|Hon. Lord Justice Ayah Paul Abine at press conference in Buea|
By Christopher Ambe Shu
The National President of Popular Acton Party (formerly Peoples’ Action Party (PAP), Hon. Lordship Ayah Paul Abine, now Advocate-General at the Supreme Court, has commended the Southern Cameroons National Council, (SCNC), which is fighting for the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons, for its relentless fight against the falsehood that British Southern Cameroons ever legally joined La Republique du Cameroun to constitute what is today known as the Republic of Cameron.
The outspoken Ayah was speaking at a press conference, June 11 ,at king David’s Hotel, Buea ,convened by the PAP leadership to address an alleged power tussle at the helm of the party that was registered in 1991 but only became active in 2011 when Hon. Ayah became its National President and later the party’s presidential candidate ,emerging in the fifth position at that year’s election.
Hon. Ayah, who insisted that he remains the legal and legitimate head of the Popular Action Party, despite an allegation that he has been replaced as head of the party, in response to a question about his opinion about the SCNC,said: “
I must congratulate the SCNC for fighting illegality. As I have said time and again, there is no legal document that British Southern Cameroon ever joined La Republique du Cameroun”
He, however, castigated the SCNC which, he said, is fighting a genuine cause in law and history rather in dispersed ranks yet asking him to become its president.
The super scale magistrate also clarified the doubt of some journalists by saying that there is no law that restricts him as a Supreme Court advocate-general from becoming a political party leader
How PAP became a reality
Hon. Ayah noted that “People’s Action Party (now Popular Action Party) saw the light of day by expediency. The idea materialized on the heels of the arrest and remand in prison custody of Barrister Yondo Black and others for wanting to launch a political party in defiance of the one-party system President Ahidjo had imposed. “The international community did cry foul against President Paul Biya’s New Deal government! In their characteristic falsehood, the New Deal denied that Mr. Yondo Black and others were being held in prison custody for wanting to launch a political party. They asserted that the Cameroonian law allowed for a multi-party system.
“Availing himself of the New Deal nervous entanglement, Mr. John Fru Ndi quickly issued a communiqué that (since the Cameroonian law allowed for multi-parties), he had formed a political party – the Social Democratic Front, (SDF) - and that he would be launching it on May 26, 1990…
Ayah Paul Abine immediately met Mr. John Ndahne of Radio Buea and the duo reviewed the prevailing national political situation and its repercussion on the Southwest Province as it then was. They agreed that the Southwest Province was most vulnerable from its disunity and cosmopolitan composition, with the consequence that it was going to be fertile ground for political hawks. Its protection therefore lay in the province belonging to a political party that would speak in the name of the province so as to forestall alien political hawks catching the Southwestern people as weak, defenseless individuals… A few more meetings led to the founding of People’s Action Party – PAP…
“As civil servant in active service, John Ndahne and Ayah could not be at the forefront of the party, particularly in the face of the hostile prevailing contemporary political circumstances. Getting someone in the cloak of Yondo Black was absolutely indispensable. Then did it occur to Ayah that some brilliant, courageous and knowledgeable professor, Victor Mukwelle Ngoh, had taught Ayah Land Law in the University of Cameroon at Yaounde in the seventies. Convinced he did meet the prerequisites, Ndahne and Ayah invited Professor Ngoh from Kumba without disclosing the object of the invitation…
When fully appraised and possessed of the design, Professor Ngoh was overwhelmed by our “bestowing confidence in (his) humble person”, and did express his gratitude superabundantly… He however did not register the party until April, 1991… Few can contest the incontrovertible fact that, apart from occupying the seat of one of the rapporteurs generaux at the Tripartite Talks some two years later, PAP never came to prominence even in Meme Division. Nor did it seriously impact even the entire Kumba town! The situation was all the worse after Professor Ngoh had died in a motor accident in Nigeria…
“All the same, Ayah could find no better refuge than the political umbrella that was his brainchild. And so did Ayah seek for a place in PAP when he resigned from CPDM in 2010. In the fallacy that PAP was part of the estate of late Professor Ngoh, the family held the registration certificate of the party close to their chest until Ayah agreed in writing to some dictates under the auspices of some national frontbencher of the party from Limbe…
“A few months later, however, PAP national officials annulled the document in a resolution of May 14, 2011, that was signed, inter alia, by a prominent member of Ngoh’s family. Even without any such annulment, the said document was bad at law and contrary to public policy as a political party is defined by Cameroonian law as an association.
