Monday, April 2, 2012

State Burial or Official for Hon. SN Tamfu (Tentative Funeral Program Out)

Hon. SN Tamfu
Former CPDM Member of Parliament cum Honorary Member of the Polibureau of the CPDM, Hon. SN Tamfu will be hnoured by the state of Cameroon for his contribution towards nation building, national integration and peace. Hon. Tamfu who died last week will be given a state burial in his native Taku village in Donga Mantung Division of the Northwest Region of Cameroon. He was as a matter of fact, a visionary, a career politician and above all a national hero. Here below is the State Funeral program.

Hon. SN TAMFU – State Funeral Program
A – April 18, 2012:  All Night Waking in Yaoundé (Venue – tbd)
B – April 19, 2012
·       Removal of Corpse from Yaoundé Reference Hospital
·       Procession to the National Assembly
·       State Honors
·       Testimonies by Gov’t Officials – Presidency, National Assembly, Prime Ministry, CPDM Secretariat, etc.
·       Procession to EtugEbe Baptist Church
·       Sermon and Testimonies
·       Corpse leaves Yaoundé for Taku.
B – April 20, 2012
·       All Night Waking (with Body) in Taku
C – April 21, 2012
·       State Burial in Taku
·       Reception / Cultural Rites
D – April 22, 2012 to …..
·       Life celebration – Reception / Dances

By Mr. Henry Mimba Yembe,Former General Manager of Del Monte Plantation, Tiko &
Dr. Wilson Tamfu, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Buea, Cameroon.

