By Emeka Mamah
Kaduna – Former Head of State and two-time presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peopleâ€™s Party, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) has urged President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua to immediately confer on the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi a post-humous national award.
Buhari said in his tribute to Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAM) in Kaduna, yesterday, that Yarâ€™Adua should give Chief Fawehinmi a posthumous award now because the late activist was no longer in a position to reject it as he did earlier.
Buhariâ€™s one page statement reads in part, â€œAll Nigerians whether they agreed with the views or the method of Abdul-Ganiyu Fawehinmi, will be saddened by his death. For Gani was the best example of a freedom fighter. He took up not arms, but his wig and gown and took up any challenge, espoused any cause if his conscience dictated that it was the right cause.â€
â€œHe fought most governments, he defended the government I headed, and outlasted them all. Arrest, detention, prison and other inconveniences never deterred him from fighting for other peopleâ€™s freedom,â€ he added.
â€œGani could have chosen a life of comfortable luxury with fat briefs but he chose the path of freedom. Since 2002 when I joined partisan politics, Gani identified with our struggle to put things right in Nigeria.
â€œOver the years, I have found through constant contact with him that he was a humane, reasonable and even balanced personality.
â€œHis driving force was patriotism for Nigeria; his dislikes are corruption, injustice and bad governance. I came to count him as a friend and valued his counsel greatly.
â€œHe will be greatly missed, not only by his family and friends but by other Nigerians as a fighter for good causes on their behalf.
â€œI hope the Federal Government will honour him with a post-humous award. He will be in no position to decline!â€
Also in his own tribute, the former governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said that Ganiâ€™s legacies would continue to thrive even long after his demise.
â€œNo doubt Gani has lived a life well spent in the service of humanity. He was always there for the common man just as he was always counted on the side of justice and purposeful governance.
â€œHis philanthropy too knew no bounds as evident by among others, scholarship awards that he instituted, from which indigent Nigerian students benefitted without regard to what part of the country they came from.