Saturday, April 30, 2016

Adieu Prof Peter Agbor Tabi: The man of progress!

When the news broke out that Prof Peter Agbor Tabi had passed away, it did not take me as a surprise. He was a mortal who knew his mortality. He was man who care for his people, albeit his vaulting ambition was discordant with those who had signed a pact with backwardness. He was never in a hurry with his words, but they carried powers beyond the immediate vicinity they were uttered. Before he was appointed rector, I had to pay money to hold my campaigns in the University of Yaoundé. When he was appointed, all of that vanished. He served as a covering to the weak and gave opportunities to the tailess cows. Twice my group and I were detained while praying in the field, and twice he ordered our release. I am aware he made some unpopular reforms like instituting school fees in our universities, reforms and favors to his people. I actually like the policy of paying fees because now it creates more consciousness in people than the lackadaisical scholarships that raised up indolent Cameroonians.  Therefore, I believe that the learned and good professor would have loved to be associated with the fees reforms.
In John 9: 1-25, a man was born blind. He was healed by Jesus, but the chief priests wanted him to lie that he was healed by someone or something else because Jesus was a sinner, according to them. The man told them, " Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not; one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see (Jn 9:25)." Whether Prof Agbor Tabi was a monster or not, I know not; one thing I know is that he gave me and the others I know opportunities. He may be Lucifer in the flesh to some, but he was Angel Michael to me because I have a personal history with the man.
I had experienced my first “coup d’église” when I was replaced from my position as the coordinator for Colleges, Lyceé and Universities for Christ (CLUC) while on a trip. When I returned, my roommate (Rev Benjamin Noumba) who is now the District Pastor for Full Gospel Mission, Yaoundé District kept it a secret because he wanted me to live the experience live. He knew that I never fought for positions! When I went to the meeting, I was informed that the leadership had changed hands. I asked them when and why. They gave their explanations, and I told the brethren that I was going to respect the will of God, so I will no more come to the meeting. This was a group I had redeemed from the fracas of the previous breakup. I met the group when it had broken up. I had already raised the membership from 2 to 125 members in 3 months. We were establishing groups in secondary and high schools in the Yaoundé area like popcorn.
I stopped going to the meeting and concentrated on another group (“The Street Preachers”) I had formed while leading CLUC, which still exists today. During my absence, CLUC university could not hold a single campaign or conference because the Rector- Prof Peter Agbor Tabi did not issue them authorizations, which I had no hand in it. When they told me, I went to the office that day and saw Mr. Oumarou who was in charge of the planning (first stage for the authorization), and he approved it. I then carried it myself to the rector’s office, and he approved it too immediately. Then he asked me to pray for him so he could become a minister. I prayed and prophesied that "in one year time, this same time, you will become a minister." He asked me if I was sure. I told him that, it was not me saying it; I was saying it on the authority of God. Then, I left. The next month, he gave us permission to build a multipurpose center in the University of Yaoundé. The planning division drafted a degree or ordinance which he signed. We saw the mayor and the minister of higher education, but both of them wanted huge sums of money for bribe, so we abandoned the project.
The group had disintegrated, and there were only five faithful people attending meetings: Christopher Aangaama, Marie Noelle, Divine Njoh, Alfred Biso and Duplex Tchounke. God had just used him to set straight the crooked path the church leaders had paved. That day, he made me too powerful that the group from which I was thrown out, like Jephthah’s brothers, came back to seek my help. Marie Noelle and Christopher came to my house to beg me to come back and lead them. I went back to lead the group and within 3 months, all the members returned, and the group was booming with old and new members.
One year later, he was appointed minister. I was resting in my student room when his bodyguard came to see me. He has never come to my house, and I did not know that him or his bodyguard (Kennedy who was from Ntenako like myself) even knew where I lived. I was surprised. The bodyguard told me, “Papa wants to see you. “ I asked him who was that papa, and he told me the minister. I asked him how he knew my house, and he told me. He carried me in his car and took me to his office. I was praying all through during our ride. When we reached, I went into the office, and he got up to receive me. I was surprised. Then he told me that he knew my mother, and that they were in politics together. I began to feel a little bit comfortable now. Then he told me that he has brought me there for one thing;
            Then he told me to come and see him in his office the next day. He told me that he wanted me to teach him how I preached and captured people’s hearts. He informed me that every time I held a campaign in one of those amphitheaters, he had attended them, and the crowd was always very attentive and quiet. More so, students came out to give their lives to Christ. I laughed, I told him that it was the spirit. However, I will like to teach him on condition that he rewarded me, since it was for political gain. He asked me what I wanted, and I told him that I wanted a scholarship. He quickly retorted, “Who gives scholarships?” I said, “The Minister of High Education. He said, “Then, who is the minister?” He laughed. The next day, I drafted a plan out of the theory I expounded called “Politics by Proximity” which was simply a transfer of the principles of “Evangelism by Proximity,” A strategy I had developed in my days as the interim pastor in Full Gospel Mission Bambui.  I showed him from the bible how to tackle hostile places from the prophets to the apostle and church fathers. He was so intrigued that he called a meeting of a few people (like Atem Ebangha-Ashu), and I explained to them. That year, with this theory, the CPDM won in SW 100%.  On the campaign trail, he asked me to go with him to some places. A day before we entered the village, I shared with him a dream I had. I saw the people poisoning a goat they were to give him and the chair he was to sit on, in an attempt to kill him. When we reached that village the next day, the people had dressed the chair very well, so we ordered for a new chair which was the one someone was sitting on top already. Later, the people gave him the goat which he abandoned behind with the people.  
