Cameroon has lost a great political leader, Ni John Fru Ndi. As the nation mourns him, Editorialist George Kelong says the country’s history from 1990 will always have his name featuring prominently.
A baobab has fallen, a great patriot is gone, a political David has joined the celestial choir. Those are a few of the numerous reactions on social media platforms following the death of the emblematic and charismatic leader of the Social Democratic Front, Ni John Fru Ndi.
As a matter of fact, even if it is a stated fact that the SDF has been experiencing dwindling fortunes, one can say without any fear of contradiction that the man from Baba 2 in Mezam Division who mustered much courage to launch the party against all odds on May 26, 1990, would since 1992 when he got to the climax of his political career, continue to gain admiration and command much respect on the national and international scenes.
Even when the SDF came out fourth in the last presidential election in 2018, the party would appear relegated to the background but its leader, Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi would continue to be seen in certain circles as the leader of the opposition in Cameroon.
How could it be otherwise, if one were to take a look at the track record of the astute politician who has demonstrated that politics must not be characterized by bitterness and rancour.
His historic meeting with President Paul Biya in December 2010 and his regular participation in national events especially receptions at the Unity Palace thereafter are eloquent testimony.
And if the nation is today mourning the man who could hardly be dissociated from the party he has led for 33 years before reiterating his resolve to step down during a forthcoming elective general assembly he would unfortunately not attend, his love for Cameroon and his desire to see the country move forward could account for that.
While it is common knowledge that Mr Fru Ndi played a great role in averting bloodshed in Cameroon, he has stood for the unity of the country till his death with the federal form of the State, top on his agenda.
After attending the Major National Dialogue in 2019, the SDF leader would later seize any available opportunity to make known his firm belief that change should not come through the use of force and that secession was out of the question.
That the man who often said he had turned down offers by some western embassies to get a different nationality, dies a Cameroonian in Cameroon at the age of 82, which figure, 82, in the SDF means a lot is worthy of note.
As the politician many people have qualified as a glaring example of a courageous, friendly and generous person bows out, there is very little or no doubt that there can’t be unanimity about the story of his life and political career.
After all, the human being he was, was bound to have enemies and detractors. But then, at the end of the day, everyone appears to be saying that a baobab has fallen, a great patriot has gone, a political David has joined the celestial choir.
Editorialist, George Kelong