By Innocent Anaba
Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), NBA President, in his reaction said, â€œthe sad news of the demise of our indefatigable Gani, after succumbing to a terminal ailment, came to us as an unkind piece at this period. We are consoled by the quality of his consistent and persistent input to national development. Gani a Legal icon and Public Interest Litigator per excellence fought a good fight. His life is an enduring lessonâ€.
Coalitions of Oodua Self -determination Group (COSEG) react
The Coalitions of Oodua Self -determination Group (COSEG) have joined millions of Nigerian Civil Society, Self Determinations Groups and the entire Nigerians to condole with the Family of the late frontline Activist, defender of the down trodden, Legal luminary, Chief Ganiyu Oyesoji Fawehinmi (SAN)
COSEG in a press statement signed by its Director of Media and Publicity , Mr. Gbenga Soloki,in Ile Ife on Saturday, described the death of the late frontline human right defender as a great loss to the Nigerian and international human communities at large,
The group pray that God should give the family, human communities and Nigerian at large the grace and fortitude to bearÂ loss of the rare gem .
COSEG described the late frontline activist as a courageous, diligent, fearless, honesty and a determined leader, that have become an icon and a rallying force for the progressives in the last forty years, who have raised the standard of intellectual and peaceful engagement and demonstrations to address the public issues against retrogressive actions of Government in Nigeria, â€œChief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) is one of the heroes of democracy in our nations and it’s only God that can cover the vacuum that he left behind”.
Gani, Lion of Nigerian law – Aturu
Lagos lawyer, Mr Bamidele Aturu said, â€œGaniyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, irrepressible friend of the subjected, rejected, dejected, suppressed, repressed, oppressed and dehumanized underclass everywhere in the world is gone. Born in 1938 into doubtless aristocracy (his father was a successful timber merchant), he shunned and fought privileges with an unparalleled zeal.
In spite of his considerable wealth derived from his brilliant and painstaking professional practice, Ganiâ€™s real friends were the dispossessed of the earth, the physically challenged, indeed the proletariat of the world.
His advocacy for the underprivileged was not restricted to the courtroom where in his inimitable fiery advocacy he won for them notable and significant victories.
â€œHe advocated for the poor at the barricades- once, in a rare and yet unexampled display of sacrificial commitment to principles, he lay on the road daring the armoured tank of the military to crush him at Yaba during a protest against one of the military governments; he fought for them in the mass media; he defended their cause in all the organizations he has been privileged to be a member or to found.
His struggles were complex and multi-dimensional. This was not surprising given the fact that the events that impelled him to become a social crusader and those which he helped shape are equally varied and complex.
â€œWe do not require a prophet to know that long after Gani must have departed from this world his works and times would continually inspire scholarly and revolutionary writings.
Understandably, he provoked extremes of passion in people depending on their perspectives or their positions in the economy. Whether Gani is seen as a gadfly, an irritant, conscience of the nation or a social crusader, even his most uncharitable critic would admit that he is a militant with a cause and a militant that is at once irresistible and unforgettable.
â€œIn the practice of law his footprints are indelible. He democratized the practice of law by commencing in 1985 the publication of his authoritative Nigerian Weekly Law Reports. Hitherto, judgments of the superior courts, particularly those of the Supreme Court, were treated as an exclusive property of one or two influential lawyers. As litigant or as counsel, he fought and won many landmark cases thus helping to advance the countryâ€™s jurisprudence.
â€œChief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, the lion of Nigerian law, an indisputable colossus of humanism may be gone but his deeds and contributions to the struggle against oppression and for the emancipation of the masses are indelible. Gani lived, fought and died for the people. He was a fearless and tireless tormentor of those who imposed themselves as rulers on the hapless people of Nigeria. He was Godâ€™s gift to Nigeria.