Any feast worth the name can only be described as such if it ends on a dining table. The 47th National Day celebrated nationwide yesterday was no exception and like one keen observer said, there couldn't have been a better way to end a day full of nationalistic symbol and one that immortalizes the identity of a nation with a checkered history like Cameroon.
It was in this light that all roads led to the Unity Palace, the people's palace on the invitation of President Paul Biya and wife, Chantal. What a ceremony pregnant with meaning? Guests invited to share the joy of unity defied all the odds and streamed into the State House. It was a ceremony full of ambiance lexicologists will better find a way of describing it. As earlier indicated in the programme the gates of the Unity Palace were flung open at exactly 4 PM.
Organised at the Banquet Hall of the State House and at the palace garden, the reception was occasion for guests to share their happiness, eat and drink together and above all commune with the Presidential couple. In all, the number of invitees could be estimated at over five thousand. The guest list included heads of the principal State organs such as the Senate, National Assembly, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Supreme Court.
Also present in their numbers were members of government, heads of government agencies and State corporations, senior civil servants as well as men and women of the business World., The presence of representatives of the Under 17 Lions who grabbed the Africa Cup of Nations last April in Tanzania left no one indifferent.
They came, clad in suits and having with them the prestigious trophy which they presented to the Head of State. The arrival of President Biya accompanied by his wife, Chantal at the Banquet Hall at exactly 7:05 PM, gave the ceremony another colour.
Within 15 minutes of their stay in and out of the hall, the Presidential couple greeted and chatted briefly with invited guests with all smiles flowing on their faces. Many guests present in the hall struggled hard either to shake hands with the President and his wife or have a glimpse of their presence in the crowd. The reception ended at 8 PM, 30 minutes ahead of scheduled time.