By Innocent chia
Even as the dust settles on the American electoral season, there is little reason to think that it is over for the doctors of spin at Fox News or their nemesis at MSNBC. It would have been foolhardy of anyone to believe that there would be no reverberations following the dissolution of LESA USA by the school’s Proprietor, Archbishop Cornelius Esua of Bamenda via the no-less emblematic office of Cardinal Tumi. While the discussions rage on in desperate hope or wait of a cathartic moment, here is simple way of seeing beyond the fog and having understanding where verbosity has been used to veil apprehension: McDonald’s is a fast food franchise with franchisees (independent contractors) operating across, the world. Yes? Can you own a McDonald’s Franchise anywhere in the World and call it something else or disassociate it from McDonald’s North America?
(In full disclosure, I am not a lawyer. Two years of Law in Ngoa-Ekele did not even qualify me for an Associate degree in Law. What I hope prevails on these lines and pages, is what we are all endowed with, commonsense. Let us then go back to McDonald’s for a treat.)
Upon winning those millions at the Illinois Lottery, I make the determination that setting up a McDonald’s in Abakwa is certainly the way to go. The reasons for that choice are plentiful, but one is instructive: I know that not every Tom, Dick and Harry will be capable…not even every rich Cameroonian will be able to spoil things for me by opening another McDonald’s on Commercial Avenue, whether or not they are 10 miles away from my location. (The problem with business in Cameroon is not the absence of money. I argue that it is the absence of creative minds with capital to support their ideas. Cameroonians have an unlimited appetite to copycat ideas and then bastardize them).
After cashing out on my lottery winnings to head out to the annexed territory of Southern Cameroons, I may have to call or make a very important stop at the McDonald’s headquarters that so coincidentally happens to be located half an hour away in Oak Brook, Illinois! I have to call or stop by there to inquire a few things: Is McDonald’s currently franchised in Cameroon? If they are not, can I start one? What are the conditions that every franchise owner must fulfill?
McDonald’s will probably tell me or my attorneys and business advisers what we need to do to get a franchise up and running if we were setting up in one of several countries across the globe that they are already operational in. If Cameroon is not on the list, they will tell us so and probably ask that we give them a little time to inquire what the country conditions are for setting up a Franchise. Remember I have won the Illinois Lottery and my assumption is that these guys are aware that I am a nouveau riche with deep pockets enough to sustain the standards of the brand name.
Indeed, it is all about its brand name – McDonald’s - and whether or not the new independent contractor upholds the standards of service, the building design, the choice of colors, the menu, the work ethic of employees, the hiring process, the availability of a drive-through…and lots of other things that I don’t know. But the fact of the matter is that McDonald’s will go to great lengths to guarantee compliance with their standard practices, procedures and the law of the land.
Let us be certain of one truth: Warren Buffet or Bill Gates will not be sold McDonald’s franchisees if at any point in time they state that their McDonald’s will be painted Green, Red and Yellow because their combined wealth is more than McDonald’s worth. The two will be asked to go start their own successful chain.
The Brand - LESA or the Church / School?
Lourdes Ex-Students Associations – LESA – are a bi product of Our Lady of Lourdes College, Mankon in Cameroon. Every ex-student of the college, on condition that they spent a pre-determined amount of time at the college, and so elect, is a member of the Association where it exists. Of course, new chapters, like new McDonald’s franchisees, can be created as willing members deem necessary.
Here is where this may become a little tricky: Unlike a McDonald’s Franchise where the determination is made and license to operate is issued from one corporate office in Oak Brook Illinois, voluntary Association chapters do not need the approval or blessing of a mother Chapter to operate.
For instance, BOBA USA, SOBA USA, SHESA USA, EXSSA USA …never went back to the mother organizations in Cameroon asking for authorization to set up Ex-Student Associations of their respective Alma-Maters in the United States or anywhere out of Cameroon. In fact, I will bet a dime that they are not under the authority of the home chapter. Rather, they are equal entities with class seniority as a common denominator that holds rank, good or bad, over any other consideration at meetings.
However, all these Chapters and Associations only have a name because of their respective schools – CPC, Sasse, Sacred Heart, Saker Baptist – etc. Without the schools, there are no Associations. Without the Schools, it is impossible to bring together all these men and women under these different umbrellas. Without the Schools, you could come together as any other collective of men or women and call yourselves anything else, definitely not BOBANS, SOBANS, SHESANS, EXSSANS… or LESANS.
Meantime, there is need to be unequivocal about this well-known fact: these Schools so happen to be owned by the Church. The Church is the proprietor. The Church is the Master Franchise, like the McDonald’s hamburger fast food empire. They also have rules of engagement that protect their BRAND NAME.
The recent act of dissolution of LESA USA by the Archbishop of Bamenda, via the office of Cardinal Tumi must be seen as one such reminder that the Church and its schools are in the business of educating “the boy Child” or “the girl child” into given value systems. In CPC the value system is conveyed in its motto: God – Knowledge – Service. We are to know God our Creator first, have understanding of the world, and go out in servive of humanity.
The Ruling of King Solomon
A lot has been made of the ruling of the School Proprietor and the Church on the LESA USA saga. This is the bottom line that informed Cardinal Tumi’s press release of 11/22/12:
Regrettably, LESA USA Inc. has called on its members to vote ‘for’ or ‘against’ the propositions unconditionally approved by the reconciliation forum and by the Archbishop of Bamenda, proprietor of the college. This is not acceptable from ex--‐students who have spent so many years in that Catholic School. By so doing, LESA USA Inc. by disobeying the proprietor of the college, has alienated itself from having anything to do with Our Lady of Lourdes College.
This decision is not about envying the fundraising capabilities of a group of talented and highly skilled educated women, mothers and sisters. This decision is not about the 501(c)3 non-profit status of an organization, be it as it may that the executive acted on its own intelligence , and not necessarily upon an express General Assembly mandate, to apply and obtain the Status. This decision is not even about how funds may have been misused or any such innuendo as stock market investment gone bust. This decision is not about any of that.
This decision is about disrespecting the values of the Master Franchise – the Catholic Church that owns the name of Our Lady of Lourdes. The keywords are there. It is about behavior that is “not acceptable”, including the trading of insults, public and private, from students that went through a Christian School, acting like they were schooled in the corridors of JK Rowling’s Harry Porter witch land. This is the humiliation that the Church and School are facing and, although by no means close in scale to the sex scandals that have dogged it, action was taken.
You may be familiar with how Cardinal Tumi and the Church came to this position if you remember the story of King Solomon and the two women that came to him to decide on a baby. The Cardinal asked LESA USA, Inc and LESA Alumnae whether they would rather he split the baby into two halves for each woman to have a piece.