Friday, March 20, 2009


Limbe presently is four years old without a Paramount Chief following the demise of the last one Chief Ferguson Manga Williams. His death sparked off a controversy on who should be the next Paramount Chief.

The print and audio media have variously reported petitions and nominations stemming from pretenders who severally have claimed their legitimacy over the throne.

However the following posits the genealogy of the chiefdom from erstwhile Bimbia, Victoria to present Limbe. It should also proffer the traditional succession as Agnatic seniority.

Bimbia was first inhabited by natives called Isubu from a major littoral Bantu band that settled before the 15th Century A.D on a coastal stretch of land that extended from the swamps of Rio del Rey and Ndian in the far west, through the marshy-land of Bamusso, all in Ndian Division, then south eastwards through Cape Nachtingal and Ambas bay to the Wuri Estuary in Douala. They extended northwards from the 4th to about the 5th degree of latitude around the Rumpi and Muaningouba highlands, latitude 41/2° N and longitude 9°E cut across ancient Bimbia.

It became a kingdom in the 18th Century and was named Bimbia which appellation derived from its first chief who was named Mbimbi -a- Ngombe (meaning Mbimbi, son of Ngombe).

Mbimbi Jack (Ngombe Mbimbi) was King of Bimbia between 1790 and 1802.

Mbimbi Jack was succeeded by Nako, son of Ngombe.

Chief Bile (whose appellation was misconstrued by British Missionaries as Bill, short for Williams and so henceforth called (King William I), succeeded Nako.

King Williams I left three sons, Nako, John King, and Billeh: Nako assumed the chief authority; on his death, John King waived his right in favour of King Billeh. The latter had frequently declared that whichever of his sons proved to have the "best head" would succeed him. His death was reported by Acting British Consul Hopkins in December 1878.

King Williams I was replaced by his son, Ngombe, also known as young King Williams II. He was murdered in 1882 at Limbola by Bakwerians from Soppo, Buea.

Following the assassination of young King Williams II the Bimbian monarchy crumbled completely. No heir could unite all Bimbia under his banner, and Bimbia as a nation essentially ceased to exist.

His half brother Mbimb'a Makaka assumed the chair and was King when the territory became a German protectorate in 1884. In July 1884, the Isubu people of Bimbia found themselves part of the German Empire after annexation by Gustav Nachtigal. Coastal territory became the heart of the new colony, but Bimbia and the Isubu lands had already passed their prime. The German protectorate was followed by the alienation of lands for the plantation causing the Isubu population to greatly decline.

In 1908, the Germans in a bid to provide sustainability, appointed Chief Johannes (John) Manga Williams, the grand son of King Bile II and he was later elected the President of the Victoria Area Divisional Council.

In 1918, Germany lost World War I, and her colonies became mandates of the League of Nations. The British became the new colonial rulers of Isubu Bimbia lands. Great Britain integrated its portion of Cameroon with the neighbouring colony of Nigeria, setting the new province's capital at Buea. The British practiced a policy of indirect rule, entrusting greater powers to Bakweri and Isubu chiefs in Buea and Victoria. Chief John Manga Williams of Victoria became one of two representatives to the Nigerian Eastern House of Assembly. He died in 1958

After the death of Chief John Manga-Williams in 1958, the eldest son, Prince Jesco Manga Williams then studying in Great Britain waived his right in favour of his younger brother Prince Ferguson Bille. A chieftaincy dispute was later to exist between Prince Ferguson Bille and Mr Ernest Kofele Martin. A Commission was set up and whose minority report by Commissioner Chief S.P. Dipoko of Missake recommended that the Chieftaincy be awarded to Ferguson Manga Williams. In 1983, Parliament of the Republic of Cameroon was moved to change the name Victoria to Limbe. Chief Ferguson Manga Williams died in 2005.

Presently Prince Jesco Manga Williams is assuming the anxiety to be enthroned the next Chief of Limbe amid resistance from the administration minding his political affiliations.

Below, Newspaper Articles: /

Prince Jesco Manga Williams

Chief Ferguson Manga Williams

Chief Johannes (John) Manga Williams