Unity is the theme as Cameroon celebrates its 47th National Day

Ambassador Iya Tidjani of Cameroon with the representative of Riyadh emir, Minister Shami Bin Shouaimi, at the National Day event of Cameroon in Riyadh, recently. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

The 47th edition of the National Day was celebrated this year under the theme: Unity in diversity, major asset of the Cameroonian people in its resolute march toward emergence.”

Cameroon’s National Day falls on May 20, but due to the blessed month of Ramadan, celebrations were deferred for three weeks.

The event marks the birth of the United Republic of Cameroon to now Republic of Cameroon. Cameroon substituted the date of Jan. 1, 1960 which marks the advent of the country to independence, to May 20, 1972.

As 47 years ago, a referendum organized by the first president of the country, Ahmadou Ahidjo had led to the unification of the Anglophone and Francophone parties coexisted until then under a federal system.

This year’s celebration took place in a tense socio-political situation, as Cameroon is facing many challenges including the terror spread by Boko Haram, refugees and internally displaced persons and violence that rages in the northwest and southwest of the country.

Cameroon is now facing a humanitarian challenge due to the hosting of close to a million refugees fleeing regional conflicts as from Central African Republic, from Nigeria because of the havoc rocked by the terrorist group Boko Haram and so on.

In the same vein, a total of 800,000 Cameroonians have been displaced due to Boko Haram attacks in the northern part of the country and the violence in the northwest and southwest regions.

The theme of 2019 National Day focuses on unity in diversity as peace is seriously threatened by the crisis in the northwestern and southwestern regions of the country for more than two years. The English-speaking separatists in Cameroon, a majority French-speaking country, campaign for the creation of an independent state in the northwest and southwest regions.

This edition of the National Day once again offered Cameroonians the opportunity to solemnly express their attachment to the unity, peace and stability of a country firmly committed to the path of emergence.

For Cameroon, Saudi Arabia is a friend and a major player in international relations, as can be seen from the country's role in the fight against terrorism. It is also in this context that Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, received Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Ayesh, Kingdom’s deputy minister of defense, in Yaound last November.

Cameroon's gratitude is expressed particularly to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and to Saudi people for the humanitarian aids which enabled us to welcome refugees and other distressed victims of that conflict with dignity.

Since 1966, the year of establishment of relations between the two countries, these relations have continued to deepen and diversify to the mutual benefit of both peoples. Thanks to the will, repeatedly reaffirmed, of Paul Biya, Head of State of Cameroon and King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, a new step forward was crossed by the signing in 2017 of an air agreement between the two countries in March 2017.