The republic of Cameroon was given the hosting right of 2019 AFCON by Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) years back but political instability ,insecurity and lack of adequate preparation were parameters used to withdraw the 2019 edition hosting right from them. As soon as it became clear that Cameroon couldn’t host the tournament at the time, CAF’s official had an emergency meeting to save the situation and Egypt was considered a new host because of availability of already made facilities and adequate manpower.
Fast forward to 2021, Cameroon was already prepared, but again the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic ensured that it didn’t host again, this time around it was a global affair .The tournament suffered another postponement but Cameroon eventually hosted the 2021 edition in 2022 and they put up a great showing.
Corona Virus Struck Again
After the hosting right was withdrawn from Cameroon for lack of readiness and security worry, Delta and Omicron variant resurfaced and were pronounced deadlier. The tournament was almost postponed again for the umpteenth time but football authorities in Africa met and decided that the tournament must go on as planned , regardless. All precautionary measures were put in place to ensure that the tournament took place and hitch free.
COVID -19 tests and vaccination were administered free of charge on personnel and even football fans ,to ensure a sharp reduction in contraction of the deadly virus. Players and officials too were tested on a regular basis to reduce the spread of the virus. Some countries were badly hit but the tournament went on.
Subsequently, CAF made a rule that ensured that a team should still play its match as long as 13 of its players are available for selection. Burkina Faso, Tunisia,Comos Island,Senegal,were all badly hit by the virus at the tournament but they still had to play anyways.
Cameroon is Bilingual
Two major official languages English and French are being spoken by the people of Cameroon .Statistics have shown that 83 percent of indigenes from other regions apart from Southwest speak French while 17 percent speak English. In Cameroon not everybody speaks both languages but there are about 15 percent who can converse in both French and English. This really makes communication to be difficult especially between English speaking and French speaking people.
The south west region are the major English speakers while the other regions of Cameroon speak French
Cameroonians Love Football Too
Just like Nigerians , the people of Cameroon are football lovers, eateries, beer parlours and joint were always filled up whenever an important game was going on. These places are always extra ordinarily filled up when the indomitable Lions of Cameroon was playing. During the semi –final tie between Cameroon and Egypt, a man in a beer parlour in Buea had promised everyone watching the game alongside him a bottle of beer for each goal scored by Cameroon. Unfortunately, the game ended goalless . It was eventually decided by penalty shoot- out which went the way of Egypt.
Olembe stadium is world class
The Olembe stadium in Cameroon played host to Cameroon’s group game and AFCON , it also hosted the finals too. The cover stadium sitting on a vast space of land in Yaoundé has all the Qualities of a world class stadium. It’s a touch of finesse, quality and beauty. The 60,000 capacity edifice now referred to as Paul Biya Stadium is an architectural masterpiece and a sight to behold. It has been dubbed one of the finest stadia in the world.
Its 1 naira to 9 Francs
Despite the fall in value of the Naira , it still enjoys little advantage over the Central African currency, the CFA franc. It exchanges for 1 naira Nigerian currency to 9 francs in Cameroon. Findings however show that it used to be 6 francs in time past but the sudden fall of the naira has really affected the exchange rate.
Few Banks in Cameroon
Most Cameroonians do not possess bank accounts, as the momo ( Money APP) is what is being used to transfer and receive money by many. There are many kiosks and outlets at virtually every corner and angle in the country where Momo transactions are going on.
Momo money transfer is linked to the network provider MTN Cameroon and virtually all Cameroonians make use of it.
No National ID Card , No Movement
Every Cameroonian whether young or old is expected to possess the National ID card and they are expected to go everywhere with it. The police conduct random stop and search to request to see the ID Card. Anyone not found in possession of it would be arrested. The police is supposed to be aware of loss of ID card so that a report can be given to such person pending when a new one would be issued out. A foreign living or doing business in Cameroon is expected to get a resident permit or consular card to be able to carry out their activities in the country.
Insecurity on the high
The English speaking region of Cameroon feels marginalized and cheated. Some group have gathered to ask for secession so they can be independent. The group is known as Ambazonia boys and they have been terrorizing the country . Buea, Limbe and Bamenda have been the base of these boys . There is a sit -at -home order every Monday in these areas , as this is one of the tactics being employed by the group to press home their demands.
