When I was a child, I had varied impression about the greatest countryman Bernard Fonlon. We learnt through our teachers, kinsmen, colleagues and tribesmen that he was indeed a genuine intellectual, a mastermind, a moral colossus and a proud –gallent son of Nso. He was able to understand what national unity is. He understood politics more than any other people in his time.
But this perception about the politics and life didn’t come by born or in one day. This came through a painful realization 3 years into the reunification business; the KNDP was being shortchanged and therefore he wrote THE TIME IS NOW in the year of 1964.
He was the first and foremost Nso before being Cameroonian. In his seminal article Res Una Republica he mentioned that I am a Cameroonian since I am a true son of Nso. I show off my Nso-ness by espousing the tradition and culture of the Nso.
I am aware of my Anglophone-ness and Nso-ness, I can think and live Cameroonian through The Case for Early Bilingualism, for example. He was apparently a proud man, but in the mundane sense of the world. It was pride that oozed from a conscious awareness of self.
Father Cornelius Fontem Esua had been designated the Bishop of Kumbo. He was supposed to be devoted as bishop in Kumbo. There was lot of effervescence. I had the weird feeling that the Nso people did not welcome the idea of a non-Nso bishop. Just at that time, a certain John Yein published a vitriolic piece in Cameroon Tribute on the goings-on in the Bamenda Archdiocese lorded by the kate venerated Archbishop Paul Verdvekov.