. 6 This was a consequence of the British reorganization of the region and of British administrative policy. The British perceived and reorganized Northern Kamerun* as part of the Northern Region of Nigeria (Northern Nigeria hereafter). But Northern Kamerun was not an entity within Northern Nigeria. It was fragmented into three parts, each of which had l i t t l e to do with the others. Except Dikwa Emirate, and that after the 1930s, a l l the fragments were parts of different Northern Nigerian Provinces ruled, aside from the British, by the Fulani. Since British administrative policy in Northern Nigeria was to rule through the local traditional rulers, and since the various parts of Northern Kamerun f e l l under the authority of the Northern Nigerian Fulani traditional rulers, a l l Northern Kamerunians now f e l l under Fulani rule. What the Fulani had failed to accomplish during their period and during the German period had now been accomplished for them by the British. The non-Fulani inhabitants of Northern Kamerun were now closer to the Fulani and to Islam, which they perceived as a threat to their lives and cultural identity, than they were ever before. Fortunately, however, the British administrative policy differed from the German in one respect. The Germans completely denied the existence of any traditional rulers, other than the Fulani, in Northern Kamerun. In-r. i t i a l l y , the British made the same error but soon discovered the real s i t u -ation. After some investigations, the British came to realize that the a-Fon (plural of Fon) existed. However, they s t i l l made one error; they came *The terms Nigeria, Northern, Eastern, and Western Nigeria, Kamerun, Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern Kamerun are convenient l a b e l s p a r t i c u l a r l y during the 1920s and the 1930s. These were geographic ex-pressions with no r e a l p o l i t i c a l meaning at the period. 7 to believe that a l l the a-Fon i n Northern Kamerun had f a l l e n under the suzerainty of the F u l a n i . Or was i t t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l preference for the Fulani as was the case with Nigeria? Whatever the case, the B r i t i s h attempted to leave the a f f a i r s at the grass-roots l e v e l i n the bands of the?a-Fon. Nevertheless, the F u l a n i remained i n control of the a f f a i r s at successive l e v e l s higher than the a-Fon. The attempt f a i l e d p a r t l y because the experiment was new to both the F u l a n i and the a-Fon, p a r t l y because the F u l a n i found i t d i f f i c u l t to avoid i n t e r f e r i n g , and p a r t l y because the B r i t i s h were unwilling to bear the f i n a n c i a l burden involved 13 i n the experiment. When the experiment f a i l e d , the B r i t i s h a l t e r e d the approach. They confirmed the F u l a n i as the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s i n Northern Kamerun and then channelled t h e i r energies i n two d i r e c t i o n s . F i r s t , they attempted to protect the non-Fulani from F u l a n i oppression and abuses by deposing the tyrants and to improve the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the F u l a n i and the non-F u l a n i . Although the attempt was not very successful, i t earned for the B r i t i s h the goodwill and admiration of the non-Muslims who now thought of 14 "the B r i t i s h as t h e i r protectors from the F u l a n i . " This admiration would leave a great impact on the p l e b i s c i t e s . Secondly, the B r i t i s h attempted to t r a i n some of the a-Fon and t h e i r subjects i n the a r t of Western administ-r a t i o n so that one day the trainees might be able to handle t h e i r own l o c a l 15 a f f a i r s within the framework of Nig e r i a . By 19 34, the t r a i n i n g had had some r e s u l t s . Out of fourteen d i s t r i c t heads of Adamawa, eleven were Muslims; three non-Muslims had thus become d i s t r i c t heads. Even "some of the 105 v i l l a g e headmen i n pagan areas were also pagans." 1 6 I t i s s i g n i f i -cant that some non-Muslims now had authority beyond that of the a-Fon. 8 What seemed to have r e s u l t e d from the B r i t i s h approaches to the problem can now be suggested. The B r i t i s h almost completed the process of Fulani domination i n Northern Kamerun through t h e i r p o l i t i c a l ree~ organization of the region. But, by pursuing c e r t a i n p o l i c i e s , the B r i t i s h reduced t h e impact of that F u l a n i domination on the other inhabits ants of the region. While t h i s , however, d i d l i t t l e to reduce the apprehensions of the non-Fulani f o r the F u l a n i , i t d i d win for the B r i t i s h the goodwill and admiration of the non-Fulani. The F u l a n i and the non-; Fulani co-existed tenuously under Pax B r i t a n n i c a , but the suspicion of the non-Fulani for the F u l a n i remained. A l l these factors would have an important bearing on the Northern Kamerun p l e b i s c i t e s . But, other fa c t o r s , stemming out of B r i t i s h educational, s o c i a l , administrative, economic, and p o l i t i c a l p o l i c i e s a lso l e f t a mark on the p l e b i s c i t e s . B r i t i s h educational p o l i c y i n Northern Kamerun between 1922 and 1961 was not vigorous. By 1925, there were three elementary schools i n the 17 region with a t o t a l population of 31. The year 1930 saw only one school located at Mubi with 28 c h i l d r e n i n attendance. There was another unassisted and unrecognized school at Dikwa D i v i s i o n supervised from Ni g e r i a . Five Northern Kamerunians were undergoing t r a i n i n g i n Nigeria to become elementary school teachers. The same year, there were about 619 Koranic schools which 18 had l i t t l e , i f anything, to do with Western education. This was another influence of the F u l a n i and a further threat to the non-Fulani which the B r i t i s h encouraged. By 1938, there were four recognized elementary schools 19 i n the region. Shute, the B r i t i s h representative to the Trusteeship Council, gave an accurate d e s c r i p t i o n of the s i t u a t i o n as i t existed i n the early 1950s. In "the remote part of the north [North Kamerun] i l l i t e r a c y 9 20 i s almost one hundred per cent." The s i t u a t i o n was improved by the late 1950s. By 1958, there were three primary schools i n Adamawa north and south, and a fourth was under construction. However, there was no secondary school i n Northern Kamerun by the time the B r i t i s h l e f t the region. Nor was there a g i r l s ' school. There was a Teacher Training Centre at Mubi. The missionaries ran several elementary schools. The region had one u n i v e r s i t y graduate (supposed to be the f i r s t Northern Nigerian to acquire that q u a l i f i c a t i o n ) , B.Sc.Hon., Ibadan, i n 1958, and t h i s was "the f i r s t time a Northerner . . . attained such a q u a l i f i c a t i o n . " In addition, two Northern Kamerunians "obtained 21 diplomas i n administration and native treasury accounting." I t i s very important to note that the s i t u a t i o n which existed i n 1958 was described by members of the Consultative Committee* who regarded i t as a great educational advancement for the region at t h i s period i n time. B r i t i s h welfare p o l i c y was perhaps even les s vigorous than the education p o l i c y . The B r i t i s h neglected a l l the leper settlements the Germans had 22 l e f t behind and established one c e n t r a l one at Maiduguri, Nigeria. This was a t e l l i n g d i f f i c u l t y for the Northern Kamerun lepers. However, l a t e r on i n t h e i r period, the B r i t i s h r e-established those they had neglected i n the 23 region. Between 1919 and 19 39, there was no permanent medical service i n Northern Kamerun. However, by the 1950s, three medical doctors from *The Consultative Committee, whose function was to advise the Northern Nigerian Government on matters concerning Northern Kamerun, was established by the B r i t i s h i n 1955 and, between 1957 and 1958, i t was constituted a formal Committee of the Northern Regional Government. It s a c t i v i t i e s and perceptions w i l l be seen again i n chapters three - f i v e . 10 Nigeria attended to the region only one of whomvwas on a regular b a s i s . 24 Attempts were also underway to b u i l d three permanent h o s p i t a l s . The year 1958 saw major improvements. The Northern Nigerian Govern-ment and the Native A u t h o r i t i e s provided regular medical services. But for a population of about three-quarters of a m i l l i o n , there were s t i l l only two h o s p i t a l s , the one operated by the government and the other by the missionaries. There were ten Native Authority dispensaries and four 25 mission owned and operated ones. Once more, i t must be stressed that the 1958 s i t u a t i o n was greatly praised by the members of the Consultative Committee. B r i t i s h economic p o l i c y , or lack of i t , i n Northern Kamerun was one of t o t a l neglect. The B r i t i s h undertook no s i g n i f i c a n t economic operations i n the region. B r i g a d i e r Gibbons, B r i t i s h s p e c i a l representative to the Trusteeship Council, explained, during the trusteeship period, that "Lack of economic j u s t i f i c a t i o n continue[d] to re t a r d the development of a l l -26 season motor-roads i n the Northern Cameroons." However, the B r i t i s h d i d 27 b u i l d two roads, t o t a l l i n g 35 miles, to l i n k up some areas. The only other means of communication were the seasonal roads b u i l t and maintained by the Native A u t h o r i t i e s . In 1958, the Northern Kamerunians who sat i n the Nigerian l e g i s l a t u r e s , and who praised the B r i t i s h , had very l i t t l e to say i n economic terms. There were "numerous numbers of mixed farmers" who were "constantly a s s i s t e d by the a g r i c u l t u r a l o f f i c i a l s stationed i n 28 nearly every b i g v i l l a g e to give help and advice." When Gardinier studied the s i t u a t i o n , he came to the conclusion that there were few attempts, i f 29 any, to improve even the quantity or q u a l i t y of native food. Administratively, the Northern Kamerunians di d not have an adequate 11 share of the o f f i c e s i n t h e i r region. B r i t i s h administrative p o l i c y i n Northern Kamerun cannot be understood without the p r i n c i p l e upon which i t was based. Generally, B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l p o l i c y was to have the colonies pay for themselves. Yet, the B r i t i s h spent more time administering t h e i r colonies rather than developing them. I f the colonies must pay f o r t h i s administration, the cheapest e f f i c i e n t administrators must be sought. Naturally, such administrators must know both the Eng l i s h language and the B r i t i s h system. During the f i r s t decade of B r i t i s h r u l e , no Northern Kamerunian commanded these q u a l i f i c a t i o n s . The Nigerians who, because of t h e i r e a r l y acquaintance with the B r i t i s h t r a d i t i o n , already had these q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , were then used i n the administrative service of Northern Kamerun. Reinforced by the B r i t i s h educational neglect of Northern Kamerunians, the employment of Nigerians as administrators i n Northern Kamerun became c r y s t a l i z e d i n t o a self-perpetuating system. Moreover, by making the F u l a n i , both Kamerunian and Nigerian, l o c a l administrators, the non-Muslim Northern Kamerunians were e f f e c t i v e l y excluded from any form of administration. Perhaps the s i t u a t i o n would best be i l l u s t r a t e d by looking at the descriptions of two groups i n Northern Kamerun, the one admiring the s i t u a t i o n and the other condemning i t i n 1958. Those who praised the s i t u a t i o n described i t as follows. Out of the seventeen members o f the Lamido's cou n c i l i n Adamawa Province, seven were Northern Kamerunians. Four Northern Kamerunians of Adamawa Province were members of the Nigerian l e g i s l a t u r e s . Local government bodies which i n -cluded D i s t r i c t Councils, Outer Councils, and V i l l a g e Councils were "equally placed accessible to the natives of the Northern Cameroons as to any other persons." Out of the fourteen d i s t r i c t heads, eight were Northern Kamerunians, 12 while seven other Northern Kamerunians held "important Native Authority posts. On the other hand, like those who praised the situation, those who condemned i t limited their comments to Adamawa Province. From the beginning of the mandate system, "the ruling institutions of the indige-nous people of the territory [had] been abolished or made into a non-entity." The Districts, except perhaps Belel, had become "a Colony of Adamawa Emirate [Nigeria] under the Lamido of Adamawa in Yola." The Lamido was appointing "men of his own choice or his own kin to rule the Districts" rather than the "indigenous inhabitants of the area." The dist r i c t s had become "a place for adventure of the few ruling families from Yola," Nigeria. A l l the "influential administrative posts" in the Districts were held by people from Yola. As a result of this Yola monopoly, the indige-nous inhabitants of the area were l e f t "behind without adequate training 31 to man their own affairs by themselves." As suggested above, the so-called 'Yola monopoly' of administrative posts in Adamawa Emirate was due to the fact that there were few Northern Kamerunians who understood the British system and the English language. If the desire to have the colonies fend for themselves governed the British administrative policy in Northern Kamerun, the reason the British acquired Western Kamerun governed British p o l i t i c a l policy in that region. Indeed, a l l Br i t i s h policies in Western Kamerun as a whole were governed by that reason. The British acquired Western Kamerun in order to extend the Nigerian boundary eastwards and, in so doing, correct the a r t i f i c i -a l i t y of the Nigeria-Kamerun boundary line. Yet the British did not take into consideration, as might be expected, cultural and h i s t o r i a l factors 13 32 which would have helped them correct the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of the l i n e . Whatever the case, having acquired Western Kamerun for t h i s reason, the B r i t i s h attempted to f i n d out the best Nigerian p o l i t i c a l units with which to administer the various segments of Northern Kamerun. This attempt res u l t e d i n the following reorganization of the region. Dikwa Emirate, the northernmost area of the region located around Lake Chad, was administered by the B r i t i s h Resident of Bornu, N i g e r i a . This Resident was responsible to the Lieutenant-Governor of Northern Ni g e r i a . Yola Emirate North of the Benue River, the area south of Dikwa Emirate to the northern end of the Benue Val l e y , was administered by the Resident of Yola who was also responsible to the Lieutenant-Governor of Northern N i g e r i a . Yola Emirate South of the Benue River, the area from the southern end of the Benue V a l l e y to the Mambilla escarpment, the boundary with Southern Kamerun, was also administered by the Resident of Yola. As mentioned e a r l i e r , although a l l these segments were united i n the Lieutenant-Governor of Northern Nigeria, they had very l i t t l e to do with each other. To be sure, there were minor modifications, but Northern Kamerun developed i n these associations r i g h t i n t o 1960. By 1959, Dikwa Emirate had become Dikwa Emirate D i v i s i o n of the Bornu Province of Northern Ni g e r i a . One of the Yola Emirates had become a D i v i s i o n , Adamawa Emirate D i v i s i o n of the Adamawa Province of Northern Ni g e r i a . The other Yola Emirate had become 33 Wukari D i v i s i o n o f the Benue Province of Northern N i g e r i a . By 1959, therefore, the three fragments had become parts of three d i f f e r e n t adminis-t r a t i v e e n t i t i e s o f Northern Nigeria and s t i l l had l i t t l e to do with each other. The i m p l i c a t i o n of these arrangements was s i g n i f i c a n t . In p r a c t i c e , 14 there was no Northern Kamerun administration between 1919 and 1960 although the region was legally and technically a part of Western Kamerun which was i t s e l f a territory distinct from Nigeria. Any Nigerian proper or any Northern Kamerunian could represent Northern Kamerun outside or within the region; there was no distinction made in the region between a Nigerian and a Northern Kamerunian. Had the Northern Kamerunians, or at least the majority of them been satisfied with these arrangements, no real serious reaction against them would have been expected. But, as i t turned out, many of them were not happy with the way the region had been reorganized, and when the opportunity arose would register their dissatisfaction. The Southern Kamerun Situation The nineteenth century p o l i t i c a l organization of the geographic region which later became Southern Kamerun was not unlike that of contemporary Europe. It consisted mainly of empires and nation states. Nso (Nsaw, Banso, Bansaw), Bafut, and Kom for instance were empires. Some of the Bali 34 states and many of the Wimbum (Nsungnin, Nsungli) states were nation states. Each of these p o l i t i c a l entities, whether with an elective leadership or not, had at i t s head a^Fon. The authority of the Fon was a tricky question. When making a decision involving his personal interests, unless curbed within his Council, the Fon was inclined to be dictatorial. Bflt,.. when making a decision involving the interests of the whole Fondom, he consulted with his Councillors who, in turn, consulted with some of the important commoners who, in their own turn, sounded the opinion of the rest of the society. In decisions involving the interests of the whole Fondom, therefore, the statement of the Fon usually reflected a consensus of the Fondom. 15 Consequently, i f the statement or policy of a Fon conflicted with that of any person who was not himself a Fon, that of the Fon must be taken more seriously, i f other things remained equal. The traditional states, Fondoms hereafter, were very intricately organized particularly the empires. More significantly, they had diplo-matic relations among themselves and even with intruders. Bali Nyonga had diplomatic and trade relations with Babessong and with Babungo. The Germans, represented by Dr. Eugen Zintgraff entered into diplomatic relations with the same Bali Nyonga. Central to the treaty between the Bali Nyonga and the Germans was authority. The Bali would help the Germans to subdue the rest of the grasslands; of Southern Kamerun and then establish German overlordship. In their own turn, the Germans would make the Bali Nyonga the supreme local authority of the grasslands. To face this unholy alliance of the Bali and the Germans, the Bafut and the Mankon formed a military alliance which gave the Bali-German alliance a 35 thorough thrashing several times. There was also an intriguing diplomacy between five Fondoms with Tikari (Tikar) and Nodobo* origins. These Fondoms included Nso, Kom, Bafut, Bum, and Ndu. The smallest of them, Bum (about 5,000 people in 1953), was commercially and strategically situated. It was the entrepot for the Kolanut trade between Northern Nigeria and the grasslands of Southern Kamerun. It was in intermittent h o s t i l i t y with Kom lying on i t s southern border. But, Bum was "in pacts of friendship with^Nso and Ndu." *Tikari and Ndobo are actually the same ethnic group. 16 The population of Ndu in 1953 was estimated at 8,300 and that of Nso in the same year was 50,000. Nso and Ndu were for the most part hostile to each other. But Nso and Kom were ( s t i l l are) in alliance. Kom, with an estimated population of 27,000 in 1953, was competing with Bafut (19,000 estimated population in 1953) "for the allegiance of tiny village chief-3 6 doms" (Fondoms). This diplomacy smacks of the Bismarckian diplomacy of the late nine-teenth century. The Bum-Kom hos t i l i t y was neutralized by the Nso-Kom and Nso-Bum friendships; Nso protected Bum from Kom aggression. The Nso-Nd'U h o s t i l i t y was neutralized by the Ndu-Bum and Nso-Bum friendships. The isolation of the Bafut in the group was neutralized by the Mankon-Bafut alliance. While this diplomacy maintained peace among these Fondoms, i t gave Nso, Kom, and Bafut virtually a free hand to subdue their weaker neighbours and create empires. Considering a l l this, i t would appear that Le Vine's idea of disorganized, unruly "tribes" warring with each other before the New Imperialism leaves much to be desired. Indeed, the problem of the period appears not to have been the relation-ship between Crowns and Crowns. It does not appear to have been the problem of the relationship between peoples and peoples. It was the problem of the relationship between the Crowns and their subjects. There was an international conspiracy of the a-Fon against their subjects: "there was a pact of friend-ship [between Nso and Kom] involving royal g i f t exchange and mutural return 37 of run-away wives and slaves." With such pacts, the subjects of the a-Fon could do l i t t l e more than obey royal decrees without question. To be sure, Western intrusions, education and ideas, did threaten tradition. But, by the time of the plebiscites only a very generous e s t i -mate would have put Southern Kamerunians at 20 per cent Western-educated. 17 Consequently, any decision any Fon made regarding the plebiscites, was more representative of local opinion and would command greater support among the electorate than decisions made by the new p o l i t i c a l e l i t e . This situation, of course meant that no Western-educated p o l i t i c a l leader of tact could act without his eyes looking over his shoulders at the a-Fon. Here l i e s the key to the understanding of the major part of the nation-a l i s t movement i n Sourthern Kamerun. Here l i e s the key to the under- .. standing of the conclusion of that nationalist movement, the Southern Kamerun plebiscites. The fourth and f i n a l United Nations Visiting Mission to Kamerun immediately before the plebiscites was aware of this situation. As the Mission saw i t , although the authority of the a-Fon varies in extent and influence, many of the a-Fon "appear to play a part in public a f f a i r s — not only in local administration but also in the shaping of opinion on the main p o l i t i c a l issues—which none of the p o l i t i c a l parties proper can afford to ignore." The a-Fon of the grasslands in particular included in their persons "the strongest traditional authorities in the country." The a-Fon submitted that their role was traditional. But, nevertheless, they reserved "the right to interfere with and correct the affairs of the country 38 when i t [was] realized that things [were] going radically wrong." The statement of the a-Fon that they reserved "the right to interfere with and correct the affiars of the country . . .," would seem to suggest their authority and influence over the Southern Kamerunians. Nevertheless, the Mission mentioned one important point which should be borne in mind always. This was that tradition was more pronounced in the grasslands. The grasslands were the most populous areas of Southern 18 Kamerun. Indeed, Bamenda D i v i s i o n alone i n the grasslands could win the p l e b i s c i t e i f only i t s a-Fon took the same p o s i t i o n . T r a d i t i o n was not very pronounced i n some parts of the f o r e s t zone. Mamfe D i v i s i o n , mainly i n the f o r e s t zone and p a r t l y i n the grasslands, was a watershed between the s i t u a t i o n i n the grasslands and that i n the f o r e s t zone. The majority of i t s a-Fon were s t i l l very i n f l u e n t i a l . But others had begun to see a decay i n t h e i r authority. Further south, i n Kumba D i v i s i o n i t appeared that the majority of the a-Fon sat sadly watching the decay of t h e i r au-:::. t h o r i t y . In the southern end of the region, V i c t o r i a D i v i s i o n , the a-Fon had almost v i r t u a l l y l o s t t h e i r authority by the time of the p l e b i s c i t e s . A l l t h i s was the r e s u l t of Western i n t r u s i o n i n t o Southern Kamerun. The f i r s t of these i n t r u s i o n s came i n the form of slave trade. But t h i s did not seem to have l e f t any s i g n i f i c a n t impact. To be sure, the introduction of slave trade by the West di d lead to some skirmishes between some of the Fondoms, but i t d i d not shake the f a b r i c s of the t r a d i t i o n a l systems.* Even the Fu l a n i attempts to conduct slave raids i n Southern Kamerun were e a s i l y r e p e l l e d . What seemed to have begun the threat to the t r a d i t i o n a l systems was the long contact of the coastal areas with the whiteman. This means that the dismantling of the authority of the a-Fon was going on i n the coastal areas while the grasslands were i n t a c t . The f o r e s t zone and the grasslands had, thus, begun to move i n d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n s long before the Germans came to the scene. * P h i l i p D. C u r t i n , The A t l a n t i c Slave Trade: A Census, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Milwaukee, 1969, p. 255 shows that some of the slaves were"captured from the Bamenda'area of Southern Kamerun. Yet, i t i s here that we have the t r a d i t i o n a l systems i n t a c t t i l l today. 