By Hope Nda & Eyongeta Eyong
The four ancestral families that make up Wonyanga Village in Buea Sub-division have been at daggers-drawn over who will be the next Chief of the village.
Consultative talks last August 13 to determine a successor were futile as Buea Divisional Officer, DO, Abba Abdurahman, who had come to designate a Chief alienating other families of the village was forced to stop after stiff resistance.
One of the families, the Likambila –Njoh, said they have been left out of the chieftaincy consultative talks. They equally protested against a possible matrilineal succession by the grand-children of Wonya-Ngowo, one of their daughters who got married in another village and returned claiming succession rights.
The recent consultations came two weeks after earlier pre-consultations at Buea DO’s Office between the Wonya- Likambi, Wonya- Ngowo, and Wonya-Nganda families.
“There were supposed to be four families from the Wonyanga Village, but we realised one family was sidelined during some underground talks. So we could not allow the consultative talks to proceed from there,” Samuel Etowoyanga, a native of Wonyanga Village said.
Mongombe Njoh, member of the Likambila Njoh family, said he was shocked seeing his family, which had been “the backbone” of the village, left out of the succession talks.
He said his uncle ruled the village between 2010 and 2015 and so they should not be exempted from the current chieftaincy deliberations.
Speaking at the deliberations, another Wonyanga local said matrilineal succession is impossible in their village.
According to him, the matrilineal Wonya-Ngowo family descends from a sister to their three patrilineal ancestors.
“We are here to rebuild the village that was buried long ago. But there are many people who are not willing to construct the village… But I think that, by the grace of God, things are being rectified and we will get to a common understanding. We came here to make a Chief but it was not successful… We have a patrilineal succession here but some people are not consistent with the history, not knowing who comes from where. But that culture has not changed. The Bakweri people know that it is the paternal family that inherits the crown,” Pastor Pascal Fusam said.
The Likambi Njoh family had written to DO Abdurahman protesting that they were not consulted for the succession talks despite being a “backbone” family in Woyanga village.
During recent consultative talks at the Bokoko Community Hall in Buea, they brought a family tree which, to them, shows that it is impossible to neglect them in the succession talks.
Speaking to the Wonyanga community, Abdurahman Abba said: “If we are one, we will be able to work smoothly. But if we are not one, we may have challenges. We came here not to decide, but to acknowledge what you, in-house, have done.”
He pointed out three families involved in the succession deliberations: Wonya- Likambi, Wonya- Manga, and Wonya-Nganda families, but Micheal Mongombe Njoh, member of the Likambila Njoh family, said they were sidelined in the succession deliberations.
The DO gave the Wonyanga community and the Wonya-Ngowo family a week to deliberate on the successor for the village.