Gani Fawehinmi: Our Icon Of Inspiration

by Yahaya Balogun

Few days ago, here in the United States and around the world, we remembered and celebrated the 50 years anniversary of a famous speech of Rev. Martin Luther King “I have a dream” that changed the world. People from all walks of life marched to the Washington Mall to celebrate this hero. His enduring legacy will resonate forever. Comparatively, on September 5, 2013, we will be celebrating the 4th year remembrance of our own Gani who exemplified and personified everything King fought for.

I am dwarfed to write on Late Chief Gani Oyesola Fawehinmi SAM, SAN. Chief Gani who died exactly four years ago epitomizes the conscience of a nation. His painful death was a set back in the struggle for a just society. Gani’s life spanned several years of his indefatigable struggles against the injustice and brutality of military dictatorship and bad government in Nigeria. He was jailed more than 35 times under inhuman conditions which contributed to his deteriorated health, and the aim of the successive governments then was to break his strong spirit or compromise him to jettison the emancipation of the people of Nigeria. To his adversaries, he was a trouble shooter who always refused to compromise or be on the side of injustice, but to his admirers and the less-privileged, he epitomized the conscience of the nation. No wonder, the poor people whose lives he touched came out tumultuously to pay their tributes to him after his death. A man who defied all odds with his immense influence, wealth and intellectual acumen to champion the cause of the deprived, dehumanized and the oppressed masses of Nigeria.

This writer is ardently subsumed in Gani’s man humanity to man, he was a muse that is cherished every day. The demise of our own Gani continues to resonate in our subconscious mind. In the last four decades before his death, he had always been a recurring decimal and a household name in the political affairs of Nigeria. He was an accomplished legal luminary who saw constitution as his legal weapon to wage winnable wars against injustice anywhere.

His coming to limelight was the celebrated case of a poor man whose wife was snatched by a commissioner who used the instrument of his power to oppress and coarse the beautiful woman.
Gani read the sad story in a local newspaper in Lagos and put necessary legal ammunitions in his arsenal and headed to the north and took up the case. In a nutshell, he won the case and returned the woman back to her husband. Gani got arrested and was detained by the then military government.

Intuitively, he knew there and then that he had fate with history and he never looked back in his unbending fight of government dictatorship through the instrumentality of law. International community awarded him several honors as his recognition cuts across various fields of human endeavors. To students, he was a mentor, fighter and philanthropist who understood what is meant to be poor. He gave so many underprivileged students scholarships, hope and aspiration to achieve their potentials. It is pertinent for all of us to emulate his legacy and continue to celebrate this icon of inspiration to millions across the country. As we celebrate our own Gani, who gave his life for us to live, may his resilient spirit bring us the needed positive change we urgently yearn for in our country. Sun re o.

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