19 The movement in different directions by the two areas was aggravated when the Germans colonized Southern Kamerun. German occupation and effect-ive rule of the region began from the south and proceeded gradually north-wards. Because the traditional systems of the coastal areas were already weakening, the Germans attempted to rule the area directly and Victoria became one of the most important centres of administration. But, in the interior, that i s in some parts of Kumba, Mamfe, and nearly a l l of the grasslands, the Germans discovered many powerful a-Fon through whom they ruled indirectly. The Germans entered into treaties with these a-Fon and gave them German flags. Central again to these threaties, particularly when the Bali-German attempts had failed, was authority. The a-Fon pledged to "recognize German rule, to supply workers, and to refrain from inter-ference with trade." In one case, the German agent "followed native customs and swore blood friendship with the tr i b a l chieftain, the for-mality requiring the participants to drink each other's blood mixed in water." On their own part, the Germans promised to uphold the authority of the a-Fon over their subjects. Where there was some struggle for power within any empire, the Germans recognized one of the a-Fon and placed him 39 "in authority over rivals." This policy had some significant bearings on the p o l i t i c a l develop-ment of Southern Kamerun. By ruling coastal areas directly, the Germans further weakened the traditional systems and, with them, the influence of the a-Fon. The inhabitants of the coastal areas began to make decisions on major issues individually. This process became self-perpetuating with increased Western education, increased literacy, and increased penetration of the area by Western ideas. 20 On the other hand, the situation in the interior, particularly in the far north, the grasslands, was different. Here, the Germans recognized and confirmed the authority of the a-Fon over their subjects and rivals. The traditional systems, the authority of the a-Fon, and the loyalty of their subjects remained intact. It i s thus easy to understand why Western ideas found more receptive ears in the coastal areas and struck no responsive chords in the mental make-up of the grasslanders for so long a time. Indeed, i t was not unt i l the end of the thirty-two year German imperium in Kamerun that Western ideas began to penetrate the grasslands. The end of the German Kamerun Empire came in 1916 as the Franco-British-Belgian forces gathered in for a k i l l on the Germans in Kamerun. It occurred when the kamerunians, who saw no reason to get involved in a European family a f f a i r , refused to fight: "as far as the Cameroons was 40 concerned there was l i t t l e or no fighting at a l l . " Without any re-sistance from Kamerunians, who concentrated their efforts in protecting the Ger-mans in Kamerun from the invading forces,the British gratuitously moved in as peace-makers rather than conquerors. The bitter and long-drawn out wars which the a-Fon of the grasslands fought with the Germans, before being subdued, were thus absent at the time of the British occupation. Due to this peaceful occupation, the a-Fon began to perceive the British as friends rather than conquerors. This friendship would continue as long as the Brit i s h did not attempt to undermine tradition. Fortunately, the British attempted to uphold tradition through their administrative policy. British administrative policy in Southern Kamerun followed that of the Germans differing only in one major respect. The Germans accepted the status quo without any qualms. They accepted the fact that there were 21 central authorities in the interior and that central authority in the coastal areas was decaying. It was not their fault that things were as they were. The best they could do was to accelerate the course of history in the same direction. This was not the way the British saw i t . The British thought quite differently. They agreed that the status quo must be maintained. But what was the status quo? In their.minds, the status quo was the situation which obtained in the grasslands. The situ-ation which obtained in the coastal areas was the fault of the Germans. It was their duty to correct this German blunder and preserve the traditions of the people. As they put i t themselves, As regards native affairs, the B r i t i s h policy in the Cameroons follows that of Nigeria, and i s an endeavour to rebuild the t r i b a l and ethnological institutions which had to some extent suffered disintegration during the period of direct German administration, to find the hereditary native rulers and to educate them in their duties in that capacity, and to seek their co-operation and help, and to maintain their prestige in a l l matters concerning the areas under their c o n t r o l . 4 1 The main difference between the British and the German administrative policies lay in the fact that the Germans interfered more in the coastal areas of Southern Kamerun than the British did. But, both the British and the Germans were willin g to rule through the a-Fon i f possible. This British administrative policy was not to be as easy for a l l the areas of the region as the British might have thought. In the grasslands and in some parts of Mamfe and Kumba, the hereditary traditional rulers with authority were not in doubt. Here, the British did maintain and uphold their authority and prestige in a l l matters in the areas under their jurisdiction. The German approach had been replicated in this area. Better s t i l l , the B r i t i s h were not conquerors, just the liberators of the 22 a-Fon and their subjects from :the German iron rule. On the other hand, even when the British discovered the hereditary a-Fon in the south, the British realized that the authority of the a-Fon had, :;tio some extent, been sapped. In that area, the British established local councils which made decisions for the people under the council's jurisdiction. Membership in these councils included the a-Fon and some Western-educated e l i t e , many of whom could not, traditionally speaking, s i t with the a-Fon in the same council. L i t t l e republics had emerged in the south. To be sure, these councils almost always invariably corresponded with the jurisdiction of either the decaying Fondoms or Fondoms which claimed the same ethnic origins. But, there was nothing traditional in them or in their authority. In time, these republics were introduced in the grasslands, the South Eastern Federation, Ndop, for instance. But, they differed from those in the south in two major respects. The councils had no .authority whatsoever over the subjects of the a-Fon. The councils might take d e c i — sions but unless the a-Fon agreed to the decisions, they could never be implemented. Furthermore, the councils could not even take decisions contrary to the views of the a-Fon. Indeed, in the South Eastern Federation, the Western-educated councillors spent more time wooing the Fon.of Bafut and the Fon of Nso than they spent thinking about the problems of the Federation. These two a-Fon must agree on any decision before the South Eastern Fed-eration could attempt to implement i t . Like the Germans, therefore, the British modified the situation and the difference between the forest zone and the grasslands, but did not change them. The south and the north were s t i l l moving in different 23 directions with differing outlooks. This situation would have an important bearing on the nationalist movement and on the plebiscites. However, the nationalist movement i t s e l f , as a new phenomenon in the region, was the product of the Bri t i s h p o l i t i c a l reorganization of Southern Kamerun and of the results of that p o l i t i c a l reorganization. The B r i t i s h p o l i t i c a l reorganization of Southern Kamerun reflected British perceptions of the region. The British perceptions of the region themselves were anchored in the principles upon which the British based their acquisition of Southern Kamerun. As was the case with Northern Kamerun, the British acquired Southern Kamerun in order to extend the Eastern Nigerian boundary eastwards and, in the process, f i l l in the missing 42 links of Eastern Nigeria. Southern Kamerun,lin the British mind, was 43 ethnologically a natural part of the Eastern Region of Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria hereafter. As a result of these perceptions, the British Integrated Southern Kamerun with Eastern Nigeria p o l i t i c a l l y and otherwise. In practice, therefore, the terms Southern Kamerun and Southern Kamerunians, except in legal and technical ways, did not have any real meaning. British economic policy in Southern Kamerun was almost the antithesis of the German economic policy in the region. Before the British came, the Germans had lai d down a well-developed infrastructure for the economy off the region comparable to none in colonial Africa of the time. Witness the intra-regional trade system, the plantations, the s c i e n t i f i c experiments on a l l aspects of the economy, the search for ivory, the experiments with and development of palm o i l and palm kernels, cocoa, rubber, cotton, ramie, tobacco, coffee, and Kolanuts. Witness the botanical garden, the buildings, the network of roads and railroads, the seaports, the telephone line, the 24 44 a i r s t r i p s and many others. Indeed, "A student cannot escape the conclusion that everything was being done by Germany to get the maximum from- the 45 colony." Southern Kamerun stood to gain much i n the long-run had the B r i t i s h done the same thing to get the maximum from the t r u s t t e r r i t o r y . But the B r i t i s h d i d not. Things began to decay as soon as the B r i t i s h took over control of Southern Kamerun. German roads went i n t o disuse. By 1938, the B r i t i s h 46 were maintaining only a t o t a l of 185 miles of road. The United Nations ( f i r s t ) V i s i t i n g Mission to Kamerun on October 31, 1949, found roads poor, 47 unsatisfactory, and inadequate. Brigad i e r Gibbons, B r i t i s h s p e c i a l representative to the Trusteeship Council, i n d i c a t e d that improvements could not even be expected. Plans to develop roads were underway, he said , "but i n view of the f a c t that i t costs fel,000 to b u i l d a single mile of simple gravel road, he was unable to say how f a r such projects would be 48 c a r r i e d out i n the near future." The B r i t i s h d i d not even t r e a t the plantations, the basis of the Southern Kamerun economy as such. At f i r s t , the B r i t i s h sought non-German buyers for the plantations. When such buyers were not a v a i l a b l e , the B r i t i s h sold them to t h e i r former owners. Later on, a f t e r the Second World War, the plantations became the property of the Nigerian Government run by 49 the Cameroons Development Corporation (CDC). Even the very existence of the plantations was of l i t t l e b e n e f i t to the Southern Kamerunians. "In 1936 the Permanent Mandates Commission learned that 95 per cent of the p r o f i t s from the banana trade, the t e r r i t o r y ' s c h i e f export, were going to 50 Europeans." In the f i r s t year of i t s operation, the CDC made a p r o f i t of 1178,275 net and 6158,000 was set aside as taxes for the Nigerian Government. The next year, the CDC made a p r o f i t of 6343,396 net and 6209,000 was 51 also set aside as taxes for the same Government. Even labour i n the CDC was not equitably d i s t r i b u t e d . Between 1955 and 1959, the years for which there are figure s , two groups of Nigerians, the Ibo and the E f i k -I b i b i o , were always the l a r g e s t single ethnic groups employed at the CDC. 5 2 On t h e i r own part, the " B r i t i s h undertook no large scale economic program" i n Southern or rather Western Kamerun e i t h e r through "grants or loans." No attempts were made "to improve the q u a l i t y or quantity of native food or cash crop production, despite the f a c t that cocoa production 53 was l a r g e l y i n the hands of A f r i c a n s , mainly i n the Kumba d i v i s i o n . " The unemployment o f the Southern Kamerunians who were i l l i t e r a t e could not, therefore, be solved by self-employment on the farms. Worse s t i l l , commercial and tradesman a c t i v i t i e s were monopolized by the Nigerians, the 54 Ibo i n p a r t i c u l a r . The neglect of the Southern Kamerunians who were i l l i t e r a t e was also matched by the neglect of the Western-educated Southern Kamerunians. O r i g i n a l l y , the only Southern Kamerunians who were l i t e r a t e were German speaking. Beyond the t r a d i t i o n a l systems, t h i s group had an idea only of the German systems. This meant they could not be of much use i n the B r i t i s h administration. Yet, administration was the main B r i t i s h industry i n Southern Kamerun. For example, out of a t o t a l expenditure of 6188,427 i n 1938, 6142,484 (about 76%) went to administratively r e l a t e d functions: 55 Armed Forces 612,396, Police 617,817, and Administration 6112,271. Since the l i t e r a t e Southern Kamerunians were not acquainted with English and with the B r i t i s h system, they were v i r t u a l l y , i n the beginning, excluded from 26 this industry. Administrative posts i n Southern Kamerun became f i l l e d with B r i t i s h , Nigerian, and other non-Southern Kamerunian administrators, a s i t u a t i o n which became c r y s t a l i z e d i n t o a self-perpetuating system. Indeed, i n the late 1930s, there were only 71 Southern Kamerunians who held any substan-t i a l posts i n Southern Kamerun. These included: one Supervising Teacher, one Assistant Medical O f f i c e r , two A s s i s t a n t A g r i c u l t u r a l O f f i c e r s , t h i r t y i n the c l e r i c a l s e r v i c e , twenty teachers, twelve midwives and nurses, and 56 f i v e t e c h n i c a l s t a f f . I t i s important to note that the majority of these 71 Southern Kamerunians were from the coastal areas, p a r t i c u l a r l y the Bakweri. In the plantations, the "Bakweri and the Ibo are again 57 numerous" i n the " c l e r i c a l grade" of workers. The d i s p a r i t y i n employ-ment between the f o r e s t zoners and the grasslanders would contribute to the varying p o s i t i o n s taken by the two areas during the p l e b i s c i t e s . The exclusion of Southern Kamerunians from w h i t e - c o l l a r jobs could have been rescued had the B r i t i s h paid much attention to the education of Southern Kamerunians and taken steps to h a l t the employment of Nigerians i n Southern Kamerun. But that was not the case. By 1925, there were seven government elementary schools i n Western Kamerun (North and South) holding 785 pupils with a s t a f f of 25. The Native A u t h o r i t i e s had ten schools i . with an average attendance of 2,848. The compulsory subjects taught were reading, w r i t i n g , English composition and grammar, English d i c t a t i o n and c o l l o q u i a l E nglish. The s i t u a t i o n , however, began to improve i n the 1930s. By 1930, the number of government schools had reduced to s i x with an increased population of 1,256. There were twelve Native Authority schools with a population of 27 990. The Missions had 459 schools, about 90 per cent of which were 59 unassisted. The majority of these unassisted schools, however, taught nothing beyond the Prayer Book. By 1938, the number of government schools was s t i l l s i x . The Native A u t h o r i t i e s now had nineteen schools. The Mission schools were d i s t r i b u t e d as follows: Catholic M i s s i o n — 4 7 , seven of which were assis t e d ; Basel Mission—161, ten of which were as s i s t e d ; German B a p t i s t Mission—19, two of which were assis t e d ; and, one Native B a p t i s t school which was also a s s i s t e d . ^ I t was not u n t i l 1939 that the Roman .Catholic Mission opened the f i r s t secondary school at Sasse, V i c t o r i a D i v i s i o n . This example was followed ten years l a t e r when the Basel Mission opened another secondary school at B a l i Nyonga i n 1949. These were the only secondary schools i n Southern Kamerun at the end of the period i n which the B r i t i s h administered Southern Kamerun. Indeed, atcthe end of the period, only a very generous estimate, as s a i d e a r l i e r , could put the popu-l a t i o n at 20 per cent l i t e r a t e . Moreover, t h i s estimated 20 per cent was concentrated i n the coastal areas. The p l e b i s c i t e s thus came when the grasslands, which housed more than one h a l f of the t o t a l population of Southern Kamerun, were i l l i t e r a t e and t r a d i t i o n a l i n outlook. The a-Fon themselves, indeed nearly a l l the Southern Kamerunians were not at ease with the B r i t i s h welfare and s o c i a l p o l i c i e s i n the region. In 1925, and several years thereafter, Southern Kamerun had four h o s p i t a l s and three medical o f f i c e r s . These h o s p i t a l s were d i s t r i b u t e d as follows: V i c t o r i a — 5 6 beds, Buea—25 beds, Mamfe—20 beds, Bamenda—32 heds, and a dispensary was soon to be opened at Kumba. 6 1 V i c t o r i a and Buea h o s p i t a l s , both i n V i c t o r i a D i v i s i o n , one of the l e a s t populated areas of Southern Kamerun had a t o t a l of 81 beds whereas Bamenda D i v i s i o n , which had more 28 than half the population of Southern Kamerun, had 32 beds in the hospital. The Buea hospital, only about 20 miles away from Victoria, was exclusively for the 281 Europeans in Southern Kamerun, a disproportional majority of whom were resident in Victoria Division. To be sure, the hospital went by the name 'Senior Service' hospital. But, there were not many Southern Kamerunians who could claim to be in the Senior Service grade; the only Southern Kamerunian who could claim to belong to this category came several years later and was himself an Assistant Medical Officer.* In general, therefore, British policies in Southern Nigeria, in particular Eastern Nigeria, and this term in practice included Southern Kamerun, were detrimental to the interests of the Southern Kamerunians. The Southern Kamerunians who f e l t the impact of those policies most were the Western-educated because they were largely excluded from administrative jobs in the region they perceived to be theirs. It i s l i t t l e wonder, therefore, that the f i r s t reactions to these policies came from the Western-educated Southern Kamerunians. The reaction began with a search for .' identity and food. *An Assistant Medical Officer was actually a fully qualified medical doctor who was given this t i t l e mainly for two reasons: to assert his inferi o r i t y to a white medical doctor; and, to hold him down from aspiring for promotion to the Senior Service category. 29 Footnotes David E. Gardinier, "The B r i t i s h i n the Gameroons, 1919-1939," P. G i f f o r d and W.R. Louis, eds., B r i t a i n and Germany i n A f r i c a : Imperial Rivalry and C o l o n i a l Rule, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1967, p. 540. 2 I b i d . 3 A.H.M. Kirk-Greene, Adamawa: Past and Present, Oxford University Press, London, 1958, pp. 147-149 and passim. 4 James H. Vaughan, J r . , "Culture, History and Grass-roots P o l i t i c s i n a Northern Cameroons Kingdom," American Anthropologist, V o l . 66, 1964, pp. 1985-1088. ^Kirk-Greene, op. c i t . , p. 148. ^Computed from David E. Gardinier i n G i f f o r d and Louis, eds., op. c i t . , pp. 532-538. 7 Kirk-Greene, op. c i t . , p. 149. g Harry R. Rudin, Germans i n the Cameroons 1884-1914: A Case Study i n Modern Imperialism, Yale University Press, 1968, p. 186. 9 Ibid . Great B r i t a i n , Foreign O f f i c e H i s t o r i c a l Section, Handbooks No. I l l , H.M. Stationary O f f i c e , London, 1920, pp 27-28. ^ G a r d i n i e r i n G i f f o r d and Louis, eds., op. c i t . , pp. 536-538. 12 Vaughan, J r . , i n American Anthropologist, Vol. 66, 1964, pp. 1085-1088. 13 Gardinier i n G i f f o r d and Louis, eds., op. c i t . , pp. 527-238. 14 Vaughan, J r . , " i n American Anthropologist, V o l . 66, 1964, p. 1088. 15 Great B r i t a i n , Report by His B r i t a n n i c Majesty's Government on the B r i t i s h Mandated Sphere of the Cameroons for the Year 1923, H.M. Stationary O f f i c e , London, 1924, p. 36. 1 6 G a r d i n i e r i n G i f f o r d and Louis, eds., op. c i t . , pp. 538-543. 17 Great B r i t a i n , Report of His B r i t a n n i c Majesty's Government to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of the B r i t i s h Cameroons for the Year 1925, H.M. Stationary O f f i c e , London, 1926, pp. 63-74. 30 18 Great Britain, Report by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Council of the League of Nations, on the Administration of the Cameroons under British Mandate for the Year 19 30, H.M. Stationary Office, London, 1931, pp. 80B89. 19 Great Britain, Report by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Council of the League of Nations, on the Administration of the Cameroons under British Mandate for the Year 1939, H.M. Stationary Office, London, 1939, pp. 81, 144-148. 20 U.N., T.C., United Nations Bulletin, Vol. 6, February 15, 1949, p. 147. 21 U.N., T.C., Extracts from Memorandum Dated 25 September 1958 of Elected Representatives of the Northern Cameroons in the Nigerian Ligislatures, T/1426, Annex IV, January 20, 1959, p. 5. 22 British Report for the Year 1930, p. 97. 23 U.N., T.C., T/1426, Annex IV, January 20, 1959, p. 5. 24 British Report for the Year 1930, p. 97; U.N., T.C., United Nations Review, Vol. 4, April, 1958, pp. 33-41. 25 U.N., T.C., T/1426, Annex IV, January 20, 1959, p. 5. 2 6 B r i t i s h Report for the Year 1938, p. 109. 27 British Report for the Year 1930, p. 105. 28 U.N., T.C., T/1426, Annex IV, January 20, 1959, p. 4. 29 Gardinier in Gifford and Louis, eds., op. c i t . , p. 551. 30 U.N., T.C., T/1426, Annex IV, January 20, 1959, pp. 3-4. 31 U.N., T.C., Extracts from Memorandum Dated 5 November 1958 from the United Middle Belt Congress/Action Group Alliance (UMBC/AG), T/1426, Annex IV, January 20, 1959, pp. 8-10. 32 Edwin Ardener, "The P o l i t i c a l History of Cameroons," The World Today, Vol. 18, Oxford University Press, 1962, pp. 343-344. 33 U.N., T.C., Report of the United Nations Commissioner for the Super-vision of the Plebiscites in the Southern and Northern Parts of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration, T/1556, April 3, 1961, p. 176. 34 An analysis of many of these p o l i t i c a l entities deserves an independent study by i t s e l f . The scope of such a study f a l l s beyond the bounds of this study. Consequently, the interested reader is directed to some of the 31 studies o f the subject which already e x i s t . Elizabeth M. C h i l v e r on the B a l i (Nyonga) i n Prosser G i f f o r d and Win. R. Louis, eds., B r i t a i n and Germany i n A f r i c a : Imperial R i v a l r y and C o l o n i a l R u l e , New Haven and London, 1967, pp. 479-511. P.M. Kaberry on the Nsaw (Nso) i n A f r i c a , V o l . 29, No. 4, October, 1959, pp. 366-383. P.M. Kaberry, Women of the G r a s s f i e l d s , London, passim. M. McCulloch, M. Littlewood, I. Dugast, Peoples of the Central Cameroons, Ethnographic Survey of A f r i c a , West A f r i c a , Part IX, Vols. 9-11, London, 1954, pp. 11-172. E. Ardener, Coastal Bantu of the Cameroons, Ethnographic Survey of A f r i c a , West A f r i c a , Part XI, Vols. 9-11, 1956, pp. 9-108. Paul M. Kale, P o l i t i c a l Evolution i n the Cameroons, Government P r i n t e r , Buea, August, 1967. 35 Eliza b e t h M. Ch i l v e r , "Paramountcy and Protection i n the Cameroons: the B a l i and the Germans, 1889-1913," P. G i f f o r d and W.R. Louis, eds., B r i t a i n and Germany i n A f r i c a : Imperial R i v a l r y and C o l o n i a l Rule, New Haven and London, 1967, pp. 483-486. 36 E.M. C h i l v e r and P.M. Kaberry, "The Kingdom of Kom i n West Cameroon," D a r y l l Forde and P.M. Kaberry, eds., West A f r i c a n Kingdoms i n the Nine- teenth Century, Oxford University Press, 1967, pp. 127-128. 37 Ibi d . , p. 133. 38 U.N., T.C., United Nations V i s i t i n g Mission to Trust T e r r i t o r i e s i n West A f r i c a , 1958, Report on the Trust T e r r i t o r y of the Cameroons under B r i t i s h Administration, T/1426, January 20, 1959, pp. 54-55. 39 Rudin, op. c i t . , pp. 183-187. 40 Paul M. Kale, P o l i t i c a l Evolution i n the Cameroons, Government P r i n t e r , Buea, August, 1967, p. 7. 41 B r i t i s h Report for 1923, p. 36. 42 Ardener i n The World Today, V o l . 18, Oxford University Press, 1962, pp. 343-344; Gardinier i n G i f f o r d and Louis, eds., op. c i t . , p. 521. 