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Canute you said it all. Those were the good old days wherein intellectual sword play was the order of the day. Keep up Agbor balla
FAREWELL FRIEND, COLLEAGUE AND BROTHER The death of Maitre Gorden Ngu popularly known as Joe Ngu took me by ambush. I am still to recover from the shock and loss of a true friend, colleague and big brother. Not only had I just spent some 15 memorable days with him in Buea during the Easter vacation but the fact that I had a lengthy conversation with him on the phone some few days before his sudden death. I vividly remember our conversation and all the plans we had for the future alas! Death strikes and reminiscent of Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine "Death is a bad reaper always harvesting the unripe fruits". Maitre Ngu was a very ambitious guy who rose from grass to grace, a classic case of a self-made man whose burning ambition saw him become a household name in Cameroon in spite of his modest background and upbringing. For you were really at the apogee of your legal practice when the hands of death snatch you away from us. Your political ambition was to take a different dimension with the forthcoming coming elections of which you were running as a parliamentary candidate for AFP. Maitre Ngu was multi-talented; be it the Law, football, politics, dancing etc. You were a real fighter. You made a name for yourself. Your 41 years on earth were memorable and like the famous saying of Mussolini you lived those years like a lion and never as a lamb. You were an epicurean per excellence. You were never shy of controversy and was always prepared to speak your mind. You were to me the antithesis of Soyinka's the Man Died; one who fears to tell the truth in the face of adversity. For no matter under what circumstances, you always spoke your mind. Maitre Ngu was a man of the people, one who would dine and wine with the "Funge boys", park boys, car washers etc etc and also with the cream of the society. Ngu was multi-faceted as had the street in him and also had class; he was one who in the words of a colleague “easily combines eating Achu and Salad”. I was always amazed by your ability to interact with the underprivileged and the downtrodden; those who Frantz Fanon describes in his famous book: Pedagogy of the Oppressed as the 'scourge of the earth'. I will always recall to my friends in the Diaspora how at the Mile 16 Car Wash your arrival is always greeted with a lot of excitement by the car washers who Lapiro would aptly describe as "people for juk head, reme nor day repe nor day". They were genuinely excited to see their Maitre and you always had a word of hope to them. I truly learned a lot on human relationship during those encounters. Professionally, Maitre Ngu was indeed an inspiration to some junior colleagues at the Bar. You gave hope to the downtrodden and the underprivileged. You were a legal pacesetter and luminary. You showed the light to the younger generation of lawyers and by your success you were a role model to all those underprivileged children who aspired to become lawyers. You gave belief to those whose parents were neither wealthy nor famous but who were willing to venture into the legal profession. Your success to them was a sign that with hard work, commitment and dedication each and everyone could be a successful lawyer irrespective of his background. Like the Literary iconoclast and guru Bate Besong of Blessed Memory, you were a Legal iconoclast as you did break the old stereotype that in order for one to succeed in law, he/she must have being fed in the words of Charles Dickens in Hard Times “with turtle soup and golden spoon”. Your Law firm was always full with young pupil advocates thirsty to drink not only from the fountain of your knowledge of the law but also to learn from the master himself the act of being an aggressive, versatile and a 21st century lawyer. Maitre Ngu was not only smart academically and in the Law but he was also street smart. You were a human rights crusader and a lawyer of the masses following in the footsteps of your mentor and role model Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the Nigerian Legal icon and Luminary. As a friend, Maitre Ngu was always there to assist his friends in whatever circumstances. He was a genuine friend who will always encourage one to aspire to higher heights. He was never jealous of the successes of his friends and he always had a smile on his face. Even his detractors will agree to the fact that he had a nice heart. We shall miss your love, care, affection and also your sense of humour. On a personal level, Maitre Ngu was very supportive. It was due to your constant encouragement and motivation by buying me a form for the Law School in Lagos that I realised my dream of becoming a lawyer. You were a true friend; you were always there for me. It was as a result of your ability to network that I was finally call to the Bar without going through the Bureaucratic bottlenecks and redtapism and grace to you I became a member of the famous Buea Mountain Club. You were very selfless and you will put my interest before yours. In spite of the fact that you were not feeling OK, you still had to make the arduous journey to Besongabang some years ago during my mother's memorial service. A friend who could make a bank statement not only for my sister but also for one of my junior friends without asking a dime. You were a real gem, friends like you will be hard to come by at this point in time wherein materialism, individualism, greed, graft and avarice is running riot. I will really miss you but your memory and legacy will never be forgotten. Adios Maitre Rest in Perfect Peace Big Bro Maitre Nkongho F. Agbor-Balla Legal Advisor Trial Chamber 1 Special Court for Sierra Leone
