Share a special moment from Rt Hon. Simon's life.

A Special Tribute from The Kangkolos

Shared by Helen Ndangam on June 6, 2021

Ba, we still can’t believe we are writing a tribute because of your passing. Words can not describe this difficult moment, but if this is the last time we get to say goodbye, then we know we will do so with the knowledge that we considered ourselves blessed to have had you in our lives. You touched so many lives with your selflessness and countless acts of kindness, always giving and never expecting any favors in return. Your dedication to a cause was what set you apart. For every institution you worked for, you laid the path for others to succeed. The benefits of your hard work are a living testimony for so many young men and women you took under your wings at a personal and professional level.

Bah!, you were and will always be an inspiration to our entire family and anyone who worked with you. You have left a void in the family that will never be filled. We know that if wishes were horses, you would have loved to still be here holding our hands & reassuring us that it will be fine just like you did back in March 2017 when your best friend and brother Bah Hon JC Kangkolo left us. But, God saw that you were getting tired and that there was no cure. So, he put his arms around you and whispered, “Come with Me”. With tearful eyes, we watched you suffer And saw you fade away. Even though we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay. Your golden heart stopped beating and your hard-working hands rested. God breaks our hearts to prove to us that he takes only the best. While we mourn today, we also take comfort in the fact that your mission on earth has been fulfilled. We thank the Lord for your life and bid you farewell until we meet again. You shall be greatly missed. 

A tribute by Julius Fondong.

Shared by Abs Ateh on June 6, 2021
*The Rt Honorable Simon Achidi Achu: A Personal Tribute* by Julius Fondong.

