By Jude Abanseka
After Pa Bernard Aza Fombo, who died on August 3, 2014, the Church in Bamenda Archdiocese in general and Njindom in particular has again lost another icon. Joseph Yunga Teghen, former Secretary of State for Education died in Bamenda on Thursday, January 8, 2015 after a very brief illness.
A few hours before he died, Mr. Yunga Teghen went about his usual activities normally and chatted and laughed with the people with whom he was. It was thus very shocking to learn of his death shortly after.
The former diplomat was born on August 17, 1944 in Njindom, Momo Division, North West Region. He began his primary education in 1951 at Catholic Mission Njindom and Bafut Catholic Mission in 1955 before returning to Njindom where he obtained the First School Leaving Certificate, FSLC. He taught in the same school for some time before being admitted to the Teachers Training College Bambui from 1961 to 1962.
He returned to Njindom and continued teaching in 1963 before he went back to Bambui for further training and graduated in 1965. After he graduated he was hired as a teacher in Catholic Mission Bota in 1966 and was appointed Head Teacher of the same school in 1967. The following year he became Head Teacher in Catholic School Soppo, Buea.
After he obtained the General Certificate of Education, GCE, Advanced Level, he enrolled in the University of Yaoundé in 1971 and graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor’s degree in History. In the same year, he wrote and passed the entrance examination into the School of International Relations, IRIC, from where he graduated in 1975 with a diploma in International Relations.
His career as a diplomat began in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Yaoundé. In 1977 he was appointed Second Secretary in the Cameroon Embassy in Paris. In 1979 he was promoted to First Secretary in the same Embassy; and in 1981, he was appointed Second Counselor still in the Cameroon Embassy in Paris. On May 2, 1984, he became First Counsellor in the Cameroon Embassy in Washington. He returned to Cameroon in 1986, as he was appointed DAG in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 23, 1988. From September 8, 1990 to August 24, 2002, when he retired from the civil service, he served as Secretary of State for Education.
When he retired, he was very active in the Church in Bamenda, especially in his native Njindom Parish where he died. He was the Parish Pastoral Council Chairperson. He was a core member of CAP, a group of Catholic Professionals who are special advisors to the Archbishop of Bamenda. The Archbishop of Bamenda, His Grace Cornelius Fontem Esua awarded him a medal of recognition on the occasion of the peak celebration of the Centenary of Evangelisation of Bamenda Archdiocese.