The death of Maitre Gorden Ngu popularly known as Joe Ngu took me by ambush. I am still to recover from the shock and loss of a true friend, colleague and big brother. Not only had I just spent some 15 memorable days with him in Buea during the Easter vacation but the fact that I had a lengthy conversation with him on the phone some few days before his sudden death. I vividly remember our conversation and all the plans we had for the future alas! Death strikes and reminiscent of Elechi Amadi's The Concubine "Death is a bad reaper always harvesting the unripe fruits". Maitre Ngu was a very ambitious guy who rose from grass to grace, a classic case of a self-made man whose burning ambition saw him become a household name in Cameroon in spite of his modest background and upbringing. For you were really at the apogee of your legal practice when the hands of death snatch you away from us. Your political ambition was to take a different dimension with the forthcoming elections wherein you were running as a parliamentary candidate for AFP. Maitre Ngu was multi-talented; be it the Law, football, politics, dancing etc. You were a real fighter. You made a name for yourself. Your 41 years on earth were memorable and like the famous saying of Mussolini you lived those years like a lion and never as a lamb. You were an epicurean per excellence. You were never shy of controversy and was always prepared to speak your mind. You were to me the antithesis of Soyinka's the Man Died; one who fears to tell the truth in the face of adversity. For no matter under what circumstances, you always spoke your mind. Maitre Ngu was a man of the people, one who would dine and wine with the "Funge boys", park boys, car washers etc etc and also with the cream of the society. Ngu was multi-faceted as he had the street in him and also had class; he was one who in the words of a colleague “easily combines eating Achu and Salad”. I was always amazed by your ability to interact with the underprivileged and the downtrodden; those who Frantz Fanon describes in his famous book: Pedagogy of the Oppressed as the 'scourge of the earth'. I will always recall to my friends in the Diaspora how at the Mile 16 Car Wash your arrival is always greeted with a lot of excitement by the car washers who Lapiro would aptly describe as "people for juk head, reme nor day repe nor day". They were genuinely excited to see their Maitre and you always had a word of hope to them. I truly learned a lot on human relationship during those encounters. Professionally, Maitre Ngu was indeed an inspiration to some junior colleagues at the Bar. You gave hope to the downtrodden and the underprivileged. You were a legal pacesetter and luminary. You showed the light to the younger generation of lawyers and by your success you were a role model to all those underprivileged children who aspired to become lawyers. You gave belief to those whose parents were neither wealthy nor famous but who were willing to venture into the legal profession. Your success to them was a sign that with hard work, commitment and dedication each and everyone could be a successful lawyer irrespective of his/her background. Like the Literary iconoclast and guru Bate Besong of Blessed Memory, you were a Legal iconoclast as you did break the old stereotype that in order for one to succeed in law, he/she must have being fed in the words of Charles Dickens in Hard Times “with turtle soup and golden spoon”. Your Law firm was always full with young pupil advocates thirsty to drink not only from the fountain of your knowledge of the law but also to learn from the master himself the act of being an aggressive, versatile and a 21st century lawyer. Ngu was not only smart academically and in the Law but he was also street smart. You were a human rights crusader and a lawyer of the masses following in the footsteps of your mentor and role model Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the Nigerian Legal icon and Luminary. As a friend, Maitre Ngu was always there to assist his friends in whatever circumstances. He was a genuine friend who will always encourage one to aspire to higher heights. He was never jealous of the successes of his friends and he always had a smile on his face. Even his detractors will agree to the fact that he had a nice heart. We shall miss your love, care, affection and also your sense of humour. On a personal level, Maitre Ngu has been very supportive. It was due to your constant encouragement and motivation by buying me a form for the Law School in Lagos that I realised my dream of becoming a lawyer. You were a true friend; you were always there for me. It was as a result of your ability to network that I was finally call to the Bar without going through the Bureaucratic bottlenecks and red tape and grace to you I became a member of the famous Buea Mountain Club. You were very selfless and you will put my interest before yours. In spite of the fact that you were not feeling OK, you still had to make the arduous journey to Besongabang some years ago during my mother's memorial service. A friend who could make a bank statement not only for my sister but also for one of my junior friends without asking a dime. You were a real gem, friends like you will be hard to come by at this point in time wherein materialism, individualism, greed, graft and avarice is running riot. I will really miss you but your memory and legacy will never be forgotten. Adios Maitre Rest in Perfect Peace Big Bro Maitre Nkongho F. Agbor-Balla Legal Advisor Trial Chamber 1 Special Court for Sierra Leone
Peperman you are right, I think we need to help these young family who have been blessed by the Good Lord with Three Wonderful Children. My congratulations to the parents of these little angels. I will be sending my own contribution in the coming days. Agborballa Special Court for Sierra Leone
