By George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”As the funeral of Lagos lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi progresses, the African Renaissance Party (ARP) has appealed to the Federal Government to immortalize him by naming any national edifice after the social crusader, or possibly earmark a work-free day in his honour.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Omenazu Jackson, told the press yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, that Chief Fawehinmi was a man who lived for the service of the ordinary Nigerian and whose crusade for social justice transcended ethnic borders.
Jackson drew attention to the fight for social justice, particularly equality, by Marthin Luther King Jr. in the US, which later earned him a place in the history of that country and who had been immortalized by an annual public holiday.
â€œHe was critical of American system of racial prejudice and governmentâ€™s insensitivity to that. It did not stop the American government to appreciate him after his death,â€ Jackson said.
Accordingly, he wants government to draw from history â€œso that Ganiâ€™s efforts would not have been in vain because the man made an impact in putting a check on those in governance, as he fought relentlessly to correct mis-leadership.
â€œBy his vocal criticism, he kept every government in Nigeria on its toes and by that singular action, Gani prevented many excesses previous governments in the country would have unleashed on the citizenry and the system.
â€œThe efforts of Gani cannot be wished away by any establishment in Nigeria because he was an institution. He was a role model and to us then, the growing youths, Gani was synonymous with social criticisms.
â€œIt was Gani that was consistently the leader of opposition against the military, while other so-called social critics were either cowed, gagged, muzzled, influenced by ethnic bigotry, favouritism or personal aggrandizement.â€