The last days of 2013 have ended up as the darkest in the life of the people of the North West Region. This is so due to the fact that the morning of December 30, 2013 was that of sadness as news break loose announcing the passing to eternity of Bobe Yong Francis (Pa Yong). Bobe Francis Yong died in Atlanta-USA after a protracted illness. Bobe Francis Yong commonly known as Pa Yong remains a household name in Cameroon in the domains of sports, education and communication. It is for this reason that North West Governor Adolph Lele Lafrique visited his family compound in Bamenda to condole with the family today. Pa Yong Francis according to what we gathered traveled to the United States of America for routine medical checkup some months ago. It is alleged that a day ago, he suddenly developed intestinal problems that finally took his life. The passing away of Pa Yong is a great lost to Cameroon, the North West Region and the people of Kom as a whole.
It should be noted that Bobe Yong Francis (Pa Yong) is founder and President of the 2013 Cameroon Cup winners Yong Sport Academy (YOSA) and owner of many colleges across the North West region such as K.C.H.S. Anyajua, C.H.S. Bambui, P.C.H.S Mankon, and the National Polytechnic Bambui. Besides, he is also the proprietor of a local TV channel-CNTV and a commercial radio known as Abakwa FM. Writing from the US, Boh Herbert likened Bobe Yong Francis to the Biblical Abaraham. To Boh Herbert, “....He earned every ounce of the name "Pa Yong". For sure, he was the head of his family and "Pa" to them, but he was also, indeed, in the image of the biblical Abraham - a father to a multitude of children, as countless as the sands on the seashore. Most especially, he earned the title "Pa" because of the concern and love he showed to all, especially the very young and tender students that hundreds of thousands of parents entrusted to his care and his wisdom to mould into educated and cultured Cameroonians and responsible adults....." This tribute from Boh Herbert tells the story of the man who departure will touch families, homes and cast doubts on the future of many young Cameroonians. However, it should be recalled that Pa Yong’s mother died some three to four months ago and the corps is still in the mortuary. Speculations as to whether it would be Bobe Yong Francis or the mother that would be buried first abound high in the North West Region.
Why Bobe Yong Francis Deserves an Official/ State Burial
Bobe Francis Yong died as a nation builder, a veritable visionary and giant in the educational in Anglophone Cameroon. He was a self-made man, who, from the most humble beginnings, has risen to the summit by creating and offering educational opportunities to others. He goes down in history as the man who has made the greatest contribution in educational development in English-speaking Cameroon. He lived his whole life creating and building schools to mold young Cameroonians. His efforts have landed millions of young men and women, whose lives might have been wasted in the hall of fame, yet he died as a humble man, down to earth and accessible. Deprived by financial constraints of the opportunity of acquiring a formal general secondary education himself, he never allowed himself to wallow in self-pity and resignation. He opted for what was affordable: becoming a typist. How he must have admired and envied his more fortunate mates who gained admission into prestigious secondary schools in those days! However, as it turned out, God had a better plan for him. He was destined to teach his fellow compatriots that ‘many roads lead to Rome’; that what matters in life is not where you are but what you do where you are. And that is how he did what he did to attract a lot of admiration from those who were even more educated than he was. He turned out to be their employers, offered better education to their lovely ones and everyone who wanted to study and lacked financial means. The true Biblical Abrahim as Boh Herbert rightly states it. Undeniably, Bobe Yong’s decision to learn typing and take up a career in the field turned out to be the wisest decision of his life. After his studies, he gained a Government job as a typist. Then, he had the wonderful vision of offering other less favored children the chance to go to school. It was from this perspective that he created a Typing Institute. It did not take long for him to realize the magnificent success. With the number of students increasing year in year out, he created similar colleges in Bambui and his home village, Anyajua. It was a journey to the hall of fame and the steps that would transform the North West into a citadel of education.
Public opinion in the North West holds that if there is only one person in the region whose actions have contributed to nation building it is Bobe Francis Yong. This is so because he has left a mark of greatness in everything that he touches. In the domain of education, his footprint in secondary education in the North West Region is unbeatable. Implicitly, the Ministry of Secondary education owes him much for contributing enormously in molding young Cameroon. In the domain of Higher education, he set the pace with the creation of Polytechnic Bambui which today stands as the symbol of standards in the region. Unconditionally, the Ministry of Higher Education will have a primordial role to bit him farewell. In the domain of sports and athletics, he was the founder and President of Yong Sport Academy and another rising football team, Polytechnic FC. It is thanks to Yong Sport Academy that Bamenda had a glimpse of the Cameroon Cup. And besides that he was also a very active member of Olympic committee from the North West Region. For these reasons, the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education is also expected at his burial. In the domain of Communication, Pa Yong was also the proprietor of CNTV and Abakwa FM, two media outfits that have stood the taste of time in the North West Region. This is also enough reason for the Ministry of Communication to be part of his burial ceremony.
However, if all these activities of his don’t deserve an official burial from that state, who then would be given another school of thought holds. It is no more news that the Presidency of the Republic is aware that Bobe Yong is no more. More so, President Biya is aware that one of those who developed the educational sector in the North West Region into an enviable industry was Pa Yong. And the last minute respect that (he) President Biya can only the man who spent his whole life contributing towards nation building will be by honouring the departed hero with an official and or State burial, majority of Northwesterners say. This is so because there is no way that one can talk about education, sports and communication in Cameroon without mentioning the name of Pa Yong.
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