Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cameroon:Chief A.S. Ngwana laid to rest in Bamenda

By Christopher Ambe
The mortal remains of Chief Albert Samba Ngwana, 77, were on Saturday September 6 buried at their family compound in GRA up-staion, Bamenda,after two requiem masses were said at the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral,Akwa,Douala and at  St Joseph Cathedral Bamenda ,in honor of the fallen patriarch and patriot.
    Both masses were attended by hundreds of mourners from home and abroad especially Christians since the deceased was well-known to be a committed Catholic faithful.
Chief Ngwana also described as an out spoken politician, before his demise was the National Chair of the Cardinal Democratic Party (CDP) with head quarters in Douala.
This British-trained banker who became the pioneer Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Cameroon Bank (defunct), died on August 17 in a hospital in Douala after a brief illness.
                                      The Last Journey
     After the corpse removal from the Garnison Militaire Mortuary, Douala last September 5 in the afternoon, it was taken to the St.Peter & Paul Cathedral in Akwa Douala, where a requiem mass was said from 7:30, lasting over an hour.

    Officiating at the divine service at Akwa, were three priests Clement Aboundi Nova, Fr. Christopher Gey Kum and Rev. Hontanon.
     Rev. Aboundi Nova described life and death as the greatest mystery, noting that Chief Ngwana was a devout Catholic Christian, who never missed the Holy Communion, which gives life and not death.The presiding priest likened Chief Ngwana to an angel.

“It is very important for angels for angels to bury us than for people to make all types of preparation.
“Chief Ngwana is an angel; let us bury him in quiet”, remarked the priest. “No Matter what happens Papa Ngwana is in the kingdom of God”
The Douala mass ended with mourners filing past to get a view of iconic Chief Ngwana.
Kinspeople pay last respects
    Accompanied by a long convoy of mourners after the Douala requiem mass, the hearse drove to Carrefour Music in Bonaberi, where Chief Ngwana was laid in state fo
r more more tributes .His tribes people who had converged there paid tributes, sang and danced in honor of the departed Beba man, whom they said, was a rallying force and great source of inspiration to all and sundry. “Pa was everything to us here”, one woman in tears told this reporter 
Requiem Mass at Mankon Cathedral   
When the hearse arrived Bamenda on September 7, another requiem mass was said at St.Joseph Cathedral Mankon, officiated by four priests: Rev. Prieto (vicaire Regional de l’Opus Dei), Rev.Humphrey Tata Mbue, Rev. Kizito and Rev. Paul Njokikang .
In his homily, Rev.Tata Mbue stressed that, death is a moment for deep reflection. To make his homily more interesting, the priest explained the meaning of every letter of the word “Death.”
     He said the D in death stands for definition. According to him, death has defined human beings; that it shows that human beings are limited-that is there is a beginning and an end. He noted that death is the clumsiest diplomat that does not know how to discuss with someone .The priest advised that “we should always pray for a good death, so that people can come and sit together when it happens.
     He said the E in death stands for equality, meaning all human beings are equal before God and are only different in their different assignments; that E also represents eternity, since mankind was made for eternity. Justifying the letter A in death, Rev. Humphrey Tata, said it stands for acceptance, implying “we must learn to accept the reality of death”
     The letter T, the priest continued, stands for truth. “The only lie you cannot tell is that you cannot die”, he noted. He described late Chief Ngwana as a principled man, who was ever ready to die for his principles.
     The letter H in death, according to the Minister of God, stands fro humility.”Many of us fear to accept who we are, the humble background we come from”, he noted.” Pride goes before fall. And there is nothing we are supposed to be proud of-even our lives”
In summary,l eulogies from family members, friends and others described late Chief Ngwana as a God-fearing man who did his best to contribute to the development  of mankind and the society.
    For his part, Albert Agha Ngwana, son of the deceased, was thankful to all those who sacrificed in one way or the other to support his family in giving his father a befitting funeral and burial.

