A STATE WITHIN A STATE 

(The youth want to create one, but can they rule it?!)

By RENE BATETAKANG

 

          “A state within a state” is a story about the people of Bakassi region of Cameroon who desire to live in a semi-autonomous region if the current Cameroon government grants them such a political status. Through this, they will be able to think by themselves, design their own policies and achieve political and economic goals for themselves.

          Living around a frontier, in a disputed territory between Cameroon and Nigeria, the educated youth decide to hold meetings frequently and consequently overshadow their traditional rulers, who are the beholders of authority this far. The youth succeed in convincing their traditional council to jointly draft a petition and forward to their central government, requesting for semi-regional autonomy. Cameroon President – Jacques Mbida, accepts the Bakassi people’s plea and calls for a referendum, which the people voted overwhelmingly in favour of semi-regional autonomy.  

          Often times, the desire for autonomy increases as a result of frustrations faced by the local population. The Bakassi people found themselves humiliated by their own military forces, who abandon mines on their farms, which later explodes, killing their cattle and casing a lady’s limb to be amputated. The Ekondo Titi police, which exercises jurisdiction over Bakassi people, unjustifiably detains their most popular local news writer. After the Cameroon-Nigeria confrontations ended, through the International Court of Justice’s ruling, the Cameroon army faces rebel attacks and cause the villagers in one of the five villages that make up Bakassi to relocate in another area and live in tents, where the villagers fall sick and even die.

          The two protagonists of this story -one male and the other female, form NGO’s and CIG’s, and use their wealth of experience in agriculture and Human Rights respectively to save the people from Human Rights abuses and poverty. They both finally form rival political parties, which the male-dominated Human Rights and Democracy Party wins a recent election and forms a representative government which includes two strong women from the opposition front.

          Kingson Effiong, the male protagonist, assumes the title of High Commissioner, and governs Bakassi region. He gets married to a simple girl Sylvie, who formerly was a hair-dresser. 

          However, what continues to astonish Cameroon government is the fact that the people of Bakassi showed no interest for the oil-rich, mineral and petroleum deposits found beneath the Bakassi waters, but they lay claim only to the landed part, where they could have an opportunity to showcase their own prowess and develop their own “state”.  One day, an individual discovers a very rich goldmine beneath the waters of Bakassi's only river - River Amoto. The issue is kept secret and the mining is solely controlled by the son of Bakassi’s paramount chief -Kingson Effiong, who thereafter becomes the regional leader for Bakassi region, styled 'High Commissar'.

           Finally, Cameroon’s Head Of State -  President Jacques Mbida, pays a visit to the newly-formed state of Bakassi and installs the newly-formed government. From that time on the new state of Bakassi was born.