Atanga Paul Nji is the first Feyman I ever met in my life. I was a student in Yaounde university when he showed up at my students room near CRADAT Ngoa Ekele. He was visiting my roommate who had been his classmate in Saint Bedes College Ashing Kom. Atanga had left St Bedes without graduating and nobody could tell what he was doing as a source of income at that period. But he told us that he was National President of an organisation called International Youth Organisation or Movement which Ghadaffi is the general World President. First he presented a business card printed in colour describing himself as the national President of the International Youth Organisation.
Atanga Nji,Minister of special duties at the presidency of Cameroon
Back in the days a well printed business card in colour was a rarity and there is no way we could not believe him – since the being a colour card it looked as authentic as anything could get. It was as true as money.. Secondly he pulled out a photograph in which he was shaking Ghadaffi’s hand. That was way back about 1982 . How could we not believe him? Nobody at the time knew of the wax museum at Madame Tussauds in London, New York, or Paris, or wherever he had managed to get that snapshot taken. We had never heard that such a place existed where the waxed figures of important world leaders and other kinds of celebrities were on public display and anyone could get in and pose with these wax figures. And then nobody would know those were wax figures and not real human beings. If I remember clearly he too was in a picture shaking hands with Margaret Thatcher British PM at the time.
A couple of years later when I arrived the US and became aware of these possibilities to fake meetings with world leaders – and then heard he had had been sent to jail for some kind of crime related to feymania my encounter with this man back in 1982/3 flooded back to me like a film. For God;s sake if this man had bothered to ask every one of us in Yaounde University to contribute 1000frs each for membership in that his so called International Youth Organization or Movement – whichever thing he called it at the time, we wouldn’t have hesitated. Our ignorance about issues was not as bad as it is with Cameroon’s undergraduates today but it was really profound. Colour pictures were a novelty at the time in Cameroon since all such colour films had to be sent to France for printing. And then somebody shows up your doorstep with a very bright colour picture with him shaking hands with our then African hero Muahmar Ghadaffii,- why would we not believe him? This Atanga Paul Nji was way ahead of most Cameroonians in Feymania.
By Jonathan Ngwa