|HRH Chief SML Endeley|
The king of Buea known also as Paramount Chief was equally seen as the Leader of the Bakweris.
Chief SML Endeley died last July 7 at the age of 92.
Was he really the King of the Bakweris?
Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko Chief of Missaka and Cameroonian novelist,now of late, said of him ''...probably the most popular, the one who controls more inhabitants than any other Bakweri king and could be the main custodian of original culture of the Bakweri Clan.
Born of Marthias Lifafa Endeley and Mariana Mojoko nee Liombe in 1924, he was a son of promise just like his brother Dr. E M L Endeley. He had a fabulous public life as an elite pharmacist beginning in Kumba which was an inaccessible hinterland at the time though Health Services availed him a brand new Bedford truck to enable him go and take-up duty. In those days it was a day's journey to move to Kumba.
He said the love of duty was stronger than love for money so he travelled from his post in Victoria through a rocky rough terrain a quagmire of a road with utmost excitement to his new station. No sooner had he started work his love for medicine deserted him for law. He was later called to the Middle Temple Law school London, where he graduated into another honourable second profession , in which he made his mark becoming a bulwark of a Court judge.
After a remarkable career on the bench, he became the successor of his uncle Gervasius Mbella Endeley who reigned for 45 years. He ascended to the throne November 22 ,1991 after an interregnum of nine years and reigned on the stool for about 24years.
While he worked as judge, he had a sociable life style which kept him at ease with his kith and kin maintaining a down to earth amicable camaraderie to the admiration of a community of folks. He was a member of the famous Buea Mountain Club to which he drove to and from himself putting aside his administrative position .It was therefore easy for his peers to be unanimous on his candidature for the throne. His posture for solidarity with his people did not change with his honourable positions even as chairman of BOD for CDC Cameroon Development Corporation. He was charitable in many ways and a number of orphans earned scholarship because of his largess. His wife Gladys Silo Endeley also late corroborated extensively in this philanthropy . On her own she decided to mobilize women towards construction of the first dormitory for girls at PCSS , Presbyterian Comprehensive Secondary School Buea Town.
These activities were common place in the lives of both 'Mola Sam and Auntie Gladys '. The doors of the palace were open to all and sundry irrespective of tribe and lineage who had both access and a listening ear.
Like the founder of Hyundai Motor Consortium who used two pairs of shoes alternatively for 30 years, HRH the Chief , kept his Range Rover car going for upwards of three decades turning down offers to buy or substitute it.
When put in consideration with the new generation of chiefs , neophytes , some who have barely a handful of subjects to govern and who wallow in poverty, they bear false ungodly trimmings, live in exaggerated affluence and whose source of income is pillage of territory and cultural patrimony of their ancestors and the consequence is that, they leave their subjects suffocated in poverty and prodigal in matters of inheritance.
He was loud and clear about the sale of land which he described as abomination. It was one voice in the wilderness that is why, he who had the power , acclaim , tools and jurisdiction more than the others did not apply for land surrender more so being privy as chairperson of the arsenal.
The issue of land misappropriation, which touches on an incredible list of both administrative, community and individual personalities does not leave a blemish on his personality his periphery of influence notwithstanding.
Selflessness was a predominant aspect of his life. He loved sports and had been chairman of the Prisons Club in Buea. He maintained a Christian life to the last by making every effort to walk up the slope to the PCC Buea town every Sunday to worship the Almighty God.
He was a man who carried the upbringing of humble parents and a refined English Education for his country that this generation might regret not to eschew.
*YANGANGE Martin WOSE is a freelance journalist and fellow, London School of Journalism.