Barrister Yondo Black and some others had been brutally arrested and thrown in jail for holding a preparatory meeting for the formation of a political party party in a notorious one-party state. There was prompt worldwide condemnation against the inhuman treatment meted out to them. In their mountainous characteristic falsehood, the New Deal denied they had been arrested for intending to form a political party. The explanation was that the Camerounese law allowed for multi-party system.
To the wonderment of all, smart and clever Ni John Fru Ndi, hitherto an obscure businessman(dealing essentially in books and stationery), promptly issued a release that (since the law allowed for the existence of political parties beside the ruling Cameroon’s People Democratic Movement –CPDM – he, Ni John Fru Ndi, had formed a party – Social Democratic Front – and that the launch was billed for May 26, 1990 (just within weeks). Even as they were caught in their own words, the New Deal called out the military to prevent the launch; and the end result was six fatalities. Fru Ndi was put under house arrest with intent to tactfully transfer him to Yaounde for trial. Miraculously, Fru Ndi stoically stood up to the Camerounese military to a happy end,with the active protection of the local population that his rare courage had galvanised
The legendary “Bamenda Boy” now epitomised contemporary David and support for him grew wilder than the wildest conflagration in the harshest dry season. Fru Ndi pulled the hugest crowd in post-independence Cameroun in living memory.
Persons who had not known even their nearest neighbours’ names recited “Ni John Fru Ndi” right in their dreams. Some newspaper summed it all with an article to the effect that some pupil was categorical that the parents should change his name to Ni John FruNdi…The most intriguing thing though is that this conqueror of fear has remained steadfast in his determination to stand for change over the decades. That uniqueness admits of no further illustration than his turning down every offer to join the “presidential majority” for over 26 years. The huge crowd he pulled recently in Buea in a solidarity march with “Anglophones” attests to his present overwhelming approval rating.
It has been argued that he accepted Biya’s invitation, and that he has hardly come out in a clear-cut manner in support of the “Anglophone cause”. Visiting Biya seems to be more of a mark of statesmanship; and a core value of thebeliever. Every step that does promote dialogue through human interaction is consistent with preventive diplomacy. And if our Lord mixed and mingled with sinners, why should his followers conduct themselves otherwise?Another remarkable quality is that Ni john Fru Ndi has been able to find the midway house between being an Anglophone and identifying with the Francophone electorate of 1992. We may never lose sight of the fact that honest historians will record that Ni John Fru Ndi is the third Camerounese president. Anglophones alone would not have put him on the pedestal.
All in all, Ni John Fru Ndi has made his mark; and his remaining the head of the party beyond some persons’ sense of tolerance would do little to overshadow the largely positive character of a man daring to the brink of audacity.
One would dare say “Ni john Fru Ndi, thy name is endurance”!
Ayah Paul abine