Many Cameroonians especially the English-speaking minority, will forever credit Ni John Fru Ndi for leading the way in pressuring those in the position of power to address the grievances of the people.
It all started when he launched the SDF in 1990, thereby challenging the single-party system that had been existing under Paul Biya from 1982.
The former bookseller, born in Baba II in the North West region, was determined to unseat the ruling CPDM party from power, through the ballot box.
He ran as SDF candidate in the 1992 presidential elections, which he narrowly lost. He argued that he was robbed of victory as Biya was declared winner with 40% as opposed to the 36% he reportedly obtained.
Violent protests especially in his strongholds in the North West region, were brutally repressed with the opposition leader placed under house arrest for over a month.
He never gave up despite Paul Biya’s grip of power, which later provoked the anglophone crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon.
Ni John Fru Ndi had his own share of suffering in the ongoing conflict. He was abducted twice by separatist fighters and forced to declare his support for secession.
Before his death, he had maintained that he stood for a unified federal state of Cameroon.
Caught between the government and separatist fighters, he also had disputes tearing his party the SDF apart. On several occasions, he found himself summoned to court by some party members.
Despite the hurdles, he believed he had built a political movement with trusted members who could ensure continuity.
He officially announced his resignation a few days before his demise on June 12. A new chairman is expected to take over in July.
Tributes have been pouring in, with friends and relatives visiting his residences in Bamenda and Yaounde.