Cameroon:22 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Ni’ John Fru Ndi.

1. The name ‘Fru’ originates from the Baba II Village, meaning “born before twins”.

2. He was the school prefect “head boy” at Native Authority, NA, School in Santa in 1956.

3. He obtained Secondary School Education from Lagos City College. Fru Ndi only returned to Cameroon in 1966 because of the Nigerian Civil War.

4. He had great ‘palm-wine-tapping’ skills as a young teenager which led him to become a master farmer.

5. Prior to owning his popular bookstore, he sold groundnuts, sugarcane and vegetables.

6. Fru Ndi is a two-time widower. His first wife Susan died in May 1972 during childbirth. His second wife Rose also passed away in April of 2005.

7. ‘Ni’ has seven children altogether.

8. Fru Ndi was Chief Traffic Officer at the Lagos Airport in 1964.

9. He was voted President of Public Works Department (PWD) Bamenda Football Club in 1979 up to 1988.

10. He was Councillor of the Bamenda Urban Council during Ahidjo’s CNU regime.

11. Ni John ran as a CPDM candidate in the Mezam Central constituency during the single-party 1988 parliamentary elections, losing to a different CPDM list which was headed by his fellow Santa brother Simon Achidi Achu.

12. Fru Ndi never intended to create a political party (SDF) per se. The party sprung out of Study Group 89, a group created in November 1989 at the initiative of Fru Ndi, whose goal was to sensitize public opinion about the marginalization of Cameroon’s English-speaking minority. It was during a meeting at John Fru Ndi’s residence in Bamenda on February 17, 1990 that members of the study group decided to transform it into a political party.

13. When Fru Ndi first applied to create the SDF, the Minister of Territorial Administration, Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya claimed that his ministry had not received the SDF application, and then later declared that the application was incomplete; in a bid to frustrate Fru Ndi’s attempts.

14. Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya dispatched a delegation to Bamenda to ask Northwest traditional rulers and administrative authorities to convince John Fru Ndi to call off the planned launching of the SDF. Fru Ndi famously recieved a visit from John Ngu Foncha as well, urging him to refrain from creating the party. Fru Ndi declined their advances.

15. In the October 1992 presidential election, John Fru Ndi made a strong showing against President Paul Biya, losing with 36% of the vote against Biya’s 39% according to official results, though it was believed around the Northwest Province at the time that Ni John had officially won with 86.3%.

16. Amidst the outbreak of violence in the North-West Province that following the elections, Fru Ndi was placed under house arrest in late October 1992. After about a month, he was released.

17. On 20 January 1993, Fru Ndi and his wife Rose, attended the inauguration of United States President Bill Clinton. He and Rose were photographed with Clinton and Clinton’s wife Hillary. Fru Ndi’s presence at the event had a symbolic impact in Cameroon, giving the impression of recognition and legitimacy to Fru Ndi’s claim of having won the 1992 election.

18. In 2014, John Fru Ndi said that he once took the Cameroon flag to Prophet TB Joshua to pray for justice in the country, adding that “I will go back to TB Joshua to pray for justice”.

19. The US Based National Democratic Institute (NDI) agreed that Cameroon’s 1992 Presidential Elections were rigged in Paul Biya’s favor.

20. In 1992, the United States suspended $14 million in aid being awarded to Cameroon due to violent protests in the North West Province alongside Ni John’s house arrest.

21. Fru Ndi rejected South African Bishop Desmond Tutu’s request for a mediation with Paul Biya during riots in Bamenda in November 1992.

22. The Headquarters of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) is located at Ni John’s Ntarikon residence in Bamenda. Several other SDF offices and departments are also reportedly located at Fru’s house. This has been called a symptom of dictatorship, which has won him much negative criticism over the years; especially within his own party.


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