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Ako-Aya: A Cameroorian Pioneer in Daring Journalism and Social Commentary

Ephraim N. Ngwafor

Publication Year: 2010

Patrick Tataw Obenson, alias Ako-Aya, the rabid critic, social crusader and witty journalist, all rolled up in one, was indeed a popular and widely admired pioneer in daring journalism and social commentary in Cameroon. Little wonder that when he died, he left behind countless painful hearts and many questions on the lips of his admirers. As a man of the people, the fallen hero of Cameroon's Fleet Street shared his experiences, be they good or bad, with his readers. He was a virile critic even of the sordid things in which he himself secretly indulged. Obenson's mind was open, and through his popular newspaper column - Ako-Aya - he exposed society and social action in all their dimensions. He had an axe to grind with all perpetrators of social vices, especially those of them that infringed on the rights of the common man. He gave them a good fight, using his newspaper as his only weapon - a weapon which could not be neutralized even by the most affluent nor the most coercive leadership. And he did so with nerve and valour and venom. Only Tataw Obenson could spit out really scathing pieces of satire, aimed directly at the highest governing authorities of his society. Only Obenson could make allusions even to his own apparently ugly self. Only he could be liberal and honest enough to confess how he boarded a taxi and later bolted without paying the driver. Only Obenson was able to foresee his imminent demise from the face of the earth and literarily wrote his own epitaphÖ

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Content

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pp. v-vi

Dedication

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pp. vii-

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Introduction: The King is Dead

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pp. 1-20

When, in 1952, King George VI of England died quietly in his sleep, the papers came out in the morning with identical headlines, ‘‘The King is Dead’’; and when the rock star, Elvis Presley died in 1977 of a drug over-dose, papers all over the...

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1. The Daring Nature of Ako-Aya

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pp. 21-33

Unmindful of all the consequences that could follow, Ako- Aya spoke out his mind whenever his sense of justice was offended. Thus, in condemning bribery and corruption, he exposed those Administrators who asked for ten percent...

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2. Ako-Aya Against Tribalism

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pp. 35-43

Ako-Aya spared no effort to discourage tribalism. This explains the purport of his very leading article ‘The Four Bees’, whereby he sought to expose and thus put an end to, the tribalistic tendencies of the Bansos...

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3. Ako-Aya Exposes: The Vices of Certain House-Wives

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pp. 45-58

In the opening article below, ‘WHO is MADAM’, Ako-Aya attempted to define the status of a housewife. Surprisingly, his subsequent articles on this subject mainly revealed indecent practices perpetrated by married women...

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4. Ako-Aya and Prostitution

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pp. 59-72

Ako-Aya unilaterally appointed himself leader of all the prostitutes in former West Cameroon. Indeed, in his article ‘NKANNE DONG BURN’, he spelt out the main prostitution centres, namely, Nkanne in Douala...

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5. Ako-Aya and Women from the East

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pp. 73-78

When the Tiko-Douala highway was constructed, there was immediately witnessed an influx of prostitutes from Douala to Victoria. And as Ako-Aya rightly pointed out, the competition between these people stepped up drastically. He...

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6. Ako-Aya and Women: Personal Experiences

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pp. 79-88

The intense illustration of certain events narrated by Ako- Aya can only be explained by the fact that he was an eyewitness to them and so could give direct evidence. This is especially so in his personal experiences...

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7. Ako-Aya and Gossips

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pp. 89-99

It was said of Ako-Aya that he was omnipresent. Hence the belief that he could uncover any story, be they events that happened in the darkness of the night. All these were subsequently exposed the following week...

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8. Ako-Aya and Letters to the Editor

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pp. 101-104

Today, it cannot be denied that these letters were written by Ako-Aya himself. This sounds bizarre if one’s attention is drawn to the fact that these letters were deemed to have been sent to Ako-Aya. How he would have loved to receive...

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9. Ako-Aya and his Enemies

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pp. 105-108

For one who was as fearless as he was courageous, it is not surprising that Ako-Aya was not liked by every member in our society. And, of course, this group was made up of people who had been exposed for perpetrating one vice...

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10. Ako-Aya and the Big Towns

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pp. 109-143

Although Ako-Aya was based in Victoria, he travelled extensively. This enabled him to cover interesting stories in various other towns, notably, Tiko, Buea, Kumba and Bamenda. His famous title...

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11. Ako-Aya and Re-Unification

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pp. 145-154

The Re-unification of both East and West Cameroon brought with it several problems. The most disturbing of these problems was the drawing up of new salary scales for the civil servants in former West Cameroon. These workers...

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12. Ako-Aya and Politics

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pp. 155-162

Ako-Aya wrote special articles in recognition of our National Feast Days. In the first of such articles, ‘Ah GRAD PLENTY’, written to coincide with one of our National Days, 1st October, he devoted much time to point...

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13. Ako-Aya and the Big Stories

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pp. 163-183

This section of the book unfolds those big events, (especially those in Victoria) which caught the eye of every citizen. As would be expected, his literal presentation and incidental exegisis were most appealing. Hence, you would come across...

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14. Ako-Aya’s Problems at Job-Site

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pp. 185-191

It was not always plain sailing for Ako-Aya. Indeed, he did not only have to fight against censures, but also to deal with serious administrative problems. This latter difficulty was most biting. In fact, there were months when he considered...

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15. Ako-Aya and Misleading Titles

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pp. 193-200

Ako-Aya occasionally disappointed his readers. Some of his titles were so misleading that, one had to question the mood in which he was before writing. The stories he narrated under titles such as...

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16. Ako-Aya and Christmas

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pp. 201-204

Ako-Aya never failed to wish his readers a ‘Happy Christmas.’ And it was in such articles that he articulated on the various financial problems which family members have to face up to. This is moreso because gifts have to be bought...

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17. Ako-Aya and the Fall of the City of Victoria

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pp. 205-215

Ako-Aya, like many ‘Victorians’ saw Victoria rise and fall. In one of his articles, ‘Christmit Weekend for Fitolia’, he lamented the decline and hotly criticised the government for neglecting the natural seaport...

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18. Ako-Aya and Fraud in the Bota Wharf

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pp. 217-223

It has been argued that the fall of the city of Victor! was caused by the departure of the foreigners who perpetrated the famous fraud in the Bota wharf. The result was that, no second hand clothes were imported, while prostitutes understandably...

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19. Ako-Aya - A Prophet of his Death

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pp. 225-228

I have always considered some of the articles written by late Obenson in 1976 and 1977 to be more of prophesies. As it had been earlier remarked his main concern later became that of the oil in Victoria. Sadly enough, he had very difficult...

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20. Ako-Aya’s Last Few Months on Earth

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pp. 229-242

Although this great journalist must have had nightmares of his death in 1975 and 1977, he still was not discouraged writing on. Indeed, his job was not in any way jeopardised. Unfortunately, we could not read much of his works...

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Epilogue

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pp. 243-244

For true, Patrick Tataw Obenson, the rabid critic, social crusader and witty journalist, all rolled up in one, was indeed a man of the people. Little wonder that when he died, he left behind countless painful hearts...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956578726
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956616596

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: B/W
Publication Year: 2010