Chief John Eyong Etchu: A legacy that will forever be engraved in our hearts 0

Manyus all over the world will be joining the people of the Bachuo Akagbe Kingdom in celebrating the life of an extraordinary man, a champion, father, grandfather and traditional ruler-His Royal Highness Chief John Eyong Etchu II.

We of the Cameroon Concord News and the Cameroon Intelligence Report are proud and happy and of course, we are going to be part of this historic thanksgiving process. From Birmingham in the United Kingdom to Paris-France and from Mulheim an der Rhur in Germany to Dallas-Texas in the USA, it will all be to honor the memory of a soul who touched the lives of many around the world in countless ways. Though our hearts are heavy with sorrow, let us remember that this is a time to cherish the legacy of a remarkable individual.

His Royal Highness Chief John Eyong Etchu II was a man of unwavering strength, dignity, and kindness. His warm smile and gentle presence could light up any room. He possessed a wisdom that was only acquired through a lifetime of experiences, and he shared that wisdom generously with everyone around him. His words of guidance and encouragement were like beacons in times of darkness, offering comfort and reassurance.

Chief John Eyong Etchu II had an incredible work ethic, a testament to his strong and firm determination. He taught Cameroonians and members of his family including the people of Bachuo-Akagbe the value of perseverance. After graduating from Queen of the Rosary Primary School Okoyong (1947 to 1953) and St. Paul’s Teachers Training College (1953 to 1955), he took up a career in teaching until 1960 when he disagreed publicly with an Irish Revered Father over the management of Catholic schools and had to leave the Roman Catholic Mission.

Events took a dramatic u-turn for the better and in the 1960 Southern Cameroons National Sports event in Tiko, the young teacher Etchu had an outstanding performance and record. He was advised to join the Youth and Sports department. It was from there that the Police Department came calling!

While at the police training centre in Mutengene, a customs service was created and his superior moved John Etchu over and he finally graduated as a customs officer. He served as a customs brigade officer and had a meteoric rise in the system retiring as a brigade commander.+

Family was the cornerstone of his life, and his love for each and every one of his children, relation and Bachuo-Akagbe citizens was immeasurable. As a family man, he had 3 wives: Christina Tabi (RIP) Emmerencia Arrey and Sophie Bate and was blessed with 22 children- 10 males and 12 females.

Chief John Etchu II had an innate ability to make everyone around him feel special, treasured, and deeply loved. He revealed in everyone’s accomplishments, offering praise and support at every turn. His presence at family and village gatherings brought joy and laughter, filling the room with warmth and happiness. His legacy of love and unity will continue to live on within the Etchu dynasty and the Bachuo-Akagbe Kingdom a testimony to the enduring bond he fostered.

But it wasn’t just his immediate family and the people of Bachuo-Akagbe that felt the warmth of his love. His generosity knew no bounds, and he would go out of his way to help those in need. Whether it was a lending hand, a compassionate ear, or words of encouragement, he made a difference in the lives of so many outside Manyu, leaving behind a ripple effect of kindness that will forever resonate.

We remember His Royal Highness Chief John Etchu II not only for his virtues but also for the memories we as a people shared together. The stories he told both as a Parish Council chairman and a political man. He was CNU Youth President for Manyu Division from 1977 to 1986 and served as a chartered member of the Saint Joseph Parish Council in Mamfe.

We remember His Royal Highness Chief John Etchu II also for the adventures he embarked upon and the laughter he shared will forever be etched in the hearts of many both in Cameroon and even beyond. He had a mischievous sense of humor, always ready with a clever remark or something witty to say that could make even the most somber of occasions light up with laughter. His zest for life was contagious, and he taught his family and friends to savor every moment, to find joy in the simplest of pleasures.

As the Cameroonian nation bids farewell to our beloved Etchu Custom as he was popularly known in Manyu Division, let us remember the lessons he taught us and the love he bestowed upon us even during his trials and tribulations. Enthroned in 1992 and installed on May 18, 1996 he remains the longest serving traditional ruler of the Bachuo-Akagbe kingdom.

Though he may no longer be physically present, his spirit will forever live within us, guiding us in times of need and reminding us to live with compassion, integrity, and love that he demonstrated after May 18, 1994 when he was attacked by armed robbers. That incident left him physically handicapped and he lived with the challenge for the rest of his life.

But the May 18, 1994 incident and the Southern Cameroons uprising never scared him either as he again was on an extensive travel adventure around the globe that took him to Paris, London, New York, Munich, Mulheim and Texas.

In Texas USA, he suffered a stroke and with age telling on him, his health started deteriorating! The Chief was reliably informed that some members of his ruling council back home were already pushing for his replacement as ruler of the Bachuo-Akagbe Kingdom. From his sick bed, he wished them well and breathed his last!!

Born on Wednesday March 12, 1941 in Bachuo-Akagbe village to His Royal Highness Chief Etchu Samuel Smith Agbor I and Olga Bessem Ayuk, the Crown Prince lost his mother at the tender age of 6 and was raised by his father, elder sisters and step mothers.

While we mourn the loss of an extraordinary man, we should also celebrate the life he lived and the impact he made. As we carry his memory forward, let us honor him by embracing the qualities he embodied, by cherishing our loved ones, and by living our lives to the fullest, just as he did.

Rest in peace Chief John Eyong Etchu II! Your legacy will forever be engraved in our hearts. To God and to God alone—be the glory.

To this I put my name

Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai