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Life story
March 23, 2013
 
Andy Tako Edjua, who died on 23 March aged 78 years, was one of the most widely respected lawyers of his generation. Born in Mamfe to Pa Philip Taku Edjua and Mama Agnes Nchung Edjua in 1935, he attended primary school at the St. Peter and Paul Catholic Mission School in Okoyong. After primary school, he taught as a PT teacher before attending the teacher training colleges- first, at St. Peter's Bambui (grade 3) and then at GTTC Kumba (Grade 2). After his teacher training, he taught at Widikum and then at St. John's Teacher Training College, Nchang.

Although teaching was his first profession, his real love was law. He had a burning ambition to become a lawyer, but he knew that he would first have to deal with a certain number of odds. First, he would have to obtain the GCE A/L which at the time, as now, provided the conventional entry route into university. Second, he would have to finance his study at the university privately, since the then West Cameroon government did not grant scholarships for the study of law. He figured out that if he went to CCAST Bambili (the only institution offering GCE A/L at the time) to study for the A/L, he would not be addressing the question of how to fund his law studies at the university. So, in order to be able to save towards university education, he continued teaching at Nchang TTC while studying for the A/L at home. He married Mary Forbin at the college chapel in Nchang in 1966. Then in 1968, with his A/L results in the pocket, a wife and some much needed savings secured, he left for Lagos University, Nigeria, to study law, returning home in the early 70s as a fully fledged barrister.

Back home in Cameroon, he joined the first wave of indigenous Cameroonian lawyers engaged in the practice of law. As part of that pioneering band of legal practitioners, he was instrumental in developing and transforming the legal profession in the 70s and 80s, not only in Kumba and South West but nationally. While his education and training helped to sharpen the analytical skills of an already powerful intellect, it was also thanks to a formidable capacity for hard work and the right dose of pugnacity for private legal practice, that he was able to establish a very successful legal practice.

He had interests outside the law though. He read widely and had an extensive knowledge of and interest in the Scriptures.  He dabbled in farming and engaged in other successful business ventures such as printing, and after practicing in Kumba for several years, he moved to Mamfe where he continued to practice law while engaging in politics. Although he was born and grew up in Mamfe, and never lived in his native Bache village throughout his entire life, he was nevertheless immensely proud of his Anyang heritage and was especially committed to the development of his native Akwaya region. For an obviously cleverman, he had an abundance of common sense and good humour and could move easily through the different groups in society that he frequented- be they his friends and colleagues in law or the professional classes or those living in the village.

Papa Andy Edjua will be remembered by many people as a warm, gregarious, vivacious and generous man. He loved company, talk, good food and drink, music and travel. Above all, he enjoyed the company of his beloved family- May, his wife, his children, Titus, Philip, Joseph, Peter, Paul and Angeline, - and his numerous friends from within and outside Cameroon, and was always in his element when the two groups met together either when the children were visiting him in Cameroon or he visiting them in Cameroon or abroad.

He is survived by his wife, Mary or May, as he affectionately called her, who was undoubtedly the anchor of his life (they would both return to the same college chapel in Nchang in 2007 to celebrate their ruby wedding- video below), five sons and a daughter, and eleven grandchildren. A son, Alphonse, predeceased him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbbIPbri_Gc