Heavy Security Presence
The entire country is heavily militarized because of the activities of the Ambazonia boys. There are many road blocks in the southwest region, to stop the Ambazonian boys from carrying out attacks and kidnappings. The south west region is seen as volatile and very prone to crisis.
Yaoundé Like Lagos
Yaounde the capital of Cameroon shares a lot of similarities with Lagos ,Nigeria. The major market in the capital practically looks like ketu market in Lagos, Nigeria.The structure of the market and the mode of operation is the same with what’s obtainable in Nigerian market.
Every market has its own market leader , (Iyaloja) whom daily activities and day to day running of the market is reported to. Traders from neighbouring , countries , Central African Republic (CAR) and Gabon were seen at the market trading . Apart from market, the buildings, structures , street lights and roads share big semblance with Lagos.
Good and services a bit expensive
Apart from a few items, it appears the standard of living is a bit high in the country. Almost every item appears a little higher in the country when compared to what is obtainable in Nigeria. After doing the the conversion rate to naira, one would realize that commodities are a little bit on the high side in the country.
A litre of fuel is sold for 350 Franc
Although oil has been discovered in some parts of Cameroon especially the now ceded Bakassi peninsula but it has not being fully tapped into . They still import fuel from Nigeria and other countries.
Premium motor spirit (PMS) is sold for 350 franc a litre at the filling station in Cameroon. The equivalent in naira is about 320 naira. However, there are few filling stations in the country as petrol is majorly sold in gallons and glass containers in the country. The black market price is quite different, it goes for 500 Franc a litre
High Crime rate
There is a very high crime rate in major cities in the country. There were report of phone snatching and petty thieves in the country. Visitors are advised to carefully guard their belongings to avoid theft. The police and Gendarme in the country are working assiduously to ensure crime is nipped in the bud.
National Flag A Great symbol
An average Cameroonian is very proud of their flag irrespective of the harsh economic situation. The flag is almost hoisted at every angle in the country. Cab drivers and okada riders hang it somewhere visible in their cars and on their bikes. Findings show that it has always been the situation even before Cameroon got the hosting right of the AFCON.
Banso Tribe Like Akwa Ibom
If someone from Banso tribe in Cameroon speaks , such person might be mistaken to be an Akwa Ibomite. The similarities between these two tribes are very striking. Their ways of life , mode of dressing and even food are very similar. Findings show that the early settlers in Banso area of Cameroon were people who migrated from Akwa Ibom in Nigeria.
Many Nigerians in Cameroon
Nigerians have flooded Cameroon in their numbers to live , work and do business in the country.Hardly can one move from a short distance to another without meeting Nigerians working or doing business in the country.The major Businesses in Cameroon are being run by Nigerians. The most popular business run by Nigerians is the transport business. Many of the okada riders are mostly Hausa people from Nigeria. Many spare parts and even restaurant in Cameroon are owned and run by Nigerians . The Nigerain community in Cameroon also doing well to speak and protect them.
Stable Power Supply
Electricity is relatively stable in the country but still gets interrupted too sometimes. Findings show that Cameroonians enjoy long uninterrupted power supply during rainy season when the dam is filled up .Estimated billing is still very much visible in the country as pre-paid meters aren’t common at all. Moreso, the sight of generators or even solar panels are really limited.There is little or no market for the alternatives to power supply.
6-7-3 Educational System
Cameroon operates a 6-7-3 educational system, where a student is meant to undergo 6 years in primary school, 5 years in post primary, while another 2 years in Higher School Certificate (HSC) before He/she proceeds to tertiary institutions there they are expected to spend a minimum of 3 years depending on the course of study.
Unlike Nigeria where graduates are expected to go for one year compulsory NYSC , there is nothing like that in Cameroon. Upon graduation, graduates are meant to start job hunting.
Big Brother Nigeria
Apart from the Big Brother Nigeria show which is very popular in Cameroon, almost every Cameroonian believes that they stand a lot to learn from Nigeria considering the giant strides being made in entertainment . Nigeria movies and songs are always blasting from road sides speakers and car stereos in every street and road in the country.
The believe is that Nigeria has really made significant progress in the entertainment industry, not just in Africa but in the world . It’s generally agreed that Cameroon stand to gain a lot from Nigeria in the area of entertainment. Cameroon started its own Big Brother Cameroon show in 2021 and they hope to sustain it.