43 Gardinier i n G i f f o r d and Louis, op. c i t . , p. 521. 44 Rudin, op. c i t . , pp. 222-296 and passim. 45 Ibid ., p. 277. 46 B r i t i s h Report for 1938, p. 108. 47 U.N., T.C., United Nations B u l l e t i n , Vol. 8, March 1, 1950, pp. 208-209. 48 U.N., T.C., United Nations B u l l e t i n , Vol. 8, A p r i l 1, 1950, pp. 322-323. 49 Gardinier i n G i f f o r d and Louis, eds., op. c i t . , p. 549. 32 50 Ibid ., p. 550. 51 U.N., T.C., United Nations B u l l e t i n , V o l . 8, March 1, 1950, pp. 209-211. 52 C.D.C., Annual Report[s] of the Cameroons Development Corporation for the Year[s]: 1955, p. 25; 1957, p. 27; 1958, p. 25; 1959, p. 23, Bota, V i c t o r i a . 53 Gardinier i n G i f f o r d and Louis, eds., op. c i t . , p. 551. 54 U.N., T.C., P e t i t i o n from the A l l - N i g e r i a n Union Concerning the Cameroons under B r i t i s h Administration, V i c t o r i a , 21 September, 1959, T/PET 4/L 42, September 30, 1959, pp. 1-2. 55 B r i t i s h Report for the Year 1938, p. 115. ^^Kale, op. c i t . , p. 52. 57 Edwin Ardener, " S o c i a l and Demographic Problems of the Southern Cameroons Plantation Area," Aiden Southall, ed., S o c i a l Change i n Modern A f r i c a , Oxford University Press, London, 1961, pp. 90-91. 58 B r i t i s h Report for the Year 1925, pp. 63-74. 59 B r i t i s h Report for the Year 1930, pp. 80-89. 60 B r i t i s h Report for the Year 19 38, pp. 81, 144-148. 61 B r i t i s h Report for the Year 1925, p. 76. 33 CHAPTER TWO THE RISE AND EVOLUTION OF NATIONALISM IN SOUTHERN KAMERUN 1939-1953 I t i s very d i f f i c u l t to be so precise as to suggest that such an i l l u s i v e phenomenon as nationalism rose on a d e f i n i t e date. I t i s not even easy to trace the development and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h i s phenomenon very accurately. The d i f f i c u l t y becomes even greater when a reaction or reactions against s p e c i f i c grievances transform, i n time,into nationalism as we know i t . However, the d i f f i c u l t y must not be allowed to stand i n the way of attempts to suggest roughly when t h i s phenomenon began i n a p a r t i c u l a r region, how i t developed, and what i t s main features were. The a v a i l a b l e sources suggest that the- f i r s t reactions to B r i t i s h p o l i c i e s i n Southern Kamerun occurred i n 1939, and a few years l a t e r , the reactions became transformed i n t o Southern Kamerun nationalism. These sources and evidence also suggest that the reactions were a challenge to the B r i t i s h p o l i t i c a l reorganization of that region, to the r e s t of B r i t i s h p o l i c i e s therein,and to the r e s u l t s of those p o l i c i e s . The re-actions, the r i s e and development of nationalism were p a c i f i c and c o n s t i -t u t i o n a l a l l through. In the middle o f 1939, G.J. Mbene, a schoolmaster i n V i c t o r i a , formed a Bakweri c u l t u r a l organization c a l l e d the Cameroon Welfare Union (CWU). I n i t i a l l y , i t s membership included only the Western-educated Bakweri. But, when i t s branches were soon established i n the main towns of Southern Kamerun, i t s membership was extended to include many of the non-Bakweri Western-educated Southern Kamerunians. Through an appeal from Mbene, 34 Paul* M. Kale, a Bakweri who l e f t Southern Kamerun for further studies at S i e r r a Leone but who soon found himself teaching at Lagos, founded a branch of the CWU i n that Nigerian C i t y . t The formation of the Lagos Branch, the establishment of i t s branches i n the main towns of Southern Kamerun, and the extension of i t s membership to include the non-Bakweri, soon a l t e r e d the character of the CWU. From a c u l t u r a l organization i t 1 became a pressure group. However, i t was a branch outside Southern Kamerun, the Lagos Branch, which set t h i s pressure group i n t o action. This branch prompted the mother branch i n V i c t o r i a to write a p e t i t i o n to the B r i t i s h requesting representation for Southern Kamerun i n the Nigerian c e n t r a l l e g i s l a t u r e 2 located at Lagos. This request was a dxrect reaction and challenge to the B r i t i s h p o l i t i c a l reorganization of Southern Kamerun. Ni g e r i a had been carved out into three p o l i t i c a l u n i t s , namely, the Western, Eastern, and Northern Regions. Only these three p o l i t i c a l units could be represented at Lagos i n t h e i r own r i g h t . Southern Kamerun was a part of Eastern Nigeria and could not, therefore, be represented at Lagos i n i t s own r i g h t . I t was r u l e d from Enugu, the headquarters of Eastern Nigeria, where i t d i d not have separate representation. The Southern Kamerun request for *Le Vine, The Cameroon Federal Republic, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 1971, p. 22, has i n c o r r e c t l y substituted Peter f o r Paul. t N e v i l l e Rubin, p. 83 and W i l l a r d Johnson p. 117 have confused t h i s Lagos Branch with the Cameroons Youth League, to be seen presently, founded at Lagos i n 1940 by the members of that Lagos CWU branch. The confusion i s probably due to the f a c t that the CYL soon superseded the CWU. 35 representation at Lagos was, therefore, fundamentally a request for the constitution of Southern Kamerun as a p o l i t i c a l unit equal in a l l respects to the other p o l i t i c a l units of Nigeria. In essence, i t was an attempt to assert the identity and unity of Southern Kamerun within the frame-work of Nigeria. Such an assertion struck at the very heart of the British p o l i t i c a l reorganization of the region. British reaction to the request could be expected. "In this the Administering Authority and the Union were 3 at daggers drawn." British reaction to the request did not, however, discourage the Union. Indeed, the Union was soon to carry the assertion one step forward. On June 20, 1940, the representatives of a l l the branches held a meeting at Victoria. There they decided on three names from which the British could choose at least one to represent the region at Lagos. These names included P.M. Kale—a schoolmaster at Lagos, Charlie Ndobide—a businessman in Kumba, and Dr. Barber—a native of Fernando Po.* The British instead argued that "because the Cameroons did not enjoy the franchise," the matter of Southern Kamerun representation at Lagos was a privilege and not a right. It is not readily known what the British did with the three names thereafter, but they were never used. So discouraged was the Union that i t began to 4 dwindle into oblivion. In spite of this discouragement and disappearance of the CWU, i t registered two important points. By demanding the representation of Southern Kamerun at Lagos, i t challenged the way the British had reorganized Southern Kamurun. By selecting names to give to the British, i t served *Fernando Po was a Spanish colony. 36 notice to the B r i t i s h that Southern Kamerunians existed and that they had spokesmen who could make decisions f o r them. A l l i n a l l , the CWU asserted a d i s t i n c t i v e i d e n t i t y f o r Southern Kamerun and i t s inhabitants. This was too important f o r the Union to be forgotten. Furthermore, the i n t e r -action between the Union and the B r i t i s h set the tune f o r the r e s t of the period. The Southern Kamerun p o l i t i c a l leaders for the most part, despite disagreement among themselves, would continue to assert t h i s i d e n t i t y . The B r i t i s h seldom responded sympathetically, and even then belatedly. But, the i n t e r a c t i o n would, f o r the most part, be p a c i f i c and c o n s t i t u t i o n a l . The CWU was dying out j u s t when another n a t i o n a l i s t organization was emerging. This was the Cameroons Youth League (CYL), a possible trans-formation of the CWU Lagos Branch, founded at Lagos on March 27, 1940. It s members included the Southern Kamerun students and workers i n the v i c i n i t y of Lagos. I t s motto was "Unity and Co-operation." I t had several aims. I t was out to develop Southern Kamerun i n a l l respects, to work towards the in t e g r a t i o n of a l l the Southern Kamerun Fondoms i n order to create a Southern Kamerun nation, to preserve a l l the Southern Kamerun cultures and t r a d i t i o n s , to f a c i l i t a t e female education, and to act as a l i a i s o n between the Southern Kamerunians and the B r i t i s h , making the .. l a t t e r aware of the desires of the former. 5 The main p o l i t i c a l objective of the CYL was thus the creation of a Southern Kamerun state. Here was the beginning of nationalism. This objective was, perhaps, the greatest early challenge to the B r i t i s h p o l i t i c a l reorganization of the region. The CWU had asserted the i d e n t i t y of Southern Kamerun and i t s inhabitants, i n i t s e l f not a mean feat. But, t h i s i d e n t i t y was to be within the framework of Nigeria. The 37 desire of the CYL to have a nation for Southern Kamerun went beyond that. To be sure, a Southern Kamerum nation could s t i l l remain within the frame-work of Nigeria in form of either a federation or of a confederation. But i t could also exist completely outside the framework of Nigeria. British policy did not intend to administer Western Kamerun as a separate p o l i t i c a l entity from Nigeria. Yet, the CYL decided to work in co-opera-tion with rather than in opposition to the British. This approach was faulty. The British were under no illusions as to the ultimate objective of the CYL. "The case for separate or autonomous legislature for the Cameroons was i n i t i a l l y championed by the Cameroons Youth League."6 To have championed such an objective when the British f e l t that the region was best administered as an integral part of Eastern Nigeria, and to have expected the British to co-operate with i t , was for the CYL to take delight in self-delusion. The British could concede some-thing, but not that which could stand i n the way of the effective admin-istration of the region. Indeed, the British did concede something in 1942. In this year, the British selected Fon Jesco Manga-Williams, one of the Western-educated a-Fon of Bakweri land whose traditional role had 7 been undermined, to 'represent' Southern Kamerun at lagos. Some authors, Neville Rubin for instance, have made too much of this Manga-Williams' seat at Lagos. Rubin suggested that the seat gave Southern 8 Kamerun representation at Lagos. But, the British intention was to have Manga-Williams at Lagos as a delegate from the Eastern Region of Nigeria and not to represent a particular p o l i t i c a l unit. Whatever the case, i t is important to note, f i r s t , that Manga-Williams was not among those the CWU recommended to the British in 1940 and, second, that only the already 38 constituted p o l i t i c a l units of Nigeria could be represented at Lagos in their own right, and Southern Kamerun was not yet such a unit. Nevertheless, two years after .the nomination of Manga-Williams to the legislature at Lagos, the CYL which raised the f i r s t nationalist voice channelled i t s efforts in another direction. In 1944, the E l l i o t Commission, which established the University of Ibadan and several Colleges of Arts, Science and Technology some years after in Nigeria, visited Southern Kamerun. There, Dr. E.M.L. Endeley, Leader of the CYL, presented i t with a comprehensive memorandum on education and the conse-quences of the educational situation on the employment of Southern Kame-runians. The message was simple: Southern Kamerunians had been neglected educationally; this neglect had made i t impossible for them to gain admission into the Nigerian C i v i l Service; and, the remedy lay in the establishment of post-primary institutions of learning in Southern Kamerun and in the 9 award of scholarships to Southern Kamerunians to these institutions. What this memorandum seems to suggest i s that the CYL sought education in the name of employment, an indication, f i r s t , that the Western-educated el i t e were not happy with British employment policy, and, second, that they saw education as the best means of correcting the situation. In essence/ i t was a request for Jobocracy—the idea that jobs in Southern Kamerun should be in the hands of Southern Kamerunians. The demand for food had been added to the demand for identity and the demand for a separate or autonomous status for the region. The demand for a nation, although already in a programme, had not yet been raised. But this would not be long in coming. Nevertheless, for the moment, efforts were concentrated elsewhere. 39 In 1944, some members of the CYL, Kale and Endeley for example, participated in the formation of Dr. Nnamndi Azikiwe's p o l i t i c a l party for Nigeria, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC). This p o l i t i c a l party i n i t i a l l y was made up mainly of Southern Nigerians —Yoruba, Ibo, and Southern Kamerunians. But the NCNC was not formed without an impetus. Basically, i t was a response to the Richards Consti-tution* and i t s four "obnoxious b i l l s . " The idea was to have organized agitation against the Constitution. During this agitation the Southern Kamerun members of the NCNC are said to have played a leading part but concentrating on the interests of Southern Kamerun. Endeley pointed out the "special features of the b i l l s which affected the Cameroons." For his own part, Kale went to London as a member of the'.NCNC "to seek revision of the constitution and repeal of the legislation in an interview with the Colonial Secretary, Arthur Creech Jones. " x^ The important part the Southern Kamerun members of the NCNC played in the agitation was justifiable. ".The constitution abolished Manga-Williams' seat at Lagos. On the other hand, i t provided for thirteen elected members of the Eastern Regional House and for the representation of the Region at the central legislative council at Lagos. Two of these thirteen elected members were Southern Kamerunians.xx The number of Southern Kamerunians who could now s i t in the Nigerian legislatures had been increased from one to two, a number which seemed to recognize the role of the Southern Kamerunians in the agitation. Furthermore, there *Sir Arthur Richards was Governor of Nigeria, 1943-1947, and the Constitution introduced during his Governorship was named after him. 40 was a net gain for Southern Kamerun. The elective principle which also applied to the selection of the Southern Kamerunians for the Regional House was very significant: i t involved an acknowledgement that from then, Southern Kamerunians would have to s i t in the Eastern Regional House, i f other things remained equal; and, i t also gave the Southern Kamerunians the opportunity to choose their own 'representatives.' Although the Southern Kamerunians did not mak.e.'.full use of.the elective principle in selecting their two representatives,* the Richards Constitution which came into force in 1946 and lasted un t i l .1951, was the f i r s t time the British ever came close to enfranchising, in principle, Southern Kamerun. This was the significance of the Richards Constitution to Southern Kamerun. In 1946, when the Richards Constitution came into force, Endeley and his groups founded a p o l i t i c a l discussion group called the Cameroons Federal Union (CFU). The relationship between the formation of the CFU and the coming into force of the Richards Constitution is not readily known. But the objective of the CFU was clear. It was out to acquire "a separate regional status" for Southern Kamerun; Endeley and his group saw a regional status as the surest way to reduce Ibo influence in Southern 12 Kamerun. A "separate regional status" for Southern Kamerun, of course, carried with i t the implication of a Southern Kamerun identity. As a discussion group, however, the CFU did not have the impact comparable to that of the CWU and the CYL. However, while i t kept alive the objective, *There were no elections in Southern Kamerun before 1949. What probably happened is that the Native Authorities in the forest zone chose one 'representative' and those of the grasslands chose another. 41 f i r s t suggested by the CYL, a separate regional status, in the minds of i t s members, i t prepared the groundwork for i t s successor, the Cameroons National Federation (CNF). The CNF was a p o l i t i c a l organization founded by Endeley in 1949. The impetus behind i t s formation was the impending f i r s t v i s i t of the United Nations Mission to Kamerun on October 31, 1949. The Federation consisted mainly of the various Improvement Unions and/or Associations 13 of nearly a l l the Fondoms or ethnic groups. These Unions and Associa-tions were based mainly in the Urban areas. The Unions were of two kinds: the majority of them corresponded exactly with the jurisdiction of the Fondom whose name they bore, for instance, Nso Improvement Union would be limited to the Nso—these were the smaller Unions; others embraced several Fondoms and ethnic groups in the same vi c i n i t y , for example, Bamenda Improvement Union—these were the larger ones. In either case, the membership of the Unions consisted mainly of the Western-educated e l i t e and a few businessmen—literate or i l l i t e r a t e ; the i l l i t e r a t e businessmen were wooed into the Unions by the e l i t e in an effort to make use of the former's wealth for the improvement of the areas under the jurisdiction of the individual Unions. The Unions were located either at the capital of the Fondom or at the agreed capital of the area: Nso Improvement Union was located in Kimbo (Kumbo) while Bamenda Improvement Union was located in Mankon Town. The attention of the Improvement Unions was almost always invariably directed at the education of those under their jurisdiction and the building of roads to f a c i l i t a t e communication. The Associations differed from the Unions in many respects. They were composed, in the main, by the labour force, literate and i l l i t e r a t e . 42 Their main functions were social: helping members in times of d i f f i c u l t i e s , setting squabbles among their members, meeting once every week or every other week or monthly to drink and exchange ideas, acting as credit societies, disciplining and advising members believed to be acting contrary to tradition or exposing themselves unnecessarily to certain dangers. As organizations of the workers, they were based in the main centres of economic activity such as c i t i e s , towns, and the plantations. The CNF was thus composed of groups whose purposes were originally non-p o l i t i c a l . But Endeley did not mean the amalgamated group or i t s parent branches to remain that way. From now on, many of the branches as well as the CNF would be p o l i t i c a l . The CNF in particular, although numerically tiny, embraced representatives from nearly a l l the Fondoms and surely a l l the ethnic groups in Southern Kamerun: i t thus had a national character. Furthermore, i t was manufactured in readiness for the United Nations Mission to Kamerun, the f i r s t time Southern Kamerunians would meet with the organiza-tion that was said to rule them. More significant, however, was the ambitious objectives of the CNF. The CNF had three main p o l i t i c a l objectives, two of which were very am-bitious. The f i r s t was to assert the identity of Western, not merely Southern, Kamerun. The second was to bring about the unification* of Northern and Southern Kamerun into a single p o l i t i c a l entity. Finally, the CNF stood for the reunification* of Western and Eastern Kamerun, and this *The words 'unification' and 'reunification' have confused many authors on Kamerun. I n i t i a l l y , Southern Kamerun leaders used the former in relation to Northern and Southern Kamerun and the latter in relation to Western (or Southern) Kamerun with Eastern Kamerun. But later on, they began to use both at different times for either of the relations. They were thus respon-sible for the confusion of scholars. 43 "during the years when the Southern Cameroons was less easily d i s t i n -14 guishable . . . from Eastern Nigeria." A l l the elements of Southern Kamerun nationalism were evident. The CWU agitated for separate identity. The CYL agitated for food, but p o l i t i -cally demanded AUTONOMY, NATIONHOOD or INDEPENDENCE. The CFU advocated the overthrow of Ibo influences and possibly discussed unification and reunification. But, i t was the CNF which expli c i t l y made UNIFICATION and REUNIFICATION national issues. In a sense, therefore, i t was the f i r s t contact of the Southern Kamerun nationalist leaders with the United Nations which indicated the mix bag of the Southern Kamerun nationalist programme. The rest of the period would be dominated by agreement and disagreement over which of these elements should be stressed and at which time. This disagreement and agreement would not be long in coming; the leader and founder of the CNF did not himself believe in reunification. Endeley advocated reunification mainly as a means of developing Southern Kamerun. If he could develop Southern Kamerun without the instrumentality of reunification, he would have nothing to do with reunification. As he himself explained in 1959, the issue of reunification "had originally been raised in 1949" by the CNF, "of which he had been the f i r s t President." The motive behind i t "had been that the Cameroons under British adminis-tration was lagging behind both Nigeria and the Cameroons under French administration." It was believed that reunification would make Kamerun "an economic unit with better prospects of standing on i t s own feet." But subsequent events had shown the f u t i l i t y of that hope and made re-unification a "barren p o l i t i c a l instrument in the hands of irresponsible and ambitious people." 1 5 This explanation suggests very strongly, f i r s t , 44 that as far as Endeley was concerned, reunification was a means to an end, not an end in i t s e l f , and secondly, that reunification was indigenous to Southern Kamerun. Le Vine's assertions that nationalism and reunification were imported into Southern Kamerun from Eastern Kamerun do not seem to stand too well in light of what has been said so far and in light of Endeley's explanation of reunification. In either event, the CNF made several demands and statements to the Mission when both groups met in 1949. The system of administering Western Kamerun as an "appendage to Nigeria" was not "in the best interest of the people." Instead of receiving the attention which " i t s special status i s said to require," the territory had been "grossly neglected" because i t was being administered as a part of Nigeria. It was necessary to reunite a l l of Kamerun as i t was before 1914. Northern and Southern Kamerun should be united to form a distinct Region of Nigeria under the High Commissioner who should be directly responsible to the Governor at Lagos. Western Kamerun should either be ruled directly by the United Nations or be given independence. Everywhere, the "Mission encountered the cry for more and better education, for compulsory primary education, for secondary schools and for the expansion for vocational and trade training."'