By Cyprian Ntiamba Obi Ntui
It is lamentable when Cameroonians look back and realize that for nearly six decades, administrators at various levels have been people who succumb to a system that imprisons their thinking; thrives in stifling their initiative and extols in shrinking their innate capabilities.
Indeed, a certain atavism still haunts what is supposed to be a third millennium administration; a malaise that presents itself as a carryover from centuries of slavery and colonialism. While they carry themselves with a certain ego that portrays them as people who are all-knowing, Cameroon’s administrators treat the administered as of little knowledge; people who must always be at the receiving end and who are incapable of making any meaningful contribution to national development other than engaging in peasant agriculture.
While our administrators see their subjects as people who have no initiative of their own and therefore must always be told what to do; the system has in advertently neglected or utterly failed to recognize the need to awaken innate capabilities that lie dormant in every human being.
Worse still is the fact that our administrators do not even want to encourage their subjects to think independently with a view to shifting from putting too much expectation on the government; striving to be self-reliant and achieving a reasonable level of mental freedom.
Under our type of system, and over the many decades of this negative conditioning, virtually every Cameroonian has lost the believe in the innate ability of a people as a collectivity to move their nation forward and taking it to a point where development could be self-propelling; with minimal intervention from government.
I dare to postulate that a regime that is incapable of seeing the huge potential that lies dormant in its human resources; potentials that are merely waiting to be awakened so as to set them into fruitful use and service; such a regime would also be unable to correctly ascertain the aspirations of its people in order to pursue them for the overall satisfaction and benefit of the citizens and nation.
When leadership fails to recognize worth in its people; when it feels comfortable working only with its praise singers; blind to seeing, recognizing and appreciating worth in all people irrespective of what idiosyncrasies prevail in the nation at a time, so too would the regime be unable to make maximum use of its human potential.
Little wonder our nation has and is witnessing a stagnation that can never be found in any other modern and supposedly democratic state. For any group of people to progress, free thinking must not only be allowed to grow as nature and environment dictate; since these could constitute limiting factors; but the older generation or the leadership must purposefully try to encourage the masses to liberate their thinking consciously and expansively as of necessity.
A progressive people must be liberated in spirit and their creative potential let lose so that every citizen realizes his or her full potential so as to contribute maximally to national development. Unfortunately, mental freedom and intellectual output are what the Yaoundé regime fears most, continuous to fight against and abhors at its utmost.
Indeed, many a Cameroonian administrator comes to the scene with nothing in the head to implement on ground that could convince the people that this administration is purposeful, focused and heading to somewhere. Year in year out, no matter how many administrative officers come and go, nothing changes that could make any of them to be immortalized in the minds of those they rule.
Except when they have resorted to implanting some form of brutally in the minds of the people or some form of unforgettable scandal. These are the types of legacies they thrive in leaving behind when they get transferred from a duty post or go on retirement.
All over the country, administrators come to their duty stations with no conviction of their own; with no plan as to what they have to execute over the period of their posting and so on.
They must always be told what to do which is usually about clamping down on public descent; administrators are always not free to associate with all as some citizens are stigmatized for one reason or the other by the regime big wigs, while administrators never get to understand the people they rule over nor their aspirations.
Even when they try to go closer to the people in an effort to understanding their needs, the administrator looks as helpless as any other ordinary citizen because he has to wait for orders as to whether to act or not to take action; orders which usually come from afar off.
Worst of all and in most instances, the aspirations of the masses or community could just be the opposite of what the master wants the administrator to do and so there is perpetual conflict of interests.
They end result of what we see is administrators who are wont to clamp down on their subjects, resort to exploiting them through various forms of extortion and so on. Therefore, administrators in the field live a lifestyle that runs counter to the reality of the environment in which they live.
Little wonder in our villages and towns, wealthy mansions juxtapose shanty dwellings making life a danger to both the poor and the rich since they all breathe the same air from the filthy environment.
In such a set up, the natives, rather than go closer to their administrators, they do not only steer clear, but actually run away from them. So the idea or hope of administrators ever mobilizing the population for national or even communal development is farfetched.
Administrators are perceived as corrupt and self seeking making the common maxim of, “everyone for himself and God for us all,” to be the language of interaction between the ruled and the rulers.