By Wole Mosadomi
Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida has described the death of Chief Gani Fawehinmi as a great loss to the country pointing out that his criticism while alive always put his administration on toes mindful of the comments the late social critics was going to make after each decision was taken by his government.
In an interview with journalists in his residence in Minna, Niger State, Gen. Babangida said, â€œGaniâ€™s criticism put some of us in authority on our toes all the time because anytime we wanted to take a decision; we always take cognizance of what comments the late critic would say because he used to tear our decisions beat by beatâ€.
According to him, â€œlate Gani would not just come to criticize because he did like your face; he made all his criticism on the point of law and we need more of his like to move Nigeria forwardâ€.
Gen. Babangida described Chief Fawehinmi as a true Nigerian who had contributed immensely to the development and engineering of the society especially in the area of the law.
While sympathizing with his immediate family and Nigerians as a whole, the former president whose administration suffered a lot of criticism from Chief Fawehinmi said, â€œhe made his criticism with facts because whenever he criticized you, he backed it up with facts and figures and not because he did not like your faceâ€.
Gen. Babangida who looked moody said, â€œwe have lost one of our boldest, most fearless and best Nigerian and if I have my way, I will immortalize him because I have greet respect for himâ€.
Former President ObasanjoÂ reacts
In his reaction, former President Olusegun Obasanjo described Fawehinmi as â€œâ€œan icon in his own right and a social critic who had the courage of his convictionâ€â€.
Obasanjo said: â€œâ€œAlthough many people did not agree with him, they respected him; and whether right or wrong, Gani believed in his own conviction and was genuine.
â€œHe set a record in the publication of the Nigerian law reports and I believe his place will not be easy to fill. â€œCivil society groups, the legal profession and the entire country will miss him.
â€œMay God give his family the fortitude to bear the loss.â€â€