Contributed by Nkafu Gabriel
EKEMA PATRICK ESUNGE (1976 – 2019)
The Hercules of Our Time
The former Mayor of Buea in the South West region of Cameroon, Late Ekema Patrick Esunge has been laid to rest after a State funeral ceremony that held at the Buea Independence (Bongo Square) in his honor.
The funeral ceremony began minutes after 11:00 am with the arrival of the Personal Representative of the Head of State and Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji, accompanied by the Governor of the South West region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, the SDO of Fako, Emmanuel Engemba Ledoux, Minister of Secondary Education, Dr. Nalova Lyonga and other state dignitaries. Then came in the casket containing the remains of the late mayor.
One of the high points of the ceremony was an interreligious service celebrated by the clergy from the main stream churches. The Men of God reminded the thousands of mourners who came from far and near, of the need to not only take care of their bodies but more importantly, their souls; the only thing that accompanies us all to the land of no return.
After the service, it was time for the eulogies. The first eulogy came from His Majesty Robert Esuka Endeley, the Paramount Chief Elect of Buea on behalf of the friends of the late mayor, who described the mayor as a childhood friend who was full of courage and resilience.
In another eulogy, the interim Mayor of Buea, Dr. John Effande said it was indeed a great loss for the municipality. On behalf of the family, the elder brother of the late mayor, Hans Esunge said it was indeed a very tough moment for the Esunges.
The final eulogy was from a daughter of the soil, Dr. Nalova Lyonga who spoke not in her capacity as Minister of Secondary Education but on behalf of the Fako elites – elites who the late Mayor was always at loggerhead with. According to Dr. Nalova who described the late mayor as extremely controversial and corrosive, “Ekema did things we could not do. He was not perfect. He did not need to be perfect. We all have the chance to establish legacies.” Dr. Nalova also emphasized the role played by the elites in giving the mayor a befitting burial “Ekema believed the elite hated him and some do. But they are the ones who have put their feet down to ensure he got a befitting burial,” Dr. Nalova.
A condolence message from the Head of State to the widow of the late mayor, Catherine Esunge was read out by the SDO for Fako.
The Personal representative of the Head of State, Paul Atanga Nji decorated the Mayor post humorously with the title of Commander of the National Order of Valor. Drawing inspiration from different bible stories, Minister Atanga Nji cautioned all present to leave judgment to God and concentrate on living a better life.
Minister Atanga Nji added that he and the late mayor shared everything in common including courage, determination, fighting spirit, ability to conquer fear, respect of institutions and support to the Head of State – an opinion many others agree with.
The mortal remains of the late mayor were later taken to his residence at Check Point, Molyko-Buea where they were lowered into mother Earth.
Many who attended the ceremony think the late mayor got a befitting burial but regretted the fact that CPDM militants and members of the Maleh dance group were not part of the ceremony. “How can a party the late mayor fought so hard for be prevented from coming here?” Chief Njombe Njoke Johnson of Wokaka questioned.
Late Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge leaves behind a mother, wife, five children, siblings, and the entire Buea population to mourn him.
The late mayor would be remembered for his bravery, courage, fights against the ghost town phenomenon and separatist activities. His great management skills at the helm of the Buea council earned him several awards and traditional titles. One of such titles “Nyamoto Kpwatolo”(Brave warrior) was given to him by Chiefs of the South region.
Go well Nyamoto Kpwatolo!