*"6 Southern Kamerun nationalism was now off the ground. But the Southern Kamerunians appeared confused in their f i r s t encounter with the United Nations. On the one hand, they advocated autonomy within Nigeria. On the other, they asked for the reunification of Kamerun which implied severance from Nigeria. Yet on the other, they demanded either direct administration by the United Nations or independence. The Mission's recommendation possibly reflected this confusion. The Mission 45 emphasized "the need for a careful examination of the desirability and practicability of some administrative, legislative, and budgetary autonomy 17 being established for the Trust Territory." But, i t was in the Trusteeship Council that the British reorganization of Western Kamerun as a whole was cr i t i c i z e d . A member of the Trusteeship Council, after studying the British report to the United Nations on the administration of Western Kamerun for that period, c r i t i c i z e d what he described as British "continued segmentation and scrambling" of Western Kamerun. This policy, he went on, impeded "progress towards unity and self-government" for the territory. He was not very certain how the British could "give an assurance that the integrity of the Trust Territory would, in fact and not on paper, be preserved." Brigardier Gibbons, British special representative to the Trusteeship Council replied that, "In actual fact, whether or not unification was possible must depend entirely upon the wishes 18 of the people." This was the f i r s t hint that some form of consultation might be employed to find out what the Western Kamerunians really wanted. Meanwhile, other events to which the nationalists of Southern Kamerun could not be indifferent were taking place in Nigeria. Sir John MacPherson, who replaced Richards as the Governor of Nigeria, was reviewing the Richards Constitution and introducing local reforms as early as 1948. These reforms increased p o l i t i c a l activity in Nigeria including Southern Kamerun. Desirous of avoiding the mistake which Richards made by producing a constitution without any consultation with the Nigerian leaders, MacPherson sought recommendations from the various Regional Houses of Nigeria. The Enugu House met in 1949 to draw up these recommendations. During the discussions, the Southern Kamerunians demanded a separate region 46 for Southern Kamerun. But -the Nigerians argued that such a region would be p o l i t i c a l l y and economically unviable. Being in the majority, they subsequently decided that the demands of the Southern Kamerunians "might satisfactorily be met by representation of the Trust Territory in both the regional House of Assembly and Executive Council and in the new central executive and legislature." The Southern Kamerunians later described the decision as an "imposition" adding that, due to "their minority position . . . they could not press effectively for a separate 19 regional organization for the Trust Territory." This decision was accepted in January, 1950, by both the all-Nigeria Conference at Ibadan and by MacPherson. The next thing was to show how many Southern Kamerunians would be 'representing' Southern Kamerun in the Nigerian legislatures. The MacPherson Constitution, named after the Governor,provided the Eastern Region with "a single legislative chamber, which comprised eighty elected members, together with six o f f i c i a l s and three who were nominated." Thirteen of the 80 elected members were to be 20 Southern Kamerunians. The MacPherson Constitution was of no p o l i t i c a l significance to Southern Kamerun. Its identity had not yet been recognized ex p l i c i t l y . It was s t i l l only recognized as part of a p o l i t i c a l unit of Nigeria. The fact that six of i t s thirteen elected members would s i t in the House of Representatives at Lagos, and one would be in the Eastern Regional 21 Executive Council made l i t t l e difference. The best that can be said for the MacPherson Constitution i s that i t increased the number of Southern Kamerunians in the Nigerian legislatures. However, since the MacPherson Constitution was to come into force in 47 1951, Southern Kamerun had to take steps in 1950 to select i t s members of the legislatures. The selection of these persons would demonstrate the different directions in which the forest zone and the grasslands were moving. Some elections did take place in the forest zone where tradition had been undermined. But even here, the turn-out was disappointing. Only 25 to 30% cast their votes and the figures were sometimes as low as 10%. In Mamfe Division, for example, out of f i f t y primary units, only nine were contested and in Kumba Division the number was as low as two and in Victoria three.^ 2 In the grassland, however, the 'representatives' were merely selected by the Native Authorities. In both areas of the region, therefore, the elective principle was not adequately exploited.* Nevertheless, the selection had been done and the thirteen persons had become the acknow-ledged p o l i t i c a l leaders of the region under the leadership of Endeley. A l l of them were members of the CNF. But the CNF i t s e l f included strange bed-fellows in i t s membership. The confused demands i t made to the United Nations Mission in November 1949 reflected the elements of i t s programme which i t s members,'individually or in groups, stressed. Some of i t s members stressed autonomy for Southern Kamerun, in a Region equal in status to the other Nigerian Regions, within the Nigerian framework. These were the autonomists and, later, inte-grationists and associationists. Others stressed the creation of a Southern or Western Kamerun state (Smaller Kamerun). These were the separatists or secessionists. A third group stressed the reunification of *It is not readily known why there was such a low election turnout. However, i t could be due to the fact that the nationalist movement was s t i l l confined to the Western-educated e l i t e . 48 Kamerun (Greater Kamerun). These were the r e u n i f i c a t i o n i s t s and, l a t e r , a n t i - i m p e r i a l i s t s . Some of them were simply opportunists. Such an amalgam of p o l i t i c i a n s required an astute p o l i t i c i a n or a 'supreme e q u i l i b r i s t ' at i t s helm to keep i t together. Unfortunately for the unity of the CNF, Endeley was neither a c a l c u l a t i n g p o l i t i c i a n nor a 'supreme e q u i l i b r i s t . ' Too soon he l e t h i s a n t i - r e u n i f i c a t i o n i s t sentiment show. He d i d not even give h i s r e u n i f i c a t i o n i s t c r i t i c s an opportunity to have doubts about h i s sentiments. For example, during the preparations for the 1950 e l e c t i o n s , he was opposed to the enfranchisement of Eastern Kamerunians resident i n Southern Kamerun. The sentimentally pro-reunif--c a t i o n i s t of the time, R. Jabea K. Dibonge f o r instance, could not f a i l to see the i n t e r n a l c o ntradiction between accepting r e u n i f i c a t i o n and opposing the enfranchisement of the Eastern Kamerunians l i v i n g i n Southern Kamerun. Furthermore, Endeley became involved i n personal feuds with some of the important leaders of the CNF. For example, he quarrelled with Nerius 23 Namaso Mbile the Secretary of the CNF. By not being able to c a l c u l a t e p o l i t i c a l circumstances, and to balance the apparently unnatural union of p o l i t i c i a n s and p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n s , Endeley was also playing into the hands of p o l i t i c i a n s who had those q u a l i t i e s , John Ngu Foncha for instance. Endeley's behaviour at t h i s time and the composition of the CNF were a possible source for disagreement. Indeed, a s p l i t within the CNF occurred i n 1951. The clash was e s s e n t i a l l y between Endeley and the p r o - r e u n i f i -c a t i o n i s t s . Supported by Mbile, and under some pressure from the members of the French Cameroons Welfare Union (FCWU), l a t e r Eastern Kamerun Welfare Union (EKWU), and smugglers who traded i n goods smuggled across the Inter-Kamerunian boundary, Dibonge founded another p o l i t i c a l organization, the 49 Kamerun United National Congress (KUNC). Its objective was "to consider 24 the question of reunification." After a short period of calculation, Foncha broke away from the CNF and joined the KUNC. Including in i t s membership Dibonge from Eastern Kamerun, Mbile from Kumba Division, and Foncha from Bamenda Division, and with smugglers supporting i t , * i t was obvious that KUNC would soon have more backing than the CNF. The KUNC's programme revolved around independence and reunification. Its motto was "Towards self-government or independence for a United Kamerun." It was determined to create a "cohesive Kamerun nation" to tackle the " p o l i t i c a l , social, economic, educational and any other problems which may confront the indigenous inhabitants of the Kamerun." Once Greater Kamerun had been established, i t s inhabitants would have the "status of citizenship of the Kamerun." A l l this would be achieved peace-fu l l y and constitutionally: "the Congress shall engage in a sustained fight in a constitutional manner" to achieve these goals. With these lofty objectives, the KUNC l e f t the CNF with almost no clearly definable objectives and claimed for i t s e l f the greater support of those involved in 25 the nationalist movement. The year 1951 was, therefore, a turning point in the nationalist movement. From that year, more splits and reunions could be expected in time. But not u n t i l the reunificationists had had an opportunity to test their programme. The opportunity for such a test came in 1952. In June, 1952, the *Kale, p. 57, reported that the KUNC "attracted a large following of petty traders who were many [sic] in the British section and who traded heavily in almost 75% of smuggled goods from the French Cameroons." 50 British made an attempt to bring Southern and Northern Kamerun together in a conference at Buea, the headquarters of Southern Kamerun. The purposes of the conference, which the British described as a "striking" event, were twofold: to see how best to expend the profits made available from the CDC for the development of Southern and Northern Kamerun; and, to find out whether the two regions desired unification. Discussions at the conference were amicable and f r u i t f u l . Delegates from both regions agreed that unification was something to be effected. The representative of New Zealand praised the attempt and the Trusteeship Council urged the British to arrange many more such conferences. The British promised the Council that the next one would be held as soon as the profits from the 26 CDC for the year 1950 came up for consideration. But, as i t turned out, the 1952 conference was the f i r s t and the last. Later on in 1952, the Southern Kamerunians came in contact for the second time with the United Nations via the Visiting Mission. The difference between the p o l i t i c a l objectives of the CNF and the KUNC came out very clearly in their individual demands from the Mission. The KUNC demanded everything to be found in i t s programme concentrating on immediate reunifi-cation. On the other hand, the CNF was pleased at the "greater p o l i t i c a l representation" gained in the MacPherson Constitution, but wondered whether this gain "would lead to the realization of the Trust Territory as a p o l i t i c a l entity." It f e l t that "a separate region" should be established 27 "for the whole of Cameroons," that i s Western Kamerun. Autonomy within Nigeria for Western Kamerun in a Region separate from Eastern Nigeria was thus the goal of the CNF and i t s members; these were now the autonomists. The establishment of Greater Kamerun was the goal of the KUNC and i t s 51 members; these were now the reunificationists. The question then was which of these goals had greater support. If the two p o l i t i c a l organizations had wished to know which of the two opposing objectives commanded greater support among the p o l i t i c a l l y active Southern Kamerunians in 1952, they had ample opportunity. The Victoria Federated Council—a union of a l l the Native Authorities in Victoria Division (Bakweri land) including the Bakweri Native Authority and the Bakweri Land Committee, the Mamfe Divisional Memorandum Committee, the Mamfe Improvement Union, and the Bali Improvement Union were autono-' mists. They demanded (from the Mission) " t e r r i t o r i a l autonomy for the Trust Territory." They also f e l t that the rights of the Commissioner for the Cameroons should be extended to include those of the Lieutenant-Governor. They saw a "separate regional status" for Southern Kamerun "as a step towards the achievement of self-government." The Bamenda Branch . of the CYL was silent over the two issues. (By this time, Southern Kamerun had been divided into two administrative units, the forest zone and the grasslands. The forest zone, Mamfe, Kumba, and Victoria Divisions, assumed the name Cameroons Province, a name previously given to a l l of Southern Kamerun as a Province of Eastern Nigeria. The grasslands, Bamenda, Wum, and Nkambe Divisions, went by the name Bamenda Province.) On this occasion, the Bamenda CYL demanded that the two Provinces be administratively reunited and given i t s former name, Cameroons Province, in order "to restore the conception of a Cameroons entity." Surprisingly enough, surprising because Endeley and some members of the CNF were included, when acting as a group, a l l the thirteen 'elected' leaders demanded reunification albeit none of 28 them had any concrete proposals for bringing i t about. 52 I t i s now possible to suggest which of the two ideas, autonomism or reun i f i c a t i o n i s m , enjoyed greater support among the p o l i t i c a l l y active Southern Kamerunians. Had the majority of the Southern Kamerunians joined the n a t i o n a l i s t movement, one could suggest that, because a l l the 'elected' leaders supported r e u n i f i c a t i o n as a group, r e u n i f i c a t i o n enjoyed greater support. But, even here one has to be c a r e f u l ; i t i s not r e a d i l y known how the 'elected':i.members of the CNF would have behaved when acting e i t h e r i n d i v i d u a l l y or as a CNF group. Nor i s i t r e a d i l y known how the oppor-t u n i s t s and/or astute p o l i t i c i a n s , members of e i t h e r the CNF or KUNC, would have behaved. The preceding paragraph suggests very strongly that autono-mism was more popular i n 1952 or thereabout. I t seems, therefore, that the popularity which Kale, who was himself very active at the time, awarded to the KUNC was due to the idea of independence, not r e u n i f i c a t i o n . The B r i t i s h , the French, and the Mission i n 1952 also concluded that r e u n i f i c a t i o n had l i m i t e d appeal. According to the Mission, the idea of r e u n i f i c a t i o n "was c l o s e l y l i n k e d i n the minds of the [thirteen] represen-t a t i v e s with concern over t h e i r minority p o s i t i o n i n the Nigerian l e g i s l a t i v e organs and r e f l e c t e d the apprehensions that the in t e r e s t s of the Trust T e r r i t o r y might be subordinated to those of Nigeria." The French and the B r i t i s h a u t h o r i t i e s i n Kamerun came to the conclusion that only a few Kamerunians r e a l l y wanted r e u n i f i c a t i o n . The Mission's conclusion over the issue was that r e u n i f i c a t i o n was l i m i t e d to ce r t a i n areas of the region and 29 was not even popular i n those l o c a l i t i e s . Whatever the case, r e u n i f i c a t i o n would prove to be the most d i v i s i v e element of a l l the elements of Southern Kamerun nationalism. But not u n t i l the 1953 events i n Nig e r i a and t h e i r subsequent r e s u l t s had given i t the opportunity to play i t s r o l e . 53 In 1953, there was a p o l i t i c a l c r i s i s within the leadership of the NCNC. E s s e n t i a l l y , the clash involved a c o n f l i c t over NCNC p o l i c y and a challenge to Azikiwe's authority over the issue. Members of the NCNC i n the Eastern Regional House were s p l i t i n t h e i r support. Some supported the leader of the NCNC i n Eastern N i g e r i a . Others supported Azikiwe, the national leader of the NCNC. On the other hand, the t h i r t e e n Southern Kamerunians decided to form a neutral bloc. But Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo—leader of the Action Group (AG), a Western Nigeria-based p o l i t i c a l party, thought they saw an opportunity to secure the allegiance of the Southern Kamerun bloc i n t h e i r own r i v a l r y i n the a l l - N i g e r i a p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n . The contest f o r the allegiance of Southern Kamerun had begun i n earnest. I t was Azikiwe who i n i t i a t e d t h i s contest on A p r i l 14, 1953. In a p o l i c y statement issued from Lagos, Azikiwe declared: The NCNC recognizes the p e c u l i a r p o s i t i o n of the Cameroons as A Trust T e r r i t o r y and supports the Cameroons peoples' demand for separate Regional status i n c l u d i n g a separate l e g i s l a t i v e assembly f or the Cameroons with f u l l budgetary autonomy. The National Council also recognizes and supports the desires and ~ aspir a t i o n s of the people of the Cameroons for u n i f i c a t i o n of the two sections of the t e r r i t o r y under the B r i t i s h and the French, i n t o a single p o l i t i c a l e n t i t y as existed before 1914. 3 0 Two weeks l a t e r , A p r i l 25, 1953, Awolowo joined i n the contest and declared i n a speech from Ibadan: I t i s the p o l i c y of the Action Group to be independent i n a l l things but not to be neutral i n anything a f f e c t i n g the destiny of any part of A f r i c a . We are not i n d i f f e r e n t to the a s p i r a - ° tions of the people of the Cameroon. The Action Group supports the demand of Cameroons people f o r a separate Legislature and a r i g h t to self-determination to remain i n or outside N i g e r i a . I t i s an i n s u l t for a country l i k e the Cameroons to remain perpetually, against i t s w i l l , a Trust T e r r i t o r y . 3 1 These two speeches were s i g n i f i c a n t i n many respects. The national 54 NCNC and the AG aimed at breaking the Southern Kamerun n e u t r a l i t y i n each other's favour: Azikiwe, i n order to have more support i n the Eastern Regional Parliament; Azikiwe and Awolowo, i n order to boost t h e i r strength at the national l e v e l . In these attempts, Azikiwe and Awolowo overdid themselves. They offered Southern Kamerun much more than they had of f e r e d i t i n 1949 at the Enugu and Ibadan conferences. The speeches f i r s t had t h e i r impact on the Southern Kamerun bloc and n e u t r a l i t y . Before the c r i s i s , two members of the bloc, both from the CNF, held responsible p o s i t i o n s i n the Nigerian l e g i s l a t u r e s . Endeley was Minis t e r without P o r t f o l i o i n the Central Executive at Lagos. Solomon Tandeng Muna was Minister of Works i n the Eastern Regional Executive. Endeley's p o s i t i o n was not a f f e c t e d by the c r i s i s because i t was i n the c e n t r a l l e g i s l a t u r e whereas the c r i s i s involved mainly the Eastern Regional l e g i s l a t u r e . But, p o s s i b l y because of h i s n e u t r a l i t y , Azikiwe's r i v a l i n the Eastern Regional House dismissed Muna from h i s ministry. A f t e r these speeches, four of the t h i r t e e n Southern Kamerunians—Mbile, Charlie , S.C. Ndi, P.N. Motomby-Woleta, (the Four h e r e a f t e r ) , broke the b l o c and 32 t h e i r own n e u t r a l i t y by supporting the l o c a l NCNC leader against Azikiwe. Neither Azikiwe nor Awolowo had set out to break the bloc, j u s t the n e u t r a l i t y i n each other's favour. But i t w a s the bloc which broke f i r s t and i n favour of the l o c a l NCNC leader who had something concrete, a ministry at l e a s t , to o f f e r . Whoever would have the r e s t of the bloc (the Nine hereafter) would depend on the turn of events. When i t looked l i k e the Parliament would once more function normally, the Nine refused to break t h e i r n e u t r a l i t y . Instead, they demanded that Muna be r e i n s t a t e d i n h i s ministry. On May 5, 1953, the demand was rejected 55 by a vote of 45 to 32. During the vote, the Four joined with the members of the NCNC who supported the l o c a l leader and voted against the demand. On the other hand, the Nine combined forces with those who supported Azikiwe and voted for i t . The break between the Four and the Nine was now d e f i n i t e l y confirmed. On May 6, 1953, the Four took t h e i r usual seats i n the Parliament. On the other hand, the Nine abandoned t h e i r seats and sat on the p u b l i c g a l l e r y . I t i s not r e a d i l y known what e f f e c t the action of the Nine had on the Parliament. But, that same day, May 6, 1953, the Parliament came to a s t a n d s t i l l and, when i t moved, chairs flew across the f l o o r . The lieutenant-Governor of Eastern Nigeria had no choice but to 33 dissolve the Parliament by proclamation on May 6, 1953. The Nine then set about seeking support i n Southern Kamerun. In a message dated May 6, 1953, but published i n the Outlook, a Nigerian d a i l y , on May 7, 1953, they reported Muna's dismissal and the r e f u s a l to r e i n s t a t e 34 him, and the d i s s o l u t i o n of the Parliament. A f t e r t h i s i n i t i a l reporting the Nine suggested what ought to be done-and, i n the course of t h i s sug-gestion, they set about inflaming p u b l i c sentiment. The r e f u s a l to r e i n -state Muna, they said, was "a deliberate disregard for the wishes and a s p i r a t i o n s of the people of the Cameroons." They had broken t h e i r connection with Eastern Nigeria because, "as a minority;' group," they could not "make the wishes of Cameroons people respected" i n that l e g i s l a t u r e . Southern kamerun must press immediately " f o r a separate Region." A l l Southern Kamerunians should be "prepared to make s a c r i f i c e s . " Future e l e c t i o n s to the Eastern Regional House would have to be boycotted u n t i l Southern Kamerun received "a Cameroons House of Assembly." Every Southern Kamerunian must be fiEm and l o y a l to the cause of h i s "dear country." Every Southern 56 Kamerunian should "have f a i t h i n the future of the Cameroons." Every Southern Kamerunian who could make i t was i n v i t e d to a conference at 35 Mamfe between May 22 and May 24, 1953, to discuss the issues. A f t e r i n v i t i n g the t r a d i t i o n a l r u l e r s and t h e i r subjects on May 6, 1953, to j o i n the n a t i o n a l i s t movement,* the Nine l e f t for home to i n t e r -pret the message. In t h e i r Land Rover, on t h e i r way home, an incident occurred i n Ibo land, an incident which d i d much to help them and to heighten a-Fon-Ibo.tensions;t No wonder then that the response to t h e i r message was massive and spontaneous as they toured Southern Kamerun l e c t u r i n g , meeting with the a-Fon, and explaining what ought to be done. (The opportunity to chase away the Ibo had been given to the a-Fon and t h e i r subjects.) The Mamfe Conference was held on the scheduled dates and the decision was unanimous: a p e t i t i o n should be addressed to the Sec-retary o f State for the Colonies "demanding the creation of a separate and autonomous Legislature f or the Trust T e r r i t o r y . " On May 28, 1953, Endeley, *Eyongetah and Brain, Op. c i t . , p. 134, have t h i s to say about the i n v i t a t i o n . " A l l native a u t h o r i t i e s , t r i b a l organizations, chiefs [the a-Fon] and the people of every v i l l a g e and town were asked to send two representatives each to a conference to be held i n May, 1953." tAs they drove through Ibo land, the Ibo, who had probably read the message i n the Outlook or who knew what was happening and were probably i n f u r i a t e d at the decision of the Nine, stoned t h e i r Land Rover i n some towns. Once they reported these incidents i n t h e i r p u b l i c l e c t u r e s , the Southern Kamerun latent, anti-Ibo sentiment was turned i n t o Ibophobia. Later on, the r e u n i f i c a t i o n i s t s and s e c e s s i o n i s t s would c i t e t h i s i n c i d e n t to run down the i n t e g r a t i o n i s t s . The l a t e n t anti-Ibo sentiments i n Southern Kamerun was perceived d i f f e r e n t l y by the various sections of society: to the Western-educated, i t was Ibo domination of white-collar jobs; to the p l a n t a t i o n workers, i t was against Ibo domination of higher grade o f f i c e s ; to the traders, i t was against Ibo domination of commercial a c t i v i t i e s and t h e i r r i v a l r y with the Ibo on t h i s aspect; and to the a-Fon, i t was against the lack of respect f o r Southern Kamerun t r a d i t i o n s by the Ibo. 57 the acknowledged leader, l e f t Lagos for London where he submitted the 36 P e t i t i o n to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The Secretary set about studying the P e t i t i o n . One of the issues discussed at Mamfe was the amalgamation of the CNF and the KUNC. The Conference c a l l e d upon the two organizations to merge 37 i n t o one. When Endeley returned from London, steps were taken i n that d i r e c t i o n . In June, 1953, the Four were r e l e i v e d of t h e i r membership i n e i t h e r the CNF or the KUNC. Mbile was thus r e l i e v e d of h i s secretaryship of the KUNC. Having purged the already known opportunists from these organizations, t h e i r leaders proceeded to e f f e c t a merger. The product was the f i r s t p o l i t i c a l party i n Southern Kamerun, the Kamerun National 38 Congress (KNC). Endeley was at i t s head. Like ,fehe CNF, the KNC included strange bed-follows i n i t s membership. To be sure, the opportunists had been purged, but, opportunism was not the only problem of the unity of the n a t i o n a l i s t movement. Indeed, i t was the l e a s t of the problems. The bone of contention was the objectives of that movement and leadership was the r e a l problem. As an amalgam of the CNF and the KUNC, the opposing objectives of the two organizations were to be found i n the KNC programme. Except for the already known opportunists, the KNC included leaders who stressed d i f f e r e n t aspects of i t s programme. Worse s t i l l , Endeley was at the head of the KNC. The s i t u a t i o n of thfe CNF had been l a r g e l y r e p l i c a t e d . Another s p l i t could be expected whenever Endeley would act as he did e a r l i e r . He was soon to do so but not u n t i l the opportunists had found a home: for themselves and other events had occurred to give him some j u s t i f i a b l e confidence. As soon.as the KNC was formed, Kale, an admirer of the parliamentary 58 system and of the democratic p r i n c i p l e , saw the existence of only one p o l i t i c a l party i n the region as incompatible to what he admired. This i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y