|Prof. Njikong Stephen Yeriwa|
HRH Senator Prof. Jikong Stephen Yeriwa, 69, and traditional ruler of Jato-Gwembe village in Nwa subdivision of the Donga Mantung Division died at the Yaounde General Hospital shortly after midday, family sources told News Watch.
According to a family member, Godlove Jato who this reporter met amongst mourners at the deceased’s residence in Damas Yaounde a few minutes after the senator’s demise, Prof Jikong had been sick even before becoming a senator but he was shocked that death took him too early.
Mr. Jato explained that about six weeks ago, the senator was in the United States and when he came back, he (Godlove Jato) accompanied the senator to the hospital where it was established that he had a kidney problem.
But Senator Jikong attended the opening ceremony of the senate on Tuesday 12 November, took part in the corpse removal of senator Nkwain the following day.
“When we came back from the corpse removal on Thursday, he complained of tiredness, we went to the hospital on Friday and he died on Saturday at about 12:40pm”, Mr. Jato explained.
The demise of the Donga Mantung senator has not only left a vacancy at the upper house of parliament but also
During the campaigns for the senatorial elections in Donga Mantung, Prof Jikong had always told the population that “I promise to be at your service constantly and faithfully”. This statement has remained in the minds of many Donga Mantung denizens who are wondering why the cold hands of death took away their senator just over a year after he was voted.
In August this year, the senator started a scholarship program for the division which he promised will run for as long as he remains in the senate. During a civic reception in Nkambe, he offered CFA 2million F to the Nkambe and Misaje councils to revamp the council scholarship fund. Many a Donga Mantung man is now questioning what will become of the scholarship scheme.
Family sources say before his demise, the Professor of English language and French Sociolinguistics at the University of Yaounde I, part time Lecturer in the English department at Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, USA and author of several books was writing a book titled “A Higher Ground for Human Existence”. The family and education community in Cameroon and the USA is thus wondering why death did not permit him accomplish this work.
|Senator Jikong at the lauch of scholarship fund in Nkambe|
Before death snatched him on Saturday 15 November, Senator Jikong, this reporter is aware, was due to grant an audience to the Donga Mantung Divisional bureau of the Cameron National Youth Council on Tuesday 18 November. This was going to be a period of familiarization for both elected officials. The youths of the division are reportedly wondering why he died so early and as a father, teacher, and politician
He will be greatly missed
After his retirement from the Public Service in 2011 and while in the USA, it was rumoured that Prof. Jikong had died but the rumour mongers were put to shame when the senior citizen came back later in 2013 to be elected amongst the 70 pioneer elected senators of Cameroon on the CPDM ticket.
During the campaigns to the senatorial elections in Donga Mantung last year, Dr Fuh Calistus Gentry, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development and elite of the Division described Prof Jikong as “the best senatorial material”. He will certainly remember Senator Jikong as his colleagues at the Upper house of parliament will be missing him.
Godlove Jato who described senator Jikong not only as a father but a mentor remembers the late senator as “a man that loves to do his things straight, a man of integrity”.
His mother, wife, children and other family members will remember the late senator as a loving father as students he taught at the University of Yaounde I will remember him as a good teacher. His subjects of Gwembe village will miss their charismatic traditional leader, just like Christians of the Etoug-Egbe Baptist church in Yaounde.
His death brings to three, the number of senators who have died since the upper house of parliament was set up last year. Senator Fon Fontem Njifua of Libialem who was also questor of the legislative institution died on April 2, while the former chairperson of the foreign affairs committee of the house, Francis Nkwain who died in October was being buried same Saturday that Njikong died.
Though the third to have died since the putting in place of the Upper House of parliament in Cameroon last year, many still wonder
Who is Prof. Jikong
This reporter had a chat with the deceased senator when he was campaigning in 2013. Born on February 2nd, 1945 in Jator, Gwembe village via Sabongari in the Donga Mantung Division of the Northwest region, the father of six and grandfather of many is a teacher by profession. Jikong Stephen Yeriwa holds a postgraduate in combined English and French from the Federal University of Cameroon, now the University of Yaounde I. after his graduation from the said University in 1974, the CPC Bali ex-student was recruited to teach in the same University where he offered courses in English, French Sociolinguistics and communication until he obtained his PhD in 1995. He taught and supervised students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels until his retirement in 2011 with the rank of Associate Professor.
Besides teaching, Prof. Jikong Stephen was also chief of service for National scholarships in the Ministry of Higher Education (1991-92), Secretary General in the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reforms (1992-95) and later, technical Adviser to the Prime Minister incharge of Culture, Communication, Youth Affairs and Sports (1998-2011)
The one time president of the Association of Students of the Faculty of Letters and Social Science of the Federal University of Cameroon was a militant of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, the CPDM and became member of the Central committee of the party in 2011.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde