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A country without heroes

By Tony Momoh

GANI Fawehinmi has left this part of the world he has been on and in for 71 years. All there is to say is how he faired. And that has been demonstrated since Saturday, September 5 when he passed on after a lonAg battle with an ailment we know little about worldwide, and we have refused to do even the little we can about here.

It was cancer, one of the most debilitating and torturing health nuisances that have afflicted man. I should know because I had an experience with a cancer patient in the early 80s. We will come to that later, also to what is being done elsewhere and which we have failed to do here. Since his death last week, there has been so much flow of praises and commendations that you would think people are exaggerating. But not in any of the accolades was there any trace of describing a spade  as more than an instrument for scooping igneous rock from terra firma?

The facts of every case speak loud and clear for a hero who, unfortunately, will sooner than we think join the club of our heroes past whose labours are not reflected in the way we behave in public office, even in private life as the dirt in the financial sector has shown recently. Was he not the most qualified legal practitioner to be denied the silk for the most part of 20 years? Was he not detained more than 30 times because he promoted and fought causes he believed in? Was he not, more than any other lawyer in the history of Nigeria, a legal missile trained at the jugular of official corruption, fraud and indiscipline?

Has there been any other legal practitioner in our history who promoted pro novo causes more than Gani, and who spent his earnings for the improvement of the status of the poor through funding their education? Is there anyone now or in the past who can rise up and claim to be close to Gani in commenting on issues of public interest; and doing more, going to court to fight them?  Where is the one in our polity who so believed in himself that he even funded a political party to promote a dream he was aware would never be realized in a country that had perfected the art of stealing votes and celebrating the conquest with praises to God in churches and mosques!

So, there is so much to say about this unstoppable advocate of law and order and discipline, but one who was uncompromising in support of the end rather than the means. There is a contradiction here. And he was not unmindful of such contradictions. He knew that the way some governors were removed from office was not constitutionally right, but he was more in support of their removal than the methods the EFCC used.

In 1984 in my office as general manager of Times Publications Division, he would support the ads he placed during the Buhari/Idiagbon military administration that those who misused their powers must be dealt with and that since the administration was fighting corruption, it must be supported, in spite of the decrees that were globally condemned as hash. “How else can they be in charge to clean this augean stable”, he asked me then. So he would support the removal of governors outside obvious constitutional provisions insofar as they were corrupt.

How then can we honour Gani?  We cannot look in the direction of the law because to many of the entrenched ones in that club of gentlemen, he was a legal irritant. To the politician, he was not any better welcome. We should therefore seek, in memory of him, the way to tackle what afflicted him and which he fought without fear until he breathed his last. Can we not have a centre named after Gani to address the research, management and control of cancer, an ailment that makes you hold your breathe every day because you know that, being terminal, the one suffering  will die, must die. In Tony Momoh Spiritual Essays (presented along with some other books on August 20), there is a chapter on cancer awareness and control.

It was a speech I gave at a forum in Lagos. I told of the personal experience I had with a cancer patient for one year. She was my elder brother’s wife, and she came over to Lagos and had to go to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. It was there that, after investigations which lasted almost three months, she was told that she had to live with only one breast! For a woman six feet tall, huge and complete with what makes women women, you can think of what she was being told about a distortion which would hang over the chest area, if she must live.

She chose life. After this woman had lost her breast, the next port of call was the radiotherapy department. There were two radiotherapy machines there, but neither worked! The promise was made every time you went there that the machine would soon be operational! And people were right there, groaning, waiting for a machine to wake up and lessen the pains they were going through; waiting to take the next step to adjust to life after they had lost a breast.

But here was a woman on my hands, confident that the necessary follow-   up to the surgery she had undergone would soon provide an opportunity to adjust to a life without a breast. And the hospital where there ought to have been everything you needed to assure recovery from your ailment had no facility to save the life of a woman who had lost her breast to cancer.  The nearest place for the post-surgery treatment was Liberia! The woman died.

Have things changed? The fact is that things have not changed, more than 20 years after. So what can we do to immortalize Gani, the one who while suffering from the killing ailment, still wrote and pushed across to us those things he believed we ought to have done to make life more tolerable for the average citizen. If there is no monument we can raise in memory of him, let us follow others who are asking what the cause of cancer is and the place of the liver in its treatment and control. The truth about cancer is that we still do not know the cause.

But it does have a cause. I must at this stage call for help from research based on the intimation given in 1929 when someone asked Abd-ru-shin, author of the Grail Message In the Light of Truth, a question on cancer research. This is what he said, “Any cancerous growth is conditioned by the incapacity and insufficient activity of the liver! This must be borne in mind. A healthy liver with a really normal activity does not permit any kind of cancer to develop… With the recovery of the liver the power of the illness is broken, no matter where it is located.”

(Abd-ru-shin, Questions and Answers, p 225). In his The Little Doctor, D.A. Vogel says, “The liver is the most important barrier in the fight against cancer. As long as this miraculous laboratory is functioning well, a cancerous degeneration of the cells cannot take place.  Since the liver thereby occupies a key position in the fight against cancer, we should seek to maintain it for ourselves as an efficient barrier because, as has been stated before, cancer will then be given no opportunity to develop.” Let Gani’s death prompt us to do something about our heroes past. As the saying goes,  “Better late than never”.


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