E. M. L. Endeley

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Emmanuel Mbela Lifafa Endeley (1916–1988) was a Cameroonian politician who led Southern Cameroonian representatives out of the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly in Enugu and negotiated the creation of the autonomous region of Southern Cameroons in 1954.

Early career and activism[edit]

Endeley was born on 10 April 1916; his family were wealthy members of the Bakweri ethnic group. He was educated in Buea and Bonjongo in British Southern Cameroons and Government College, Umuahia in Nigeria. Endeley eventually entered the Nigerian School of Medicine in Yaba. In 1942, he took the post of assistant medical officer in Nigeria, and in 1945, he served as chief medical officer in Buea.

Endeley was concerned with providing a voice for workers in British Southern Cameroons and for citizens of that territory in general. In 1939, he helped form the Cameroon Youth League (CYL). In 1944, he was a founding member of the Bakweri Improvement Union. In 1947, he joined union organisers of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) in Southern Cameroons. He became union secretary the following year. Endeley organised and participated in petitioning United Nations delegations and in organising general strikes. He was a founder of the Cameroons National Federation (CNF) in 1949 and later served as its president.

Political career[edit]

In 1951, Endeley was elected to the Eastern Nigerian Assembly in Enugu. He worked to have Southern Cameroons granted special regional status apart from Nigeria; when the Southern Cameroons Regional Assembly was formed, he was one of its first members. In 1953, Endeley joined John Ngu Foncha and Solomon Tandeng Muna in breaking from the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) to form the Kamerun National Congress (KNC), which advocated autonomy for Southern Cameroons. However, Endley's political views changed, and he advocated greater integration of the territory with Nigeria. In 1955, Foncha and Muna broke with the KNC to form the separatist Kamerun National Democratic Party (KNDP). Endeley allied the KNC with the Kamerun's People Party (KPP), another pro-Nigeria group, but the coalition lost seats to the KNDP.

In 1957, Endeley squeaked out a victory to become the first Prime Minister of Southern Cameroons; he was installed the following year. The following January, voters replaced Endeley with Foncha. In May 1960, his KNC merged with the KPP to form the Cameroons Peoples' National Convention (CPNC) to be the main opposition party to Foncha's KNDP. Political opinion was strongly in favour of reunification with French Cameroun, and the United Nations held a plebiscite over the issue on 11 February 1961. Endeley and the CPNC opposed; Endeley released a lengthy pamphlet urging the people of Southern Cameroons to vote "no". Nevertheless, the vote came in favour of reunification.

In the new federal state of Cameroon, Endeley and the CPNC took the role of Foncha's main opposition in West Cameroon. Endeley supported President Ahmadou Ahidjo's moves to create a one-party system in Cameroon. He served in several more posts in Cameroon before his death. In 1965, Endeley became leader of government business for West Cameroon. He served as a member of the Cameroon National Union's central committee, and in 1966, he became president of the Fako section, a post he held until 1985. Endeley was also elected to the National Assembly of Cameroon. Endeley died in 1988.

References[edit]

  • DeLancey, Mark W., and Mark Dike DeLancey (2000): Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon (3rd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press.