Gani: A tearful farewell on a day of tributes

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By Bose Adebayo

Clad in a white agbada with a pair of black shoes and a blue cap to match, Chief Abdul-Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi’s corpse laid in a transparent glass casket as the ash colour car left the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, (LASUTH) Ikeja, Mortuary for his ultra- modern five storey Gallery and Library situated in the Business District of Agidingbi, Ikeja.

The sorrowful throng was made up of lawyers, human rights activists, professors, students and others who took over the entire road, chanting as they proceeded to the venue. The trumpeters were clad in blue shirts and black trousers while T.O.S. Funeral members were in dark-blue suit just as lawyers were in black robes. The car with  number-plate: LAGOS 19-04-46 conveyed his two widows, Ganiyat and Abike.

Lawyers paying their last respect.

Lawyers and pupils paying their last respect.

The entourage had to stop for about five minutes at the Alausa Secretariat as LASTMA officials helped to dislodge the traffic jam before the procession finally arrived the late sage’s corporate office around 2.15pm.
The casket bearing the corpse was laid at the open reception of the building where different groups paid their last respects.

“Exit of a true fighter. History is a totality of events, when you fight on principle, fight to the end. This is my guiding principle, when you fight on the side of the people, put everything into it. I fight on behalf of the people. I will die for the people of this country. Stand up for what’s right even if you are a standing alone. Sovereignty belongs to the people and the interest of governors must be guided for the interest of the masses”.

These were some of the wordings conspicuously displaced around the ultra- modern building.
Ubong Dickson said of the late human rights fighter:  “The likes of Beko and Gani are not up to five in this country. Others have compromised except Professor Wole Soyinka. Gani was the best lawyer in Nigeria; can we see somebody of virtue like him?”

While the procession lasted, some onlookers and passersby were seen waving solemnly or shed tears of sorrow. “Hen! This man spent his entire life time fighting for others. There’s no one like him. Sleep in peace, you are an hero. The Federal Government will do well to immortalise him…,”said one of them tearfully.

In his oration, moderator of the occasion, Comrade Femi Aborishade described Gani as a person who did not believe in building monuments but people while Professor Lai Olurode of the Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, charged Nigerians to learn from Gani’s struggle.

The procession waiting to pay the last respect.

The procession waiting to pay the last respect.

“Gani’s commitment to democracy was not in doubt. We should learn lessons from his death; whatever our position is, we have the capacity to contribute to the development of human progress. We should produce the likes of Gani, not to be on the side of oppressive choice. He was not preoccupied to make money but money came along the line,’’ he said.

In his own tribute, Publicity Secretary, National Conscience Party, in Lagos, Comrade Omotehinse Alex said the party would soon be restructured in order to deliver the masses from the hands of their oppressors. “We are not mourning him but celebrating him because he has lived a memorable life. It is painful to lose him at this point in time; he told us last year that the party would be restructured in order to cater for the need of the masses,’’ he stated.

In a chat with Vanguard Metro Gani’s eldest son, Mohammed, blamed his father’s death on dearth of medical facilities in Nigeria even as he called on the Federal Government to institute a research and development centre where ailments like cancer and spinal cord would be treated with ease.

He said he would not hesitate to challenge past Ministers for Health in the country for failure to give his father proper diagnosis and treatment during his life time. In his words: “We hope that our Ministry of Health would start what we call research and development to put to test the medical experts such as doctors, nurses, laboratory personnel. I believe we can find a cure to every disease in life.

Nigeria is a great country, we have great brains in different departments; they should be sent all over the world to gain more experience. He has used the instrumentality of law to better the lots of people. As my father has revolutionised law, health experts should revolutionise medicine”.

Mohammed who was involved in a motor accident on September 23, 2003 said his physical challenge would not allow him to fight for Nigerians just as his father did. “Before my present predicament, I used to watch him carefully and tried to emulate him. But as at now, my inability would not allow me do some of the things he did,” he added.

CITY BRIEFS

Crime: Ikeja Division introduces community policing
APPARENTLY poised to consolidate on the Commissioner of Police (CP) Lagos State, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo’s policy of
zero crime tolerance, the Ikeja Division under the  leadership of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Imohemi
Edgal has taken the bull by the horns with the launch on Tuesday,  of community policing.  The occasion which was
well attended by stakeholders including the State Governor,  Babatunde Raji Fashola,  represented by his Special

Adviser on Security Matters, Major Panos (rtd) harped on the need to inculcate members of the immediate community
to achieving effective policing.

With benefit of knowledge acquired at the just concluded senior officers course in Jos, the Plateau State capital, the convener who doubled as the DPO of Ikeja Division Mr. Edgal told a visibly impressed audience that apart from the Close Circuit Televison (CCTV) which has become the globally accepted scientific method in crime prevention, studies have shown that contributions from members of  the immediate community in nipping crimes in the bud was immeasurable.

He said with the active cooperation of stakeholders and going by  CP Apkoyibo’s zero crime tolerance inbuilt in
the minds of all policemen in the state, he was assuring residents,  especially business owners within Ikeja of a

crime-free period.  Edgal praised the vision of Governor Fashola who, he said, had supported the State Police Command more than any other governor, adding: “We have received assistance from the state governor in the area of
fighting crimes so much so that we are even ashamed to ask for more”.

Council chief commended over free summer coaching
A Commissioner in the Local Government Civil Service Commissionm in Lagos State, Honourable Faud Alade Oki has commended the efforts of the Chairman of Itire- Ikate Local Council Development Area, Honourable Hakeem Bamgbola, for the successful conclusion of the one month free summer coaching for intending J.S.S 1 pupils at Ijeshatedo Primary School.

The summer coaching which was flagged off recently attracted well over 700 pupils and they were all taken care of by the council. Free exercise books, T-shirts, face caps and various writing materials were provided while free lunch were provided daily for the pupils.

According to Bamgbola: “More is yet to come as the Council under my leadership is reaching for greater heights like the proverbial adage. We shall never be wearied, we shall continue to do more until our good is better and our better is best.

“We are willing to justify the creation of Itire- Ikate Local Council Development Area through meaningful infrastructural development that other states will like to emulate”.

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