On our way back to Yaoundé, at Mutengene, we ran into skirmish because wayward guys wanted to pick up some prostitutes, and there was a disagreement that brought the locals out. When the locals found out that we went to campaign for the CPDM, they surrounded the van and called for people to bring “Zoua Zoua” to burn us and the car. I passed through the window and began to make a plaidoirie for the reason why we were supporting the CPDM. During this time, I had called him to explain what happened. He told me that the police will be there, I should just try to keep the people calm. The DO sent the police, gendarmes and Army who came and bailed us out. We would have been burnt alive.
When we reached Yaounde, he offered me a scholarship, but I did not like it, so I proposed for him to help three very intelligent kids who had not had the luck to enter Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS Yaoundé), so they could become teachers. He asked me for their names, and I gave them. Two months later when I went there, he told me that everything was there, and when the names came out, they were there. He kept almost every promise he made to me.  I knew him as a soft-spoken, friendly, funny and faithful person. I lost contact with him when I left the CPDM, and moved to the United States. I felt like I could not more support the very system that was oppressing people.
Prof Peter Agbor Tabi did not help only Manyu people; he helped Cameroonians and strangers alike. One of my very smart and intelligent Bamileke sisters in Christ wanted to enter into Ecole Normale, so she shared it with me. I divulged it to him, and he asked me for the name. The deal was sealed! I am aware that some of his policies were not popular, but there is no man or woman who can please everyone on earth.  Therefore, I cannot sacrifice his goodness for the potage of the Zeitgeists or political correctness! He was a hen that protected her chicks.
The Manyu people, especially have a lot to be thankful about Prof Peter Agbor Tabi. Those who were admitted into ENS, CUSS, ENAM and IRIC have jobs. With those jobs, they have alleviated the suffering of their relatives at home. These people now have a strong hope to live, and they look into the future with anticipation. When HON E.T Egbe came with postal appointments, Manyu people complained that “not everyone will be a postmaster.” H.E. Kima came with light, they began asking "If na light we di chop." H.E Prof Agbor Tabi came, they said “Na all ma go be teacher?" That year they were two Manyu sons in IRIC who were recruited in Diplomacy when only 7 students were recruited for the entire Diplomacy department. It important to note that every child who was helped by Prof Agbor Tabi merited his or her position because he was a man of excellence. He merely wanted to give a voice to the voiceless. Each of them had passed the A levels with at least three papers, and they also graduated from the university. 
Permit me to us this example form the bible. I will want to use this example from the bible. When Jesus entered Capernaum, the dear servant of a centurion was sick and dying, so he sent village elders to go and invite Jesus to come and heal him.  When they met Jesus, the highlighted the good deeds of the man , and one of them was that he loved their nation up to a point where he built a synagogue for them (Luke :1-5 ). Jesus went there and awoke the dead servant who had died before he arrived. It is ok to do good to your people. In this case, you are right to question if they merited it. Yes, they did because the names I gave all had at least 3 A, Levels and graduated from the university without a job.
It is unfortunate that we have to seek help because these people have merited theirs. Now, let me tell you the one where you do not really merit. I had a Beti sister and brother in Christ from the same father and mother. They neither wrote nor registered the ENS exam, but they passed and their names were there, so they consulted me to see if it was righteous for them to take the opportunities. I told them to take them as manna from heaven. It is not always that we merit everything that we get, whether good or bad. It is not acceptable, but if you are a victim of good, you should take it; that is another form of a miracle. Those who have not had miracles in their lives should keep hoping and praying for their turns. The reason why they needed favors, even though they merited the professional schools was because of nepotism and cronyism that have bedeviled the country and escheated the unprivileged but brilliant kids like mine.
             History has left the past generations behind in their strife and rancor; the present generation is picking up the pieces.  In the future, we will reassemble the vase from where Manyu sons and daughters will drink in unison and dance the songs of Paw Manku Wars as heroes and heroines. You may not have known what Professor Peter Agbor Tabi did for Cameroon. He brought reforms in the University of Yaoundé that reduced corruption. I don't like Biya, and I want him to go, but H.E. Peter Agbor Tabi served him faithfully. He took the bold steps of instituting reforms that saved Cameroon from early bankruptcy. I don't like Biya, but I will praise any man who serves his master faithfully as he did.
This is not a veiled endorsement of the Biya regime; it is merely the sound of a shotgun that we will no more sacrifice our own, simply because they think differently from us. It is a time when we can tolerate differences in opinion and embrace those who see red where we see blue, knowing that there are many reasons why different people see the same thing in different colors.
This is a warning shot that an attack on one of us is an attack on all. Together we shall build a future for our progeny and the songs of development will be heard in the hinterland and the extremities of the earth. 
I do understand that as a politician, he can never come to equity with clean hands, so I am conscious some of you who fought him on the opposite aisle will see him as a devil incarnate. That is ok, not even Jesus was found to be without blemish by the Sanhedrin. Those who hated him always had a reason, but those of us who loved him, also have our reasons. For those reasons, I mourn his premature departure from this earth. He had always loved to benefit from the things of God, even though his heart was far from repentance. My hope is that he met God and gave his life to Christ before he left this world, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mk 6:36-37.
Until then, Prof Agbor Tabi came from dust, and unto dust he will return!

St Arrey of Ntenako

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (I Cor 15:19). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Hamilton Ayuk. Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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