Posted by News Express | 25 April 2018 | 1,450 times
Gani Fawehinmi, Masses Advocate of Nigeria, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, unstoppable and irrepressible, I salute you. May the Almighty Allah continue to uphold you, heal you fast and return you to robust health. And may Allah protect your family and abundantly bless your children and children’s children.
Let the Nigerian masses that you have served so well, defended so uncompromisingly rise up in lifting their eyes to the sky in prayers for you. And may such prayers be heard.
It is back once again to the ever living, ever recurring theme of the youth and their place in effecting revolutionary change. Today we are picking on fiery Gani Fawehinmi and celebrating his youthful days: The beginning of his rise to prominence and national consciousness.
We are often used to saying good things about people after they have journeyed out of the earth plane to another realm. Sometimes we appear so cruel, so uncaring, and even hasten the passage of our icons until their physical bodies become stiff and they have no use for our praises of them before we start shedding crocodile tears.
Gani Fawehinmi is alive and must know that he is held in very high esteem by all those who appreciate the worth of his endless selfless struggles in his avowed determination to save the soul of the Nigerian nation.
The current youth of this country must be told that Gani Fawehinmi took up the mantle of the defender of the defenceless at the age of 32. Youthful Fawehinmi unrobed the high and mighty; the Lilliputian Fawehinmi dragged the giant Professor Adeoye Lambo to the boxing ring of public opinion and floored the world renowned professor of psychiatry. The setting was at the university city of Ibadan. The theatre was set by the unprovoked and mindless murder of Kunle Adepeju a second year Agriculture student in front of Queens Hall University of Ibadan.
Fawehinmi was on the side of the students, the metaphor for defenselessness in Nigeria. Hear Fawehinmi at the Tribunal: “Mr. Lambo, I put it to you that you have spent the bigger part of your adult life in the midst of lunatics that you now find it difficult to appreciate how to handle normal human beings. I recommend you go back to the Aro Mental Asylum where you rightly belong!’ Or some words to that effect. And when Professor Lambo was called upon to repeat the chant which he claimed forced him to call in the police, and he anglicised “Omo Lamboo o nfiku sheerree” Gani blurted ‘Look, the man cannot even speak his mother tongue. Asking this man to remain at this university will spell greater disaster!’ What a courage? That was 38 years ago.
Earlier in the week Gani Fawehinmi in concert with Professor Wole Soyinka, Comrade Ola Oni, several radicals from the teaching staff of the University of Ibadan and yours truly had given the Ibadan city the most fearsome and easily the largest protest march in her history. All because an innocent life was cut short.
Gani Fawehinmi from that point on never looked back. It was one battle after another, and he must have challenged and dragged the Federal Government of Nigeria to court many more times than any other individual in the entire life of the Nigerian nation. Needless to say that he had suffered incarceration a hundred times, all in the quest to fight for justice, equity and fair play. And he waged his wars with unparalleled courage, fearlessness and outspokenness.
When the story of Nigeria is written, Fawehinmi would have his name proudly displayed alongside such legends as Ernest Sese Ikoli, Abraham Akinsanya the indomitable Odemo of Isara, Mokwugo Okoye, Raji Abdallah, the likes of Pa Michael Imoudu, the one-man suicide squad Tai Solarin, and amongst his contemporaries like Dr Bala Usman, Air Iyare, Adaka Boro, Saro Wiwa, and Arthur Nwankwo, Bros Kanmi Isola Osobu, and the Abami Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Space may not permit a longer list but we must add that Wole Soyinka is also in a class of his own.
The youth must again learn that all these greats established their names and left footprints on the sands of time before they attained the age of 35.
Gani Fawehinmi holds the proud distinction of being the most persistent, the most unwavering, and the most consistent of all the fighters for freedom Nigeria ever produced. Yes, Abami Fela Anikulapo Kuti may contest that and will have millions who will nod in agreement.
As we read this piece, we should not wait for tomorrow before we start pouring encomiums. If Michael Jackson was made to realise that he was so much loved and admired by his fellow Americans he would certainly have not been driven to desperations that shortened his stay on this side of the Divide. Comrade Ola Oni died and several Governors were fighting to gain prominence at his funeral, the same governors who did not care a hoot about his existence while he was alive. General Benjamin Adekunle Nigeria’s greatest war hero of all time is virtually on his knees at the Departure Lounge, nobody cares. Let him wave ‘Bye for now’ and see how many tones of ink would flow at the signing of condolence register.
Gani Fawehinmi, as you battle for better health far away in London, it is our prayer that you shall return to the country you have served so devotedly on your two feet. You still have more services to render to this country that is very close to death.
*Being a reproduction of ABA SAHEED SERIES 73 published in the July 27, 2009 edition of the defunct Compass newspaper.
•Chief Tola Adeniyi, a former Federal Permanent Secretary, was Chairman/Managing Director of Daily Times Conglomerate. The Executive Chairman, The Knowledge Plaza and Founder Global Intelligentsia for Buhari, he can be reached via can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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