“An association is a group of persons managed by a smaller group of members freely chosen by the association. No particular member or group of members has appropriated interest that can be bequeathed upon demise… Any theory that PAP is the property of late Professor Ngoh’s estate that can be hired; pledged and redeemed; or sold absolutely or on terms is merely fantastic and based on misinformation or uninformed miscalculations…
“The long and short of it is that Ayah eventually became the head of PAP. Acutely pressed by time, Ayah had to move absolutely quickly so as to post PAP before Cameroonians in reality and in their dreams. Within days, meetings were holding weekly here; daily there; and every other day elsewhere! That went not without pecuniary consideration. Expenses multiplied several times over in the fortnight of Ayah declaring his candidacy for the upcoming 2011 presidential election that was just six months away. Party cards were produced in tens of thousands. Radio and television interviews held weekly on the average. Hundreds of thousands of propaganda cards as SMS went to all the four corners of Cameroon. Not any less mufflers, t-shirts, manifestos, magazines! Musicians were sponsored and PAP music rent the air nationwide. CDs and PAP soap were extensively distributed far and wide for free…
“And here was the most curious! Apart from one or two other members of the party, Ayah Paul sponsored everything singlehandedly – at 90% at the least! That was not surprising though: the bulk of the members of the party were students, the unemployed youths, and the rural peasant masses! But then came what looked like a very welcome relief: an invitation from PAP North America for Ayah to visit the United States of America in June, 2011. Immeasurable sacrifices were made by devoted men and women for the trip! Aside from a free round trip by air of course, the visit was entirely sponsored. Ayah visited Washington, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Atlanta, Chicago… But Ayah subsequently had to send money to the main organizer in order to bail her out of expenses incurred.
Ayah justifies use of party funds
“By the time Ayah was to be formally invested as a presidential candidate, Ayah’s saving account had been wholly depleted. Loans were obtained at 360% interest rate per annum; even from some viable members of the party. There was such inescapable compulsion! The caution fee alone was 5 million francs. And for a presidential election, before Ayah was the huge country to be covered. Some journalist even called Ayah “Penniless Ayah”. Yet was the campaign aggressive, thorough and unprecedented! The mere fact that Ayah came 5th speaks volumes for the honest. Only the unreasonable, the biased and imbeciles would want Ayah to dwell on the obvious: how one could cover the national territory with the mere sum of 15 million that was given before the poll! Really so curious!
“Obviously, by the time the remaining 15 million came, Ayah was in messy debts – having received less than 150.000 from internal friends and supporters; and under 500.000 from friends and admirers abroad! Even as only a tiny percentage of the debts could be serviced, a team of national officials of the party undertook a “thank you” tour of Ayah’s strongholds. The team visited Kwakwa, Mundemba, Mbonge, Kumba, Konye, Manyemen, Nguty, Ebunji, Tombel, Ngusi, Nyassoso, Bangem, Allou, Menji, Bakebe, Tinto, Tali, Ndekwai, Ossing, Kembong, Mamfe, Eyumojock, Ekok, Kajifu, Mukonyong, Akwa, Ballin, Mavas, Akwaya… All these trips were sponsored virtually entirely from the 15 million…
Seriously speaking, does it not beat the imagination that the state gives money to a candidate for campaign and some officious bystanders arrogate to themselves the prerogative to demand to know how the money was spent? Is it not all the more facetious and wholly ridiculous that someone has the effrontery to make such demand where the candidate performs so spectacularly well in the manner of Ayah’s resounding performance? … Seriously, every person of unsound mind would know that only the giver reserves the right to demand an account!
The 'power tussle'
“The question then is who are those making noise in Kumba? It is clear that they are only hungry boys seeking to secure public compassion. And this to do, they have secured the complicity of some quacks passing for journalists. But how else can one explain it? No career journalist, much less a professional one, would publish such trash as three miserable individuals calling a press conference and purporting to expel a member from the party, let alone when such member is the head of that party. Are party decisions, especially momentous decisions like such that terminate one’s membership, taken at press conferences; and by three ordinary members of a party? … A journalist once said that the sun shines above and on earth journalists. That is at variance with what obtains nowadays, the has brought journalism to such abysmal disrepute. Cameroonian journalism, they name is mediocrity!
"Let it be known to all men and women that the hungry boys in Kumba who are only crying over spilt milk have long been expelled from People’s Action Party. The least the present party leadership would do in their maturity and compassionate disposition is to reconsider their decision should those misguided boys repent and borrow a leaf from the prodigal son.
Change of party name and hungry Kumba boys
“As of now, People’s Action Party is known as and called Popular Action Party with His Lordship Ayah Paul Abine as the sole legal and legitimate national president. In keeping with the law in force, the change of name and the general current status of the party have been notified to the relevant Cameroonian institutions. And so it is!
“Some confounded journalist did make mention of the annual funding of political parties. The most one can say is that, to the best of our knowledge, belief and information, no one party in contemporary Cameroon has made a statement of accounts to the press. For our purpose, the PAP constitution has laid down rules on how such issues have to be dealt with. We do not propose to depart from those constitutional provisions. The hungry boys of Kumba may wish to join the fold and follow due process for the purpose of obtaining any such information.
It can only be added that we learnt our lesson during the 2013 municipal and parliamentary elections when “prominent” members of the party could not raise as little as 50.000 francs for their candidacies at the municipal election. We do not propose to surrender to blackmail from whatever source for the purpose of gratifying those very persons who do desert us in times of election in favour of lands flowing with milk and honey elsewhere. Permit us to borrow the common saying that the first fool is not a fool.”