HOW I WAS HONOURED BY A GOVERNOR
When I worked as a journalist at CRTV Adamawa Region in Ngaoundere in 2008, something interesting happened between me and the regional governor. The governor at the time was Enow Egbe Abrams. And the occasion was the celebration of one of the national days. I think it was either Youth Day or Women`s Day.
The usual practice is that once the various groups have marched past, journalists go up to where the governor is sitting at the grandstand and interview him about the event just ended. In order to do this, journalists stoop before the sitting governor. So when we went up to Governor Enow Egbe Abrams and stooped for the interview, he held out his hand to me and said: “You are my Mishe. I can`t sit and talk to you while you are standing.” So, he rose and we all conducted the interview while he was standing. “Mishe” is a mark of respect that Sacred Heart College (Bamenda) ex-students use when addressing each other.
Surely, the governor was recalling our secondary school days at Sacred Heart College when I was his Class Prefect. At the time the college was governed basically by the principal, the Vice Principal and Prefects who were all from Form 5. There was no High School there then. Tutors only did their teaching and prepared report cards. The daily running of the school was handled by the prefects from the very first day the school reopened to the last day of the year.
When I was in Form 5, I was Assistant House Captain for St. John`s House and one Class Prefect of one of the Form 2 Classes and Enow Egbe Abram was in my class. At the beginning of the term, I appointed him my Class Prefect and Gwanmesia whose other name I can`t remember as the Assistant Class Prefect. One day while I was trying to resolve an issue during prep, Enow responded to me rudely and I deposed him. In his place, I appointed Solomon Kilo as the new Class Prefect. We ended the year with Kilo as the Class Prefect. That was then.
Many years later but prior to the encounter in Ngaoundere and when I was still working at the CRTV headquarters in Yaounde, Enow was governor in the South Region. When the governor and I met, he cracked a joke which left both of us roaring with laughter. He said: “Mishe, while we were at school you used to punish me. Do you know that now it is enough for me to give instructions to the gendarmes or the police and you would be taken and locked up?” As we laughed, I responded: “Your Excellency, of course! You are my governor!”
Jokes aside, the Ngaoundere incident was not the only one at which the governor honoured me. Once when he was still a Senior Divisional Officer – I think for either Boyo or Menchum in the North West – he paid me recognition. I was in Mamfe for another CRTV coverage of an event and he was there as an elite of the Division. When he spotted me across the hall, he rose from his seat, came over to me and greeted me.
From what I have come to conclude about the man, honour is not his only attribute. He also has tact. I remember that when he was appointed governor, he was either the youngest of the governors or one of the youngest. When he was governor of the South Province which is incidentally the province of origin of the President of the Republic, he had a distinctive style of management. After taxi drivers complained that they were being harassed by policemen, he reprimanded the latter and gave his personal telephone number to drivers with the instruction that if anyone molested them, they should call him.
Some years ago, he was replaced as governor and appointed a director in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization – the ministry in charge of governors. Today I am sure that I am not the only person who remembers the time he spent as an administrator in the field.