           The Life & Death of Chief Ngwana,the Patriot

                                         By Albert  Agha Ngwana*
    Chief Albert Samba Ngwana was born circa 1937 in Babaji, now known as Beba, in Menchum Valley Sub- Division in the Northwest region of Cameroon. He was born from a Catholic family. He attended primary school in Okoyong,Mamfe from 1943 to 1949, then proceeded to St. Joseph College, Sasse,Buea from 1950 to1954.  He was admitted into the seminary but later was told by the Rector that he could no longer continue his studies in the Seminary and sent to attend regular classes, in spite of passing his final exams. He obtained the senior Cambridge overseas School Certificate. He then joined Barclays Bank, where he was one of two Africans sponsored by Barclays bank DCO for managerial training in London. He worked and studied in London from 1957-1960 where he qualified in banking and obtained the ACIS in 1960 and became the first Cameroonian qualified banker. He is a life associate of the British institute 0f bankers.
Professional career
    Upon the completion of his studies in England, he returned to Nigeria, where he worked with Barclays Bank. He was later directed by the bank to man its operations in Cameroon.  However, after attending a course on balance and payments methodology with the international monetary fund (IMF) in Washington DC, on his return home, he was appointed the first and only Managing Director and Chief Executive to the newly created State bank he founded in conjunction with his then employers Barclays Bank, by Dr. John Ngu Foncha, the then Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon and Prime Minister of West Cameroon government.
    After he created Cameroon bank Ltd, he made it flourish from 1961-1966. During his tenure at Cameroon Bank, he was offered a top job by the IMF, in Washington, D.C., however, when he submitted his passport to obtain a visa for the job, the passport “disappeared” and did not resurface until 3 years later when the job opportunity had gone, as the government of Cameroon withheld it to restrict his movement for being suspected of financing Anglophone businesses and the Anglophone opposition. From that moment he decided that his future was no longer safe in Cameroon and looked for any opportunity to exile himself.
    He accumulated functions as vice chairman in charge of finance in the Cameroon Chambers of Commerce from 1964 to1968. When he could not meet up his aspirations, he resigned his post for private business and used the opportunity to lead a banking delegation to Spain to leave Cameroon, and lived in exile until 1978, at which time he re-surfaced in Cameroon sporadically and attempted to re-integrate business life in the country, without real success due to the political climate and his stands against the government of Cameroon.
    After his departure Cameroon he worked in conjunction with multinationals in the import and export industry in Nigeria, the Republic of Benin and England: countries in which he operated and opened offices.  During this period, he then also established a flourishing foreign exchange business, until 1976, when the Nigerian authorities froze all his assets to restrain his activities. From that point on he became a serial entrepreneur and consultant in various business.
Chief Ngwana ,the devout Christian.
    As stated earlier, Chief Ngwana was born into a catholic family and in his early academic years was a seminarian at Sasse College.  After being made to leave the seminary, he continued a very strict religious life and his love for the Church and its teachings grew stronger, year after year.          Although a prominent businessman, he decided to put God before anything else in his life and made prayer his strongest tool in this world.  His philosophy was that acts of charity were Godly and that a devotion to the Virgin Mary and a dedication of his professional/vocational life to Christ was the ultimate joy.  Compromising with any aspect of religion, or the doctrine and dogmas of the Catholic Church were not matter for compromise.  His life and all he did became in the name of God and material things became worthless to him if not for his bare survival.  He thus spent a lot of time catering to the needs of others and sacrificed the pursuit of  material wealth.
    Upon becoming a member of Opus Dei, he found the perfect path to heaven.  His life totally changed and the practices he had developed by executing his daily plan of life found the perfect Chanel to heaven.  Everything he did became tied to his daily apostolate, acts of charity and quest for closeness with God.
He became an advocate for family in the catholic and Christian manner, for marriage and for life.  As such he wrote many articles and books on population and development, the ills of abortion and contraception, the joy of marriage, the virtue of living a pious life.
    He spent most of his life doing doctrinal teachings, to all he met, without discrimination and also trying to make sure that as many people as he knew could say the rosary or at least say it once with him and if they are not baptized , direct them towards that path.  As such he had many unwed couples marry and bring up their families in the catholic way.  One of his mottos was”pray, pray, pray and pray some more”. “Never get tired of praying, keep praying, as God always listens to his children.”
    While working closely, with the Church, he engaged in philanthropic activities which resulted in the construction of secondary schools, a university to take care of children, church building and aid to priests wherever they were located.
    He sponsored many people who needed help in furthering their career or life. Some of the people are now doctors, priests, engineers, pilots, Lawyers and directors of companies.
    Chief Ngwana was a member of the Catholic Men’s Association (CMA). He equally belonged to and patronized several Christian groupings and had a very strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
          Chief Ngwana,a family man.
Chief  Ngwana married the love of his life, Elizabeth Nyamsi Ngwana in 1960 and stayed married and in love with her until his death on August 17, 2014, fifty-four years later. They have five children, eleven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  All his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are practicing Catholics.
    His love for his wife was exemplary.  After she had been diagnosed with a neurological condition and became helpless and totally dependent and speechless and near paralyzed, he stood by her and took care of her over the years, giving her personal attention and making sure she never lacked anything, from medical to spiritual care.  He loved her unconditionally and with the same love he had for her the first day he fell in love with her.
Chief Ngwana, the politician
Chief Ngwana founded the Cameroon Democratic Party (CDP) to fight the dictatorship government of a one party authoritarian State in Cameroon. The CDP was launched in Douala because we knew it was the same pattern of government which was going to continue. During the launching, there were mass arrests of party militants. The party instructed 24 of the country’s best lawyers to register it, but, the government could not allow another party to run alongside the only existing party in the country the CNU.
    Even though multiparty reforms were being instituted up in Cameroon, the government decided to make sure he remained in exile by withholding his passport when he submitted it for visa renewal at the Cameroon embassy in Lagos. However, as a staunch catholic, he held tight to his faith.
    His political philosophy grew out of his love for his country Cameroon andhis belief in one sovereign and indivisible Cameroon. He preferred a federated Cameroon and was a very strong supporter of all progressive Anglophone causes which furthered equal status and autonomy through federation.
    Chief Ngwana changed his party’s name to the Cardinal Democratic Party, after the government registered another party in his party’s name and stated it was registered before his.  The name Cardinal Democratic Party was chosen personally by him to make sure that his political mission was godly and really not to be confused. 
His mission as a politician was purely a continuation of his apostolic work on earth.  He used his political platform to spread the word of God and especially act as a warrior of Christ combatting evil, as he believed good can never be defeated by evil, no matter how popular evil had become, so long as valiant warrior of the Church stood up against it and fought to remind everyone of the will of God.  He thus made sure he was a shameless advocate of the word of God and defender of assailed principles of the Church.
    As a catholic, a family man, a politician and a philanthropist, he always put God first and lived his life for God and to further the legacy of Christ on earth.  He ended his life as a simple and humble man who touched the lives of many and who left the mark of Christ in each he touched. At the end of his life, he became selfless as the spirit of God had completely invaded his soul to replace temporal matters and earthly longings. 
    A memorial website has been set up in his memory for testimonies and tributes and images and photos of this memorable soul at
    *Albert  Agha Ngwana is son of late Chief A.S.Ngwana
(Fiist published in The RECORDER Newspaper,Cameroon,of September 15,2014)

No comments: