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“Mr. President of the Republic of Cameroun, Honourable Ambassadors and Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the people of the Southern Cameroons, my delegation and myself take this opportunity to congratulate the people of Eastern Kamerun for their wellearned independence. It gives me the greatest pleasure to be here in Yaoundé to take part in the celebration of this historic occasion. This happy day has not come as a surprise, it is the result of hard struggle. Congratulations to the architects of this resounding victory and masses of the population who have in their various ways contributed to the success. The people of Kamerun, like other nations of the world are freedom loving. Our forefathers received the European traders kindly for the purpose of exchange of goods, but did not hesitate to resist when they started to colonise the territory. In vain they fought the Germans, not knowing the terrific might that supported them. Resistance was quelled down by treaties which enabled them to secure the goodwill of the coastal chiefs as a spring board to penetrate into the interior where they met still greater resistance. When vanquished our people still hoped for freedom through collaboration and coexistence. Through no fault of ours, we were destined to pass through the tutelage of many masters as the result of world wars which had nothing to do with us. The Kamerun, a German creation was unfortunate to become a booty of two conquerors who without regards to human feelings ad ethnical affinities shared it between them and created an artificial boundary. The people on both sides have been unable to see any reason for this separation. 41 years of separation has made very little change in their outlook as a nation, and by determination the artificial boundary is about to be removed. But thanks to the League of Nations and the United Nations for their foresightedness to independence instead of their outright annexation, the territories were given in trust. I appreciate the efforts of the distinguished members of the United Nations and their governments who have watched the progress of Eastern Kamerun and seen to it that independence was not delayed any longer than it was due. I wish to say how appreciative we are for their acceptance to be present at the celebration of the independence of today. Thanks to France and the good Frenchmen and women who, recognizing their sacred trust to Eastern Kamerun, have carried out intensive developments as the means of achieving the objective of the Trusteeship Agreement. The achievement made within the space of 41 years is one everybody should admire. Most in particular, I want to congratulate France as the Administering Authority for accepting independence when it was due and for assisting for have it effective today. I hope having led the territory to independence she will play the role of friendship towards its international relations.
Today, we of the Southern Cameroons see the beginning of the unity of our great country in the independence of the Eastern Kamerun. We have always believed that the shortest course to unity of the two sectors is through independence. I have all along been immensely impressed with the unanimity of the demands for the independence and reunification in Eastern Kamerun, a unanimity which obliged even the UN to rule out the need for a plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people. Encouraged by the patriotic spirit, I would like to assure you that we on the other sector of the Kamerun are working hard to make possible the coming into being of this great country of Kamerun. Now free, we have given you the option to forge ahead with international negotiations for diplomatic relations. We, however, knowing what we are looking for, would advise that we be consulted in any such international relations with the free countries of the world. Fellow citizens of Eastern Kamerun, independence brings with it vast responsibilities which must be borne by everybody. The first responsibility is the maintenance of peace and order. Peace is the key to progress, and I strongly hope all will endeavour to cooperate in order to make it possible. This done, your energy can be concentrated in tilling this fertile land and producing the wealth so much needed in advancing the social wellbeing of our people. This is the sure way to build the nation. It is better to correct from within rather that from without. Cooperation gives you the chance to say what you have in mind. You are as important in the building up of a prosperous Kamerun as any other person. To do this you should say what you want if you are able. Democracy is the rule of the people by the people themselves under the law enacted by themselves. Its principal method of procedure is by freedom of speech to enlist the sympathy of the majority towards an opinion. It is the majority that decides. Therefore, come forth, and if you have an opinion for the betterment of the people, appeal to them and weigh the strength of its popularity. Once more, I wish to say how happy we of the Southern Cameroons are, to know that this sector is free. The eyes of the people of the whole world are focused on Eastern Kamerun. The bonds of imperialism have been thrown away today. We look forward to seeing you enter courageously among the sovereign nations of the world. In this happy venture we wish you God’s guidance. Long Live the Republic of Eastern Kamerun, Long Live United Kamerun”.1
See “A Speech by Hon. J.N. Foncha, Premier of Southern Cameroons on the Occasion of the Independence Celebrations of the Cameroon Republic”. Southern Cameroons Information Service, Buea. Press Release No 620, 6 January 1960
Independence Address by Ahmadou Ahidjo, Prime Minister of the New Cameroun Republic, January 1, 1960”. (Translated from the French by Nzo Ekang)
