Some residents in the crisis-plagued North West and South West regions have on the eve of the 50th edition of the National Unity Day argued that, the termination of the federal arrangement in 1972 is the root cause of the Anglophone crisis.
Most of them whom we interviewed, besides describing May 20 as signifying bondage, suffering, poverty, oppression and marginalisation, blamed former President Ahmadou Ahidjo for putting Anglophones in the current chaos in the North West and South West regions.
Seen in the past as a catalyst to enhance unity among Former Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun, many said, 50 years of the Unitary State has rather done Cameroon more harm than good.
One of those we approached said it was a “forceful union with our French speaking counterparts”.
Another said, May 20 is “ a reminder of a forceful assimilation, like President Biya once admitted…” at an international conference.
The former Southern Cameroons which was recognized under the Federal system of government disappeared after the 1972 referendum.
On the social media, Mimi Mefo Infos further carried out a survey to know what Cameroonians think about the day 50 years on.
“May 20 signifies… oppression, marginalisation, tribalism, nepotism, embezzlement, lies, witchcraft, destruction of a people and a scam…” an angry Facebook user vented out his frustration.
Another wrote “…between 1961 and 1972, two states ceased from existing in favour of a United Republic of Cameroon. All of a sudden, La Republique du Cameroun which got its independence in 1960 appeared, and the Southern Cameroons which got theirs in 1961 disappeared…The question remains, where did the Southern Cameroons go to?”.
One other anonymous user said “… 20th May is a day we will never forget in our entire lives, because of what we have heard and witnessed in our separate neighborhoods, all in the name of togetherness.”
Some reactions were also critical of the Biya regime. The accused the current leadership of also having a role in the problem but ‘everyday seeking solutions which are at their doorsteps’.
“…Why in God’s name was the country’s name changed from the United Republic of Cameroon, to the Republic of Cameroon? Today they are preaching; One and Indivisible Cameroon, knowing very well that they were the ones that divided the country back in 1984,” a social media user wrote.
We also came across another who wrote that: “…If 20th May is celebrated as unity day from 1972, and was called United Republic of Cameroon, then why do we still celebrating it when one party has left the union and the country now bearing its former name the Republic of Cameroon?”.