    While there is a lot to write about S.N Tamfu, we will, for the purpose of a need for an urgent autobiography, we will state his life in these few pages. We will look at him as a selfless politician, a man of wisdom, a humble man and a family builder.
     Hon Samuel Ngeh Tamfu was born in August 1935 in Tamba, Taku village in Ndu Subdivision, Donga Mantung Division, North West Region, Cameroon, of peasant parents, namely late Tamfuh Kwi-antuh and Mama Nkosa Nkunku. They are five of them from his parents, two males and three females who are all still living. He is the third child in the family, the first being male, the second, fourth and fifth being females. Hon Tamfu attended primary education in the Cameroon Baptist Mission (CBM) schools at Taku and Ndu from 1944-1941. He passed the entrance examination to secondary school from standard five and not from standard six as was the case at that time. He did his secondary education in the Basel Mission College (BMC) Bali from 1952-1956. He graduated with a West African School Certificate. After his secondary education, he joined the United African Company (UAC) in 1957 in Bamenda and was later sent to Port Harcourt in Nigeria for a year’s training. At the completion of the training he was posted to the branch at Nkambe as Manager in 1958. He served there for one year and decided to quit and join politics in 1959. He joined the Kameroun National Congress (KNC) party in 1959 when he contested elections to the West Cameroon House of Assembly and succeeded. He served as Parliamentarian from 1959 to 1965 as a representative from Nkambe constituency. By 1965, S.N Tamfu was appointed Secretary of State for Economy and Planning in Prime Minister Jua’s government at the age of 29 years.  In 1968 he was again made Secretary of State in the Prime Minister’s office for Public Works, in Premier Muna’s Government.  He was dropped from the government in 1970. He then left Buea the capital of West Cameroon back to Nkambe town where he settled. In 1968 he went to the National Assembly at Yaounde as Parliamentarian under the CPDM Party. He was appointed a member of the Central Committee of the CPDM and also a member of the Political Bureau. He has been an outspoken politician with exceptional qualities. He occupied the post of section president of the CPDM section for many years and only handed over five years ago. He is member of the board of directors of SNH in Yaounde. He had five wives, 11 children 35 grandchildren and many great grandchildren. He retired from active politics recently and moved from Nkambe to Taku village and kept himself as a busy farmer. He however continued to attend important political meetings and rallies. During his rich political career, he helped unaccountable people not only of wimbum tribe or Donga Mantung but anybody in Cameroon who came his way and needed assistance either in kind, cash or valuable advice. He traveled widely out of Cameroon on political missions on behalf of Cameroon. The State has honored him with many decorations in recognition of his valuable and tireless contribution to the development of Cameroon. The most recent prestigious decoration being the Knight of the Cameroon Order of Valor.
   As minister in the West Cameroon Government, at his tender age, he initated the tarring of the Sabga Hill, which was the most risky road and this facilitated travel and saved many lives. Some writers of Cameroon political history omit him, but one would have a totally incomplete picture omitting him. He is known for his conviction for the creation of a Far North West Region because it will decentralize administration, and prevent our borders becoming like the Bakassi region due  to the settlers from Nigeria on them. Of course he constructed the Ako Bridge as a business contractor and this facilitated economic development in the region. He was very loyal to party leadership and government. In Donga Mantung he worked well with all the SDO’s, DOs, divisional delegates, mayors etc. His political convictions were unwavering. During the plebiscite, he voted on the side to join Nigeria. After the plebiscite, he stayed with CNU and CPDM till he departed. He is credited with the saying “What I can see sitting down, you may not see it standing on Mount Cameroon.” If you are strong, stay with the option you voted for, to join the La République du Cameroun.  He said he had no agenda apart from this. You cannot now turn around to say you took a wrong strep. Did I not warn you? Before dying he warned “Thrive with the union you have chosen.”  He bought lands and built most his houses before 1988 when he entered parliament. Most of his investments were done when he worked as business man and building contractor.
In 1988, the Party house changed the green and karki lists of the CPDM, so that two names were removed from a green list and put on the karki list and vice-versa. His list won. It was prophetic that he should return into politics at that time. He kept political secrets. He could talk intelligibly for quite long, but would never divulge sensitive political issues. He could meet the Head of State or Head of Government or ministers, but his agenda was never prematurely disclosed or disclosed for pride. He was very successful with most top government officials.
He was one of the Presidents of the Parliamentary Group, and worked in collaboration with Hon. Ndongo Essomba and Hon Ibrahim Njikoto in Parliament. In the early 1990s his timely interventions strengthened the leadership of CPDM in parliament.
He influence was so powerful that his phone calls could suddenly change a person’s destiny by giving someone an appointment. So while ill people began to feel that there will be a deep vacuum if he departs. He is no more, but he is alive through the many people he trained and helped, if they will remain as selfless and industrious as he was. We need leaders of his type.
2.      A WISE MIND
     In his later years he was more philosophical. If you heard him, you will know he acknowledges the emptiness in material pursuit. Hon Tamfu once said; “When people complain that they don't get what they deserve, they don't know how fortunate they are.” He said people actually get ruined because of certain attainments. He said, when you see a man with a very expensive car, costing about 40 times his monthly pay, do not envy him, or desire what he has, because you do not know how he got it. So do not emulate them. He was a churchman, especially in his middle age. But when this wave of democracy started, he said that the moment he enters the church some pastors start abusing politicians, so he goes home wounded rather than blessed. He found it wrong and said the church should for the right leaders, instead of condemning leaders.
    He stayed home most of the time supporting churches, missionaries, orphanages etc. At one time he made a big financial gift to a catholic hospital in Bafoussam that rescued him on a sickness on his way back from Yaounde. He prayed alone most of the time, spoke about God when he wanted. He lived as a Baptist Christian, but believed in practical doing goodl and living right. Helping the poor, making gifts, training youths in schools and other handiwork, was his strength. He did not frequent public drinking places. He had a clear goal for each day, and set out on it early enough, to be back home by 4 or 5 pm most of the time.
