Gani: Five years after
SIR: Tomorrow September 5, it will be exactly five years ago that Chief Gani Fawehinmi, popularly called Gani by all, died as a result of complications from Lung Cancer. He died at the age of 71 on September 5, 2009.
We remember with sweet memory five years after the exit of an uncommon Nigerian who bestrode the nation as a colossus that he was. We celebrate his life and times because of his unflinching love for the oppressed, the cheated, the persecuted and the vulnerable who he virtually donated his entire life to serve at very high risk. For Gani’s loyalty to the cause of the poor and the struggle for a better, corruption-free Nigeria where no one is oppressed, successive government and the hated political class in Nigeria violently abridged his right through several illegal detentions, imprisonment, physical attacks, abductions and assassination attempts. Yet Gani remained absolutely undaunted till death in his peaceful and selfless course for the defence of human rights, freedom, democracy and good governance.
As a radical legal luminary, and an acknowledged Senior Advocate of the Masses, Gani used law as a weapon to fight for social justice, equal rights, democracy and good governance. He would always be remembered for his decades of free legal services to the poor, through which many oppressed Nigerians including students, workers, peasants and artisans had unfettered access to justice.
Perhaps Gani’s most remarkable among his countless remarkable feats in using the instrument of law for social change was the legal victory he secured at the Supreme Court for the registration of the National Conscience Party after a legendary legal battle with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). That singular judgment obtained from the highest court in Nigeria has helped to widen the vista of democracy, freedom of association, popular participation and legally simplified the formation of political parties in Nigeria as against the previous illegal hard rules and impediments set by INEC.
On this occasion of the fifth anniversary of his death, the best way to remember Gani, the social crusader and man of the masses, is for all his ideological soul-mates to redouble our commitment to the struggle for social justice, human rights, democracy and good governance in Nigeria, the course that Gani Faweninmi lived and died for fearlessly.
• Adeola Soetan
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