Monday, July 10, 2017

Cameroon: As New UB Vice-Chancellor Takes Office Today, Mayor Ekema’s Degrees May Be Revoked

*The mayor is accused of fraudulently gaining admission into University of Buea
Ekema Patrick Esunge (now Buea Mayor) graduating from University of Buea.Photo credit /Anonymous
By Christopher Ambe

The newly appointed Vice-chancellor (VC) of the University of Buea(UB) ,Professor Ngomo Horace Manga  officially takes office today in replacement of Dr.Lyonga Nalova, retired. The New VC is assuming office amid serious allegations that the state-owned University violated its own requirements for admission of undergraduate students, by accepting -either in complicity or by error, an applicant named Ekema Patrick Esunge, to read history with just one GCE Advanced Level paper.
    The said Ekema Patrick Esunge is the current Mayor of Buea, headquarters of Southwest Region of Cameroon,
   Disturbing Facts have emerged that he sat for the Cameroon General Certificate of Examinations (GCE) Advanced Level up to four times but passed only in one subject (history) with an ‘E’grade (being the lowest pass grade).
   Yet, he ‘fraudulently’ gained admission in to the prestigious University of Buea, whereas many applicants who pass same exam with at least two papers and better grades are, yearly , denied admission, for failing to meet the institution’s  minimum requirements.
  These findings were obtained from the Cameroon GCE Board and were made public on Friday July 7 at a press conference in Buea by Mr.Tambe Tiku Christopher, rights activist and Southwest Regional Secretary for the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF).
    To be awarded an Advanced Level GCE certificate in Cameroon, a candidate must have passed in at least two papers at the same sitting. To gain admission for undergraduate studies into the state-owned Anglo-saxon University of Buea, an applicant must have passed in at least five GCE Ordinary Level subjects including English language and at least passed in two ‘A’Level subjects at one sitting.
Tambe Tiku talking to reporters
   But Ekema, who formerly was a junior staff of the University of Buea and reportedly had as his highest qualification a pass in One Advanced Level in his employment file at the institution, was later admitted to read history and he was awarded a Bachelors’degree in 2006.
  In March 2014, he graduated with a Master’s degree in history from same university and is now reportedly studying elsewhere for a doctorate degree.
Strangely, and probably worried by the fact he had his Bachelor’s degree in 2003 without a GCE Advanced Level certificate, Ekema again registered for the ‘A’ Level in 2007 (for History, Geography and Philosophy) but did not sit for the exam.
  At the press conference, Tambe Tiku told journalists that his office was “inundated with complaints relating to alleged violation of the right to education by the University of Buea”, adding that “the complainants alleged that the university’s requirements in to some departments are discriminatory. They {alleged} that whilst some of them were refused admission with five points, a certain Ekema Patrick Esunge was admitted with one Advanced Level paper with one point”
  Tambe Tiku, who also teaches law at same university, said based on the complaints, he was forced to write to the Cameroon GCE Board to get the detailed results of Ekema Patrick Esunge “to establish the veracity of these allegations”
  The Human Rights official said he acted within his competence, citing the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, which as per Section 3(2) of its organic texts can “request competent authorities to carry out searches and require the production of any document or evidence in accordance with ordinary law.
   And upon receipt of the official request from the Buea  Regional Office of Human Rights and Freedoms, Dr.Monono Ekema Humphrey, Registrar of the Cameroon GCE Board who is on record to  have  said “I have nothing more to give my country than working honestly for it” acted accordingly and swiftly by furnishing the details results.
  Tambe Tiku said the University of Buea has already been informed about his findings and it has promised to act accordingly if its own investigations confirm Ekema Patrick Esunge frauded his way to become a student of the institution.
   What is certain is that if the University confirms that Ekema Patrick,now Mayor of Buea illegally gained admission there, his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History will be revoked and a public announcement made to that effect.
  With pressure mounting on the University of Buea to quickly make a pronouncement on the scandalous findings, many think the new VC will consider the matter a priority challenge, to save the “battered” image of the university, which was created in 1993 and part of its mission statement says:
   “The University of Buea is dedicated to the continuous quest for excellence, the promotion of moral and human values, and service to community”
If at all the University confirms that Mayor Ekema frauded his way into the institution for studies, apart from stripping him of the degrees, it could initiate a criminal action against him.
   According to the Cameroon Penal Code in Section 207(1), “Whoever forges or alters any official certificate shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to three years
(2) “Whoever makes use of any such certificate shall be punished in like manner”
Tambe Tiku said it is “overwhelming for a public figure to continue in office after engaging in a fraudulent act of this magnitude”, urging the Mayor to resign from office.
     Sounding very confident at the press conference and relying on the confirmation of Ekema Patrick’s results made available by the GCE Board, the rights activist noted:
   “From the results at our disposal,we can state boldly that Ekema Patrick Esunge frauded his way into the University. It is difficult for us to ascertain whether it was done in complicity with the University”
    Tambe Tiku said, “It beats one’s imagination why Ekema who earned a degree (in History) in October, 2006, would proceed to register for Advanced Level (for same subject) in 2007.”
   He said with the GCE Board’s confirmation that Ekema has a pass in just one paper, “it is now left for the University and the Judiciary to take their responsibilities”
   Unlike before when the Mayor would react swiftly and angrily to pronouncements made against him by the Buea Human Rights office, Ekema Patrick has surprisingly maintained sealed lips on the sensitive matter, fuelling speculations that he has nothing to counter the allegation, which has also gone viral on the social media.
   Meanwhile, the Faculty Executives of the University of Buea, have addressed a memo titled “Disapproval of Fake Academic Credentials From Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge” to the Vice-chancellor and Registrar, among others.
   The Memo calls on the University authorities to “bring the said Ekema Patrick to Justice”
   The students’ memo does not say exactly what will happen if the University   administration fails to heed their demands. But going by past records, students had always used strike actions to cause the administration to satisfy their demands.
   Mr.Ekema became Mayor of Buea in 2013, under the platform of the ruling CPDM, whose National chairman is Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya.
  CPDM officials are said to be saddened by the scandalous revelation about one of theirs.

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