Hon Tamfu had a God-centered philosophy of life. He believed that if he helped many other people, his children will also receive God’s help and help from others. He constantly said he was practicing the Bible, not merely preaching it. It was a difficult philosophy, but he thrived on it. He thus sent many scholars to professional schools, contribute to the appointment of others as ministers, secretaries of state, secretary generals, directors, etc. He was a selfless politician. At a time when people were concerned to help only their sons and relatives, he constantly confessed he was a politician for everybody. He was not egoistic. It is not the length of life lived, but what we achieve with our days, that matter. He lived a fruitful life. He achieved double his years.
Most ‘big’ people stay and associate only with ‘big’ people. But S.N Tamfu loved and lived with poor, destitute and simple people in society. Many would ask him “Why don’t you get a home in Yaounde and may be a government house?”. He said that he could not stay away from his people, farms, and community. He lived in Nkambe all his life (after West Cameroon politics) and later when his health was disturbing he came down to Taku in a secluded place where one would expect a man of such caliber to find it difficult to live. That was his simplicity. He cared for old men, old women, children, and the sick and weak in society. If he heard news of death, he rushed quickly to solve problems, such as buying coffin or drinks. He did this to very many. He would often take three or more days off to Ako or Abongshie where his farms are or in secluded places and worked. He pioneered the road to the Nigerian borders through Ako and it has today become a major commercial road for big businesses. At such border lands and villages you will find him charting with young people and suffering people. He knew that nobody was totally useless so he sought every opportunity to see talents in people and develop them. If he saw an intelligent youth in a wrong location he may help to bring him or her to the city where the child can succeed. Many have this testimony.  
     As board member of SNH, the top oil company in Cameroon, he cooperated there for many years to contribute to the advancement of knowledge, the business on fuel expanding in Cameroon and the transformation of the petroleum sector, and increase in petroleum wealth in Cameroon.  He believed that education was the most essential requirement for most families, and in this direction he helped many. He believed more in human investment and the training of persons with essential skills to earn a living and help society. But he made sure no one feels mean because he or she did not get degrees or riches like others. He will tell you that whatever God ordained for you to have, nobody can stop it, and that too much materialism by individuals in a nation where many are poor is not justified.
As a polygamist, he said he did not like it, but it was an incidence of marriage difficulties that took him that far. But he insisted all his children should love one another and have no conflicts or discrimination. So the children grew up that way and you will not know who is who until you are told. Love was our principal motivation and he insisted on hard work. On long holidays before we arrive he has secretly programmed us. We will have about three weeks harvesting, tying and hanging corn. We will have about three weeks planting tress, and the rest of the time probably breaking wood. By the time we realize, summer holidays is over and well- spent and we are ready to go back to school. He said he had enough money and motivation to give each person at least a Bachelor’s Degree. The rest, the person should feign for himself. On his death bed there are still university scholars who were depending on him. It was a miracle for him to use his stipend to sponsor so many people. Many degree holders are in the family, including cousins, nephews, and family friends. He did all of this without discrimination.
Hon. Tamfuh was industrious, but a man of rest. Some mornings, until 9 am, you will see him wrapped in his blanket, awake, looking up the ceiling. He will seem to either be praying silently or meditating. He could start delegating authority from as early as 6 am. He will call the driver and send to Ako, call the bricklayer and send to the building site, call the daughter for his breakfast, call a son to iron his clothes and so forth. By 10 am, people who were looking for will start entering. At other times, by 4am, the car is steaming for a journey to Bamenda or Yaounde, mostly for business or political reasons. Before people get up from bed, he has gone. As a politician, he spoke just a lot, not because he must speak, but because he had what to say that helps people and change lives. People will come with family problems, academic problems, spiritual problems, professional problems. He will buy drinks, entertain them, and solve all the problems. He was a West Cameroon, British-trained rugged politician. Bribes did not penetrate him, but straightforward, ruthless and hard philosophy, that will cause a lazy person to run away from his environment. He was clear on the point that the anti-corruption drive should start with the leaders of the nation, and that they could come to verify his assets too. He could speak very calmly, but you will be sorry for the person on whom he landed for rebukes and correction. He will tell you point blank in clear language where you went wrong and where you got to get things right. If you had anger, you would not stay long in his environment of corrections. And it did not matter who or where. It may take another generation to get a political figure made of such steel ingredient.
He wanted everybody to be around in anything he was doing. He was a team leader, whether in family or business or politics. He mobilized people for a course with such efficiency that they could follow happily and without questioning. He did not fear how many people were in need around him.
He has been to many countries, but recently he was to the US to live with some his children who were in the US, especially Patience, Edward and Emmanuel with their families. His love for children and family was profound. While there, he confessed his sins deeply, and said he had separated himself and the family from every idol. He thus gave his life to Christ clearly during his final days, acknowledging God as creator, and Christ as the source of his forgiveness. Thus while there for about a third time, his illness aggravated and he was brought back to the reference hospital where he slept on 28 March 2012.
In the future, we will publish a greater work on his life, and launch it publicly.
May his soul rest in peace.
(Written with permission and on behalf of the Tamfu family).
Mr. Henry Mimba Yembe,
Former General Manager of Del Monte Plantation, Tiko, and Dr. Wilson Tamfu, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Buea, Cameroon.

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