ByÂ Samuel Oyadongha & Emma Arubi
WARRIâ€”ITSEKIRI leaders yesterday joined millions of other Nigerians in eulogizing the sterling qualities of the late legal icon and human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who passed on last Saturday at the age of 71.
This comes as Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva, described the late human rights activist as an icon who spent his life in defence of the poor and defenceless.
In a similar vein, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said the nation has lost a rare gem in the demise of Chief Fawehinmi.
In a condolence message signed by Pa. JOS Ayomike; Edward Ekpoko; Chiefs Isaac Jemide, O.P. Edodo and Hope Harriman on behalf of Itsekiri Leaders of Thought in Warri, the leaders described Chief Gani Fawehinmi as the conscience of the nation and fearless crusader for justice and a better Nigeria, free of corruption and political jobbers, whose weapon of war was the law.
â€œWe join well meaning Nigerians in mourning and praying with the family for this irreparable lossâ€, they concluded.
Meanwhile, Governor Sylva in a condolence message released yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Doifie Ola, he expressed rude shock about the death of the lawyer, saying the nation has lost one of its greatest human resources.
He said: â€œOn behalf of the government and good people of Bayelsa State, I write to express my condolences to the human rights community and the family of Chief Gani Fawehinmi and pray that God will grant members of his immediate family and the entire nation the fortitude to bear this great loss.
â€œChief FawehinmiÂ was a great soul, a humanist . He spent all his lifetime defending human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
â€œLike Mahatma Ghandi, he was an advocate of peaceful and constitutional process for addressing political, economic and social problems.
â€œHe believed in the law, practiced the law and lived within the law. He was an exemplary Nigerian with a great vision for a great country. We will all miss him.â€
MEND in an online statement signed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, said the country has lost a rare gem who denied himself the comfort of life to fight the cause of the down trodden.
The three paragraph statement read:Â Â â€œThe Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) commiserates with the family of Gani Fawehinmi, a human rights advocate and defender of the oppressed who passed on September 5, 2009.
â€œNigeria has lost a kind man who put others before himself. His legacy of fighting for the down-trodden against larger opponents like the government in no small measure inspired us to fight oppressive giants today. May his gentle soul rest in peace.â€
Also lamenting the demise of the legal icon, the National Organizing Secretary of the Progressive Peopleâ€™s Alliance, (PPA), Chief Gbaligha Gbalikumo, described the death as a great loss to the nation and the human rights community.
The late Chief Fawehinmi, the PPA chieftain said, would be remembered for his uncompromising stand on corruption, which had been the bane of the country and his stand against injustice, abuse of fundamental rights of the people.
While praying for the repose of his soul, Gbalikumo called on Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of selfless service as exemplified by the deceased.