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Former and Current IRIC students react to Professor Nyamding’s comment

“He is an expert in judicial anthropology, who understands how such things can cause even tribal tensions.”

A politician and Lecturer at the International Relations Institute of Cameroon Messanga Nyamding’s comment about some regions of Cameroon, especially the Northwest and Southwest Regions has created a wave of anger on Social Media.

Sharing his thoughts about the Musonge Comission that recently visited the North West Regions, to seek a solution for the Anglophone crisis, on Equinox TV, the ‘Biyaist’ said, “The most intelligent Cameroonians are Betis, Bassas, Doualas and some Bamilekes.

According to Professor Nyamding Anglophones are integrated into schools like ENAM, IRIC, and EMIA out of pity and not because of merit.

This professor has taught a good number of IRIC students and ex-students who have reacted to his comment; at a time when the country is divided by a socio-political crisis.

Some of them talked to Gina Informs;

L.B Ex IRIC Student

“The statement made by the professor who is usually respected in the academic milieu is not just ignorant but entirely false. The truth is he knows better. He has had English speaking students at IRIC who outperformed the so call Betis, Bassa, Bamileke etc. If he is honest to himself he’ll come out and say the truth. As an English-speaking student from Both IRIC and ENAM I outperformed the so-called Betis and Bassas in my class.  The professor is making statements without facts checking.

English speaking Cameroonians from the North West and South West have been “majors” in the entrance exams in these public schools so many times. So, were they given first place too because of the President? Professor I’m sorry but all your days of being a “biyaist” and gala venting on air hasn’t yielded any fruits for you. The political position you are looking will never forth come because you don’t have a mind and personality of your own. God bless you in your quest for a political career prof.”

C.I Ex IRIC Student

“A lot of francophones ain’t expressing their minds out of sheer maturity. Deep inside, anglophones hate francophones and vice versa. At least for the majority of them such outbursts would be common if we heard more debates. In my CAPI (Communication and Public Action) group for example, these was very common.”

V.V Ex IRIC Student

“This is exactly that kind of moment when you wonder to yourself the validity of the biblical analogy of ‘a student can never outgrow his teacher, he only grows through learning to be like him”. While studying at IRIC Prof Nyamding was one professor I truly admired. Despite his physical challenges he was this populist who appeared to be most friendly to students and even arguing for students. However, Prof Nyamnding has always been controversial in his speeches and actions. So, firstly his comments about anglophone students is not a surprise to me. The gentle professor was chairman of the jury at my defense and he lauded my work and I was awarded a very good note. I wonder if it was the head of states benevolence in that case. It is unfortunate that his speech amounts to a good level of hate-speech when we expect the academic elite to maybe be the way out during this crisis. As an anglophone who is proud of his formation and academic prioress, I think the Professors comments were totally unfair and he should apologise for them.”

B.N Ex IRIC Student

“First of all, the only reason I’d be surprised is because he said that on National TV. I’m not a pro politician, so it’d be hard for me to imagine how this stunt helps him or his party. Otherwise, I heard him make comments like that in the classroom many times. But on a larger scale, it’s comments like this that summarize why there’s chaos in the country right now. The ‘I don’t care, as long as it doesn’t bother me’ attitude that has divided our country over the years. Cameroon is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. For some people, that could be a blessing because of the cultural wealth, for people who reason like this, and are bold enough to say it out loud, that could crack those boundaries even deeper.

Politicians do that a lot recently, unfortunately. It’s a strategy that has been long standing and was magnified recently during the 2016 US presidential elections: The idea that ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’. You say things like that, even if you don’t believe them, just to spark controversy and then everyone starts talking about you. Now you become renowned without having to pay for expensive ad campaigns.”

T.A Ex IRIC Student

“It does not represent the Professor at all because as my lecturer at IRIC, he taught us to value diversity and to know we all have something special as students. He told us the problem of Africa is its failure to spearhead its development from homegrown values. We borrowed from the Europeans, Americans and Asians. By the way, Anglophones are made up of numerous ethnic groups and it is wrong for the Professor to compare us with Betis, Bulus, Dualas, etc. So, I think judging from the categorisation used by the Professor (ethnic groups) his argument has both academic and practical logical inconsistencies. By the way, the standards used for writing and evaluating those so called competitive entrance exams are mostly French dominated. Let us try using exclusively Anglo-Saxon standards let’s see if we can draw those same conclusions.”

B.L Ex IRIC Student

We are really fools! After 56 years of marginalization and all we are fool enough to even want be part of this bad system. After all the killings some ‘anglofools’ are still serving the same military that kills us, some ‘anglofools’ are still ministers and black legs under the same regime, some ‘anglofools’ will still tell you the government has the right to kill their brothers, some ‘anglofools’ like Njume Frankline and co still believe they are still in a United Republic of Cameroon where they will remain slaves and CPDM beggars forever! Some diasporans ‘anglofools’ only criticise morning till night but can never fund this struggle. Worst category of ‘anglofools’ are those that live in developed countries and enjoy all the amenities, post pictures on Facebook daily with another man’s beautifully developed country opening their fangs and refuse to support this struggle because according to them they are not concerned or support all the atrocities by the government.

T.G IRIC Student

Well, I think for an academic of that caliber to say something like that is very disappointing to say the least, his responsibility should not be to justify wrongful government actions but to use his knowledge for positive nation building. Secondly the suggestion that Anglophones are somehow ungrateful only gives an insight into the view that the government officials have held towards anglophones as lesser, inferior or second class. It shows us the roots of the current crises. Anglophones are not some immigrants asking for assistance. Speaking as an IRIC student, I do not see any so-called difference in qualification or smartness between me and the French speaking students. That statement is so shameful, academics should be held to higher standards than that.”

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