The last time that I checked the Webster dictionary of the English language, unabridged edition; “Welcome” which also means ‘Oroko’ in our ancestral derivation; is to greet hospitably with courtesy and cordially? ‘Welcome’ also means to accept with the occurrence of…or receive gladly into ones presence or companionship, giving pleasure, received with gladness or delight especially in response to a need and willingly permitted or admitted. Above all it’s a greeting of re ception upon arrival.

Loius EtongweIn all these, my definition(s) of choice would be ‘a greeting of reception upon arrival’ and receive gladly into ones presence or companionship, with gladness or delight especially in response to a need…, Indeed the latter definition is simply alluring because for all practical intends and purposes the definition may presumably fit well with my theme.

Brothers and Sisters of our oroko cause, ‘Welcome’ in my judgment is a classic verbiage which reflects and edifies our ethnic and cultural comradeship with relish in replete. But more appreciably in my judgment the word ‘oroko’ is the final canal that duly links our ethnic factions in a very unique manner with courtesy, gladness and delight.

By and large, by virtue of common judgment or reason, a contradiction is when a proposition is put together to yield different conclusions. Several years ago at the crowning of a special convention led by late Chief Obie and some oroko notables mostly chiefs; all reached a unanimous consent by acclamation to unify our varying factions under a common lingo name ‘Oroko’. Accordingly, by acclamation a unanimous consent was reached such that as an alternative to commercialize Bakundu, Balue, Mbonge, Ngolo and Balondo etc, a common identity lingo word ‘Oroko’ is born. Just what the doctor ordered!

Since then the conspicuous lingo word ‘Oroko’ has been functional across the board in attempt to identify and unify our varying factions under a common denominator for all practical and intentional purposes.

Be that as it may, I’m at times completely disillusioned with our ‘Oroko’, (welcome) given our every so often divisive, subversive and at times excessively odious approach on issues of common interest. On that note, more often than not our common goals and objectives are often dwarfed and subjected to irrelevance and subsequent rubble. In the past several decades, Oroko people have not received each other very kindly with dignity and respect. We have squabbled at each others throat vying for the same rights and privileges thus, the Bakundus against the Mbonges, the Ngolos against the Balondos and the list goes on.

On the contrary, we welcome strangers with open hands even to the extent of crowning them chiefs, mayors etc in our own land. And yet without reservations we would relegate our own flesh and blood either because we are purely uninformed of the values inherent in our culture or we just simply despise each other’s birth rights just for the fun of it to disavow each other and ignore all we have in common.

An ethnic tribe as large as Oroko would not be subjected to void by our fellow citizens who in cohort with our Cameroon government have diluted our contribution and significance in our country’s economic social and political guts and resourcefulness. Clearly, if we would collectively energize all our human, social and economic capital and skillfully use these agents to claim leverage, without doubt our resurrection would be on a good footing. Such a unilateral approach in achieving these goals would also go a long way to recognize the potentials and due diligence within us.

Now the question is if ‘oroko’ really means anything to you as we profess in our hospitality lingo (Use any one of the applicable definitions as it pleases you), why can’t we really get along?

Caveat! In my quest to take the devil’s advocate as it would demonstrate in my comments and observations, I’m often bewildered and frustrated in our discord to the extent I can’t resist the temptation to think ‘Oroko’ (welcome) is a pest word of an intractable proportion. In fact index this commentary dubious if in my assessment, fail to address elements that validates my opinion that ‘welcome’ is an oroko contradiction.

Take the case of Oroko USA as a classic example of a dysfunctional family. To some of you my comments would be typified heresy. That said, the ‘oroko’ (welcome) voice in my judgment is at times full of contradictions and discord because we would say one thing publicly but in private our discord is amplified to embellish our untrustworthiness. I would selectively use these words well within the realm of common sense and judgment because Oroko USA has not flourished well like most other cultural groups as a result of our failure to get along, be candid and practical. In my experience as a former President, talk is seemingly cheap but actions often speak louder than words. To be President of Oroko USA you must be skin thick and be exceptionally tolerant to be “welcomed” and have a consensus on anything practical to be productive as a group. Unquestionably, we speak too loud, talk too much and do very little. Yes, I do admit that there are intricacies of group dynamics that often interfere with the running of an organization such as Oroko USA . Those intricacies can be overcome to foster the well being of a group.

Therefore in spite of a genuine call or consensus to resurrect Oroko USA , I would construe any such attempt as gibberish. Without intent to be subversive and negative, vis-à-vis a would be historic convention, our progression will depend exclusively on a shift mentality of tolerance, pragmatism, diligence and be more ‘welcoming’ when there is need to reach a consensus to obtain a stated goal. For now Oroko USA is suffering from a pregnant girl syndrome solely because we have yet to deliver the infant.

Secondly, take the case of our past political guards who have served our nation state Cameroon with distinctions. Several years ago we were privileged to have a few of our old political guards (Oroko men) as head of a few gover nment ministries including some governments owned scrounging corporations. If you will recall, most employments in ministries headed by some of our leaders were limited exclusively to either friends, family members or a few ethnic cronies. My memory is still fresh because no reasonable numbers of oroko people were ever involved in employment as demonstrated by other ethnic groups. In all fronts, the only exception was Marketing Board where our illustrious late Chief Mofa proved he was not only kind in heart for Oroko people; he was there for all Cameroonians. May his soul rest in peace!

In essence the Oroko people have an enviable geographic, economic and social position on their side. We have the numbers, yet we are not rewarded politically. In my assessment I can’t even rationalize why an Oroko man was not amongst the recent government appointees such as head of government. (Prime Minister) We have the resources yet we seem least prosperous. All of these boil down to one thing. We are not well organized as a people to be more assertive to forge our agenda. On the contrary we fight each other squabbling on irrelevance and ignore real issues that matter most to us.

In my recent assessment and recollection, it is my belief that Oroko people have suffered immeasurable damage and injustice. Part of the problem is that we are our own worst enemies. In phantom, we offer a fascinating spectacle of an ethnic group in search of an identity, welcoming guests without apathy, and yet we demonstrate indifference in accommodating ourselves, and hence ‘the oroko contradiction’.

Absolutely, with the passage of time, there is a noticeable spark of our Oroko consciousness after years of pitting against each other at the expense of our uniqueness. And as our contradiction erodes with the changing time real progress can be measured through pet projects such as spons or an oroko child. Great idea and thanks to the architects. Categorically, what seems to have sparked a resurgence of an obvious mental awakening and a fresh attitude is certainly the result of a generational approach. Quite frankly in spite of my pessimism in my message I’m very optimistic because the wind of change is sifting its way into the oroko consciousness.

( You can reach the author Louis Etongwe for comments)