Wednesday, June 14, 2017

It is often said that only a mother can say who the true father of her child is. That should be in the everyday world because in the professional milieu, only the child can tell you who his/her true parents are. Once we encounter a finished product, we may not imagine how it germinated, or was nurtured and molded into shape.
In my case, it all began in 1992 when the late Aunty Becky Ndive became the first woman to head a CRTV station. As the new station manager of CRTV South West in Buea, she introduced the "Holiday Workshop" programme, and decided that the first edition should be anchored by two gentlemen; Muema Meombo, popularly known as MM, and Theologien Mafira. In order to advertise the new concept and attract the adherence of listeners the CRTV Buea Chief of Service for Programmes at the time, Jean Pierre Nkuipo organized a programme with other colleagues.
I had just graduated from Government Secondary School Buea in Bokwango where I was not only a pioneer student but had served as the pioneer Social and Information Prefect.
Listening to Jean Pierre Nkuipo discuss the “Holiday Workshop” programme concept with Jean-Marie Nwefo and Theologien Mafira, the idea appealed to me so much that I immediately went to the radio station and offered to be part of the programme.
That's when I met MM for the first time. He asked me what I could do on the programme and without a second thought, I opted to present the news. He advised me to look for other young people and constitute a news team. The first person I got hold of, was a neighbor from Small Soppo Wonganga in the person of Bossiomo Etoga Fabrice of Lycee Bilingue, BGS Molyko. We co-presented the bilingual “Workshop News”. The news content included stories on holiday activities like youth cultural weeks which are usually organized during the summer holidays, holiday classes, and holiday football tournaments. The end of one programme edition meant running around town gathering information for the next newscast.
When other youngmen like Mbameg Marcellus Tezo, Monangai John Monangai, Harry McYemti and Abel Akara Ticha, joined the news team, Muema Meombo permitted me to serve as the main presenter of the “Holiday Workshop” programme. The form five student still awaiting GCE Ordinary level results was given the privilege to co-present a radio programme with veteran CRTV staff Theologien Mafira and at times Jean-Marie Nwefo. That is how for many people, I became known simply as "Uncle Snowsel", but thanks to the confidence and encouragement from Muema Meombo, I became a child of the corporation and grew up to become a CRTV member of staff and official in my own right.
It has already been 25 years and Mola Muema Meombo is now enjoying his retirement in Limbe. But many people do not know this radio monument who started as a teacher and later studied Television Journalism in Egypt.
Born in October 1950, the gentleman who from time to time serves as a resource person in Njomo Kevin's “Grapevine” slot on “Cameroon Calling”, was a pioneer to assist the Limbe City Council communicate on the maiden edition of the Limbe Festival of Arts and Culture. Like the late Aunty Becky Ndive, MM is an ASOBEXS, Soppo Baptist ex-student from what is today known as Baptist High School Buea, but which started as the Baptist Teachers Training College before being transformed into the Baptist Boys Secondary School. The fair-complexion gentleman with a baritone voice and an excellent command of the Queen’s English was a pleasant radio host like many journalists of his time. Even as a Service Head for Programmes, he did not take anything for granted. He took time to prepare every segment of his programmes even if it meant spending several hours in the music library to select songs whose lyrics tied with the themes and issues covered.
Everything MM does sounds interesting, be it a newscast, the Newsreel, a music Request Show, a Radio production, or a Television documentary. Some contemporaries with this rare quality of being all-round are Linda Bonglack Binda, Albert Njie Mbonde, and Moki Edwin Kindzeka. You can say these are people with the Midas touch, turning everything they lay their hands on into gold.
That is the kind of person that welcomed me on the radio with open arms, gave me a chance to prove myself, and put me into his own shoes to present a programme when I was still a form five student.
Even as a high school pure science student in GHS Mbengwi where I studied Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, MM still encouraged me to spend my holidays at the radio. He said many people with the Advanced level certificate in science subjects have ended up as journalists.
