28 June 2005

Africa: Nzo Ekangaki Buried

Nzo Ekangaki, former Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity OAU, who died in Yaounde, Friday, June 3 at 71, has been buried in his home village, Nguti, Southwest Province. The funeral service and burial took place Saturday, June 25.

At the funeral services in Yaounde like in Nguti, the respective officiating pastors were unanimous that; "Man that is born of woman is of few days, and is full of trouble.

He comes withering like flower, only soon to let the bitter tears of loved ones flow like fountains. Naked we came from our mother's womb, naked shall we return," they said.

The men and women of God enjoined mourners to wipe their tears as they drew inspiration from Christ's words; "In my father's house, there are many rooms; if it were not so, I will tell you I go to prepare a place for you."

The pastors prayed that God forgives the sin of the departed and take him to paradise for eternal rest. In their respective eulogies, Messrs Abie Ekangaki, Dibo Mukete, Enow Tanjong, Paul Bamela Engo, Simon Munzu, Edwin Forlemu, and the representative of the Head of State, Laurent Esso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, saw in the deceased, a man of integrity, intelligence, assiduity at work, astute politician and diplomat, a devoted public servant, generous, caring and sociable father.


Nzo Ekangaki was born in Nguti to Joseph Ekangaki and Paulina Tukubato on March 22, 1934. The youngest of five children, Ekangaki attended primary school at Basel Mission School, Nguti and Basel Mission School, Besongabang, Mamfe.

From Mamfe, Cameroon Protestant College, CPC, Bali, was his next stopover, were he picked up secondary education and graduated in 1953. He won a government scholarship to high school at WADDELL College in Calabar, Nigeria, from where he graduated in 1954.

Ekangaki subsequently attended University College, Ibadan, Nigeria, obtaining a BA Honours degree in English Language and Literature. Gunning for a career in the then West Cameroon Civil Service, he

studied Public Administration at Oxford University and at Freidrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, Germany, obtaining a postgraduate diploma in administration from both varsities. Ekangaki joined the West Cameroon Civil Service as an administrative officer in 1959.

He occupied amongst other offices, the posts of Editor-In-Chief of the government's newspaper- Cameroon Champion, Secretary of the West Cameroon Civil Service Commission and Secretary of the West Cameroon Scholarship Board.

1961, his distinguished political and diplomatic career took off. In the general election of that year into the West Cameroon House of Assembly, he won a seat on the ticket of John Ngu Foncha's Kamerun National Democratic Party, KNDP, as representative of the Mamfe South constituency in the then Mamfe Division.

In 1962, Ekangaki became a member of the Federal House of Assembly thanks to the nomination of ten members of the West Cameroon House of Assembly by the KNDP.

Shortly, he was appointed to the first government of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, at 28, as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. 1962-1964, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. 1964 -65, Minister of Public Health and Population.

1965-72, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. 1972-74, Secretary General, OAU. 1985-89, Technical and Special Adviser at the Presidency of the Republic.

As a member of the Cameroon government, Ekangaki led several delegations to international conferences and meetings, some of which he chaired on the governing councils and boards of several international organisations, notably the WHO and ILO.

As a student activist and President of the National Union of Cameroon Students, NUCS, in Nigeria, he was a vocal advocate of the independence of the then Southern Cameroons under a federalist constitutional arrangement.

Hence, he participated in delegations of Southern Cameroons to the United Nations prior to the plebiscite of February 11, 1961. He also wrote an Introduction to French Cameroons intended to give the general public and the political leadership of Southern Cameroons a better understanding of Cameroon under French trusteeship.

His political stewardship was channelled through his distinguished membership of the governing bodies of ruling political parties in West Cameroon, the Federal Republic of Cameroon and the United Republic of Cameroon, respectively.

Ekangaki was elected Secretary General of the KNDP in 1960, a post he held until the dissolution of the party upon the advent of the Unified party, the Cameroon National Union, CNU, in September 1966.

For several years, he served in various capacities in the Political Bureau and the Central Committee of the CNU until his assumption of the office of Secretary General, OAU in June 1972.

Though very engaged in the national scene, Ekangaki did not forget the place of his birth. He devoted a considerable amount of his energies, intellect and personal fortune to the economic, social and cultural development of his native Nguti in particular and the Mbo/Bassossi/Bakossi people in general.

Friends and foes alike acclaimed him for the transformation of Nguti from the remote village of the 1960s to the bustling semi-metropolis of today. He sponsored many initiatives, including the promotion of academic research, the revival and sustenance of cultural dances, rites

and ceremonies, the development of an alphabet and the publication of a magazine, to enhance the cultural awareness and sense of common origin and heritage of the Mbo, Bassossi and Bakossi people on both sides of the Mungo.

June 15, 1972: Ekangaki was elected Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity. Half way through his term, he resigned his office on June 16, 1974, in the midst of a controversial award of a continental oil consultancy by the OAU Secretariat to the Lonrho Group.

Upon his return to public service in Cameroon, he served as Technical Adviser in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and later Technical and Special Adviser at the Presidency of the Republic until his retirement from the Cameroon Civil Service in 1989.

Ekangaki received several traditional, national and international honours in recognition of his distinguished service to mankind at home and abroad.

Though the youngest amongst his brothers and sisters, Ekangaki was the head of their family. His commitment to his brothers and sisters and to their children and grandchildren was extraordinary.

Many in his extended family owe their access to education and the gateway to professional success, to his generosity and deep sense of caring, sharing and social solidarity.

His surviving four sisters, wife, twelve children and over nine grandchildren, nephews and nieces, to whom he will affectionately and forever remain PAPA, will dearly miss him.

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