Monday, March 2, 2015

Donga Mantung Division: How History Works in Strange Ways

By Fai Cassian Ndi
Nkambe Division, as it used to be called remains one of the oldest divisions in the North West Region-which used to be known as the Grassfield region. The Nkambe Division was created by ordinance of the colonial era emanating from Lagos in 1946 and went operational in 1948 including the Nkambe Divisional council, which covered the present day Donga Mantung Division. Since then, the Nkambe Division as the then administrative unit has undergone four splits distinguishing different eras in its administrative life. The first split occurred in 1958 when the clan councils were formed, (namely: Warr council with headquarters in Mbot; the Tang Council with headquarters in Talla; the Wiya Council with headquarters in Ndu; the Mbo Council with headquarters in Ngou; the Mfumte/Yamba Council with Mfe as headquarters and the Mbembe Council with headquarters in Ako).
The second split took place in 1963 with the creation of new administrative units (councils) in Nwa, Mbiyeh, Akweto and Warr.
The third split came in 1967 when the Warr and Mbiyeh councils were merged to form the Wimbum Council, the Mbembe/ Misaje council was formed with head quarters at Akweto, Mfumte/Yamba and Mbo councils were merged to form the Nwa council.
The fourth split occurred in 1992 and went effective in 1996 with the creation of the Subdivisions with accompanying councils of Nwa, Ndu, Nkambe Central, Misaje and Ako. The Nkambe Rural Council then replaced the Nkambe Divisional council which continually had its headquarters in Nkambe. The Division covers an area of 4279 square kilometers. As of the 2005 census, the total population of the division stands at 269, 931 inhabitants. More than 75% of the population relies on farming and grazing for a living. A nature’s gift for life. The division tops chart in the North West in cattle rearing and runs the biggest ranch. The Ndu tea plantation is also an indication of the variable and favourable climatic conditions available in the area.
Cultural Heritage
The people of Donga Mantung Division have a lot to exhibit about themselves that has been handed down from their fore parents. More important is how this cultural heritage is kept undamaged and transmitted from one generation to the next such that it is manifested or exploited. Beside the practices, there are the caves in Moh, Bih, Chup, etc and the rock at Rom and the Dumbu cattle ranch. One of the striking ways has been the naming of children and events or other symbolic things such as the 8 days of the week. The people are also good at craft work though this is usually done secretly, such as the carving of masks. They are also experts in bamboo works, like the fabrication of beds, cupboards, ceiling, storage bans, wall mats and granaries. They also use raffia to weave baskets and bags. Besides, they also produce traditional dresses and caps. In pottery, they are blacksmiths dotted here and there and women have distinguished themselves in producing clay pots as well. Traditionally, the common traditional dress for men is the “agwada” which also common amongst the Fulani and Muslims while the women wear embroidered wrappers (loin cloth) and blouses. Majority of the traditional houses are constructed with sun-dried bricks and or entire with the bamboo. But even the houses that are constructed with bricks like the “nfuh” houses are roofed with zinc or grass. The Fulani who live alongside also maintain their round houses roofed with zinc or grass. This is what makes Donga Mantung Division different. The fulanis and the Hausas are in all the seven sub Division. While Fons rule villages, the Ardos rule the ardorets as the auxiliaries of the administration.  

Nkambe Central Sub Division
The Nkambe Central Sub Division with accompanying council was created in 1992 and went effective in 1996 along with the other four councils of the Division. Administratively, the villages that make up the Nkambe Central (council area) are Kungi, Konchep, Binshua, Bih, Saah, Wat, Nwangri, Kup, Chup, Mbot, Nkambe, Bongom, Tabenken, Njap and Binka. Historically, the original Nkambe people left Northern Cameroon in the 16th century and moved southward due to the constant raids by Usman Dan Fodio in an attempt to convert the people to Islam and due to water crisis. Under the group known as the Tikars (Tikari) they first settled at Ntem, later moved to Kimi forming the present day Wimbum tribe. The quest for power and a need for purification led to their spreading in the municipality in three clans-Tang, Warr and Wiya. The villages in the municipality can then trace their origin to one of the clans. The people speak the same language, Limbum. Per the 2005 population census, the population of Nkambe Central stands at 63, 032 and the growth rate is at 4.86%.

Ndu Sub Division
Created in 1992, the accompanying council was created in 1993 by Presidential Decree No 93/322 of November 25, 1993; the Ndu council went operational in 1996. The subdivision is made up of 17 villages sub divided into three clans; Wiya, Tang and Warr. Per the 2005 population census, the population of Ndu subdivision stands at 73, 955 spread on a total land surface of 1625 square kilometers. The people speak one language-Limbum and are of the Wimbum (Tikari tribe). The villages that make up the subdivision are Ndu, Njimkang, Njilah, Wowo, Talla, Ngarum, Taku, Ntundip, Luh, Sehn, Ntumbaw, Njirong, Ngulu, Nseh, Macop, Sinna and Sop.

Misaje Sub Division
Misaje sub division was created in 1992 and finally went functional in 1996. It covers a total land surface of 46.068 square kilometers and with a population of 22.641 inhabitants. The villages that make up Misaje subdivision are Chunghe, Kibbo, Bem, Nkanchi, Kamala, Mfume, Dumbu, Bebekette, Sabongida, Akweto, Kameni and Kwe. There are basically three clans in the subdivision, the Kemezum, the Channey and the Bessa people. Historically, the Kemezum people are considered as the indigenes of the area. The three clans speak different dialects.

Ako Sub Division
The Ako council was created on June 29, 1977 and covers a total surface of 1,500 kilometers square. The population stands at 40,349 inhabitants. The subdivision is made up of 18 villages; namely, Ako, Berabe, Zembeaburu, Mbiribua, Mpenchere, Akwaja, Amba, Assa, Akwesse, Abuenshie, Buku, Abbafum, Ndaka, Abuenpka, Akwenko, Ande, Mbande and Jevi. There is one main ethnic group, Mbembe.

Nwa Sub Division

Nwa subdivision is the oldest in the Northwest Region. Created on July 4, 1963, the subdivision is also the largest in the Donga Mantung Division. There are 42 villages made up of three clans namely; Mfumte, Yamba and Mbaw. The 42 villages that make up Nwa subdivision are: Adere, Bang, Bitui, Ncha, Lus, Kom, Mballa, Kwaja, Jui, Koffa, Manang, Mbah, Mbat, Mbepji, Sa’am, Ntim, Ntong, Kwak, Fa’am, Ngung, Sih, Bom, Gom, Mfe, Nwa, Mbem, Nkot, Rom, Yang, Nguri, Ntem, Nwanti, Ngu, Mbirikpa, Nking, Nwat, Ngom (Sabongari), Nyurong, Ngomkw, Jastor-Gwembe, Ngamfe-Kurt and Lih. 



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