l e d him to form another p o l i t i c a l party, the Kamerun People's Party (KPP) i n June, 1953. He wished to s e t the KPP against the KNC " i n order to make parliamentary democracy a r e a l i t y i n the 39 Southern Cameroons." Standing poorly dressed and with nowhere e l s e to go, the Four were the f i r s t to j o i n the KPP. Indeed, Mbile became i t s f i r s t secretary. But, because Kale came from the same constituency as Endeley and could hardly be elected over Endeley, Mbile was the spokesman for the KPP i n the Parliament* while Kale represented the party outside Parliament. The objectives of the KPP were i n t e r e s t i n g . "The primary objective of the KPP was regional autonomy f o r the Trust T e r r i t o r y and secession from Nigeria when the l a t t e r became an independent country." But to achieve t h i s objective, the KPP would work " i n partnership as f a r as possible with Nigeria and other A f r i c a n n a t i o n a l i s t p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s . " I t would also f i g h t to preserve "Cameroons i d e n t i t y within the United States of West *Rubin, p. 86, l o s t s i g h t of t h i s f a c t and i n c o r r e c t l y stated that the KPP was formed by the f i v e Southern Kamerunians, inc l u d i n g Mbile, who broke t h e i r n e u t r a l i t y and voted against Muna's reinstatement. F i r s t of a l l , there were four of these Southern Kamerunians, not f i v e . Secondly, the founder of the party, Kale, was not one of the t h i r t e e n Southern Kamerun 'representatives'; Kale was a supervising schoolmaster at Eket, Calabar, Nig e r i a , and received a l e t t e r from Foncha written on May 6, 1953, describing the events connected with the n e u t r a l i t y of the bloc and the d i s s o l u t i o n of the Parliament. See Kale, pp. 35-40. The questions which should be asked i s : was Kale as d i s i n t e r e s t e d as he claims i n forming the KPP? The present w r i t e r i s i n c l i n e d to think that the f a c t that Kale and Endeley came from the same constituency and Kale could hardly be selected over h i s cousin, Endeley, i n the same party, might have had something to do with the formation of the KPP. 59 40 Africa, and Africa for that matter." The objectives of the KPP were, therefore, threefold and were expected to evolve in time. The immediate objective was to make Southern Kamerun an, autonomous Region within Nigeria as long as Nigeria remained a colony. When Nigeria became independent, Southern Kamerun would secede from i t and form a state of i t s own. In time, this state would be part of either the United States of West Africa or the United States of Africa whichever was possible. Reunification was no part of i t s programme. Like i t s counterpart, the KNC, the KPP included strange bedfellows in i t s membership. A l l of them were agreed that reunification was out of the question; Mbile had run away from reunification. Some of them, Mbile for example, talked secession but, like Endeley and reunification, they did not believe in - i t . On the other hand, others, Kale for instance, appeared to believe in the programme of the KPP. However, the test for the sincerity of the members of the KPP for i t s programme would come only when Nigeria was about to become independent. For the moment, the party must concentrate on i t s immediate objective and test i t s popularity against that of the KNC. The opportunity for a l l this came in 1953. By August, 1953, the British had come to a definite decision regarding the Nigerian situation in which the c r i s i s of the NCNC had caused the collapse of the MacPherson Constitution. In that month there was a consti-tutional conference in London. A l l the major Nigerian p o l i t i c a l parties including those in Southern Kamerun were represented. Endeley went as a delegate of Southern Kamerun and Mbile as that of the NCNC. Mallam Abba Habib was selected by the British authorities in Nigeria as the spokesman for Northern Kamerun. As one of those Northern Kamerun Fulani who supported 60 the B r i t i s h p o l i t i c a l reorganization of the region, Habib declared at the conference that Northern Kamerun wished to remain a permanent part of Northern Ni g e r i a . Chosen as leader by the Mamfe Conference, Endeley demanded an autonomous Region f or Southern Kamerun equal i n a l l respects to the other Regions of Nigeria but within the Nigerian framework. While t h i s demand d i d not involve Southern Kamerun separatism from Nigeria, i t d i d assert that Southern Kamerun should not be i n t e g r a l part of Eastern Nigeria. At the conference, the C o l o n i a l Secretary responded f u l l y to the Northern Kamerun request, and, i n p r i n c i p l e , p a r t i a l l y to the Southern Kamerun request. He was prepared to award.Southern Kamerun a Region, on condition, but not a f u l l one. As he put i t , i f the KNC won the e l e c t i o n s to be conducted following the collapse of the MacPherson Con s t i t u t i o n , "the issue of a Southern Cameroons Legislature would be a foregone conclusion." The e l e c t i o n s were held soon a f t e r i n the same year and the KNC won a l l the seats i n Southern Kamerun except one i n Mamfe Overside* which S.E. Ncha 41 gained f o r the KPP. 1953 proved to be a turning point i n the h i s t o r y of Southern Kamerun i n many respects. For the f i r s t time the B r i t i s h recognized e x p l i c i t l y a separate i d e n t i t y f o r Southern Kamerun a l b e i t on a condition. The condition was f u l f i l l e d . There could be no going back. More would have to be gained not l o s t . The a-Fon had been brought i n t o the n a t i o n a l i s t movement e f f e c t -*Mamfe Overside l i e s on the Western side of the River Mfum which acts at some points as the Nigeria-Kamerun boundary. This area of Kamerun i s separated from the mainland by t h i s r i v e r . From time immemorial the i n -habitants of t h i s area i n t e r a c t e d more with Eastern Nigeria than with the r e s t of Kamerun. Their nearest Nigerian neighbours are part of t h e i r ethnic group. These factors might help to explain the way they voted. 61 i v e l y . At Mamfe, the decision to form a p o l i t i c a l party was made i n the presence of the a-Fon who, from then, would give that party t h e i r support. This important support was responsible for the overwhelming v i c t o r y of the KNC over the KPP i n the 1953 e l e c t i o n s . From now on, no astute ; p o l i t i c a l leader would act without h i s eyes looking over h i s shoulder at the a-Fon. In other words, the a-Fon as t r a d i t i o n a l leaders who had the l o y a l t y of the majority of t h e i r subjects, l i t e r a t e or i l l i t e r a t e , would be a powerful force to reckon with i n the n a t i o n a l i s t movement. These t r a d i t i o n a l leaders i n t h e i r turn would never abandon any p o l i t i c a l leader u n t i l he had f i r s t abandoned them. They had already ind i c a t e d t h i s i n 1953 (and 1954).* By declaring that i t would work i n partnership with Nigeria and a c t u a l l y forming an a l l i a n c e with the NCNC, the KPP abondoned the a-Fon who had seen the opportunity to rescues t h e i r t r a d i t i o n s by chasing away the Ibo. When the e l e c t i o n s came, the a-Fon abandoned i t . Perhaps, the s i t u a t i o n was best described by Kale who was active at the time and whose p o l i t i c a l party, the KPP, opposed the KNC which the a-Fon supported. The KNC was at t h i s time a very popular p o l i t i c a l party which from every i n d i c a t i o n enjoyed the confidence of a cross-section of the population, i n c l u d i n g the various 'Native A u t h o r i t i e s ' and n a t u r a l r u l e r s , [the a-Fon].*. I t s counterpart, the KPP, no l e s s a m i l i t a n t and dynamic p o l i t i c a l party for the cause of freedom for the Cameroons, embraced the cream of the society, that i s , the majority of the educated elements i n the T e r r i t o r y , but i t suffered tremendous setbacks. I t was badly misplaced and misinterpreted as being i n favour of the Cameroons perpetuating i t s a s s o c i a t i o n with Nigeria. This was amplified by the f a c t that *As shown i n chapter one, the a-Fon were members of the Native Authorities and, indeed, where t r a d i t i o n was s t i l l very powerful, the a-Fon had the f i n a l say i n those councils, f or instance, the South-Eastern Native Authority (or Federation). 62 the KPP was an al l y of the NCNC which again did not help the situ-ation because the NCNC was labelled as an Ibo-inspired organization and at this material time the Ibos were not popular with Cameroonians. So popular had the KNC become that when in 1954 elections to the House of Representatives were held the party won a l l the eight seats.^ Later on in the book, Kale re-emphasized this point. The language of the KPP "did not create a ferment in the minds and hearts of the massesr>t who controlled the votes," particularly as the KPP was branded an Ibo-dominated 43 party. Even the 1958 United Nations Visiting Mission to Kamerun recognized the support the a-Fon gave the KNC at this time. "In the past 44 these [a-Fon] gave their support on the whole to Dr. Endeley." Endeley would continue to enjoy this support as long as he paid attention to the wishes and desires of the a-Fon. tWhat Kale refers to here as the "masses" were the a-Fon and their i l l i t e r a t e subjects since he says in the larger quotation footnoted 42 that the KPP "embraced the cream of the society, that i s , the majority of the educated elements in the Territory..." 63 Footnotes - Chaper Two "'"Kale, op. c i t . , p. 21. This source i s a c t u a l l y a book of documents and an o u t l i n e of the chronology of events; t h i s chapter depends heavily on i t i n these respects. 2 I b i d . 3 Ibidv, pp. 21-22. 4 I b i d . 5 Ib i d . , p. 50. 6 I b i d . , p.55. 7 Ibi d . , pp. 21-22. Q N e v i l l e Rubin, Cameroun: An A f r i c a n Federation, Praeger Publishers, London, 1971, pp. 75-76. 9 Kale, op. c i t . , pp. 50-54. 1 0Rubin, op. c i t . , p. 83. x x I b i d . , p. 76. 1 2 I b i d . , p. 84. 13 U.N., T.C., T/1426, January 20, 1959, p. 42. 1 4 I b i d . , pp. 42-43. x5U.N., G.A., Hearings from Cameroons P e t i t i o n e r s , A/C.4/SR.846, May, 1959, pp. 554-556. 16 U.N., T.C., United Nations B u l l e t i n , V o l . 8, March 1, 1950, pp. 204-211. 1 7 I b i d . 18 U.N., T.C., United Nations B u l l e t i n , V o l . 8, A p r i l 1, 1950, pp. 324-325. 19 Tambi Eyongetah and Robert Brain, A History of the Cameroons, Longman, London, 1974, pp. 129-130. 20 Rubin, op. c i t . , pp. 84-86. 21 Ibi d . , p. 76. 22 Eyongetah and Brain, op. c i t . , pp. 131-132. 64 23 Rubin, op. c i t . , p. 85; W i l l a r d R. Johnson, The Cameroon Federation: P o l i t i c a l Integration i n a Fragmentary Society, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1970, p. 122; Claude E. Welch, J r . , Dream of Unity, C o r n e l l University Press, N.Y., 1966, p. 177. 24 Johnson, op. c i t . , pp. 122-123; Kale, op. c i t . , p. 57. 25 Kale, op. c i t . , pp. 38, 56-57. 26 U.N., T.C., United Nations B u l l e t i n , V o l . 13, September 1, 1952, pp. 269-270. 27 . . U.N., T.C., United Nations V i s i t i n g Mission to Trust T e r r i t o r i e s i n West A f r i c a , 1952, Report on the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administ-r a t i o n , T/1042, March 16, 1953, pp. 25-27. 28 Ib i d . , pp. 25-28. 29 Ibid . 30 Kale, op. c i t . , p. 39, 31 Ibi d . , pp. 38-39. 32 -Ibid., pp. 38-40. 3 3 I b i d . 3 4 I b i d . 35 Ibid . 36 Ib i d . , pp. 40-41. 37 Eyongetah and Brain, op. c i t . , p. 135. 38 Kale, op. c i t . , pp. 42, 58. 39 Ibid . 40 Ibid. , p. 58. 41 I b i d . , pp. 42-43. 42 Ibi d . , p. 43. 43 Ibi d . , p. 58. 44U.N., T.C., T/1426, January 20, 1959, p. 54. 65 CHAPTER THREE THE ROAD TO THE PLEBISCITES 1953-1959 The t r a d i t i o n a l leaders joined the n a t i o n a l i s t movement at a time when the differences i n viewpoint among the p o l i t i c a l leaders regarding the future of Western Kamerun were growing deeper. The t r a d i t i o n a l leaders, except perhaps those of Mamfe Overside, i n the case of Southern Kamerun, and some of the Fulani princes, i n the case of Northern Kamerun, were not par t i e s to these disagreements. But, coming i n contact with the p o l i t i c a l leaders, i t was obvious that, sooner or l a t e r , these a-Fon would come to take sides. Once the a-Fon d i d become involved i n the various n a t i o n a l i s t programmes, i t became d i f f i c u l t for the n a t i o n a l i s t leaders to s e t t l e t h e i r differences and agree on a p o l i t i c a l future. In a sense, therefore, i t was the a^-Fon's involvement a f t e r 1953 which opened up the road to the p l e b i s c i t e s . Nevertheless, l i k e the h i s t o r i c a l background, the road to the p l e b i s c i t e s i n Northern Kamerun d i f f e r e d from that i n Southern Kamerun. I t would appear more appropriate, therefore, to t r e a t the s i t u a t i o n i n each region quite separately although i n the same chapter. I t would also appear more appropriate to begin with Northern Kamerun where the process began e a r l i e r . The Road to the Northern Kamerun P l e b i s c i t e s 1953-1959 I t was the response to the MacPherson i n v i t a t i o n i n Northern Nigeria o which f i r s t e x p l i c i t l y showed that there was a difference of opinion about the. future of Northern Kamerun. In response to the MacPherson i n v i t a t i o n , 7 66 Northern Nigeria held a Provincial Constitutional Conference. The Emir of Dikwa and his secretary went to .the. Conference as spokesmen for •'• Northern Kamerun. At the conference, a l l the delegates from Northern Nigeria proper declared that Northern Kamerun should permanently be integrated with Northern Nigeria and that trusteeship for that region should be terminated to that effect. On the other hand, the only two delegates from Northern Kamerun, the Emir of Dikwa and his secretary, rejected the idea. Instead they called for the continuation of trustee-ship in Northern Kamerun.1 The positions taken by the delegates at the Conference were sig - . i nificant in several respects. They showed that there were people in Northern Kamerun who were opposed to integration with Nigeria. They showed that, the Northern Nigerians proper were interested in absorbing Northern Kamerun. (Le Vine's assertion that Nigerians almost came close to wishing Northern Kamerun on Cameroun would appear to make no sense in light of this.) They showed that not a l l the Northern Kamerun Fulani wished to be permanently integrated in Northern Nigeria. (Eyongetah and Brain's ex-planation that the Northern Kamerunians voted the way they did because of their cultural a f f i n i t i e s with Northern Nigeria does not appear supported). More importantly, they showed that there were people in Northern Kamerun who preferred the trusteeship status of Northern Kamerun to integration with Nigeria. Furthermore,, and this too is very important, they registered a clash of ideas between the British and Nigerians on the one hand, and the Emir of Dikwa on the other. But, the Emir of Dikwa was not alone in this respect. In June, 1952, as seen in the preceding chapter, the British brought 67 delegates from Northern Kamerun to Buea to discuss with the delegates from Southern Kamerun how to expend the profits from the CDC and whether u n i f i -cation was possible. Delegates from both regions f e l t that unification was worth pursuing. This desire by the delegates of both regions to . pursue unification conflicted with the British p o l i t i c a l reorganization of Western Kamerun. The second contact of Northern Kamerun delegates outside that region had, like the f i r s t , produced results that might not have been expected. From now on, whether fortunately or not, and whether intentionally or not, the spokesmen for that area would be those who had the same mind, those who supported the way the British had reorganized the region. This situation would give the i l l u s i o n that there was no conflict of opinion in Northern Kamerun regarding i t s future. The appearance that there was no conflict of opinion in Northern Kamerun regarding i t s disposition began to take the form of reality in late 1952. The incident was the United Nations Mission to Kamerun in that year. During that v i s i t , the Mission met several people but wrote i t s report mainly from the ideas received from the local authorities of Northern Kamerun, authorities who were in-support of the status quo for the region. The Mission had thus l e f t the area with the impression that the Northern Kamerunians were satisfied with what obtained in the region adding that i t "received no demand for unification from that part of the Trust Territory administered with Benue Province?' However, the Mission was not unaware that there was a conflict of opinion over the issue of unification since i t reported that the demand for unification was limited to certain l o c a l i t i e s and was not even popular. Yet, a communication from 2 Adamawa demanded the unification of 'French' Adamawa to Nigeria. 68 The year 1953, however, confirmed and challenged the idea that the Status quo i n Northern Kamerun was almost u n i v e r s a l l y popular. The confirmation took place i n the outside world and the challenge came from within Northern Kamerun. As seen i n the previous chapter, during the August 1953 London C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Conference, Mallam Abba Habib, the spokesman f o r Northern Kamerun declared that Northern Kamerun "would 3 prefer to remain within Northern Nigeria." But Habib was not Northern Kamerun. The Emir o f Dikwa, himself a F u l a n i , by r e j e c t i n g the recommen-dations of the P r o v i n c i a l Conference at Kaduna that Northern Kamerun be permanently integrated with Northern Nigeria and that trusteeship be terminated to that e f f e c t , became the centre of a t t r a c t i o n f o r l i k e -minded Northern Kamerunians. In 1953, some Northern Kamerunians, under the banner of an obscure organization c a l l e d the "Kamerun S o c i a l i s t Con-vention" with the Emir of Dikwa at i t s head, demonstrated against the 4 status quo and demanded the separation of Northern Kamerun from Nig e r i a . The f u l l scope and form of t h i s a g i t a t i o n i s not known. But several a-Fon as well as the Emir of Dikwa were involved.* The response to t h i s p r o t e s t by the B r i t i s h and the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s *What i s reported here and i n the next paragraph i s based p a r t l y on the report by the Association of A f r i c a n Students studying i n France at the time. These students named only the deposition of the Emir of Dikwa. But, Fon V.H. Bang who was also involved i n the a f f a i r s , reported from h i s hide-out i n Southern Kamerun, l a t e r on, how he and seventeen other Mambilla a-Fon had been harassed and then named a large number of them that had been deposed because of t h e i r p o l i t i c a l ideas; see, U.N., T.C., T/PET.4/L.15, February 20, 1959; T/PET.4/L.18, September 1, 1959. Furthermore, as w i l l be seen l a t e r i n chapter four, when the Fourth United Nations Mission to Kamerun recommended that Northern Kamerun be permanently integrated with Nigeria without any consultation because there was "no difference of opinion" i n the region regarding the issue, the Soviet representative i n the Trusteeship Council asked the Chairman of the Mission whether the l a t t e r had considered the events of 1953 before w r i t i n g h i s report; and, as f a r as the a v a i l a b l e sources i n d i c a t e , no other p o l i t i c a l disturbance occurred i n the region i n 1953. 69 was sw i f t . The B r i t i s h and the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s " s w i f t l y damped down on them," deposing many of the a-Fon and the Emir of Dikwa. New a-Fon were hand-picked and i n s t a l l e d i n the places of these deposed. These new a-Fon were e i t h e r those already known to be supporters of the status quo or those who promised to support i t . They used t h e i r powers "to menace any attempts of a r t i c u l a t i n g p o l i t i c a l opinion that [was] not i n favour of the goals of the Administering A u t h o r i t y . " 5 The demonstration and the B r i t i s h response were s i g n i f i c a n t i n many respects. The B r i t i s h and the :Northern Nigerians could no longer be under any i l l u s i o n s about the r e a l s i t u a t i o n . There were many people i n Northern Kamerun, Fulani and non-Fulami, who desired the separation of Northern Kamerun from Northern N i g e r i a . But, there were also many, mainly Fulami or at l e a s t Muslims, who preferred i n t e g r a t i o n with Northern Nigeria. The B r i t i s h response was very e f f e c t i v e i n undermining attempts to make p u b l i c statements against the p o l i t i c a l reorganization of the region. Those Northern Kamerunians who had demonstrated had not had enough of freedom of speech and action to want more. More s i g n i f i c a n t l y , however, was the damping down on a S o c i a l i s t organization, an inc i d e n t which would not be l o s t to the S o c i a l i s t countries i n the United Nations. Whatever the case, the mistake which the 1952 Mission made, was r e p l i c a t e d by the 1955 Mission. Before the Mission a r r i v e d i n Northern Kamerun, the B r i t i s h had constituted the f i r s t ' p o l i t i c a l ' body for that region c a l l e d the "Consultative Committee for the Northern Cameroons," (Consultative Committee from now on). This Committee had twelve members (at t h i s time and even four years a f t e r ) : s i x were selected by l o c a l c o u n c i l s . One was the Lamido of Adamawa, the highest l o c a l authority i n Adamawa 70 Province of Northern Nigeria. 6 Five were the Northern Kamerunians who by now were si t t i n g in Nigerian legislatures. These included Abdullahi Dan Buram, Ibrahim Demsa, and T. Idirisu a l l members of the Northern Regional House, and Mormoni Bazza and Abubadar Gurum Pawo both members of the 7 central legislature at Lagos. The 1955 Mission drew i t s conclusions mostly from the ideas expressed by the members of the group. Though the Mission encountered the cry for unification and reunification, i t reported that "this request emanated only from the Southern Cameroons, there being Q no such desire expressed in the Northern Cameroons." The 1952 mistake had thus been repeated in 1955. Nevertheless, the Haitian representative to the Council, despite the Mission's report, was skeptical. As he saw i t , the "leaders of the Northern Cameroons who desired integration with the Northern Region of Nigeria represented a traditional oligarchy which was not necessarily 9 representative of the masses." As far as the British representative to the Council was concerned, however, the report of the Mission on Northern Kamerun was accurate. As he saw i t , the Administering Authority could not assume the responsibility of pressing for . . .an a r t i f i c i a l division between the northern part of the Trust Territory and the Northern Region of Nigeria. So far there had been no manifestation on the part of the Northern Cameroons representatives of the desire for separate p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s . ^ Essentially, the British representative was supporting the position taken by the Visiting Mission. He was, however, very careful when he confined his remarks to the views expressed by the "Northern Cameroons representatives." Whatever the case, the 1955 Mission like i t s 1952 predecessor, failed 71 to pick up l o c a l d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the Nigerian connection. Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , however, the s i t u a t i o n of 1953 reproduced i t s e l f between 1957 and 1958. There was another review of the Nigerian Constitution at London i n May and June, 1957. A l l the major Nigerian p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s were once more represented. With no indigenous p o l i t i c a l party i n Northern Kamerun, the B r i t i s h once more selected Habib as the spokesman for that region. During the Conference, Habib again declared that Northern Kamerun would rather remain integrated with Northern Nigeria than separate from i t . When the Conference resumed on September 29, 1958, Habib stood firm on h i s previous p o s i t i o n . He congratulated Southern Kamerun f o r gaining a Regional status but declared that Northern Kamerun wished to remain integrated with Northern N i g e r i a . 