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THE struggle of chief Gani Fawehinmi

Submitted: May 06, 2008

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Submitted: May 06, 2008




Chief Gani Fawehinmi is an an icon to reckon with in the struggle for the emancipation of democracy in Nigeria. Nobody ignores Gani Fawehinmi, even his most strident critics admit the man has played a leading role in extending the contracting frontiers of justice with an obsession that douses questions about his motivation.

Many are surprised that Gani is 70. He soaked himself thoroughly in the struggle for human rights and elevation of the living conditions of the common people, with a fervour that belied his age.

At 70, the callings of age, and the illnesses years of incarceration in some of Nigeria’s worst prisons fertilised, slowed his pace.

Gani is the one who gives meaning to every issue. His passion for rescuing the country from convoluted policies that lead the people to more suffering is anchored on dedication to matters of the state and an uncanny ability to relate our backwardness to progress elsewhere. He challenged Nigeria.

Unlike many of us who led by words, Gani is always at the forefront of rallies and the provision of the evidence of the decline of Nigeria. Neither the guns of the military, nor the trickery of politicians could lure him to their side.

He is a man of means which he deployed generously to the poor. His examples set him apart. From his abiding interest in law, his calling, to his passion to awarding scholarships to indigent students, Gani emphasises that Nigeria can be different, Nigeria can change for better.

Some accuse him of craving for the headlines. None of them, however, can deny the sacrifices and risks that earn him those headlines. He has always put his life on the line, made court appearances for the oppressed, students, and labour unions free. He has rejected cases - at great financial losses - that he thought would foster the interests of oppressors.

Gani’s contributions to the law come with an intellectual fecundity that its simplicity cannot diminish. He is never afraid of taking contrary positions which he robustly defends.

One of them was his decision to appear for detained politicians at the tribunals, when the Nigerian Bar Association barred its members from those appearance at military tribunals. Gani said the politicians had to be defended.

His law publications have endured and are constant companions of those who have anything to do with the law. His personal library is a journey through the collections of the thoughts of many men and women who have influenced their society.

Gani is an avid reader, whose works reflect the depth of his knowledge from constant contact with the conditions of the human race in other parts of the world.

The Senior Advocate of the masses has he is often called marked his 70th birthday on his sick bed, millions of Nigerians wish him quick recovery and a return to end the flagging contention for the simple right of Nigerians to a meaningful life.

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