As I write this, the Rt Hon Simon Achidi’s mortal remains are lying in a morgue in the US. I have been struck by the paucity of tributes from Anglophone Cameroonians in general and from North-Westerners in particular, in honor of someone I consider to be one of the most influential and iconic politicians in Cameroon, post 1990. Rt Hon Achidi Achu soared into the national limelight in April 1992, when he was appointed the Prime Minister and Head of Government, pursuant to the legislative elections of March 1992 – the first after the return to multi-party politics. The first three years of Pa Achu’s tenure as PM (1992 to 1995) was very restive, marked by deep-rooted political cleavages and socio-political instability. After the acrimonious presidential elections of October 1992, the nation was thrown into virtual turmoil, especially in the opposition strongholds. In the NW, a state of emergency was in force; civil servants grouped under the Cameroon Public Servants Union (CAPSU) were on strike; the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and the federalist movement were in ascendancy; the country was going through economic difficulties marked by the devaluation of the CFA, reduction of civil service salaries and downsizing of the public workforce. In addition a coalition of students, teachers and parents association (under the leadership of the Teachers Association of Cameroon – TAC) were on the streets demanding the creation of an examinations board for the Anglophone Sub-system of education. By all accounts, Cameroon in 1992 to 1995 was a battered, divided, hopeless nation. And the task of bringing normalcy and healing to it fell on the shoulders of PM Achidi Achu. They say “Cometh the Moment, Cometh the Man”. Pa Achidi Achu was the man of the moment. He was exactly the kind of Prime Minister needed at that time: his understanding of grassroots politics, his ability and willingness to listen patiently to a wide range interlocutors, his love for consensual politics, his strong belief in peace as the condition sine quo non for development. And above all else his affable, simple and humble personae. As a seasoned politician PM Achidi Achu mastered the politics-development double nexus. He understood, perhaps more than anyone else, the politics of development. And he explained it in very simple terms. “Politics na njangi” he would say. Or “you scratch my back, I scratch your own”. What Pa Achidi was actually saying here is that politics is a game of give and take and to gain something (like a development project) you must be able to give something in return (like political support). This give-and-take approach to politics is what American politicians have developed into an art of governance. They call it pork barrel politics. The combination of limited resources and multiple but competing demands, within the context of multi-party politics, creates a political dynamic in which it becomes imperative to trade political support in favor of development projects. That is what Pa Achidi Achu was trying to get his people, especially the North- Westerners, to understand. The political playing field had changed with the advent of multi-party politics. Henceforth they would learn to give something in order to get something. Given the fact that the NW in general and Santa Subdivision in particularly (Pa’s home constituency) had come under the domination of the opposition SDF party, Rt Hon Achidi Achu was acutely aware of the fact that his political leverage in Yaoundé was somewhat limited. But he never gave up. A good example is his behind-the-scenes support for the creation of the GCE Board. Many people may not remember that initially the trio of Azong Wara, Joseph Fodje and Arrey Mbi ( TAC frontline leaders) had set out to create a Cameroon Examinations Board (CEB). But Pa Achidi Achu advised against it. He knew that it would be difficult for him to sell the idea of a Cameroon Examinations Board (a purely Anglophone initiative) to the President and the Francophone ruling elite in Yaoundé. So he found a compromise: Create a GCE Board for the Anglophone Sub-system of education and a Baccalaureate Board for the Francophone Sub-system of education. Yes. That was vintage Pa Achidi Achu. He knew that to get Francophone support for the GCE Board he also needed to give them something, even if the Francophones did not know what in God’s name an examination board was or what purpose it served. That was “politics na njangi” in action. Rt Hon Achidi Achu moved from there to spearhead the effective implementation of some development projects in the Anglophone regions that had stalled for decades. Under his tenure, the construction of the first phase of the Bamenda-Ekok road (part of the Trans-Africa Highway) was begun with the construction of the Bamenda-Bali-Batibo stretch of 45km. The tarring of the dangerous parts of the Bamenda Ring Road was also begun. So too was the tarring of the Kumba-Mamfe road. He sought an expanded role for the National Shipping Yard Company to include the construction of the Limbe sea port (looks like that project was killed with the jailing of Zach Forjindam). Pa Achidi Achu was a strong believer in the merits of education of the youth. In that regard he approved the creation of hundreds of primary and secondary schools all over the national territory, but particularly in the NW. Many people have spoken at length about Pa’s legendary simplicity and humility. I often say the measure of man’s humility and simplicity can be judged by his eating habits. Anyone who knew Pa Achidi Achu knew he never ate alone. He took pride in sharing his meals with people. Whether it was in his home at Bali Park or Rock Farms or in the PM’s official residence in Yaoundé or at Mami Ambahe’s house in Old Town or at his sister’s place at T-Junction, Pa would share his meal time with at least 20 people, drawn from all walks of life. I remember during an official visit to Njikwa in the mid-90s, we went to Fon Anyangwe’s Palace in Oshie for refreshments. As I was trying to work out the protocol arrangements, Pa stood up, yanked off his “toghu”, sat down in his undershirt and shorts, called for water to wash in hands, and immediately started digging into his nang tare. Sitting with him in that room and sharing the meal were the government ministers who had accompanied him, Governor Bell Luc Rene and his top security and military brass, farmers, cattle herders, students, ordinary village men and women etc. Seeing the look of surprise on my face Pa Achu turned to me, smiled and said “D.O, gorment work don finish eee. Now na moyo palava”. And with that he pulled a chunk of goat meat from his plate and passed it over to me. It was later I got to know that one of his brothers was married to an Anyangwe and so it was truly a “moyo” affair. I have never seen a politician as free-handed with money as the Rt. Hon Achidi Achu. Whatever financial entitlements he earned as PM he gave it all away. I know for a fact that he paid school fees for hundreds of kids and medical bills for hundreds of ordinary people. And he did so just out of his human kindness and never as a means of coercing political support. In fact most of those he helped never supported him politically but that never stopped him from helping others. If you gave Pa Achidi Achu ten million francs at 9 am you can sure it would be finished by 12 noon because he would in turn give all if it away. I remember in 2000, while I was serving as D.O Oku, Pa had come to Elak on some party business. When he was about to leave he called me aside and said he had ran out of money and he needed to top up his fuel to get back to Bamenda. I scavenged around and found 30,000 FRS gave him. As he was about to get into his car, he suddenly remembered he had not seen one of his friends. “Where is Mechas?” he asked me. I told him his friend Mr Mechas (who I think was his Vice President at the North West Cooperative Association) was sick and in bed. “Take me to him” he ordered. So we drove the 10 km to Mbam village to see Pa Mechas. The former PM was so happy to see his old friend again. And as we were about to leave he dug into the pockets of his agbada, took out the envelope containing the 30,000 frs I had just given him, and gave it to Pa Mechas’ wife! That again was vintage Pa Achidi Achu, a man to whom money meant very little; a man who always put the welfare of others above his own. At no point in the history of this nation, since 1990, has a politician been able to do so much with so little support like the Rt Hon Achidi Achu was able to. But somehow, Anglophone Cameroonians have always focused on the man’s political choices, failing to see for that they are worth, his immense contributions to the life of this nation at a very precarious time in its history. You can say anything about Pa Achidi Achu but the one thing you can’t say is that he was a corrupt politician. He never went into politics for money or for self-aggrandizement. He never amassed any fortunes from politics. A few weeks after Pa left the Prime Minister’s Office he was dead broke because he had given away all his financial entitlements to people he believed needed them more than himself. He lived and died as a man of modest means. That is why I believe the Rt Hon Simon Achidi Achu is one of Anglophone Cameroon’s most unappreciated and most underrated political leader. Nonetheless, history shall remember Pa Achidi Achu as a crusader for peace and a promoter of development. At a time when this nation was dangling nervously on a dangerous precipice, the Rt Hon Simon Achidi Achu stepped in to provide some much needed hope and healing. And nothing can take that from his legacy. Adieu Pa. Rest in Peace in the Bosom of your Maker.

