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French-speaking Cameroonians may have chosen a Single State to subordinate English-speaking Cameroonians

French-speaking Cameroonians may have chosen a Single State to subordinate English-speaking Cameroonians

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Posted On Monday, 23 January 2017 08:42

It was the discovery of oil in the South-West region which whet the appetite of French-speaking Cameroon and led it to choose the Single State in 1972.

The news in Cameroon being currently centred on the demands made by the Anglophones Cameroonians since October 2016, one of the legends created says that Ahmadou Ahidjo, first President of Cameroon, advocated for the 1972 referendum sanctioning the unity of the two former Cameroon (English and French-speaking) because he wanted to appropriate the oil discovered in the Anglophone zone of Limbe, in the South-West. Which is contrary to the historical facts which led to the unification of the two parts of the country.

Indeed, there was until 1972 a federal government whose members were called ministers and two federal governments whose members were called Secretaries of State. The legislative power was dispensed by a Parliament at the federal level and a legislative assembly in each Federal State. Western Cameroon had in addition a Chef Chamber. Therefore, the legislative power was represented through four chambers. It was too much to operate a young independent State on 1 January 1960.

Western Cameroon (Anglophone) had an important budget deficit, according to Ahmadou Ahidjo. “We can also note that the budget of the State of Western Cameroon, even though most of the services are federalised, is in difficulty, despite a balancing subsidy from the Federation, of slightly over FCfa two billion, which is equivalent to approximately three quarters of this budget”, the first President of Cameroon declared, in front of the members of the 8 May 1972 Parliament to show the limits and costs of federalism. Translation: Western Cameroon could operate because of the help from Eastern Cameroon (French-speaking). A reality which added its weight in pushing the Anglophone leaders to accept the Single State wanted by Ahmadou Ahidjo. It was not the exploitation of oil by the Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures created in 1980. Eight years after the 20 May 1972 referendum.

Sylvain Andzongo

Last modified on Monday, 23 January 2017 08:49

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