Arrey Echi Agbor-Ndakaw
It is Saturday under the Cameroonian University skies just another day of the week and many paysans going about their daily business. However, to a throng of youth and their families, it is a memorable day, filled with smiles and a sense of accomplishment and rightly so. This day marks a turning point, a culmination of hard years of study and toil, the results of which is visible for all to see. The future suddenly looks bright and as the youth march up the podium to take their diplomas and certificates, parents look up beaming with pride and joy and hope.
This is a recurring scenario in all the higher institutes of learning in Cameroon, from the Universities to professional colleges. Clad in spectacular academic robes and in cognizance of the solemnity of the situation, many of these youth feel fully the weight of the popular CPDM saying that the future of Cameroon is its youth. During such moments, graduates appear invincible capable of doing anything with probably even soaring above the skies instead of it being their limit. Then comes the nightmare for those fortunate to get jobs or directly recruited from these professional schools. The battle for survival takes a different sometimes ugly twist. One year of work, no salary. Two years! Three years nothing!
The little money left from student days or from whatever support the family can provide is used in chasing dossiers in the nation’s capital, Yaoundé. Endless trips with thousands of FCFA spent in certifying documents and purchasing fake fiscal stamps- still no money in sight. This is when the real meaning of Cameroon and its survival of the fittest policy comes into play. It is heart wrenching to watch these struggling youth spend all the pennies they have to chase documents for years simply because those responsible for putting their signatures unto it are more concerned in idle chit chats or sharing beers and on most occasions travelled out of Yaoundé to participate in political rallies------------ the absence of accountability and mediocrity being the norm.
The spirit of peace, work and fatherland is now a thing of the past. What we forget to remember is that we as citizens have a civic responsibility towards the smooth functioning of the state irrespective of whether big brother is watching or not. It will therefore behoove everyone to put in their one hundred percent if they want the system to work smoothly. This is unfortunately not the case as the majority don’t care about civic responsibilities and those who do are few and far apart. These youth are usually sent to distant rural areas sometimes with hardly any incentive in place to motivate them to do their jobs well or stay where they were posted.
The private sector graduates are no better!! Usually, after the first pay, the unscrupulous bosses hold on to the salaries of their workers for months and daring to ask culminates in a clash of wills with the boss or a dismissal with no compensation of work done whatsoever. No wonder that the Cameroon youth continue to leave en masse to even unknown destinations of the planet rather than stay back and face a seemingly bleak future which they are powerless to change. As such, rather than face the anguish and frustrations of toiling without pay, many prefer to toil elsewhere where they are at least guaranteed of their labor’s wage.