By Ben Nakomo and Yvonne Soppo-Disso
Prof. Vincent P. K. Titanji, renowned scientist and ardent lecturer has taken-over the mantle of leadership at the University of Buea, from Prof. Cornelius M. Lambi. In a Presidential Decree signed on Thursday 14th December 2006 by Cameroon’s Head of State, Mr Paul Biya, appointing new officials at the University of Buea and other State-owned universities, Prof. Titanji returns to leadership at the University of Buea, after a one-year hiatus following his discharge from office in September 2005 as Deputy-Vice Chancellor for Teaching.
In a brief swearing-in ceremony on December 19, 2006 presided over by Cameroon’s Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo, in the University of Buea campus, attended by political dignitaries and academic luminaries, the Minister’s main message was "University of Buea is for all Cameroonians." The administrative changes at the University of Buea come on the heels student strikes, riots and anarchy.
On Monday 27th November 2006, at 8.am student leaders of the University Student Union (UBSU) moved across lecture halls and demanded their peers boycott lectures in protest on the political engineering of the pioneer list of students to be admitted into the Department of Medicine at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Buea. The unfolding events led to widespread destruction and looting of property in the University campus and the Molyko neighbourhood, the slaying of two students, and the physical infliction of injuries on some students, law-enforcement officers and residents in the university neighbourhood. Calm has returned to campus, with administrative officials returning to their offices. The bulk of students have vacated the campus for Christmas and New Year festivities.
The University of Buea is one of the six state-owned universities in the country designated for teaching and research in the English language. With a student population of about 12.000, and a teaching staff of almost 400, the University has been upbeat in positioning itself as ‘the centre for academic excellence’ and ‘the place to be’ for knowledge seekers within the central African sub-region. Admission into the university has been rife with applications over-shooting the available space. The intense competitive demand to study at the university has put to test government’s policy of universal education, regional balance, human capacity development and the supply of infrastructure.
The recent student riots was sparked-off by protesting English speaking students, frowning at perceived inclusion of French speaking students from other provinces in the list of would-be interviewed entrants into the Department of Medicine. The final list offering admission to 85 students to study medicine at the University has been published, with the medical freshmen now preparing for lectures. The Presidential order assigns Prof. Peter Ndumbe as the new Dean for the Faculty of Health Sciences, taking over from Dr Theresa Akenji who now serves as Dean for the Faculty of Science. It is expected that Prof. Ndumbe with long experience from University of Yaounde’s School of Medicine will significantly contribute in the building of the new Department of Medicine.
Prof. Vincent Titanji inherits the administration of the University arcane with socio-political and economic quibbles from diverse quarters. His team that includes Prof. Ntoko N. Mesape, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Research and Cooperation, Prof. Paul Bangwana, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Internal Control and Evaluation, Dr Nalova Lyonga Deputy Vice-Chanvellor for Teaching, Prof. Victor J. Ngoh as Registrar will in the months ahead marshal strategies to take the University of Buea into new heights that justify its appellation as ‘the place to be’.
© The Entrepreneur Newspaper 2007