“Your Excellencies, Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Cameroonian Government and of myself, permit me to wish you welcome and express to you the gratitude of the Cameroonian people who acclaim your presence here today. It is a great privilege to me to be their mouthpiece at the moment when our country is witnessing the greatest day of its history. From all the corners of the world you have answered our invitations, and you have come to bear testimony to the friendship of people who are rejoicing to see a new state enter into the concert of Free Nations. Say to your countries that Cameroonians note with the most profound gratitude, the sympathy which is thus shown them. Say to them that Cameroon wishes to collaborate with all without reserve and without exclusion in solid ties of friendship and of confidence. The feast which we are celebrating is not only the feast of Cameroonians, it is the feast of all free people, it is thus the feast of all those who are with us today. Let us enjoy it together and in common. CAMEROONIANS, the Cameroons is free and independent. These words should cause to vibrate in each one of us an emotion which we do not dissimulate, since it is natural, since it touches on the most profound and the most pure aspirations of everybody who go by the name of Man. Cameroonians, my brothers, this day so much desired, we must experience today with great fervour. Its significance must overflow our hearts, and our joy, to be complete, must also be filled with the anxieties which we have experienced and the hopes which we have nourished. After a long ascension we are making a halt and looking back on the course already run. We rejoice, but we also measure the distance which remains to be covered and for which we are assembling our forces. Altogether, with our mind directed towards the great aim which we attain today, we have broken through all obstacles, we have by-passed all snares, but we know that our effort is not yet ended. Beginning from the distant epoch when our tribes free but divided contended in war, a Nation was forged that divested itself from the marquetry of race, religion, creed, or custom. As everywhere else in the world where in the course of the centuries nations have been created, the people of this country had only few things in common originally. Links were, however, built little by little and then became strengthened resulting in the formation of a national sentiment which we now profoundly feel. The shock of the Second World War, by bringing nearer together
the different peoples that fought for the same cause, hastened a movement that had already been deeply rooted. The great thirst for liberty, the need to take over responsibility, which invaded all men who loved justice resounded in the Cameroons and found there a tremendous echo. Each one of us knows that this profound wish following its course freely would one day find its recompense and its fulfillment. We were not mistaken. We owe much to the United Nations and to the Trustee Power, France, for having helped us construct our nation outside hate and force. Let them be thanked for this. We do not believe, in effect like some people, belated in an obsolete romantism, that mortal fights are necessary for historical movements, and that nations must be created in blood. A state that is just born has nothing to waste, neither its human nor its material resources. Wailings that the Cameroons may be founded on peace, with the accord and the support of all, can be seen on the visage of the world that is looking into the past full with nefarious instances, our on-lookers are, however, already distinguishing the outline of a community universally peaceful, and united and open to all. Those who have separated themselves from us, and who have tried to conquer alone the objectives which come to an entire people have done nothing but impede the march of their brothers. Let them recognize their error and rejoin us. We shall forget their defections and history shall retain only the common action of a people in love with dignity, justice, and liberty. We wish that tomorrow our ranks be closer than yesterday, for the work that is remaining to accomplish shall necessitate the mobilization of all our energies. No child of this country would be able to disentangle himself from the task that is reserved for him without betraying the fatherland which we are celebrating today. Independence, as liberty, is something which may defeat its own ends and which may do so each day, and nobody is too much to defend it, fortify it, preserve it with all its force and with all its spirit. We all know that there is no dignity for those who wait for all the others, we know that this independence which we have just obtained would be nothing but a snare if we do not ensure it in the realities of daily life. We are determined to give it an existence which shall not be a mere façade. We shall be judged by our acts. The world is waiting on us that we furnish her with proof of our seriousness, of our capacity to direct our own affairs ourselves. We shall give it to her, for we wish it to everybody. Cameroonians, I know that the independence which you have so much desired you will not be unwilling to carry, whatever the burden, you will not be unwilling to consecrate all your cares and all your forces towards its preservation. You will not be alone, however, and the conditions of the birth of an independent Cameroon are the sure guarantee of her growth tomorrow. The United Nations, in the midst of which we shall soon take our place, as well as France whose friendship comforts us each day, shall be for us the natural guides in our first steps. We know that we shall have need for their aid, we are sure that she
shall not ask the price of us, and that she shall genuinely seek to consolidate our independence and our liberty. We wish on this solemn day, to bear to them the testimony of our gratitude and to render to them friendly homage of a people that is conscious of what it owes towards them. Yesterday we were their pupil, today we are their partners. The ties of friendship which unite us now shall be even more solid in the future as in the past. The great family of independent nations welcomes us on this solemn day. Our place awaits us, it remains for us to take it in order to prove to all who have shown us friendship, that our acts shall conform with the measure of confidence they place on us. Cameroonians of the towns, of the villages and of the countryside, our hearts beat today in one same rhythm, our national flag flies everywhere in the winds before your joy. We have risen through the exalting breath of a grand beginning. We shall know in enthusiasm to build a Nation of which our children shall be proud and which shall hold its place in the world under the triple symbol of our national motto: Peace –Labour-Fatherland Long Live Liberty, Long Live Independent Cameroons”.2
See “Independence Address by Ahmadou Ahidjo, Prime Minister of the New Cameroun Republic, January 1, 1960”. (Translated from the French by Nzo Ekang), Southern Cameroons Information Service, Buea, Press Release No 624 of 8 January 1960
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