|Paul Ngabir (in suit) receiving the Nkambe council keys|
Mr. Bantar was transferred to Njinikom in 1988, as a faithful sympathizer of the party; he joined the Fundong subsection under the guidance of Bobe Francis Chia Ngam, the then subsection president. 1990 was the true test of his faithfulness to the party; multiparty politics was introduced and a band wagon of CPDM militants left to join the party of Ni John Fru Ndi, the Social Democratic Front, SDF. Worse, when President Paul Biya National President of the CPDM came to Bamenda in 1990, Mr. Bantar and other sympathizers who had moved to Bamenda to welcome him were stoned and jeered. He refused to heed to the pressure from the opposition. “People cannot force one to join what you do not want”, Mr Bantar said to himself.
By 1996, Ngabir Paul Bantar was working and living in Bamenda, and for the first time, he was member of the CPDM campaign team deployed to his native Nkambe for the presidential elections. “It was the first time I started speaking on behalf of my party”, he says with a beaming face. It marked a long journey of a resource person for the party.
In 2002, Mr Bantar contested as legislative candidate for the Donga Mantung constituency. He represented Nkambe. Other candidates came from Ako, Misaje and Nwa. He failed to enter the National Assembly but the score moved from 18-41%-a remarkable progress in an SDF fief.
With his eyes fixed on the MP seat, Mr Bantar refused to listen to his political mentor, Late Honorable S.N Tamfu, asking him to run for council not parliament. And, in 2007 he failed again but the score moved to 42%. At this time the population of Nkambe had started seeing the need for a switch. “Elite started coming on board,” he says, and “as we explained to them our difficulties, they federated forces to seek solutions.”
The score in the 2011 presidential election is eloquent proof the incessant decamping from the SDF. And, the icing on the cake was the takeover of the Nkambe council from the opposition after 17years; the CPDM party paralyzed resistance with persistence. But according to the mayor-elect, the militants in Nkambe are sad as the legislative candidate who toiled with them lost his seat to the legal and illegitimate candidate of the opposition, Awudu Mbaya Cyprian.
Nkambe and Ndu councils make up the Donga Mantung Centre constituency. Because the votes from Ndu were overwhelming, the SDF candidate was pushed into the National Assembly although he lost in Nkambe. “Our party hierarchy needs to look at this situation,” Mr Bantar pleads. After the victory, the councilors need to tighten their helmet chord. And, show proof of why they have been castigating the opposition.
Source: L’Action N° 928 of 14 Oct. 2013