President Paul Biya’s message to the nation : South West Taking The Olive Branch

Expectations were high from the announcement the previous day that President Paul Biya was to address the nation in the evening of 10 September, 2019.

The couple of events in Buea on the D-day never turned people away from the anxiety of listening to the Head of State. Such high profile events in Buea included the installation of newly appointed officials of the University of Buea and the launch of this year’s cultural week mobilizing a cream of artists and personalities. Attendees at the local events were constantly whispering to each other not to forget the 8pm rendez-vous, which was the President’s address to the nation.

Yet, every other activity was hurried over and by 8pm the various families had retired home to watch the Head of State. On every mind and lip the expectation bordered on the call for dialogue for which Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute was fore-runner in the South West Region last 14 May, 2019, after a similar tour of the North West. “We are waiting for the convening of dialogue by the President”, a personality uttered as he spoke at one of the ceremonies in Buea in the afternoon of 10 September. It came out to be true that the core of the President’s message was a call for dialogue to resolve the Anglophone crisis. Late night jubilation was heard from many homes. “So our children can now go to school”, a parent voiced in excitement.

Meanwhile streets ran dry. Noisy bars lowered their decibels. TV and radio sets served like magnets to numerous persons who clustered round to listen to the President of the Republic. From 8pm to mid night the temperatures rose and dropped on the topic. Highlevel politicians like Honourable Senator Mbella Moki Charles spoke of an olive branch extended by the Head of State on the North West/South West crisis. Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai, after listening to the speech, urged those with arms in the bush to drop such and join the call for dialogue. Some ordinary citizens shed tears of joy should this lead to peace. The discussions on the Head of State’s speech extended till last evening with many persons pre-occupied with who would be at the table of discussion, where will it hold and when exactly shall it take place.

However, one certainty looms that the dialogue will hold after this month. Also the fact that it will be a broad-spectrum confab gives much hope to those who have stories to tell, opinions to emit as well as facts to table. The city of Buea remained calm, a conducive atmosphere for many more school uniforms to surface in the streets of Buea Town, Bokwaongo and Molyko as students took to school premises yesterday. Many others are digesting the message as propitious to give peace a chance to reign in Anglophone Cameroon. Reports from Kumba in Meme Division talk of a calm and digestive atmosphere with regards to the President’s speech. A similar climate was reported in Ndian Division where even though network there is problematic, many people had to climb to higher altitude to hear the speech on their mobile phones or to receive what their friends had sent on the phones.

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