Kingmaker, Eben Tong Simon spews fury in explosive interview
- Says ‘a stranger cannot be Manyemen chief’
- Accuses SDO, DO for manipulating process
- Insists Manyemen ascent to chieftaincy stool is hereditary not by election
There is disbelief and anger in Manyemen, a prominent village in Nguti subdivision of Kupe Muanenguba Division in the Southwest Region following the “election” of Mboe Willian Besong based in the United States of America as Third Class Chief of Manyemen. Since last Wednesday, November 22 when the exercise took place in Bangem and not Manyemen, the town has been boiling as opposing camps spit fire. In this edition we bring you an explosive interview granted to some pressmen in the headoffice of The SUN newspaper in Limbe, by one of the kingmakers, Eben Tong Simon, nephew to the late chief, HRH Nkongho Jacob Eben who went to meet his ancestors on June 24, 2022. He was accompanied by the Crown Prince, Barrister Eben Smith Nkongho, who was designated by the late chief to succeed him. It is an explosive and spicy interview conducted by The SUN’s CEO/Managing Editor, Norbert Wasso Binde. Read on…..
You people attended the Manyemen consultative talks organised by the Senior Divisional Officer on Wednesday, November 22in Bangemwhere you people staged a walkout.Why did you walk out?
Eben Tong Simon: Yes Mr. Journalist we had to do that because in our culture we do not elect Chiefs. It has never happened. When we got there we didn’t know it was something that had to do with electing a chief. Chieftaincy in Manyemen is hereditary. It is solely the issue of the Njet family. So, when we got to Bangem and the SDO was talking about elections, we were really shocked and taken aback, so we could not stay.
Why do you think the others stayed to continue with the process?
Maybe they had what they had with the SDO. Because I want to saythis.This young man, the Crown Prince Barrister Eben Smith Nkongho, before his father the chief died, he had presented him to the family, the Njet family. He said this is the person I have given to you family members as the heir to the throne. I have looked round, this is the person. Mr. Eben Smith Nkongho. He is a Barrister. The chief did that on the 23rd of April 2022few months before passing on. The kingmakers of the Njet family were there. They carried him and met other kingsmen of the other families that make up the Manyemen clan. You have Ndong, Bafeme, Ntiboh, Sukumbi. There are five different families that make up the Manyemen clan. The ruling family is the Njet family whose head of the family is Dr. E.M Eben head of the Njet family who is retired and based in Kumba. When they presented Eben Smith to the other families, there are certain rights that they had to perform which they did. They all endorsed Barrister Nkongho Eben Smith.
The major kingmaker, the head of the Tiger was present in all of this. I want to add that, when they did it, the next day they all moved to Nguti and met the Divisional Officer, Etengeneng Kevin Oben
to present to him the person who has been chosen by our chief. We have done all the traditional rites and we are here as the kinsmen led by the head of the Tiger who is the custodian of our tradition.The secretary general of the traditional council, the chairperson of the traditional council Mr. Langason were all led by the Tiger Head Pa Mbotake Paul Njang who is the custodian of our tradition and customs. The head of the traditional council Mr.Tarang Njong Moore was there too.
We presented Barrister Eben Smith Nkongho to the DO with all the necessary papers signed. I was there towitness it. I came down from Yaounde that same day to see that things went well. The DO Etengeneng Kevin received us. And the DO said he was going to call for consultative talks. When the DO finally scheduled consultative talks for December 16, 2022 we went.He scheduled the talks in his residence because according to him, his office did not have chairs, nor was there enough space.
When we came on that day, he told us that he has received some other files of candidates and I asked him what he meant by that. Is it an election that is going to take place? He said, “you know I am just like a chief in the village, I receive both the bad and the good man, just like a priest in the church”. I retorted that if this issue is that of election, it will bring problems and behold he had some files which he had received from some individuals who many years back struggled to challenge the late chief until the matter went to court and the chief won in court. We have the documents.We won in court and a Certificate on Non-Appeal was issued.
I was to insist that the chieftaincy has never gone out of the Njet family. Even the day we had the consultative talks in Nguti, the first question the DO asked was“you people seated here, I know there are five families in Manyemen which family has the crown of the throne? Everybody said the Njet family.
It is clear the DO knows. Even the SDO who has created all this rubbish knows. We are a family that does not like trouble, peace is our motto. So, we sat quiet and were observing. The first consultative talks flopped. We contacted him to inform him that the second consultative talks were overdue. He told us that the SDO has hijacked the process, so he doesn’t know what to say, he is just a mere man as at now. He said it to me.