That high school experience in Mbengwi was quite an eye-opener for me. This is when I read my first Journalism textbook, the "Handbook for African Journalists" by Callix Udofia. I got a copy from a certain Tassang Wilfred who was training at ENS Bambili to become a French language teacher but was writing critical commentaries and opinion pieces in newspapers like “Cameroon Post”. It was Tassang Wilfred who introduced me to the publisher of “Our People” newspaper Fobeneh Christopher Anu, whom we met at a Full Gospel crusade at the Bamenda stadium. Christopher Anu who had written the only available book on "The Man Ni John Fru Ndi", offered me my first reporting job, to write for “Our People” newspaper from Mbengwi. It was also in high school that I joined the Society of Journalism SOJO, a school club founded by Peter Ngu Tayong in 1986. My SOJO president in 1992 was John Mbah Akuroh while Akoh Charles Atud was editor-in-chief. The following year, I served as the editor-in-chief, with Amboh Tangyie Gordon as the club president.
Later on in 1997 when I was doing my field work for the University of Buea at CRTV Buea, Muema Meombo was the Service Head for Programmes and consequently served as my field supervisor, while Dr. Stella Nana-Fabu was the academic supervisor. MM gave me all the assistance I could get, and with his intervention, I could open all the doors at the station and gather the appropriate data for my academic report.
In 1999, I passed the competitive entrance examination into the Institute for Demographic Training and Research, IFORD Yaoundé, to do a Masters degree in Population Studies. For some reason that year, the successful candidates were required to look for their own funding because the United Nations was no longer providing sponsorship to all the students. In the process of applying to international organizations and Western embassies in Yaoundé, I visited CRTV Mballa Two, and met for the first time with the Director of Information the late Luke Ananga. He listened to my story and informed me that the CRTV will soon recruit broadcast staff for the newly created Mount Cameroon FM in Buea. Mr. Ananga advised that if by then I had not yet secured funding for the IFORD training, I should apply, given my initial interest in the radio. That was inside advice from the director of information but it did not mean much to me even when the recruitment was finally launched. It was only when word came from Buea that MM was looking for me to apply for that Mount Cameroon FM job that I reluctantly traveled back to the South West and dropped in my application on the last day, just to please my friends at Radio Buea that I too had applied.
I was eventually successful in the recruitment that attracted more than one thousand candidates for the written examination at the Police College in Mutengene, and 160 finalists for the audition test at the studios of the PCC Communication Department. The jury led by Daniel Anicet Noah as president and Peter Essoka as vice president, certainly had a herculean task coming up with the final list of 27 successful candidates.
The rest as they say, “is history”. I was trained at the CRTV Television Training Centre in Ekounou Yaoundé, posted to the Programmes Department of CRTV National Station where I worked under the supervision of Kenneth Assobo, was transferred to FM 105 in Douala where I was privileged to bring my own touch to two Programmes, "FM Calling" and "Hi Di Hi", initially presented by Tricia Oben. The late Emmanuel Ayile, and the current Director of Communication at the Port Authority of Douala, Nchechuma Banla encouraged me to participate in the CRTV Littoral programme "This Week in The News" which they anchored. I also served as Service Head for News and Programmes at the FM station in Douala, before being re-assigned to the News Department of the CRTV National Station in Yaoundé in 2011 where I work under a talented professional like Ful Peter, the English language editor-in-chief. In spite of the demanding environment at the Central Newsdesk, Ful Peter gave me the recommendation to study for the MA in Political Journalism at the Yaounde Advanced School of Mass Communication, ASMAC. I also owe my 2015 First Prize in Investigative Journalism sponsored by the British High Commission to Pa Ful and to the entire "Cameroon Calling" team led by Samson Websi.
The story has continued at the management level with the strategic promotion to the CRTV Marketing and Communication Agency CMCA in January 2016 where my official title is Team Leader for Communication and Public Relations, but my latent assignment has been to study the management style of Wongibe Emmanuel -how to turn a limping advertising agency into a “cash cow”.
The CRTV may not be through with me yet but that is my story and that is where I am coming from. Muema Meombo laid the foundation on which others have had to build a bungalow, a monument or an edifice.
I once had a professional debate with a colleague who argued that she could not be wrong because she had been trained by the best. Then I turned around and looked at my own professional teachers: Muema Meombo, Kenneth Assobo, Tricia Oben, Ful Peter, and Wongibe Emmanuel. I do not see them as the best anymore, I see them as the finest. My conclusion? Snowsel Ano-Ebie has been trained by the finest. And to them, I am eternally grateful, as well as to all those colleagues, schoolmates, and apprentice or student journalists with whom I have shared professional space all these years. #
YAOUNDE, JUNE 13, 2017.

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