By Julius Fondong.

My Father, Grand Uncle, Friend and Hero

Shared by Serge Atchu Yudom on May 23, 2021
Most things people fear in this world are easy. Some of us were/are lucky to have had privileged seats in this world simply because you loved us Pa Achidi! I have lived, operated and been in situations where I am not known as Pa Achidi’s son. This gave me the opportunity to know what most people think of Pa. Pa Achidi is thought of fondly by his comrades and adversaries. He was the ultimate Servant / Leader who inspired respect by his actions! A book about him could be titled leadership made easy.

As Prime Minister he is remembered for his open door policy at the prime ministerial residence! The people’s house really became the people’s house. Everyone could go in, be fed and if you were patient enough meet the Cameroonian Prime Minister known by all as Pa Achidi! 

If Pa had not seen me for a long time, I would end up on the Prime Ministers dinners table as a teenager. Seating with Ministers and neighbours or friends from abroad or the village! You see, Pa shared a meal with his loved ones to welcome them back from their temporal separation.

As a kid, Pa will pick me up from Bafoussm and take me to Bali Park. He will come and drop me back. As a teenager, while he was the Prime Minister, if he saw me at the Residency then I had to eat with him, which meant I will end up on a table with older people I revered for their age, their village status or their National Status. As an adult, I will be his hand bag. He will just tell to get in the car.

As an Adult, Pa would spontaneously broach many topics and teach me his life philosophy with questions. Questions I will squirm but answer, as answers were expected. These moments I loved and dreaded, including the last time we had one. No one wanted to disappoint Pa. No topic was sacred, we had time with me sitting next to him or behind him during his multiple trips we would take when I visit. Pa knew what was important and what was noise about life. He spent his time on this earth with the people he loved, that is what was important to him. Pa taught me that empathy was the foundation of everything.

If Pa expressly asked to see me, I will go in panic mode as most times it meant I was in trouble. Most times My Mum (Ma Elie) would have intentionally or inadvertently told on me. If it wasn’t her then it was any one of my other mothers. 

Pa Achidi, the selfless, empathetic, gracious and loving father to all who crossed his path. Pa, in his simplicity was larger than life. He sowed so many seeds and he will live in us and our kids as we transmit his teachings of approaching life with simplicity and treating everyone we meet with empathy!

Pa, you are with your sister Ndia Nangah and your daughter Awahsuh (Ma Eli). You worked every waking hour of your life for others. Rest in Perfect Peace, my father and Grand Uncle who saw my mother, my sister and I just like children he needed to care for.

Love you Pa

The Chancellor of Bust Is No More

Shared by Brandon A. on May 12, 2021
Attached is a letter from Prof. Paul Mbangwana.

You are a Mark in my Heart

Shared by MBANGA GODLOVE ACHU on May 9, 2021
Despite how hard your day was, you will always create time to bring the family together in the morning and night to say thank you God for giving us time on earth more than we expect with your Famous song "Count your Blessings Name them One by One". And when we sleep, you will always remember me of how life has no complication so patience is the key. You break the record of the word "Down to Earth" Django.
       You will forever be remembered. 

The most selfless Father ever

Shared by Maria Gorretti Achu on May 9, 2021
It's with a heavy heart that I write this Eulogy to you papa. You were such  a kind, loving and selfless father. You took care of every one regardless of who they are. You paid more attention to the poor, the widows and less privileged in general.
      Every childs education mattered to you regardless of if it was your biological child or not. Your words and actions were soo kind , warm and ready to heal a painful and distressed heart . I can write on and on but I will stop here for now and pray that your soul finds peace with the Lord. Thank you for being the father that you were to my father daddy Rex and us all. We love u and your legacies will live forever .
                       Maria Kodang Achu

Father of all

Shared by Elsie Ndi on May 8, 2021
I am what I am today Thanks to your unconditional care Daddy. You gave me education and never relent to make sure I have a good health.  I will deeply missed you my father . Thank you for everything your words to me sinks deep and will live forever

A celebration

Shared by Christine Achu on May 7, 2021
After the last bout of illness in 2020, and the onset of the CoronaVirus epidemic, we thought it was a great opportunity to celebrate Pa... Celebrate someone who has spent his entire life celebrating others. So on his 86th Birthday in November 2020, it was all about Pa Simon
This was a special weekend, and one Pa enjoyed thoroughly.
It was such an honor to have family and friends brave the tumultuous time to come to Charlotte and celebrate Pa... A testimony of how loved and cherished he was to many...

A word of thanks to all those who were able to attend in person, participate on the streaming feed and those who called with best wishes.

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