Cameroonians will be heading to the poll on the 7th October 2018 to select their new president or to give another seven year mandate to President Paul Biya who has been in power since 6th November 1982 when he took over from late President Amadou Ahidjo first president after independent Cameroon.
This year election is very crucial to the incumbent who has come under serious criticism from his own people for the poor handling of the ongoing Anglophone crisis that has paralyzed both regions and has catalyzed the migration of people from the North West and South West Regions into other Regions of the country.
The opposition parties considers the election as a referendum in selecting between good governance from bad governance in which they belief that if the Anglophone crisis must be solved President Paul Biya must be voted out of office.
The Grand North Region of Cameroon which includes Adamawa, Far North and North with an estimation population size of more than 5,684,040 as of 2013 population census has always been seen as the battle ground Region of Cameroon presidential election this is due to their massive population size and have with the most active region with voters in the entire Cameroon.
The Cameroon presidential system of election is based on who wins the highest number of voters in all the ten regions put together hence; the Grand North has always been the battle ground region in Cameroon because of its population size. But the ongoing Anglophone crisis and the emergence of the Boko Haram in the Grand North have shifted the battle ground position to other regions ahead of this year presidential election.
Reason why Littoral, West and Center Regions are the New Battle Ground Regions and not the Grand North?
The Boko Haram Factor
Ever since the emergence of the terrorist group Boko Haram in the Grand North, the population size have greatly reduced in numbers as scores of people have died of suicide bombing, extra judicial killings and massive arrest as hinted by International Crisis Group in their 2014 report, hundreds of thousands have been displaced and are now refugees in Nigeria with no intention of returning back to Cameroon.
And those that are still in the Grand North not all are active and some active voters did not registered for this upcoming presidential election as they used to do before; the numbers of active voters have greatly reduced especially in Far North and North which happened to have been the most affected areas of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The high level militarization of the Regions is an added factor which will scare some active voters not to come out to vote for fear of confrontation between the regular army and the terrorist group as in some occasion.
Another important factor is the consideration that the incumbent always win elections hence, no need to go and vote is another factor that will hinder some few voters in the Grand North not to come out to vote during this upcoming Cameroon Presidential Election
The above reasons have weakened the powers of the Grand North in deciding Cameroon Presidential elections and have created new battle ground regions in Cameroon which are Center, Littoral, and West Regions some areas in the Grand North are just like some villages in North West and South West Regions.
The Anglophone Crisis Factor
The ongoing Anglophone crisis has made many people to leave the North West and the South West Regions and have moved into Littoral, Center and West Regions of Cameroon in fact the entire English-speaking seems to have emptied their active population into these three regions there by increasing the population size of these regions
In addition thousands of Anglophones have moved into Nigeria and others have found comfort in the bushes abandoning their homes and villages to the Military and Separatist fighters to battle over.
The few people who are trap in the regions who are potential voters have been warned by the Anglophone separatist Fighters that they will be attacked if they go out on that day to vote for the Presidential election.
Another important factor is that, those who have migrated to Littoral, Center and West took their voters cards with them and since the Elections Cameroon may create special voting centers for the internally displaced persons to vote, the pulling numbers in these regions will increase.
But if Elections Cameroon reject the idea of creating a special center to accommodate these persons the regions will still have to decide who wins the election because they are the most active with active voters.
Before the escalation of the Anglophone crisis, these three regions were populated already and adding to the massive exodus of the Anglophone communities the population now has more than double which has now created a new battle ground regions.
And as the elections day draws nearer many more people trap in Anglophone Regions escape to Littoral, West and Center for safety despite continues security assurance from their respective Regional Governors.
Conclusively, Littoral, West and Center Regions are the Joker for the 2018 Cameroon presidential elections and no longer the Grand North and whoever wins these three Regions wins the elections.
And to win the Presidential Election you must have the highest number of Voters put together in the entire regions of Cameroon and the Littoral, West and Center seems to have the population needed.
Meaning all a candidate needs to do is to secure a victory in Littoral, Center and West and then struggle to hand pick few in the different regions and becomes Cameroon president.
Facts on the ground
The incumbent Paul Biya will have a serious work to win these three regions, if the opposition candidates unit to form a coalition, the coalition will play into their favor in these three regions because the regions seems to be their strong hold especially for Joshua, Ndifor Frank, Akere Muna, Kamto and Libi.
Looking at previous history of Presidential Elections and Municipal Elections in Cameroon the ruling party has always had difficult moments winning the West Region, some part of Center Region, Littoral Region. And they have had though times winning the two English-Speaking Regions and now that the two English-Speaking Regions seems to have emptied themselves into the three Regions, it is a good opportunity for the opposition parties to make use of because their presence in these three Regions is a good reason for others in the regions to see that the incumbent cannot handle the country any more.
Hence, a coalition will oust President Biya because the strength of the Grand North has been weakened and it is not that all-powerful as it used to be now the all-powerful regions are the once stated above which are not even friendly to the CPDM party.
But failure to form a coalition now will give the incumbent a save heaven to be re-elected as the President of Cameroon for the next 7 years this is because the CPDM party militants in the different Regions are loyal and will vote for their candidate and will benefit from the fighting of the opposition candidates whom instead to form one body to win the voters in these three regions, they will instead turn to share voters In their small strong constituencies
They will not have absolute majority as compare to the incumbent whose voters in the other regions and in some parts in Littoral, West and Center are loyal to their candidate.
In the already falling Grand North the opposition parties in a coalition can turn water into win and beat the incumbent and form a coalition government
Let’s be clear if opposition parties form a coalition they will win the battle ground Regions and win the 2018 presidential elections but is they don’t Biya will benefit from their confusion and win another mandate.
A Tah News Network Analysis.