We were surprised that some of our traditional councillors were summoned to Bangem and accused of dealing with arms. The company commander carried out his investigation on all those allegations and discovered that they were not factual so he granted them bail. The SDO was seemingly so bitter. The SDO, Mungambo Ekema William voided the traditional council that had been serving the village under the late chief to put a new one in place.
These are the names Akum Daniel Akum, who the SDO came and made as new chief of the traditional council, Tabe Stephen Cho, Ebai Sebastine Eben, who is the new secretary general to the traditional council, Ashu Mcmoi Ndi who is in Kumba, Beckline Ayuk Besong, Besong Herman, Tanyi Gilbert, Besong William Mboe who is in the US, and Tange Emmanuel Che.
The SDO accused the old traditional council for arresting people for ransom. If the traditional council were arresting people and taking ransom from them, who were those who have paid ransom to them? Those are things to find out, let the persons come and say I paid ransom to this or this person.
Was anybody declared as chief during the SDO’s meeting?
Since we staged a walked out we don’t know what happened.We read on social media that Mboe William Besong was made chief-elect. Mboe is a man from Betock, a neighboring village. The chief of Betouck Sheriff Bailiff Makia Thomas can testify that this is his subject.
Mboe’s grand grandfather was taken by my own great grandfather to work in his farm. And because of the love and humanitarian nature that we have, my grandfather gave him a place to stay in his compound in the village. And generations have passed and Mboe thinks that he is of the Njet family.
That is the story. The man who claimed to represent our family head, Dr Eben in Kumba, Pa Diffang created a breakaway faction from the Njet family. The Njet family has six households. Our family head Dr. Eben in Kumba is not well and designated powers to this Pa to perform things on his behalf.
He was deceived to split the Njet family when they told him that even his son can be chief.
What do you people intend to do now?
Our intentions remain confidential.
But it is obvious that you are challenging what happened in Bangem?
Before the Bangem consultative talks, the SDO went to Manyemen and dissolved the traditional council in place including the Tiger head.
That was what he did and left. When he heard rumors that places were vibrating, he now scheduled the talks in Bangem thinking people couldn’t make it within 24 hours. In fact, it is the chief that appoints his councillors not the DO, not the government, it is the chief.
When we came to Bangem he now created a new king makers’ list. I told him what I had said to the DO that this thing is not supposed to be an election, it is hereditary.
The Tiger head of our land raised up his finger to speak but the SDO hushed him down saying “when I came to Manyemen where you there?”. The Pa said he was sick and the SDO said so now that you are well you have come here?
Then he asked him who made him the traditional head which was so embarrassing. I told the SDO that the question was out of place and he said I was so arrogant.
The SDO accused the former traditional council of illegal sales of land and terrorism but he couldn’t identify the people concerned.
So that is what the SDO did and when he insisted that there will be election, the Crown Prince got up and told the SDO that he is not fighting for anything. That it is his right, but if the SDO wants to give it to somebody else, he cannot stand for an election because it is not an elective issue.
That was how we walked out and left Bangem. We later heard the son of Pa Diffang was asked to go in for an election with Mboe who was absent and is in the US. It is even seriously alleged that Mboe William holds a United States nationality.
Pa Diffang seeing what the SDO was up to was now faced with reality and he too now told the SDO that chieftaincy in our village is not by election.
The irregularities are too many. I asked him if it is on the day of consultative talks that they create king makers and he said we are not in court.
When the DO said the SDO had hijacked that case why did you people not challenge that decision?
We gathered from the DO that the SDO said he is coming in because of senior authority, because the DO is corrupt. The administrative authorities are calling from Yaounde asking what is happening with the Manyemen chieftaincy issue. I told the DO to his face that he created all these problems because when Barrister Eben Smith Nkongho was sent to him, he didn’t have to talk about election. Immediately you talked about election you started a problem.
We did all what we were to do.It was a complete file and we thought going to Bangem we were going to see the right thing. We had gone to places, those are things we cannot reveal here. People were just waiting to see the things he was going to do in Bangem and things will explode. Chieftaincy in Manyemen is our thing in the Njet family. A slave cannot leave the backyard to come and sit on the table and tell his master what to do. I want to say here that the slow strides of a lionare not because he is afraid of the forest. He is just being very careful.