His Eminence Christian Cardinal Tumi who was laid to rest yesterday Tuesday 20 April 2021 following his death on the 3rd of this eventful month is revered not only by his kindred of Kikakelaki, Bui Division, the North West Region, and Cameroon, but also the Christian fold elsewhere. His lifestyle as a man of God aware of the wholesome needs of compatriots, leaves us with much to learn. Wiyghansai Shaaghan, his native name says more about the societal ills he strived to redress, and fought well this battle.
Like Saints Paul, a lawyer and tent maker, Luke, a medical doctor and Mathew, a tax collector, Christian Cardinal Tumi stood tall in his service to the Christian church and socio-political challenges of life, besides his clerical obligations.
In his life time, this committed servant of God and patriotic kinsman, proved that those who believe that politics is a reserve for non-Christians, and African culture ungodly, are mistaken. For, in the absence of occultic attachments to tradition, nothing makes it unworthy of Christian worship. This explains why Pope John Paul II saw nothing wrong in harping on enculturation during his last visit to Africa.
By visiting the Nfuh House in Douala and accepting the title of Shufaay Kintam, (traditional authority of the cross) Cardinal Tumi portrayed the importance he attaches to our culture, and the need to use it for the boosting of love, unity and progress.
The Sawas of Douala in appreciation of this man of God's concern for not only African culture, but also the political needs of our country, came out in their numbers to honour this departed servant of Dialogue and Peace. Their songs, dance, and speeches, said it all. What an honour to man whose life has left behind much to learn in a world, regrettably deprived of love, unity and peace!
Moslems as well as members of other religious groups were not indifferent in their appreciation of the stewardship of a prelate who was committed to genuine Christian practice, and the unity and peace of his country. During the Major National Dialogue, despite his advanced age, and clerical duties, Cardinal Tumi chaired one of the commissions concerned with peace and rehabilitation of those who had been misled to take up arms against their nation. His commitment to peace and a united Cameroon surprisingly had made the separatists see nothing wrong in kidnapping this servant of God and the Fon of Nso, His Royal Highness Sehm Mbinglo in pursuit of an unpatriotic end. What a miscarriage of priority and commitment to goals, not supported by the majority! What a betrayal of socio-political maturity and the peace-loving endowment, for which Cameroonians are widely known!
As we mourn the transition of a servant of God who in life and death has taught us what it means to serve God and mankind, let us embrace and practice the good lessons he left behind for those who truly love themselves, God, their creator, and fellow human beings.
These lessons are the ingredients of humility, love, patriotism, hard work, professional commitment and assiduity in services that make life worth living.