1 1 With the 'representative' of Northern Kamerun cons i s t e n t l y taking t h i s p o s i t i o n over the future of the region, the C o l o n i a l Secretary could do no more than ' s a t i s f y ' Northern Kamerun. Northern Nigeria would become self-governing on March 15, 1959. Northern Kamerun would remain an i n t e g r a l part of t h i s self-governing region. But the Governor of Nigeria would " r e t a i n general reserve powers i n r e l a t i o n to the Northern Cameroons . . . to ensure the discharge of [Britain's] o b l i g a t i o n s under the Trusteeship 12 Agreements" for Western Kamerun. Mallam Habib had had what he wanted and the C o l o n i a l Secretary was l e f t with the impression that he had acted i n conformity with the wishes of the majority of the Northern Kamerunians. However, the events associated with the 1958 Mission to Kamerun, i n Kamerun and i n the United Nations, would soon begin to cast doubts on the p o s i t i o n so c o n s i s t e n t l y taken by Habib. The fourth and f i n a l United Nations Mission to Kamerun came i n 1958 and stayed i n Western Kamerun 72 (Northern and Southern Kamerun) for only two weeks. This Mission was l e d by Benjamin Gerig, the representative of the United States of America. This p a r t i c u l a r Mission was regarded by those involved i n the aUTfairs of Kamerun and the Kamerunians themselves as the most important Mission to the T e r r i t o r y . Before the Mission had time to meet those i n authority i n Northern Kamerun, i t f i r s t came i n contact with those who were not i n authority and whom the Mission would t r e a t as inconsequential. These were the a-Fon of Mambilla. Since they dare not express t h e i r views p u b l i c l y or even p r i v a t e l y to the Mission while i n Northern Kamerun f o r fear of deposition, these a-Fon s l i p p e d across the Northern Kamerun-Southern Kamerun border and, i n Southern Kamerun, NKambe D i v i s i o n , handed p e t i t i o n s to Gerig. They were led by Fon V.H. Bang of Bang, Mambilla. Their . message was simple: i f Northern Kamerun could not be separated from Northern Nigeria and made part of Southern Kamerun, then the Mambilla area alone should be separated from both Northern Nigeria and Northern Kamerun and made part of Southern 13 . Kamerun. Instead of preserving these p e t i t i o n s f o r h i s own report, Gerig brought them to the attention of the Anglo-Nigerian a u t h o r i t i e s i n Northern Nigeria and Northern Kamerun.* The response of the l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s to the p e t i t i o n s by now could be expected. Whether under i n s t r u c t i o n s or not, the D i s t r i c t Head of Gembu, as Fon Bang reported,* went about a r r e s t i n g a l l those i n Mambilla who were *In document U.N., G.A., A/C.4/400, February 26, 1959, pp. 1-2, the Northern Kamerun l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s stated that they came to know about the Mambilla request that the area be transfered to the Southern Kamerun administration from the Mission which received the p e t i t i o n s from two Membilla a-Fon while i n Southern Kamerun. No reason was given f o r the 73 connected with the p e t i t i o n s . Fon Bang, with one of h i s sons, Joseph Noubuin, was forced to escape to the Southern Kamerun sanctuary. Another of h i s sons, John Tonga, was arrested and imprisoned i n Gembu. Many of the Mambilla a-Fon were forced to sign a renunciation s l i p to the e f f e c t that they d i d not desire to be part of Southern Kamerun. Those of them who refused to sign t h i s s l i p were dethroned. Caught i n t h i s cleaning up operation were the a-Fon of Mbach, Tamya, Bukudeh, Capbrih, Karah, Titong, Mbamngah, Kumah, Kilayan, Ndumyaji, Tep, Warowar, and Hainan. Fon Bang himself was on the l i s t of those to be dethroned; three Fulani men were waiting at h i s home to a r r e s t him should he return from h i s 14 sanctuary i n Southern Kamerun. This cleaning up a f f a i r , however, occurred while the Mission had l e f t the region. But i t was the Mission which c a r r i e d the information (as shown i n document A/C.4/400, February 26, 1959, pp. 102) to the Northern Kamerun and Northern Nigerian a u t h o r i t i e s . One of those the Mission con- _ s u i t e d was the' Lamido of Adamawa, A l h a j i Mustafa. Mustafa f e l t that the Northern Kamerunians were p e r f e c t l y happy with the status quo because they were with " t h e i r brothers l i v i n g i n that p a r t of Adamawa which [was] non-t r u s t , " (that i s Nigeria Adamawa). His people of Northern Kamerun would never "support any proposal of separation from Nigeria," although they would welcome the idea of t h e i r "brothers i n the French Cameroons" r e u n i t i n g presentation of the p e t i t i o n s i n Southern rather than i n Northern Kamerun. Furthermore, i n these p e t i t i o n s , Fon Bang named the v i l l a g e s whose Crowned Princes had been:dethroned. Moreover, Bang followed up these p e t i -tions with another one while s t i l l i n Southern Kamerun complaining that he was s t i l l i n e x i l e and that the f i r s t Northern Kamerun p l e b i s c i t e might be conducted while he was away from home. See documents U.N., T.C., T/PET.4/L.15, February 20, 1959; T/PET,4/L.18, September 1, 1959. 74 15 with them i n N i g e r i a . The f i v e Northern Kamerun 'representatives' to the Nigerian l e g i s l a t u r e s would also say the same thing. They wished to be allowed to decide to l i v e with t h e i r brothers of Northern Nigeria "whether by referendum, p l e b i s c i t e or any other means." They were opposed to any move "to break away Northern Cameroons from Northern Region and from Adamawa Province." They wished to have nothing to do with Eastern Kamerun which was "merciless" and 16 which had "coup-ets-ats" [ s i c ] , that i s , coups d'etat,a reference to the terrorism i n Eastern Kamerun.* I t was, however, the l o c a l branch of the r u l i n g p o l i t i c a l party of Northern Nigeria, the Northern People's Congress (NPC), which pushed home the p o i n t more f o r c e f u l l y . I t was t h e i r "earnest desire, or wish or hope," and t h a t of any "responsible" people i n Northern Kamerun "to always stay with Adamawa within the Northern Region" as they were before the European occupation. I t was the Europeans who di v i d e d them. Before t h i s d i v i s i o n , they were "one and the same thing." No responsible Northern Kamerunian would "ever support a contrary idea or view i n s t i g a t e d by outside p o l i t i c a l partiest' brought i n by outsiders a t t r a c t e d by the Mubi b i g market." No doubt, there were contrary views, but these were "the views of a few d i s -gruntled people of the descendants of autocratic tyrant German-time chiefs *When the French outlawed the Union des Populations du Cameroun, a p o l i t i c a l party of Eastern Kamerun, i n 1955, as w i l l be seen l a t e r i n t h i s chapter, many of i t s leaders and supporters crossed over to. Southern Kamerun and established the party there while others went underground and became^involved i n t e r r o r i s t s a c t i v i t i e s . tThese "outside p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s " were the l o c a l branches of other Nigerian p a r t i e s such as the NCNC and the AG, which were considered outside the framework of Northern Nigeria. 75 who were stopped from unjust and cruel treatment of the people of this area, 17 and never of the views of the Trust Territory people." This statement suggests one of the sources of the Northern Kamerun Fulani opposition to the British policy. Those of them the British found firmly entrenched in power under the Germans did not like their subordination to the Nigerian Fulani such as the Lamido of Adamawa. Nevertheless, i t was precisely again one of these Northern Nigerian Fulani, the highest authority, other than the British, in Northern Nigeria, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, to whom the Mission went to hear about opinion in Northern Kamerun. Ahmadu Bello saw i t quite moderately but the idea and the inclination were substantially the same. . . . i t i s d i f f i c u l t for anyone who knows the Territory to con-ceive of any p o l i t i c a l future—taking into account the factors of history, geography and economics—which could bring greater benefits to i t s inhabitants than that they should throw in their lot with an independent Nigeria and within the Northern Region. However, that i s for them—and for them alone—freely to decide for themselves.-1-9 The Premier of Northern Nigeria could not, therefore, conceive of any bene-f i c i a l future for Northern Kamerun other than within Northern Nigeria. However, since he f e l t that the Northern Kamerunians should make the choice themselves, he proceeded to suggest how they could make that choice. It was advisable to have a plebiscite in Northern Kamerun. But -.the questions of the plebiscite should be as simple as possible because the Northern Kamerunians were "simple minded farmers, often liv i n g in the remote h i l l s and not closely in touch with affairs." The question should be: "Do you want union with the Northern Region of an independent Nigeria?" In the event of a negative answer, trusteeship should be continued and "alternative choices" such as unification and/or reunification would "be the subject of a second 76 plebiscite." However, these choices should not yet be sought "until the 19 • • people have expressed their views on the f i r s t question." The alter-natives for the second plebiscite which Ahmadu Bello suggested are indicative of the confidence the Northern Nigerians had in the popularity of the status quo in Northern Kamerun. Despite this apparently popular view about the future of Northern Kamerun, there were groups, other than the Mambilla ethnic group, which saw things quite differently. These were the local branches* of the AG and the United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC)— a Nigerian p o l i t i c a l party based in the Munchi area, an area of Northern Nigeria typically inhabited by the non-Fulani. As these two parties saw i t , Northern Kamerun had become a colony of Northern Nigeria. A l l the rulers in the region were either Northern Nigerians or Northern Kamerunians who, traditionally, had no right to rule. Their traditional ruling institutions had been reduced into a "nonentity," and although these institutions could s t i l l be traced, they no longer stood any chance of "ruling their own subjects," [sic]. A l l the influential administrative posts in the region were monopolized by Northern Nigerians. The Northern Kamerunians had no opportunity for training in order that they could "man their own affairs by themselves." It was time for Northern Kamerun to be separated from Nigeria and Northern Nigeria and the Nigerian usurpers forced to abandon their colonization of the region. In this way, Northern Kamerunians would be able to handle their own affairs *Unlike in Southern Kamerun where there were no local branches of the p o l i t i c a l parties of Nigeria proper, there were local branches of Nigerian parties in Northern Kamerun. Indeed, i t was only in 1959 that the f i r s t indigenous p o l i t i c a l party was formed there and the second and last was formed in 1960, both for the purpose of the plebiscites. 77 20 themselves. These groups further indicated how they would like to see Northern Kamerun reorganized. But, because their own segment of the region had nothing to do with the other segments, they.limited their recommendations to their own area, Adamawa Emirate. They f e l t that the five Districts of the Emirate should be combined into a Federation under one Native Authority. The name of the Federation would be "Waila Federal Native Authority Division." The Federation would be "absolutely quite independent from Adamawa Native Authority," (that i s , quite independent of the authority of the Lamido of Adamawa). Failing this, the area should form "an independent state under the absolute control of the Federal Government of Nigeria." However, i t s a-Fon would be members of the Northern House of Chiefs under special pro-visions. In either case, the British should rule the area directly u n t i l the indigenes had been trained to run their own affairs. The self-govern-ment promised to Northern Nigeria for March 15, 1959, should have nothing to do with Northern Kamerun or at least with Waila Federation. Since there was a conflict of opinion in Northern Kamerun, a plebiscite was required to 21 determine the wishes of the people. But a free and meaningful plebiscite would have to f u l f i l certain conditions. It would have to "be administered absolutely by an independent body, that is by the United Nations personnel." A l l d i s t r i c t heads, influential and other workers of the Native Authorities would have to go home to Nigeria in order that they may not use "their influence to i n t i -midate the people." Any use of influence, bribery, and a l l other i l l e g a l means of influence must be considered "a severe offence." P o l i t i c a l parties must be guaranteed freedom of speech and of campaigning "without victimization." 78 The British must be ruling the region directly and p o l i t i c a l cases tried by magistrates courts during the plebiscite. A l l the Native Authority police must be removed during the plebiscite. Finally, there should be a 23 secret ballot. These conditions provide some interesting and important points to note. Although opposed to the British policy, these groups showed confidence in the United Nations, in the British, and in courts presided over by Bri-tishers. On the other hand, they distrusted the local authorities particu-l a r l y the Nigerians, Fulani or non-Fulani. Furthermore, there was some confusion as to what they really wanted: possibly, what they meant by a state controlled from Lagos actually meant an autonomous Region equal in a l l respects to the other regions of Nigeria and represented at Lagos in i t s own right. But one thing was very clear; they demanded separation from Northern Nigeria. Finally, with f i r s t hand knowledge of Northern Kamerun, they advised the United Nations on what had to be done to make the plebiscites meaningful. These important and interesting points notwithstanding, i t i s now possible to summarize the situation which obtained in the region when the Mission was conducting i t s investigation. There was a clear conflict of ideas over the disposition of Northern Kamerun. Some supported the status quo while others were opposed to i t . Those who supported i t belonged to two interchangeable groups: the five who sat in the Nigerian legislatures and the Lamido of Adamawa were the most important members of the Consultative Committee; the Consultative Committee and the Sardauna of Sokoto were members of the NPC; to be a member of the NPC was a prerequisite for being in autho-r i t y in Northern Kamerun. It was thus either the members of the NPC or the 79 local authorities who opted for the status quo. On the other hand, three diffetent groups—.the Mambilla, the local branches of the UMBC and the AG opposed the existing situation. Whether this important point was lost to the Mission or not, one thing is certain: the evidence i t had before i t showed that there was a clear conflict of ideas regarding the disposition of Northern Kamerun, a conflict which an impartial researcher or investi-gator could not afford to ignore. Nevertheless, the Mission presented the United Nations with a con-clusion which contradicted evidence in i t s own report. There i s certainly no evident feeling that the Northern Cameroons has a distinct identity [from that of the Northern Region of Nigeria] . . . The Mission has come to the conclusion . . . that there i s no difference of opinion on the principal question of the future of the Northern Cameroons which would require or justify the holding of a formal consultation on the subject. It believes i t to be manifestly the opinion of the northern popu-lation as a whole, as far as i t can be expressed at present and in the foreseeable future, that they should become permanently a part of the Northern Region of the Federation of Nigeria when the latter attains independence. The Mission accordingly recom-mends that i f the General Assembly accepts such a union as the basis for the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement, no further consultation need be held.23 Essentially, the Mission denied the existence of a conflict of ideas over the future of Northern Kamerun. Either the a-Fon of Mambilla and the local branches of the UMBC/AG did not exist or they did not matter. Only those in authority were forces to reckon with, that i s to say, the Missions' recommendation reflected the veiws of those in authority. As the Mission put i t , the Mission "had seen hundreds of persons, had met the most important o f f i c i a l s and had been greeted along the roads by crowds," and nearly a l l persons questioned in Northern Kamerun "considered that their future was 24 linked to that of the Northern Region of Nigeria." In paragraph 149 of the report, the Mission declared that "the views of 80 the opposition parties related to matters of internal policy and admini-strative method and . . . they did not c a l l into question the continued 25 association of the Northern Cameroons with the Northern Region of Nigeria." As seen earlier, the local branches of the UMBC/AG demanded the creation of the Waila Federal Native Authority which should be separated completely from Northern Nigeria or from the Authority of the Lamido of Adamawa. Alternatively, this Waila Federation should be constituted into a "state" controlled from Lagos, that is the Federal Government. More importantly, however, the local branches of the opposition parties did not want the self-government promised for Northern Nigeria for March 15, 1959, to have anything doing with the Waila Federation. How best could these parties show that they had rejected their association with Northern Nigeria? The Mission alone has the answer. In paragraph 178, the Mission stated that the Consultative Committee informed i t that "they would accept a plebiscite i f i t should be considered 26 necessary—but that they did not so consider i t . " A search for a written document by this Consultative Committee has not been f r u i t f u l . But, the following points should be placed basides the statement of the Mission. The Lamido of Adamawa, the most important member of this Committee was ; silent over the issue of the plebiscite. The five Northern Kamerunians who were members of the Nigerian legislatures and of the Consultative Committee, as seen earlier, demanded a referendum /plebiscite, or other means to decide to remain in Northern Nigeria and in Adamawa. The NPC which included a l l the non-British members of the Consultative Committee demanded a plebiscite, as seen earlier. A l l in a l l , although the l i s t i s by no means complete, the few examples cited here suggest that the Mission's report and recommendations 81 contradicted some of the important evidence included in the same report. It is not easy to understand why this was the case. But, the available sources show that the Mission did not consider views from those not in 27 authority important. Andrew Cohen, the British Representative at the United Nations, was quick to accept the recommendations the Mission had made. He selected precisely those parts of the report shown above to have contradicted im-portant evidence and used them to support the Mission:'s recommendations. He then praised the experience and thorough investigation of the Mission which helped i t to arrive at accurate conclusions. This representative "found the arguments presented by the Mission very convincing and endorsed i t s conclusions." The United Kingdom, although completely impartial, was "per-fectly ready to agree to a plebiscite being held on the Northern Cameroons had that been shown to.be necessary." Considering the Mission's thorough investigation, "he did not think that the Trusteeship Council would wish gratuitously to burden the people of the Northern Cameroons with the paraphernalia of a more formal consultation." It was, therefore, necessary for the Trusteeship Council to give f u l l weight to the recommendations of . . 28 the Mission. But, the representative of the Soviet Union, Lobanov, saw i t quite differently. He wondered whether the Mission had considered "the wish for separation which had been expressed by the people of the Northern Cameroons in 1953"* before stating that "nobody in the Northern Cameroons had raised *This appears to be an allusion to the 'damping down on the Kamerun Socialist Convention1 in 1953. 82 the question of separation of that region from Nigeria." The Mission had not considered i t : "The Mission had not, in the northern part of the Cameroons . . . observed any important opposition to an association with 29 the Northern Region of Nigeria." The word "important" in this citation must be recognized for i t seems, for the moment, to explain the contradic-tion between the Mission's recommendations and the evidence in the report. Except for this one relevant question, no other thing about Kamerun was discussed on this day, February 10, 1959. Cohen frustrated a l l other attempts made by Lobanov to question Gerig on the report and recommendations and the whole day was spent on arguments involving procedural issues and technical questions therein. By the time the debate had come to an end, the Trusteeship Council was clearly divided into three groups, the sup-porters of Cohen, the supporters of Lobanov, and the uncommitted, regarding the procedural questions. But, even on the major issue, whether there should be a plebiscite in Northern Kamerun or not, the Council emerged in three groups. The British, supported by the rest of the Administering Authorities in the Council, except France,* f e l t that a plebiscite was unnecessary. The Soviet Union stood almost alone in asserting that there must be a plebiscite. France was ambivalent*.but showed a strong inclination in voting with the Soviet Union. The others had not yet made up their mind by the time the 30 meeting rose. Later on, in 1961, after a l l the plebiscites had been con-31 eluded, France explained her inclination in 1959 in terms of principle. *The United Nations documents used in this study, whether issued by the Trusteeship Council or the General Assembly, and dealing specifically with the question of Kamerun Reunification, depict French attitude as follows. Between 1949 and 1958, they sympathized with the British position, namely, that Western Kamerun could not be effectively administered without reference to Nigeria, that Northern and Southern Kamerun were ethnologically and 83 After this disagreement, the Council adjourned for a week. Whatever happened during this one week interlude might, i f not w i l l , never be known. But on February 18, 1959, when the sittin g resumed, a draft resolution, manufactured during the one week interval, was introduced to the floor. This draft resolution was co-sponsored by Burma, Haiti, Italy, New Zealand, culturally distinct regions from each other, and that Northern Kamerun tended to prefer i t s integration in Northern Nigeria to separation from i t . In 1959, the French became ambivalent: sometimes, they would make statements in favour of the British position; in other cases, they would take the middle course and remain uncommitted; and yet in other instances, they would make cynical statements regarding the British position; but generally, they were gradually losing sympathy for the British position over the issue of Kamerun reunification. Between 1960 and 1961, the French spoke out in favour of Kamerun reunification; indeed, they were hostile to both the United Nations and British (while disclaiming any quarrel, with Nigeria) in 1961 during the discussions as to whether the results of the Northern Kamerun plebiscite, which they charged had many irregularities in i t s conduct should be adopted or not. See, as examples, the following documents for the following periods: 1949-1958—U.N. , T.C., T"/1042, March 16, 1953, passim; U.N., GA. A/3170 and Supplement No. 4, 1956; A/3595 and Supplement No. 4, 1957; 1959—U.N., G.A., A/4313, 4348, December, 1959; U.N., T.C., T/1426, January 1959; T/1491, Nov-ember, 1959; T/SR. 943, 953-962, April-May, 1959; A/C.4/SR. 775-776, 779-780, 792, 794, 807, 846-849, 885-892, 901-903, January-December 1959; 1960-1961— A/4726, April.1961;'A/4354 and Supplement No. 16, 1960; T/1526, May 1960; A/C.4/SR. 1148-1153, August 1961. French attitude i s understandable. Between 1949 and 1958, the Admin-istering Authorities in the Council sympathized with each other's policy against criticisms from non-Administrators therein. Moreover, during this period, as pointed out in chapter four, while the rest of the major p o l i t i c a l parties in Eastern Kamerun were indifferent to reunification, the UPC(the bogey of the day in French eyes) advocated reunification very forcefully; i t was therefore d i f f i c u l t for the French to support reunification which would bolster the prestige of the party which wanted France out of Kamerun immediately when the parties which sympathized with the French presence were indifferent to i t . But between 1959 and 1960, these other parties showed a great interest in effecting reunification. After the results of the 1961 Northern Kamerun plebiscite, the Cameroun Government was unhappy and even challenged the conduct of the plebiscite both at the United Nations and at the International Court of Justice. French attitude thus appears to have been opportunist in character which explains their h o s t i l i t y to the United Nations and Britain in 1961. 