Esuka Endeley’s Journey To The Throne

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By Cham Victor Bama

The row that has been rocking the designation of a new paramount ruler of Buea has ended.
The succession squabble of people of Buea has been buried. Prince Robert Esuka Endeley is the new traditional ruler named to ascend to the coveted stool. He succeeds the late Chief Justice S.M.L Endeley.
The consultative talks held Monday 5 February 2018 under the auspices of the Senior Divisional Officer for Fako, Emmanuel Ledoux Engamba, in Buea.
Esuka Endeley won 12 out of the 15 votes cast by kingmakers of Buea.
The process had suffered several postponements.
The first class chiefdom of Buea burst into jubilation when the Senior Divisional Officer for Fako declared that “the new paramount chief of Buea is Mr. Robert Esuka Endeley”, adding that “I have never come here to take any decision. It has taken the time it has taken. For the administration that I represent here”.
The Chief-designate has not uttered any official statement yet. But one of the Wonya Likenye royal family heads, Mola Njoh Wose Likenye, shortly after the talks, observed that “after the demise of our father, we had to reorganise. We engaged a process to look for a successor to our late father. By so doing, the different family households, which are 13, decided to make 13 kingmakers out of those families. We gave an assignment. We had about five candidates. Those 13 kingmakers went into election. Out of the thirteen kingmakers, ten selected Esuka”.
Mola Wose proceeded that “the royal family has the prerogative of electing their own chief as we have seen now. It was selected by the family and it was our choice. This throne doesn’t go from father to son. It’s a family issue. Whenever there is a vacancy, the families sit together. We started looking at private life of every individual. We can’t take any type of a person and put to lead. He is not there to lead the royal family, today he is there to lead the Bakwerians”.
Following decree no 277 organising traditional chieftaincies in Cameroon, the Senior Divisional Officer is expected to transmit the “process verbal” to Yaounde.
“We are now waiting for a decree that will come out and it will be signed by the Prime Minister”, Mola Wose said.

Royal Fight
Fresh consultative talks to designate a new chief of Buea flopped on 10 November 2017. It is against this backdrop that on 15 November 2017 the royal family during in-house and family consultations meetings met and selected Prince Robert Esuka Endeley.
By Friday 17 November the minutes and reports of the various family meetings held, were transmitted to the Senior Divisional Officer for Fako, Emmanuel Ledoux, family spokesman said.
The crucial Wonya Likenye royal family meeting, according to Prince Oscar Endeley “was to follow the SDO’s instructions as per the last consultative talks of 10th November”.
Quizzed on the outcome, he responded that “what came out is what we have done. It was unfortunate that on the 10th the family wasn’t called upon to say anything as per the stool. The family has chosen someone for the vacant stool. We followed the SDO’s instructions and to see to it that we confirm our choice and which we just did”.
Questioned on the family’s choice of the heir apparent to the throne, Prince Oscar said that “our choice is Prince Robert Esuka Endeley”.
Addison Etombe Jakai, representative of the Wonya Kuva family, decedents of throne, remarked that “the meeting was okay. But I think as time goes on we will land. Majority is for and minority is against. I don’t see anything really strong but I know in the days ahead there will be something better. The family has made a choice which is Prince Robert Esuka Endeley. I don’t think we can change anything from that. It is just Prince Esuka Endeley, the candidate for the family and even the Buea people. The notables for Buea are all for Esuka. Is just that we don’t know where these hitches are coming from”.
On the crucial royal family meeting, Prince Ngomba Daniel recounted that “the meeting agreed to stand by what from subsequent meetings have agreed. We have chosen a candidate. If you permit me, but I should not announce it, but we of the Wonya Likenye family have chosen. The candidate is very available and if you wake me at night, I will call by name whom we have chosen. The SDO should not be doubtful because even me as a legend of this royal family and this community, I don’t think we have any speaker who can tell the SDO that we the Wonya Likenye, today that we have sat in our royal family meeting, that we have chosen our candidate”.

Flash Back
The Super Rights
For close to four years since the disappearance of Chief Justice S.M.L Endeley, each party claims to be the rightful heir apparent to the throne. The families appeared not to be on one term. While the E.M.L Endeley’s thought they were on track, the S.M.L Endeley’s also positioned itself as the supreme. These are children of the same brothers, Elder and Younger brothers. While the S M L Endeley’s insisted that succession is hereditary, that is from father to son, the E M L Endeley’s said that succession is a royal family affair not father to son. Late Chief Justice Endeley succeeded his uncle. His uncle succeeded his elder brother, their father. According to theCameroon chieftaincy law no 77/245 of 25 July 1977 on the organization of traditional chieftaincies in Cameroon, a section reads “in principle, traditional chiefs are chosen from families that are customarily called upon to carry out the traditional leadership role”.

The Administrative Strength
The Senior Divisional Officer for Fako, Emmanuel Ledoux Engamba, weeks after his installation as new Fako SDO, convened first consultative talks at the backyard of the Buea Town palace on 10 November 2017.
Despite calls made by the SDO for Fako for unity and serenity to reign amongst the 16 families, so that the exercise could achieve its goal, the consultative talks collapsed.
The vacant stool has suffered from severe postponements since 2015 until 5 February 2018.

“I am just a Referee” -Fako SDO
The Senior Divisional Officer for Fako, Emmanuel Ledoux Engamba, while presiding over the consultative talks on 10 November 2017, stated that “I have many delegations complaining about the same issue and even during my installation and contact tour here in Buea, this same point has been raised as a major preoccupation for the population of the community of Buea”.
“I’m not the one to designate the chief. The village administration is there to designate their own chief.  All of you know that the chieftaincy and chiefdom like that of Buea, I think it should be the most important chiefdom in the SWR. We shall give it the importance it deserves. The administration is there to play its role as the referee”, he added.

What the Law Says
According to law no. 77/245 of 25 July 1977 on the organization of traditional chieftaincies in Cameroon, a section reads “in principle, traditional chiefs are chosen from families that are customarily called upon to carry out the traditional leadership role”. The law furthers states that the candidate for the traditional chieftaincy must have “a minimum of intellectual capacity, be able to read and write” among other criteria. The appropriate administrative authority selects the new chief from the candidates who meet those criteria, the law adds. The appropriate administrative authority “undertakes the necessary consultations to appoint a new chief, the authority must consult the appropriate customary figures”. It is within this background that the senior divisional officer for Fako, Emmanuel Ledoux Engamba, systematically executed the process to put an end to the protracted Buea chieftaincy brouhaha.
The process is deem to end when the prime ministerial decree shall be made public.
The SDO is expected to stage a similar exercise in days ahead at the highly contested first class stool in Limbe.


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