Press Release from the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) 2007 Parliamentary and Local Government Elections in Cameroon The government of the Republic of Cameroon on Friday 20 April officially announced that Parliamentary and Local Government elections for 2007 will be held on 22nd July 2007. This move is commended as it will invaluably contribute to the strengthening of the democratic process in the country. There is therefore the compelling need for government to adhere and respect its obligations under national and international law in ensuring full political participation of its citizens before, during and after these elections. As a state party to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the government of Cameroon is obligated to create the enabling environment through which all political parties and individuals will be able to effectively participate in the process. Consequent upon the aforesaid, the government is enjoined to give maximum respect to the right of peaceful assembly, the right to freedom of association and the right to take part in public affairs and the right to vote The political parties involved in the elections should give credence to the highest available standards and should show maturity to ensure that the rights of everyone are respected. The rule of law should take precedence over any other considerations in the period leading to, during and after the elections. Civil society organizations on their part can and should play a very important role in the political process. They are expected to mobilize resources and efforts to ensure that the elections are not only free and fair but that the individual as well as collective rights of the people are respected. Furthermore, they are expected to liaise with the stakeholders, identify gaps in the electoral process and in a constructive manner bring them to the attention of the government. All citizens of the Republic of Cameroon have the right to participate in the political process, particularly the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs either directly or indirectly and the right to vote. They are called upon to exercise these rights within the parameters of the law and to immediately report cases of infringement of their rights. Done and Dated at Buea, this 25th Day of April 2007. Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla Esq. Executive Director. Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) P.O.Box 524 Buea, Fako Division, South West Province, Cameroon www.chrda.org
Words alone cannot describe the shock about the news of your death. I got a call from Peter Elad (Dante) of Greeat Soppo informing me about your death. The reasan he called me was to let me know that my mentor, teacher and role model; the writer as an obasinjom warrior/ political tiger is no more. I could not believe what he told me since a few days ago I was having a conversation with Barrister Taku in Freetown Sierra Leone as to how to assist in the forthcoming book launch since it was impossible because of the nature of our jobs to be in Buea for the launching. Thus, I was taken aback this morning when i got news of your death. When I got the tragic news, I took a walk down memory lane and I could see you teaching us the Elechi Amadi's The Concubine with the famous words "Death is a bad reaper, always harvesting the unripe fruits". Your death is a classic example of what Amadi was describing in the Concubine. BB, you may have gone but your good work will never die. You left a legacy for posterity. As a teacher and mentor you did not only inspire me but other aspiring and ambitious young men and women; Gwanvalla Francis, Stephen Ojong, JK, Fai gamal(RIP),Matumbwambo, BB Junior, Bell Emmanuel, Katy Ebot, Fon Erick, Epanty Rene, Peter Elad alias Dante etc etc. You were a genuine scholar and Intellectual in the Fonlonian sense of the term. Your were a mentor per excellence, a big brother, a teacher and an academic role model. My dream of geting into academia was due to the fact that I had someone like you to look upon as role model. I am trying to reach Barrister Taku and Mr. George Ngwane so that we can think of creating a Bate Besong Society. Adios il professore, Rest in Perfect Peace BB Barrister Nkongho F. AgborBalla Special Court for Sierra Leone
Ebah, Thank you learned colleague for bringing the plight of the aspirants to the Cameroon legal profession to the forefront. It is incumbent for us in the profession to put pressure on the Minister of Justice and the recently elected Bar Council. The minister and members of the Council should be reminded of their obligations to the profession in general and the aspirants in particular. The legal profesion is a liberal one wherein competition needs to be perfect and fierce albeit in a civil manner. It is not the place of the minister to restrict new aspirants in the profession. The failure of the minister and the Bar Council to conduct entrance exams for the past six years is a cuase for concern for us lawyers and we should not only pay cosmetic service to the plight of the aspirants but we should take action. We are the ones to fight for the interest of the aspirants, otherwise posterity will hold us responsible for failure to assist the aspirants and in the same vein we shall suffer from collective guilt. I wish to draw the attention of the learned gentlemen of the noble profession to the fact that failure to assist is punishable by the law akin to the Lord prayer's "... in what I have done and in what i have failed to do". The adage that the "impossible is not Cameroonian" has been given legal blessing by the attitude of those responsible for conducting the aforesaid Bar examination. The inability to conduct the exams and the lethagy by some senior members to bring this issue to the attention of the minister is very worrisome for young aspirants who look upon these senior members as their role model. A cursory look at the legal profession in other countries clearly shows that it is only in Biya's Cameroon that failure to conduct the Bar exam does not result in protest from members of the Bar Council. Mr Fakla President keep up the good work and use your excellent networking and public relation skills to ensure that this issue gets the attention it deserves. Felix Agbor Nkongho Office of the Principal Defendant Special Court of Sierra Leone