Forever Chairman

Benjamin FRU NDI and Sons

July 27, 2023

My Dad, My Hero

Where do I even begin? What words can I truly use to describe all that you were to me? You were not just my father, but my hero, my biggest critic and motivator, my leader and defender – my Chairman! You shaped my mind and molded my character, teaching me profound lessons about life. A stickler for uprightness, you spared no effort in reminding me to stay true to myself and believe in the bigger things, no matter what the world felt or thought. You taught me these things and so much more, in practice and in principle, with patience and love, in discipline and firmness, sharing your books and inspirations, and making me grow in faith and to stand firm on Christ my Redeemer. Thank you, Dad!

You were a kind and generous man, treating everyone with love and respect. Your doors were always open to the world, not because you had so much, but simply because of your heart of gold. Without distinction, you shared of your life generously. Something I never understood until much later, how a person could keep giving of himself, with little recharge and yet keep giving. To you, everyone needed love and guidance, our society was better because we gave to it, of our very best and so you gave passionately, never expecting anything in return. The world was your family no wonder they called you ‘Daddy’.

Over the years I have tried so hard to understand how a very simple person, could be so many things. Command so much respect and yet lead a normal life, enjoying so much peace and simplicity, despite the odds and the enormity of what he had to deal with. You made it all look so easy and so people thought being you was a simple thing. With time I got to understand that it was easy because it was your calling. A calling to lead, a special gift from God. And he whom he calls, he provides for. He put in your heart all that you needed and so you could appreciate life and nature in a unique way. Your love for farming was Gods way of refreshing you. You planted because it grounded you on what life was truly about and to come forth with the phrase, ‘I will plant until I am planted’. Now we get ready to plant you my dear friend, but be rest assured the planting will continue.

Ever since your demise, I have heard and read so much about you, people celebrating you. One phrase that has been recurrent is ‘the dynamic and charismatic Chairman’. I looked it up one more time to get the full picture and it confirmed it all. You were a LEADER, MY LEADER, THE PEOPLE’S LEADER, chosen by God and given to us, that is why you oozed such charisma and led dynamically. It was given to you and not a thing you learnt and so with no effort you could touch the heart of a nation, move the people to firm action using very simple words, all in pidgin English. Well done sir.

As leader, you not only knew the way, but you walked the path no matter what and even more admiringly could show and share this path with so many, without ever feeling crowded out. You knew who you were and what God had put in you. That special mark on your life, something you were most grateful for, and which I know gave you ultimate satisfaction. You never sought much more, not the glory of positions or the deception of wealth, but by simply

being all that God made you to be. Your aura, which you carried about effortlessly, touched so many lives. Your arrival anywhere changed the atmosphere, some people stood, some walked away, some looked in admiration, others whispered words only them will ever know. You simply filled the room, and I made the error to think it was your signature Tabac Original smell, but no, it was all you, even though you owned that smell too, but it was just you.

You said the things only you could say, at the time only you could say, in a way only you could say it and to the persons only you could say them to – God’s divine moment. You put this country on a path of change and ignited the spirits of Cameroonians. You inspired hope and firm believe, and I know your spirit lives on to fight for the social change and justice this nation needs. You were not only the leader of a party, but the leader of a nation, a continent and the world. You fully embodied the appellation Chairman. Today Cameroon thinks first and only of you at the mention of the name ‘CHAIRMAN’. Thank you for all the invaluable lessons, they not only impacted my life in unique ways, but the lives of several people you encountered.

Thank you for some of the best days of my life, spent in your presence, watching you, listening to you and learning to complete your sentences. Thank you for every opportunity you gave me, especially to be able to care for you. Thank you for the time we spent as a family and with you holding your grandchildren in satisfaction. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to thank you in person as your spirit parted very gently every passing day towards the end. Finally thank you for keeping your promise of departing in peace and satisfaction after a well spent life, smiling as you look back over your years on earth, only remembered by what you have done! Thank you, Chairman. Good night and enjoy your well-deserved rest with your maker. Love you always.

Benjamin (Papi, Kiddie), Wally, Kaleb (Akum) and Karis (Abu Mah)

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