Opinion: Prof. Tazoacha Asonganyi, Victim of minority conviction

In this write up, staff writer, Cyprian Ntiamba Obi Ntui takes a closer look the late professor Asonganyi’s political struggle and concludes that  the late professor, who transited last week, was a victim of the socio-political climate in which he found himself and how he fitted very well into that mould.

When dreams are shattered and a lifetime lies in ruins, it takes a certain inner fortitude and personal conviction for one to be able to peer beyond the wreckage that surrounds one and see the gleam of light that beckons afar off in the long tunnel.

It is this unfortunate predisposition that weighs on many and eventually pulls down even the supposedly ‘Goliaths’ among the human species. And when eventually, the end result is death, all that the rest of us write or say, thereafter, are but conjectures, had-I-knowns and indeterminate speculations.

This is exactly the despicable scenario in the case of our great Professor, Tazoacha Asonganyi, whose passing away was announced last week. And when it comes to this final test that awaits all mortals it is difficult for us mere humans to make a distinction as to whether one death is an unfortunate one and the other a lucky one by our yardsticks.

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Professor Asonganyi. Our analysis of the life of Late Professor Asonganyi in terms of whether he was a successful man or a failure; as defined in human terms is closely tied to the country he belonged; in terms of his ethnic group; region of origin and the language he spoke, wrote and published in.

But how is Professor Asonganyi a victim and in what context? The Oxford Webster dictionary defines the word as a person who suffers from another’s deceit, or who is cheated by dishonest persons who take advantage of his emotions or ignorance.

Another critical term in our discourse whose definition we need to highlight here is ‘minority’. Though this word has varied meanings in social science ramifications, we have to make do here with the one that relates to the number of people with similar characteristics in a given heterogeneous population.

This population could be that of a nation, continent, racial group or other distinguishing factors that a given community deems fit to use to differentiate and segregate themselves.

Here again, the same dictionary defines the word ‘minority’ as, “a group differing, especially in race, religion, or ethnic background, from the majority of a population, especially when the difference is obvious and causes or is likely to cause members to be treated unfairly.”

Our analysis of the life of Late Professor Asonganyi in terms of whether he was a successful man or a failure; as defined in human terms is closely tied to the country he belonged; in terms of his ethnic group; region of origin and the language he spoke, wrote and published in.

Winning popularity, achieving one’s ambitions, be they in the political, economic, and even professional field in Cameroon today is closely linked to these parameters.

I would even venture to postulate that if Professor Asonganyi came from the ‘right’ ethnic group; if he spoke, wrote and published in the preferred language; he would have held a ministerial position in this country long before he died.

Especially in a context where some individuals circulate from one ministry to the other holding those highflying positions for ten, twenty and even thirty years.

Who knows what a difference it would have made in Asionganyi’s life if he was one of those circulating ministers all this while? Even though he was an intellectual Hercules, Professor Asonganyi died unfulfilled; politically, professionally and otherwise because he was a minority; be it in terms of his ethnic group or in terms of his status as an Anglophone Cameroonian.

In this context, there are some pertinent questions we need to ask ourselves. For one, are competence, wisdom, intelligence and performance distributed on majority-minority basis?

Is it always true that your well wisher (s) is (are) only people from your ethnic group? Again, is it only people from your ethnic group who are worth trusting? Is it only they who are capable of collaborating with the you or the leader to achieve critical national and or organizational objectives?

Experience and practice show that we cannot answer these questions with a categorical, ‘yes’. This is because man is the most complex of all creatures. Again, and as experience has shown, our most dangerous enemies could be members of our own households. Siblings are known to have betrayed and or killed others; talk less of more distant relatives.

That is why some of us keep seeing it as ridiculous for some high ranking officials to be recruiting body guards, cooks, housekeepers, house helps; and even resort to reserving good jobs as well as perpetrating other intrigues in favour of members of their ethnic groups.

History is replete with absurd, if not unfortunate examples which show that the majority are not always right. People with a numerically larger population could be wrong, either because they lack adequate information about the situation or because even the information they have is outdated.

VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCES

This calls for open societies where every opinion, variation, and even disagreement is given room to express itself so that we can review our positions; make better judgment and arrive at better and more informed decisions; decisions that can stand the test of time.

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Prof. Asonganyi signing copies of his memoirs ‘Cameroon: Difficult Choices in a Failed Democracy’ that was published last year.

Fort as our elders say, “Beware of time for it has all the answers.” Apart from being a victim of the circumstantial accident of being born in a particular place at a given point in time, Professor Asonganyi, like many other Cameroonians, also was a victim of his integrity.

 

He was blackmailed, back stabbed and even betrayed by those he trusted and believed in most.

He was a man of strong convictions who would rather stand for what he believed to be right than compromise for whatever reason. That is why he is leaving the scene with no billions in multiple bank accounts for his children and children’s children to indulge in a life of ease.

That is why he left them with no mansions in and out of the country for them to be living in two worlds. And that is why he must have left them still toiling daily to get even the basic necessities of life like food, shelter and clothing.

Late Professor Asongyanyi just could not fit into a socio-political mould that thrives on self-rejection; hypocrisy, intrigues and deception that require one to throw away one’s best convictions to the dogs just to wallow in the mire of compromise and be contented with material things.

PLETHORA OF WASTED TALENTS

What is even more offending to the social climate of the day is when the refined and prudent bring morality into the crucial and vindictive ‘game’ of life. Those who make it in life today must be unscrupulous, heartless, hardened law breakers and casanovic. The late man did not belong here.

Professor Asonganyi has died uncelebrated, unfulfilled and unrecognized in spite of the enormous talent nature endowed him with. But he is not the only one who had suffered this fate nor is he going to be the last.

There are many ‘Tazoachas’ still living now who have potential to be great nationalists but they will pass on unnoticed because they stood firm on their convictions, and were blocked, backstabbed and or betrayed.

The ‘Tazoachas’ of Cameroon are indeed many, but especially among the Anglophone minority group; who will never have the opportunity to unveil their real worth and put it at the service of humanity.

The puzzle to be unraveled in the contemporary Cameroonian context is how to create an environment where talents among the Anglophones are given room for expression so that they can flourish.

So that individuals so endowed could live fulfilled and rewarding lives; without debasing themselves.

For this to happen, the political class must create an environment where rights of the minority are protected; justice for the disadvantaged is assured and equity for the underprivileged is guaranteed

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