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Veteran Journalist Fon Echekiye Dedicates New Book To Anglophone Crisis Victims

Fon Echekiye, Charlie Ndi Chia, Agbor Balla and other book launch attendees in Buea

By Hope Nda

One of Cameroon’s living legends in sports reporting, Ignatius Fon Echekiye, has dedicated his new book, Echek’s Diary, to victims of the armed conflict in the English-speaking Regions.

Launching the 829-page book in Buea, Thursday, July 12, the celebrated sports reporter said the dedication will permanently remind his readers to do all that it would take to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy that has been playing in the Anglophone Regions since 2016.

“…there are victims, whether on the side of those who are championing the course, their families and those who are listed with them, or the military that is holding its forth to maintain the incumbent in power – they are all victims, they are our brothers and sisters,” Fon Echekiye said.

“So each time you pick a copy of this book and you are looking at it dedicated to them, it’s a way of saying that we have a better way of organising our livelihood in this country so that we don’t fall in these kinds of things again,” he added.

The book provides insights into his 28-year career as a sports reporter at Cameroon Radio and Television, CRTV.

Aside providing a personalised account of how Fon Echekiye emerged from a purely science background to become a vigorous sports journalist, the book contains 100 sports stories selected from the over 5,000 reports he wrote during his career at CRTV.

Echek’s Diary, he said, is his modest contribution to the “edifice of sports journalism”, and his way of telling his own story to the world.

“The book contains, first of all, my professional life for 28 years and some months and days that I spent at the CRTV, how I got in there, what motivated my performance at the various assignments I was given, how I went through some of them, the highs and lows… you can say the good the bad and the ugly at CRTV,” he said.

“Also, it talks about my private life and how it impacted aspects of my professional life. Then of the more than 5,000 reports of stories I did when I was a CRTV, I took out 100 published – those are stories generally that made people want to embrace me telling me that they think I am a lamp post in the profession,” he added.

The book also contains Echekiye’s exclusive statistics about Mount Cameroon Race champions from 1996 till date, as well as exclusive information on Cameroon’s eight-time participation at the FIFA World Cup.

In his review of the book, veteran journalist and publisher of the defunct The Rambler Newspaper, Charlie Ndi Chia, said the book is a meticulous and compelling diary of sports journalism in Cameroon.

Saluting Fon Echekiye’s wealth of knowledge and sense of precision in his sports stories and commentaries featured in the book, Ndi Chia said Echekiye is “qualified, on his own merit, to be qualified in the heavyweight division of credible and qualified sports experts and consultants in Cameroon and abroad.”

The book launch in Buea was chaired by human rights expert, Barrister Agbor Nkongho. The founder of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy for Africa, CHRDA, termed the book a sports encyclopedia. He also saluted the author’s frankness in recognising the sufferings of people who are living the realities of the Anglophone Crisis.

“It shows that the book is not devoid of the realities affecting us as a people,” Barrister Agbor Balla said.

He added: “It will be a wonderful document, not only for sports analysts, lovers of football, presidents of football clubs but for Cameroonians who are passionate about this beautiful game… to read and understand, not only about football per se, but who was Fon Echekiye, also the politics and other things that we used to hear only on rumour, the facts and figures.”

Barrister Balla’s CHRDA has documented a myriad of instances where civilians have been victimised by belligerents of the armed conflict.

Humanitarian groups estimate that the civilian death toll from the crisis is over 6,000, with hundreds of thousands of people displaced and forced into alarming levels of poverty.

Among those who witnessed Echekiye’s book’s launching in Buea was popular historian, Prof Victor Julius Ngoh. He praised the author’s courage in documenting first-hand knowledge on his professional career, stating that the book will provide unambiguous information to people who will want information about him.

Also present at the occasion was veteran journalist Franklin Sone Bayen, who read the author’s rich autobiography, beginning from his origins in Kumba to his education at Bishop Rogan College in Buea and onto his absorption into CRTV, where he aptly blended his knowledge in Mathematics with sports reporting.

Also, present were: legal luminary, Barrister Ashutangtang, veteran journalist, Jonny McViban and several other personalities.

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