The traditional New Year Wishes ceremony to the First Lady last Friday January 8, 2016 was spiced with merry-making. Flowers, kisses and the exchange of niceties characterised the 2016 presentation of New Year wishes to Cameroon’s First Lady last Friday, January 8, 2016 at the East Wing of the Unity Palace. In all conviviality and cordiality, First Lady, Mrs Chantal Biya, took time off to shake hands with the over 1,500 guests who were mostly women from all walks of life that had turned out to wish her a happy and prosperous new year 2016.
The colourful event which was graced with dancing started above midday with wives of Ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions to Cameroon. The wife of the Russian Ambassador, who is Vice-Dean of the Diplomatic Corps to Cameroon, Elena Ratsiborinskaya, set the ball rolling with a bouquet of seasonal flowers. Elena Ratsiborinskaya and her peers, mostly members of the diplomatic wing of the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CERAC), took turns to hug the First Lady and also briefly conversed with the CERAC’s Founding President.
The wife of the Senate President, Marcie Niat opened the way for the presentation of New Year wishes to Cameroon’s First Lady by wives of national dignitaries. With a bouquet of fresh flowers and a warm salute Mrs Marcie Niat wished Mrs Biya the best for the New Year. Thereafter, was the wife of the President of the National Assembly, Mrs Fadimatou Cavaye who headed the delegation of wives of parliamentarians. The wife of the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mrs Linda Yang, did not just head the delegation of wives of Members of Government but also the delegation of the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CERAC) as the General Coordinator of the charity association founded by Cameroon’s First Lady.
The wife of the President of the Economic and Social Council, Micheline Ayang, headed the delegation of wives of bureau members of the council. Besides other delegations such as Female Journalists, Business Women and Non-governmental Organisations in the country, there was also a delegation of artists and Baka-Bororo people.
After the official delegations had taken turns to shake hands with the First Lady, her easy-going nature was again manifested when she requested all journalists, photographers, cameramen covering the event as well as State protocol and security agents to take turns to shake hands with her. In all joy, Mrs Biya took time not only to shake hands with this group of people on duty but also made herself available for souvenir pictures. As guests made their way out of the Oriental Pavilion, they were each handed special gifts from the First Lady. This was a pleasant surprise to guests.