4th November 1982 – 4TH November 2019: 37 years after Ahidjo resigned
“Fellow Cameroonians, I have decided to resign from my duties as Head of State of the United Republic of Cameroon”.
This was a speech most Cameroonians were taken aback when it was uttered by Cameroons first president Ahmadou Ahidjo on this 4th of November 1982. this resignation paved the way for his then prime minister and current president of Cameroon Paul Biya to rise to power 2 days later when he was sworn in as the second president of the country till date.
Cameroonians at that time were said to be enjoying a booming economy with political stability reasons why the news of his resignation came as a shock to most with national cohesion deeply rooted in the country.
Ahidjo had a few weeks on September 22nd announced that the government was offering 1500 jobs in a bid to “salvage graduate unemployment” He pursued an economic policy of planned liberalism, prioritizing cash crops and petroleum development. The government used oil money to create a national cash reserve, pay farmers, and finance major development projects; Though many of his actions were said to be dictatorial, Cameroon became one of the most stable in Africa.
The post Ahidjo era saw an economic crisis which took effect in the mid-1980s to late 1990s as a result of international economic conditions, drought, falling petroleum prices, and years of corruption, mismanagement, and cronyism. Cameroon turned to foreign aid, cut government spending, and privatized industries. With the reintroduction of multi-party politics in December 1990, the former British Southern Cameroons pressure groups called for greater autonomy, and rise of the Anglophone crisis.
The regime of Paul Biya however in 2006 resolved the dispute over the Bakassi Peninsular with Cameroon gaining control of the oil rich peninsular, but In February 2008, Cameroon experienced its worst violence in 15 years when a transport union strike in Douala escalated into violent protests.
This Monday November 4 represents the day Ahidjo stepped down and the countdown to Paul Biya’s ascension to the presidency began.