84 Paraguay, and the United States of America. E s s e n t i a l l y , the d r a f t re-s o l u t i o n recommended to the United Nations that there should be a. p l e b i s -c i t e i n Northern Kamerun to decide on the d i s p o s i t i o n of that region when trusteeship came to an end.* The a v a i l a b l e sources suggest very strongly that t h i s d ecision was a function of disagreement, and compromise among various members of the Trusteeship Council. One element of disagreement was indicated by Davin, the representative of New Zealand. As he saw i t , although "his delegation thought that the c a r e f u l findings of the V i s i t i n g Mission warranted the Council's endorsement, i t was aware that some members did not share that 32 view." Those that were p a r t i a l to the B r i t i s h p o s i t i o n , V i t e l l i , the representative of I t a l y for example, were led by the representative of New Zealand, Davin. These accepted every part of the Mission's report and recommendations but wanted to use a p l e b i s c i t e i n Northern Kamerun as a means of i n f l u e n c i n g opinion i n Southern Kamerun i n favour of i n t e g r a t i o n with Nigeria. As Davin saw i t , i n "view of the v i r t u a l unanimity of opinion i n the North the only r e s u l t of a consultation of the T e r r i t o r y as a whole would be to strengthen the proportion of those throughout the T e r r i t o r y who 33 wished to accede to Nigeria." The other element i n the disagreement was stressed by Lobanov, the Soviet representative, who was firm i n h i s opposition to the idea that there need not be any p l e b i s c i t e i n Northern Kamerun. He abstained form voting on the d r a f t r e s o l u t i o n because i t . di d not r e f l e c t the conclusions of the V i s i t i n g Mission or deal with the substance of the question. Had i t done so, he would *The r e s o l u t i o n w i l l be seen presently at a more appropriate place. 85 have been obliged to vote against i t , in view of the fact that his delegation did not agree either with the approach of the Council to the question of the future of the Cameroons as a whole or with the Mission's conclusion. 3 4 The Council members seeking a compromise were led by the representative of Burma, U. Thant. These accepted the draft resolution, as U Thant saw i t , because i t was "the most r e a l i s t i c step that the Council could take in 35 the circumstances." Even before the British attempts in the Trusteeship Council to pre-vent the holding of a plebiscite in Northern Kamerun had failed, the British had arranged, during the one week interval, to send a Northern Kamerunian who supported the status quo to the General Assembly to argue the case. On February 16, 1959, Cohen informed the Trusteeship Council that The Minister for Northern Cameroons Affairs in the Northern Regional Government of Nigeria, who was coming to the United Nations, would no doubt make a statement to the Fourth Committee* on the question and would inform the General Assembly of the extent to which the objectives of the Trusteeship System would be achieved by the Northern Cameroons by i t s obtaining independence as part of the Northern Region of the Federation of Nigeria.36 Unfortunately, the Minister, Mallam Abdullahi Dant Buram Jada arrived at the United Nations to find himself facing a plebiscite the British had wished away. Although he himself—as one of the five 'representatives' in the Nigerian legislatures—had asked for a plebiscite, referendum or any other means of consultation, Dan Buram Jada opted out of i t before the Fourth *The Fourth Committee was a sub-committee of the General Assembly in charge of a l l affairs connected with Trust Territories and Non-Self-Governing Territories. Its decisions, except for the formality of another vote by the General Assembly, were decisions of the General Assembly. t'Dan' is the equivalent of Mac or Mc; Dan Buram Jada = Son of Buram Jada. Jada is a name of a place. 86 Committee. He stated that the Government of Northern Nigeria and the Consultative Committee were "most gratified" to see that, after ascertaining the views of " a l l the elements of the population, including the views of the opposition parties,"* the Visiting Mission recommended that "there was no need for further consultation on the question of the integration of the Northern Cameroons with the Northern Region of Nigeria when Nigeria became independent on 1 October, 1960." It was, therefore, commensurate for the 37 United Nations to approve the recommendations of the Mission. Dan Buram next turned his attention to reunification. To be sure, the "short-lived" German Kamerun Empire had existed. But there was "no geographical, economical or racial unityV within the Empire. The talk of unification and reunification, therefore, had no foundations. The previous Nigeria-Kamerun boundary "divided into two parts the old Adamawa Emirate" which included a large part of what was now Eastern Kamerun. "It was accordingly a matter of v i t a l importance to the people of the Northern Cameroons that they should remain with the Northern Region of Nigeria." While the Northern Kamerunians had always had everything in common with Northern Nigeria, they had nothing in common with either Southern Kamerun or Eastern Kamerun. To separate the Northern Kamerunians from Northern Nigeria "would be a direct negation of a l l the principles for which the 38 United Nations stood." When members of the Fourth Committee asked Dan Buram questions, Cohen answered them for Dan Buram,t and the latter brought back the answers two *The Mission heard the views of the opposition but did not make any use of them. tThe language, the style, the approach, and the passages selected from the 87 days later. The representative of Iraq asked how Northern Kamerun could have everything in common with Northern Nigeria and some Northern Kamerun-ians would address petitions to the United Nations requesting that the region be separated from Northern Nigeria and made part of Southern Kamerun. Dan Buram f e l t that these were a few Fondoms on the Southern Kamerun-Northern Kamerun border, but before the arrival of the Visiting Mission in the Northern part of the Trust Territory, the Regional Government knew very l i t t l e about this matter since we have never received any communication thereon from the Southern Cameroons; nor have any persons from our side of the border expressed to us a wish to transfer to that area. The two communications were made to the Mission when i t was in the Southern Cameroons.3^ The question and the answer are significant in several respects. Some of the members, i f not a l l , of the Fourth Committee were aware of the Mambilla petitions. This awareness might have been behind the reasons why the Fourth Committee upheld the recommendations of the Trusteeship Council. Finally, i t was clearly the Mission which informed the authorities about the petitions and then failed to make use of them. Like the Mission, Dan Buram did not even consider the petitions important. As he saw i t , the "communication from Mambilla was from three village Heads li v i n g close to the Southern Cameroons' border" and they could 40 not "be held to speak for the Mambilla people as a whole." It might be true that only three a-Fon did the writing, but in his petition complaining about the attempt on his l i f e and the deposition of the numerous Mambilla Gerig Report to answer the questions in written form, were so identical to Cohen's statements on February 16, 1959, T/SR. 959, May 1959 and other previous statements as to leave no doubt about the author of the answers. 88 a-Fon, as seen earlier, Fon V.H. Bang indicated that seventeen other Mam-b i l l a a-Fon supported and encouraged him to carry on the fight. The number of the a-Fon alleged dethroned also raises doubts about Dan Buram1s assertion that only three a-Fon were really involved in the request. The representative of the United Arab Republic tried to find out whether Northern Kamerun "possessed i t s own representative institutions" and what measures the British had taken towards "the development of p o l i t i c a l institutions" in that region. As Dan Buram saw i t , the region was administered as an integral part of Northern Nigeria, the only practical way of administering i t . * Ten Northern Kamerunians sat in the Nigerian legislatures. He was a Minister and one of them. He was assisted by the Consultative Committee which acted as a.liaison body between the Government and the region. This Consultative Committee was consittuted in 1957 "a formal committee of the Executive Council of the Northern Region" of Nigeria. It consisted of twenty-three members: sixteen were the elected members to the Nigerian legislatures; there were two a-Fon; and, "five 41 special members drawn from the remoter areas of the Trust Territory." Essentially, Dan Buram's answer was that Northern Kamerun had no representa-tive institutions and that the British were doing nothing to provide the region with i t s own p o l i t i c a l institutions. The representative of Indonesia did not leave the question of u n i f i -cation to pass unnoticed. He wondered whether Northern Kamerun would like to unite with Southern Kamerun under trusteeship provided that Southern *A11 the United Nations documents dealing with this issue show that more often than not the British defended their p o l i t i c a l reorganization of Western Kamerun in terms of the practicality of the effective administration of the Trust Territory. 89 Kamerun remained part of an independent Federation of Nigeria. Dan Buram thought the suggestion ano impossibility. For the reasons given in my statements to this Committee on Monday, the people of the Northern Cameroons would not be willing to unite with the South, whether i t remained inside or outside the Federation, since for very weighty reasons of history and geography, and of close ethnic and cultural ties with the people of the Northern Region of Nigeria, they feel that their true destiny l i e s in joining this region when the Federation becomes independent.4 Unification was, therefore, out of the question under any circumstances. The question of the plebiscite, the main reason for Dan Duram's journey to the United Nations, was pursued by the Indonesian representative. This representative wished to know whether the Consultative Committee would accept a plebiscite i f the United Nations decided in favour of one. Considering the author of these answers, the reply could be expected. [The] Visiting Mission has recorded in paragraph 178 of i t s report that i t was informed by the Consultative Committee for the Northern Cameroons that they would accept a plebiscite i f :'. i t should be considered necessary—but that they did not so consider i t . This was before the Mission made i t s recommendation to the effect that no plebiscite was in fact necessary, for reasons which the Regional Government finds entirely convincing. 4 3 In this way, Dan Buram quoted from a huge document which he probably had not ready* or read only partially, to deny that the Consultative Committee in 1958 demanded a referendum, plebiscite, or any other means to confirm that the Northern Kamerunians wished to remain Northern Nigerians. Dan Buram's efforts, however, could not be expected to be f r u i t f u l . *Either Gerig began writing the report on January 20, 1959, or he finished i t on that day. Whatever the case, Gerig introduced i t on February 10, 1959 By February 16, Dan Buram had not arrived at New York. He probably came between February 20 and 22 when the Southern Kamerunians came, made his statements on February 23 and answered these questions on February 25, 1959. 90 The source of the decision to have a. plebiscite was too powerful for the United Nations to act otherwise simply because a Dan Buram, Minister for Northern Cameroons Affairs in the Government of the Northern Region of Nigeria, wished i t that way. On March 13, 1959, the General Assembly went ahead and endorsed the Trusteeship Council Resolution 1926 (XXIII) adopted on February 18, 1959. It then became General Assembly Resolution 1350 (XIII). This resolution asked the British "to organize, under the supervision of the United Nations, separate plebiscites in the Northern and Southern parts of the Cameroons," in order "to ascertain the wishes of the inhabitants of the Territory concerning their future." The Northern Kamerun plebiscite: should take place in the middle of November 1959. The questions to be put at the plebiscite should be: "(a) Do you wish the Northern Cameroons to be part of the Northern Region of Nigeria when the Federation of Nigeria becomes independent? Or (b) Are you in favour of deciding the future of the Northern Cameroons at a later date?" It was permissible to use the electoral register for the Nigerian elections to the House of Representative 44 at Lagos. Northern Kamerun was thus keyed for a plebiscite in 1959 while the imbroglio in Southern Kamerun remained unresolved. The Road to the Southern Kamerun Plebiscites 1954-1959 If 1953 was a turning point, the events of 1954 gave that turn in history a distinctive stamp in two respects. The f i r s t respect involved the concrete award of an identity to Southern Kamerun. Following the results of the late 1953 elections, the London August Constitutional Conference was continued in Lagos in January, 1954. It was this conference at Lagos which 91 made Southern Kamerun a quasi-region, a region unequal i n a l l respects to the other Nigerian Regions. The i n f e r i o r i t y of t h i s quasi-region to the other Nigerian Regions was g l a r i n g l y c l e a r . While i t s Nigerian counterparts were Regions, i t was o f f i c i a l l y named 'Quasi-Region.' While i t s Nigerian counterparts had at t h e i r head 'Premiers,' Dr. Endeley, i t s leader, was o f f i c i a l l y 'Leader of Government Business.' Furthermore, i t could only r a i s e revenues from " s p e c i f i e d sources." While the other Nigerian Regions had Lieutenant-Governors, i t had the Commissioner. While these Lieutenant-Governors could approve laws passed by the Parliaments of t h e i r own Region, i t s own laws had to be approved by the Governor-General. Moreover, the other Nigerian Regions had responsible indigenous Executive members. But, i t s Assembly consisted of the Commissioner as President, three e x - o f f i c i o members—the Deputy Com-missioner, Legal Secretary, F i n a n c e — , t h i r t e e n elected members, s i x repre-sentatives of the Native A u t h o r i t i e s , and not. more than two Special Members appointed by the Governor-General to represent s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t s not otherwise 45 represented. None of the Southern Kamerunians i n the Assembly, including the Leader of Government Business, was an o f f i c i a l member of the Executive Council. Some of them, not more than f i v e were u n o f f i c i a l members of t h i s •-, 4 6 Council. The provisions and i n f e r i o r i t y of t h i s Quasi-Region to those of the other Nigerian Regions have produced two e f f e c t s . F i r s t , they have i n v i t e d a great deal of c r i t i c i s m s , not u n j u s t i f i e d , from many authors. Perhaps, the best known c r i t i c i s m was provided i n a t o p i c a l sentence before the analysis 47 by Eyongetah and Brain: "Regional status was lacking even i n nomenclature." Secondly, they have made i t d i f f i c u l t f o r some authors, Eyongetah and Brain for example, to see the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the Quasi-Region to Southern 92 Kamerun and to the nationalist movement. To be sure, the limitations demonstrated the British reluctance at making the award, but i t s sig-nificant aspects are too important to be buried under a storm of criticisms. F i r s t , this offer made a hole in the policy the British had clung to for 35 years, the policy of administering Southern Kamerun as a part of Eastern Nigeria. Secondly, and this too is very important, the Southern Kame-runians received the identity they had sought for 15 years in concrete form. The quasi region was a landmark in the history of Southern Kamerun. From then on, Southern Kamerun became a p o l i t i c a l unit within Nigeria. The second respect in which the turn in history was manifested in 1954 involved two different elections, one to the House of Representatives at Lagos and the other to select the six representatives of the Native Authorities to the new Southern Kamerun House of Assembly. The results of the elections could be expected. The Ibo-dominated or influenced party, as the KPP was stigmatized, lost every seat i t contested. On the other hand, the KNC, the party supported by the a-Fon won a l l the eight seats to Lagos 48 and a l l the six Native Authority seats. The a-Fon had, in no uncertain terms, firmly established their influence in the nationalist movement. The KNC had become the 'people's' party, but i t had one serious defect; i t lacked an effective leader capable of retaining the support of it s membership. This was an unfortunate l i a b i l i t y for a leader who was dealing with Western-educated colleagues, some of whom had strong feelings and beliefs, and many of whom were opportunists. The break in the Southern Kamerun neutral bloc of 1953 should have warned him at least of opportunism within the ranks. Had Endeley been a calculating p o l i t i c i a n , he would have realized, following the outcry against the Ibo and the results of a l l the 93 elections since 1953, that secession from at least the Eastern Region gave the KNC i t s popularity. What would happen after secession from Nigeria, was not the problem of 1953-1954. The problem was secession. Unfortunately for the KNC, Endeley began to pay less and less atten-tion to secession following his three great victories of 1953-1954. He began to perceive Southern Kamerun developing into "a self-governing region within an independent Federation of Nigeria" and to accept the integration of Northern Kamerun with Northern Nigeria as inevitable. He began to relegate unification and reunification increasingly to the background. These tendencies 49 became stronger with txme and circumstances. Furthermore, possibly in order to counter the KPP-NCNC alliance, Endeley broke the neutrality of the 50 KNC in Nigerian p o l i t i c s and carried the KNC into an alliance with the AG. Endeley's autonomism was transforming into integrationism—the idea that Southern Kamerun should remain an integral part of Nigeria. This was a transformation which the calculating politicians, members of the KNC, except i t suited the desires of their a-Fon, could hardly tolerate. Indeed, these tendencies and transformation of Endeley were instrumental in forcing Foncha out of the KNC in 1954. Once out of the KNC, Foncha proceeded to form another p o l i t i c a l party, the Kamerun National Democratic Party (KNDP). Augustin Ngom Jua, one of the thirteen elected members of the KNC also got out of the party immediately after Foncha and joined the KNDP. Four years after, 1958, Muna also severed his links with the KNC to join the KNDP. Some scholars, Rubin for instance, have attempted to explain the emergence of the KNDP in some respects accurately and in others inaccurately. According to Rubin, Foncha's break-away from the KNC occurred ostensibly because Endeley failed to maintain an attitude 94 of 'benevolent neutrality' in Nigerian p o l i t i c s ; . . . But there is l i t t l e doubt that ethnic allegiance also played a part in the decision of Foncha, A.N. Jua and other supporters in the grass-lands to break away from the KNC and form the Kamerun National Democratic Party.^1 Rubin's only evidence i s that Foncha, Jua, and Muna were grasslanders. Rubin's explanation i s an inaccurate reading of the situation. F i r s t , while Foncha and Jua came from the same ethnic group, Tikari, and two different Fondoms that were not even close to each other socially and p o l i t i c a l l y , and even in distance, Muna came from an entirely different ethnic group. Secondly, Vincent T. Lainjo who represented the largest Fondom in Southern Kamerun, Nso, Rev. J.C. Kangsen who represented a large area of Wum Division, and J.T. Ndze who represented Nkambe Division were a l l grasslanders. A l l these stayed with the KNC, Kangsen and Ndze up t i l l their premature death, and Lainjo un t i l the dissolution of the KNC. More-over, Ndze and Lainjo were from the same ethnic group, Tikari, with Jua and Foncha. More importantly, Jua and Lainjo came from two Fondoms, Kom and Nso respectively, which considered (and s t i l l consider) each other brothers. This analysis of their ethnicity and p o l i t i c a l identifications would appear to invalidate Rubin's assertion. Southern Kamerun nationalism did not consider ethnicity u n t i l during the plebiscite period particularly in the year 1960. This was a function, as w i l l be seen later, of the United Nations decision and the activities of the p o l i t i c a l leaders in 1959. Even when this occurred, people thought more in terms of the interests of the Fondoms rather than in terms of ethnic groups. The decisions of the majority of the p o l i t i c a l leaders, as w i l l be seen later, reflected the ideas of their a-Fon. At this time, Nso, Wum and Nkambe were largely autonomists which also implied integration with Nigeria. 95 So also were the Bakweri of Victoria Division. On the other hand, Bamenda central from where Foncha came and Kom from where Jua came talked secession and reunification. The emergence of the KNDP was a function of the talk of secession and reunification in Bamenda central and Kom. That is why Muna joined the KNDP after up to four years from the time that i t was formed; Muna's area was autonomist during these four years and when i t changed i t s ideas, Muna followed i t . Foncha's two personal reasons for quitting the KNC were accurate. He l e f t the KNC because Endeley refused to be neutral in Nigerian p o l i t i c s ; involvement in Nigerian p o l i t i c s was incompatible with secession and reunification. Kale who was involved in the affairs of the time and recorded some of them adds that the founders of the KNDP "accused the leaders of the KNC of deviating from the policy 52 of Unification of a l l the sections of the Cameroons." The behaviour of the leaders of the KNDP was grounded in p o l i t i c a l calculations. Reunifi-cation, defined in their own special terms, was very popular in Bamenda and even among the autonomists at this time. The popularity of reunification too played a not insignificant part in the demands the various p o l i t i c a l parties made to the third United Nations Mission to Kamerun in 1955. The KNDP demanded unification and reunification from the Mission. So also did the KNC and KPP. The Mission, right from i t s entry into Southern Kamerun, was "confronted with the demand for . . . [re]unification both as a slogan on the banners of and in the communications addressed to i t by the three principal p o l i t i c a l parties and some other groups." But none of these parties and groups provided any sound argument in favour of reunification. Nor did they provide any concrete proposals for bringing about reunification. The only argument was that, before 1914, "the 96 two territories had been administered as one by the Germans." Nevertheless, the Mamfe Native Authority suggested that the United Nations should consult with the British and French authorities and "set up machinery for the working out of the method of [re]unification."* The KNC and KNDP f e l t that road links between Northern and Southern Kamerun would lead both to unification and to the spread of ideas from the latter to the former. The KNC even went further and demanded the immediate establishment of a joint 53 council of Northern and Southern Kamerun. The demand for reunification, however, was based on calculations which differed from group to group according to the Mission. The p o l i t i c a l leaders used the idea of reunification and unification as an instrument to obtain more constitutional advancement for Southern Kamerun. Moreover, the idea had been spread by the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), an> Eastern Kamerun p o l i t i c a l party forced into Southern Kamerun when the French outlawed i t in that region. There was a sentimental feeling of racial and linguistic identity with Eastern Kamerunians especially among "small tradesmen and exporters of controlled agricultural produce" who f e l t that "frontier regula-54 tions were too stringent." These calculations definitely played an important part in the"calculations of these groups, but the most important factor lay elsewhere. Although i t did not emphasize i t , the Mission did put i t s finger on the reason for which even the KNC and KPP demanded unification and reunification. *The popularity of reunification in Mamfe Division this time must be under-stood also within the background of i t s representative, S.A. George. George's father was a Southern Kamerunian from Mamfe. But, his mother was an Eastern Kamerunian from Douala. As w i l l be seen in later chapters, as soon as he died, Mamfe turned i t s back to reunification. 