By Neville Mesumbe
BUEA, Cameroon – After weeks of a relentless legal battle against the Apostolic Administrator of Buea Diocese, Fr. George Nkeze Jingwa, has finally quit the Catholic University of Buea, CUIB, and is ready to hand power to his successor, Prof Victor Julius Ngoh.
In a video announcing his decision to back-off from the fight, Fr. Nkeze expressed gratitude to CUIB’s Board of Trustees for accepting his “resignation letter” as President of the Institution in order to pursue a new sabbatical assignment handed to him by the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buea.
According to the Prelate, the new assignment given him on May 29, 2020 in the 2020/2021 Pastoral Year Transfers, for the Diocese of Buea, was abrupt and did not provide the University, the Board, parents, guardians, sponsors, students, stakeholders and its partners reasonable time to plan for a smooth transition as required by the Statutes of the University.
Fr. Nkeze said his sudden ‘resignation’ as CUIB President is a breach of his contractual obligations to the University since the Statutes require that he is given a six months’ notice if he is to leave.
The Priest said it is vital he leaves so that his name and position is not used by some as a weapon of choice to distract the University from its real mission, vision and values of service, excellence, integrity, responsibility and concern for the common good.
Besides, “I am bound by my priestly vows to adhere to the decisions made by the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buea to which I am obliged as a priest,” Fr. Nkeze said.
He said he has satisfactorily responded and addressed all questions related to CUIB’s management during the 12th CUIB Board meeting on June 9.
“I am glad I was able to satisfactorily respond and address all the questions at the meeting, especially those related to liabilities and debts. I assured you that this was 80 per cent already achieved and before the handing over, we will make sure that CUIB does not only have the financial resources to run, but is debt free and thus spare the new leadership the task of settling loans of the University. I am taking up my new assignment knowing that you will continue the mission, vision, identity and flagship traditions of this great University.”
Few days after his replacement as CUIB’s President, Fr Nkeze had bluntly rejected the Apostolic Administrator’s decision, stating that Mgr. Bibi was not only acting beyond his powers, but also violating the statutes of the university.
The Bibi-Nkeze rift had made the Roman Catholic Church the centre of discussion to the point where the Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, His Excellency Julio Murat, on June 15 reacted to the issue, stating that the Apostolic Administrator, Michael Bibi has jurisdiction within the Diocese of Buea to act for and on behalf of the Diocese of Buea in all matters concerning the Diocese and all other institutions belonging to the diocese.
The case was equally tabled at Fako High Court. The Court’s Magistrate, Denis Abonifor ruled, putting the Prelate’s transfer decision in the institution on hold.
In the video circulating on social media, Fr Nkeze’s said he has only resigned from his position as President. The former CUIB President prayed that the CUIB BOT will continue to seek ways to expand fibre optic broadband to the campus to upgrade current capacity; complete our quest to create a Law School at CUIB.