January 1, 1960 is a day never to forget in the history of the Republic of Cameroon when independence was gotten from France

Having become an ordinary day in the country, January 1 represents the day of independence of the part of Cameroon under French

colonization until 1960, the Republic being proclaimed the following March in this eastern part of the territory. Ahmadou Ahidjo, previously

Prime Minister, became its first president the following May.

In western Cameroon, then under British rule, independence was announced on October 1, 1961, followed by the merger of the two

Cameroonians. In February before, the United Nations had organized a plebiscite on this zone, of which the northern part (Northern

Cameroons) had declared in favor of an attachment to Nigeria, while the rest (Southern Cameroons) opted for its attachment to the Republic

of Cameroon.

From October 1967, Ahmadou Ahidjo was Federal President of the Republic of Cameroon, with John Ngu Foncha as Vice-President. The

country was then made up of two federated states, three governments, four assemblies, and three judicial bodies. The United Republic of

Cameroon, bringing together the English and French-speaking parties and which marks the end of federalism, will be consecrated on May 20,

1972 following a referendum in which the “yes” vote will win 99.97%.

This date, considered by certain nationals of the North-West and South-West regions as a “constitutional hold-up”, corresponds for a large

part to the beginning of the frustrations experienced by Anglophones, some of whom took up arms for more than 3 years to demand


The Constitution of June 2, 1972 sanctions the birth of the unitary state, and May 20 become National Day. The country is now made up of a

single state, a single government, a single assembly and a single judicial body. Ahmadou Ahidjo, who is its president and who died in exile in

Senegal on November 30, 1989, will resign from his duties on November 4, 1982.

Until then Prime Minister, Paul Biya took office on November 6 following a constitutional provision. On January 21, 1984, the country took the

name of Republic of Cameroon, which it bears to this day.

By Subiru Madina