97 Put very simply, many of the a-Fon were behind the actions of these p o l i t i c a l parties. By 1955, this group was either indifferent to unification and reunification or accepted the ideas with i t s own special definition. As the Mission discovered during the investigation with regard to the questions of the complete integration of the Nothern Cameroons in the Northern Region of Nigeria, of the united administration for the North and Southern Cameroons and of the Unif-cation of the Trust Territories, [that is reunification] the . . . Mission . . . found that the mass of the people, unaware of the p o l i t i c a l implications of these questions, was somewhat indifferent to them and interpreted them merely as an attempt to draw together the members of tribes separated by incomprehensible barriers.55 Although the KNC and the KPP leaders did not believe in reunification, they could not s i t back and watch the KNDP snatch popularity away from them by advocating an idea to which the electorate was indifferent, an idea which involved secession from Nigeria. Like the KNDP which was founded on secession and. . reunification, the KNC and the KPP showed that they did not understand what the electorate meant by unification and reunification. They would know the truth in 1957. But not un t i l the events of 1956 had taken place. In 1955, while the Mission was in the region, Endeley advocated seces-sion, reunification, and immediate unification. But as soon as the Mission departed from Kamerun, Endeley, in 1956, followed i t to New York where he denounced a l l these ideas at the United Nations. There, he demanded only rapid constitutional advancements to bring Southern Kamerun to the status of a f u l l y self-governing region within the Nigerian context. Foncha was quick to counter this move. On March 1, 1956, he dissociated himself and the KNDP from Endeley's "private" and "personal" views. Foncha argued that Endeley's v i s i t was ostensibly that of a representative of Southern Kamerun but, in fact, i t was private and personal because Endeley had no mandate from the 98 "people." He had gone to the United Nations "without consulting the opinions 56 of the people through the p o l i t i c a l leaders and the Native Authorities." While later events would prove Foncha wrong—the views were not Endeley's personal and private views—he, Foncha, did indicate the basis, as early as 1956, upon which his p o l i t i c a l philosophy was grounded. He must liste n to the voices of the 'people' and be their sounding board, not the other way round. The KNDP was not the only p o l i t i c a l party committed to reunification by this time in Southern Kamerun. By 1956, the UPC was getting well- . established and well-organized as a p o l i t i c a l party to reckon with in Southern Kamerun. So also were i t s Youths' and Women's organizations. In Southern Kamerun, i t s p o l i t i c a l programme remained the same as that which was responsible for i t s dissolution by the French in Eastern Kamerun. There were three aspects to i t s programme: immediate reunification, immediate independenceand the freedom of the reunified Kamerun nation from foreign 57 influences. These three aspects were one and indivisible and there could be no distinguishing between them. Indeed, i t was the fusion of these three elements that gave reunification an.! anti-imperialist character in Southern Kamerun among those who supported the UPC and i t s later successor. With the establishment of the UPC, four p o l i t i c a l parties, with over-lapping programmes, operated in Southern Kamerun by the end of 1956. The KNC and the KPP s t i l l paid tribute to unification and reunification but i t was becoming obvious that they believed only in integration and autonomy within Nigeria. Indeed, they had transformed into integrationists although they did not like being branded that way. Secession, unification, and reunification, a l l having equal emphasis, provided the core of the KNDP programme. In other 99 words, the KNDP was basically reunificationist at this point in time. So also was the UPC, but with a difference; everything must be immediate. Until these positions had been tested at a general election, i t was d i f f i c u l t to know which of them was, in reality, the most popular. The test came in 1957 during that year's March 15 elections to the Southern Kamerun House of Assembly. During the campaigns, the UPC vigorously offered immediate reunification; i t "was the only significant party that 58 demanded the recreation of Kamerun as quickly as possible." Unfortunately for the UPC and the cause of reunification, the other parties, the KNC and the KPP in particular, had combined forces in 1956 to warn the a-Fon against reunification, identifying i t with the UPC, violence, and communism. For example, after the plebiscite, the women of Essimbi;. complained that reunifi-59 cation might lead to the death of their husbands and to Communism. The fact that the a-Fon would not deal with Communism and violence also influenced the actions of the other p o l i t i c a l parties during the compaigns for the 1957 general elections; the rest of the parties played down reunifi-cation. The KNC and the KPP compaigned vigorously for a f u l l and autonomous self-governing region for Southern Kamerun within the framework of Nigeria. The KNC in particular avoided the question of reunification totally but by maintaining "useful contacts" with Eastern Kamerun authorities, i t gave the l i e that i t had not abandoned reunification. The KNDP called for "benevolent neutrality" towards Nigeria, for the separation of Southern Kamerun from Nigeria, for "direct administration" of Southern Kamerun by "Great Britain," for peaceful co-existence among the ethnic groups of Southern Kamerun and "natives of t r i b a l groups extraneous to the Cameroons," and for ultimate reunification "on the basis of mutual consent." 6 0 The shifting opinion among 100 the a-Fon against reunification had forced Foncha to introduce the f i r s t condition to reunification. Considering the shifting opinion of the a-Fon against reunification and previous experiences with other parties, the results of the elections, based on these various offers, could be expected. The KPP, the 'Ibo dominated party' was discredited as early as 1953. It was fighting a losing battle. It won two out of the thirteen contested seats. The UPC, by offering reunification, lost a l l i t s deposits. The KNC, by avoiding reunifi-cation totally, won six out of the thirteen contested seats. The KNDP, by talking reunification with less emphasis than the UPC, and with a condition, and by stressing secession was able to win the rest of the seats, that is the five remaining seats. 6 1 It appears that i f the KNDP had avoided reunification altogether, the electorate would have chased the KNC away from power for trying to take them to Nigeria. Whatever the case, after the elections, the UPC met the fate, which i t had experienced in Eastern Kamerun, in Southern Kamerun. Ten weeks after the elections, on May 30, 1957 the British banned the UPC and outlawed i t with i t s members. The o f f i c i a l explanation was simple. There existed "a grave possibility that in order to achieve i t s p o l i t i c a l objectives the Party may 62 have to resort to violence in the Southern Cameroons." This explanation, however, is questionable. Western Kamerun was the last place where the UPC would adopt violence; the UPC could not be working for reunification and at the same time frighten Western Kamerunians away from i t through violence. The British explanation was tantamount to saying that the UPC would work against the goal i t had set for i t s e l f . Not surprisingly, however, the dissolution of the UPC was greeted with 101 joy by many Southern Kamerunians. As early as 1956, almost a l l the "poli-t i c a l factions" in Southern Kamerun "had come to consider the exiled UPC leadership an unwanted, troublesome influence" in the region. 6 3 When the UPC rejuvenated under the disguised name One Kamerun (OK), almost a l l the 64 rest of the p o l i t i c a l parties wished to see i t banned. So unpopular was the UPC that Foncha, on February 11, 1958, f e l t compelled to deny any con-nections with the UPC in the Southern Kamerun House of Assembly, 6 5 although his own programme was the closest to that of the UPC. Indeed, the British were very accurate when, at the United Nations, they refuted the charge made by the UPC to the effect that the British had caused the crushing defeat of the party at the elections. As the British saw i t , "the fact that the party failed to secure a seat was a reflection of the w i l l of the people." 6 6 This popular wish notwithstanding, there were people in Southern Kamerun who not only sympathized with but also supported the UPC and i t s programme. The majority of them were Eastern Kamerunians resident in Southern Kamerun, many of whom were opposed to the French in Eastern Kamerun and had sought sanctuary where the Pax Britannica was apparently king. Furthermore, nearly a l l Southern Kamerun graduates and students in higher institutes of learning, no matter where these institutes were located in the world, were with the UPC. There were also a handful of other Southern Kamerunians, who had either been politicized or who merely loved adventure, that supported the UPC. As soon as the UPC was outlawed, these groups r a l l i e d behind Ndeh Ntumazah of Mankon, Bamenda, as President and Joseph Innocent Kamsi, an Eastern Kamerunian livin g in Southern Kamerun, as Vice-President, to form the OK. As a rejuvenation of the UPC, the objectives and style of the OK remained the same. Immediate reunification, immediate independence, and the creation 102 of a Kamerun nation free from foreign influences were the objectives of the OK. These elements were one and indivisible and there could be no distinguishing between them. Like the UPC, the style was propagandists and pacific. It devoted less of i t s arguments to i t s objectives and more to "recriminations about the past and to demands for complete amnesty for everybody connected with the UPC and i t s a f f i l i a t e s . " It attracted attention through "standardized banners, demonstrations by men and women dressed in uniforms, songs and chants, and packages of 'petitions,' the great majority of which consisted of similar texts and slogans written or mimeographed in French." While the OK was getting off the ground in 1957, events to which Southern Kamerun could not be indifferent were taking place in Nigeria. By this time, i t had become obvious that independence for Nigeria was a matter of time. The Lyttleton Constitution which came into effect in 1954 after the collapse of the MacPherson Constitution, and which made Southern Kamerun a Quasi-Region was ill-equipped as an instrument for Nigerian independence. The necessary review of the constitution took place between May and June, 1957, at London. Endeley, Ndze, and the Fon of Bali Nyonga, Galega II, represented the KNC. Kale represented the KPP, his party. Foncha went for the KNDP. The UPC was busy disappearing. The OK had not yet organized or rather reorganized i t s e l f properly. It is even doubtful whether the OK could bring i t s e l f to s i t at a conference table with Nigerians to discuss Kamerun affairs. As seen earlier, Habib 'represented' Northern Kamerun. The positions taken by these Western Kamerunians at the conference remained substantially the same. The KNC and the KPP which were now in alliance, KNC-KPP Alliance (KNC-KPP hereafter), demanded a separate and 103 f u l l y autonomous region for Southern Kamerun within the Nigerian Federation. The KNC-KPP no longer mentioned u n i f i c a t i o n or r e u n i f i c a t i o n . The KNDP admitted that Western Kamerun would have to e x i s t within the Nigerian framework f o r a short time. But a f t e r t h i s interim period, u n i f i c a t i o n would take place as a preparatory step to r e u n i f i c a t i o n . As seen e a r l i e r , Habib could perceive no other future for Northern Kamerun than that i t 68 remain permanently an i n t e g r a l part of Northern Nigeria. The. o f f e r the B r i t i s h made t h i s time was more i n favour of the i n t e g r a t i o n i s t s than i t was for any other group. Southern Kamerun would become a f u l l y autonomous, not self-governing, region w i t h i n N i g e r i a . The Leader of Government Business would now become Premier. The Assembly would have a Speaker appointed by the Commissioner i n consultation with the Premier. Ministers would be appointed by the Commissioner i n consultation with the Premier. Southern Kamerun would be represented at Lagos by twelve elected representatives. But, t h i s was not to take e f f e c t immediately. I t s t i l l had to be confirmed by the Resumed Conference to be held f i f t e e n months l a t e r . 69 Habib got what he wanted. When making the o f f e r to Southern Kamerun, the C o l o n i a l Secretary indicated where h i s own sentiments lay. As he saw i t , the B r i t i s h Government f u l l y recognized " t h e i r o b l i g a t i o n to the Cameroons under the Trusteeship Agreement." One of these was "to administer the T e r r i t o r y as an i n t e g r a l part of Nigeria." The Agreement would have to be modified when Nigeria became independent. One of two choices would then be open to Southern Kamerun. The region might remain part of Nigeria but i t would have to do so f r e e l y . I t might continue under trusteeship, but i n that instance, the Secretary "must i n fairness add the warning that you [Southern Kamerunians] would not thereby 104 be given the golden key to the Bank of England." While the decision rested wholly in the hands of Southern Kamerunians,. "many of the best friends of the Cameroons do not foresee a destiny more lik e l y to promote 70 her happiness and prosperity than continued association with Nigeria." The Secretary had no word for both unification and reunification; these were not among the alternatives he had for Southern Kamerun. Indeed, the warning against continued trusteeship and the statement about the "best friends of the Cameroons" meant that the Secretary had only one alternative for Southern Kamerun. That was integration with Nigeria. Although the grant of a f u l l Region to Southern Kamerun did not involve the immediate introduction of a ministerial system of government, and indeed, as w i l l be seen presently, the Governor-General was opposed to i t , the KNC_ KPP called an emergency session on February 11, 1958, to introduce a motion to that effect. Had Southern Kamerun been a Self-Governing Region, this attempt would have been understandable. But, at this point in time, i t was not. Nevertheless, the opportunists within the KPP pushed Endeley into an action that would cost him his already uncertain Government. This action was the successful attempt to introduce a ministerial system of government in Southern Kamerun in 1958, despite strong opposition to i t from several, quarters. The 1958 Diary of J.T. Ndze has a lot to say about the introduction of this ministerial system of government. As the second top-ranking member of the KPP in the KNC-KPP, and as an opportunist who saw the opportunity for becoming a minister, i t was Mbile who, on February 11, 1958, introduced the motion in the House of Assembly that a ministerial system of government be 7 introduced. Mbile's motion was "Seconded by Array who beat about the bush." 105 The reaction of the Opposition, the KNDP, was bitter. The f i r s t in this group to react was the Deputy Leader of the KNDP, Jua. He f i r s t complained that he did not understand the wording of the motion and then rejected the idea of saying prayers to Her Majesty's Government. After this, he proceeded to argue against the motion. Southern Kamerun was already a Region. Fresh elections were necessary before the introduction of the ministerial system of government. What the Region needed were "amenities," not a ministerial system of government; and,a ministerial system of government was not a prerequisite for "amenities." The introduction of this system of government involved a change in the constitution, and, a change in the constitution must be referred back to the electorate. He ended 72 by calling upon the British to interfere and stem the move. Jua was followed immediately in his opposition to the motion, respec-tively, by Mua and Muna* who had just crossed the carpet. Mua described the motion as "Thoughtless [and] untimely." He f e l t that a "Cabinet" could only be introduced after "fresh elections." He wondered how a government with only eight, elected members would want to have five ministers and five Parliamentary Secretaries. He accused the non-elected (Special Members) Parliamentarians of being weak by refusing to oppose the motion and, indeed supporting i t because they wished to s i t on the governing side of the House. Muna was "Happy to s i t with [the] KNDP," and his KNDP colleagues had "made a l l [the] points on the motion." He did not understand why Mbile failed to *Before Muna crossed the carpet in 1958, he was Deputy Leader of the KNC. The Alliance between the KNC and KPP thus reduced him to third place instead of his second place. While the secessionist mood in his Fondom played a major part in forcing him out of the KNC, his reduction in rank might have had something to do with i t . 106 introduce this motion during the London Conference as Mbile himself was present there. He saw no "need for the emergency meeting of the House for Cabinet Government." Anyway, the fast coming elections would prove which was the government of the "people." Moreover, the Governor-General had rejected the idea of a ministerial system of government for Southern Kamerun. It was obvious that the KNC Government had lost the confidence of the people. The KPP was being deceived by the KNC. Finally, the Southern 73 Kameruninas did not want ministers at this time. The next opposition to the motion came from the Leader of the KNDP and, after he had spoken, something unusual in Southern Kamerun p o l i t i c s occurred. Foncha supported a l l that his KNDP colleagues had said and asked the Govern-ment Party to reconsider the motion. When he attempted to show how the motion was incompatible with the London agreement, he was "Ruled out of order." Nevertheless, he demanded that the motion be withdrawn "or else we stage a 74 walk out." When the motion was passed, with two non-elected members, Ambrose and Manga-Williams, voting for i t , Nsakwa, a non-KNDP member, "walked 75 out with the KNDP." The passage of the motion and the walk-out by the KNDP were responsible for Foncha's February 20, 1958, telegram to the United Nations. On February 20, 1958, that i s nine days after the walk-out, Foncha dispatched a telegram to the United Nations arguing that Self-Government for Southern Kamerun was not possible in 1958. It was not wise for the minis-7 6 t e r i a l system of government to be introduced un t i l 1959. Central to this opposition, however, was the fear, later j u s t i f i e d , that the KNC-KPP would take advantage of the new system of government to manipulate the January 24, 1959, general elections in favour of integration with Nigeria. 107 The student wing of the reunificationists was even more outspoken in the protest to the introduction of this system of government than Foncha was. On March 19, 1958, the Southern Kamerun students in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, stated that the situation in Southern Kamerun was "grave" because the British were "endeavouring to use certain personalities in the undemocratically installed Southern Cameroons House of Assembly to swindle the territory into integration with an independent Federation of Nigeria." It was not democratic "to implement decisions of a conference" which were "so dependent on other decisions taken by the same conference, where such 'other decisions' have not yet been f u l f i l l e d . " Nor was i t in the interest of Southern Kamerun to strive to have ministers before the elections. Since the 1959 elections would be "decisive on the integration-secession issue," the United Nations i t s e l f should supervise them "in 77 order to prevent irregularities and ensure f a i r play." Perhaps more importantly was the position the a-Fon, who were now working in concert, the Concert of the a-Fon, took in the controversy. Although by this time many of them supported Endeley while the majority were tending towards Foncha, in a conference held in Mankon Town, a conference in which both Foncha and Endeley were present, these Crowned Princes decided that the ministerial system of government should not be introduced before the 78 crucial elections of January 1959. Instead of heeding this timely warning, Endeley decided to reply to the a-Fon on the day he was to introduce the ministerial system of government. This reply came in May, 1958. On the day Endeley was installed as Premier, he issued a policy statement, at a banquet marking the occasion, which was a direct confrontation of the a-Fon. His Government would preserve 108 the Fondoms with the role of the a-Fon "as a valuable traditional institu-tion." The a-Fon had "a useful stabilizing influence among the people, and the Government would seek to co-operate with them in everything i t did." But we shall also expect that in their own interest, Chiefs and traditional rulers must keep clear of party p o l i t i c s . . . as this w i l l only expose them to the disdain of a section of their subjects. Any Chief who persists, despite this timely advice, to participate in party p o l i t i c s does so at his own risk.79 Endeley had lost the 1959 elections in May, 1958. The introduction of the ministerial system of government against the desires of the a-Fon was to serve notice to these Crowned Princes that he was the authority, besides the British, in Southern Kamerun. The a-Fon took note of i t . By warning the a-Fon, he was virtually putting a wound in the hand that feed him. Indeed, his whole policy was asking, i f not commanding, the a-Fon to surrender their crucial role in the nationalist movement established since 1953. The a-Fon had no wish to surrender a role that was naturally theirs. They must continue to significantly influence the nationalist movement. But before they showed this in practice, they had a reply for Endeley. They recognized that their role was traditional, and that the Fondom was "a traditional institution." But they reserved "the right to interfere with and correct the affairs of the country when i t is realized that things are going radically wrong." The time had come for such "interference" because "they and their people wanted not to be 'integrated' with Nigeria but to 'secede' from i t . " They were demanding "secession" from Nigeria. The purpose of secession was "to concentrate on much harder work towards self-government and independence outside the Federation of Nigeria as a direct member of the British [sic] Commonwealth of Nations." They said nothing about unification 80 or reunification. Endeley had had his reply, a parcel he least expected 109 or wished to receive. He had apparently pushed the a-Fon, reluctantly to Foncha. "Southern Cameroons Chiefs' Conference convening from time to time issued pronouncements that, at least during 1958, were hostile to the KNC/KPP Alliance and gave support to the 'secessionist'* policy of the KNDP," although in "the past these chiefs gave their support on the whole to Dr. 81 Endeley," Endeley f i r s t abondoned the a-Fon, as the UPC did, before the a-Fon abandoned him, as they did to the UPC. The a-Fon-Endeley confrontation had two important elements to i t and both parties knew i t . The f i r s t element, which initiated the confrontation, involved Endeley's policy of integration to which the a-Fon were, at this time, opposed. The second element, equally important, i f not more so at this time, was authority. Put very simply, i t was, who ruled Southern Kamerun, Endeley or the Concert of the a-Fon? Or, to put i t more accurately, who ruled Southern Kamerun, the Western-educated e l i t e or the traditional rulers? These two elements came out very clearly in both Endeley's policy statement vis-a-vis the a-Fon and in the reply of the a-Fon to that statement. However, Endeley gave more weight to the authority issue than to the conflict over his policy regarding Southern Kamerun and Nigeria. Later on in the year (1958), he continued to confront the a-Fon on this issue. Before the London May-June, 1957 Constitutional Conference rose, i t was agreed that the conference would resume on September 29, 1958. In readiness for the 1957 conference, Endeley selected (possibly in consultation with the a-Fon) the Fon of Bali Nyonga as one member of the KNC delegation. During the con-frontation, the Fon of Ba
UBC Theses and Dissertations
The Kamerun plebiscites 1959-1961: perceptions and strategies Chem-Langhëë, Bongfen 1976
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