By Leocadia Bongben| Monday 26 April 2010 | The Post|
A government-organised competition to select a logo for celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Cameroon’s independence and unification has been rocked by a scandal.
The logo which was officially declared third in the competition has been retained as the official emblem of the golden jubilee. A 22-year-old Anglophone, John Shaddai Akenji of Bright Arts Gallery, produced the logo which will appear on all official documents concerning the anniversary celebrations.
But while Akenji may have the satisfaction of seeing his work retained, it is two other Francophone participants in the competition who laughed all the way to the bank. Noel Akono Avebe scooped FCFA 5 million after he was declared overall winner of the competition while Niguen Guea, the runner-up, received a cash prize of FCFA 2 million. Akenji, whose entry is now the official emblem of the independence commemoration, was rewarded with FCFA 1 million.
At a ceremony to present the logo in Yaounde Tuesday, April 20, chaired by Martin Belinga Eboutou, Director of Civil Cabinet at the Presidency, many journalists were at a loss why the third place logo was chosen as the official emblem. If the first place logo was so good, journalists questioned, why was it not retained for official use?
Some Anglophone journalists concluded that the Francophone-dominated jury for the selection of the logo relegated Akenji’s entry to the third place because they preferred a Francophone to bag the FCFA 5 million reward. This reasoning was however complicated by the fact that it is an Anglophone, Ama Tutu Muna, Minister of Culture, who was president of the jury.
In an apparent reaction to the criticisms about the logo selection, Ama Tutu Muna who doubles as President of the Spectacle and Cultural Manifestation Committee of the Independence and Unification Anniversary Celebrations, maintained that after the selection of the jury, the logos are now the property of the Committee for the Organisation of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations that has the liberty to choose any of the three logos for official use.
She thanked the artists who took part in the competition for taking up the challenge and submitting an impressive 241 entries. A government official, who requested anonymity, however, explained to The Post that after the jury’s selection, the three logos were presented to President Paul Biya who preferred the third placed logo. He said the President had the prerogative to choose any of the three logos.
The Director of Civil Cabinet, who is also President of the committee organising Cameroon’s golden jubilee events, recalled at the ceremony that the country became a sovereign state in 1960 and the following year regained its unity lost under the German, and Anglo-French colonial rule. The celebration of the dual anniversary, he maintained, is the foundation of a nation. He said the foundation of a nation is an act of faith and a challenge the forefathers took for the success of today.
The President of the organizing committee maintained that the celebration of the independence and unification had to be translated into a symbol and given a strong image. He saluted the interest shown in the competition and directed special appreciation to the designer of the logo of the 50th anniversary, John Shaddai Akenji.
The logo is an image of a globe with a map of Cameroon in the middle. It portrays a Cameroon carried on two hands that have been able to maintain unity. On the foreground is a bird which symbolizes peace. The golden colors in the logo signify prosperity and an emerging nation.
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chek your sources. John Shaddai is 22 not 26.
Thank you for your assistance. We have updated the information.