IT WAS an outpour of emotions and recounts of association with Chief Gani yesterday at Labour House Governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), workers, students and other Nigerians paid their last respect to the late activist and fire brand Lagos lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi ,SAN.
Call it a rally, a celebration and even a protest, you would not be wrong as labour leaders, activists, workers, artisans, okada riders, civil society organisations, musicians, friends and associates struggled to out do another.
As early as 7.30 am,Â Leaders of Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO), which organised the lying-in -state in conjunction with Chief Gani Fawehinmi family, were seen trying to organise the army of workers, students, artisans and others as they trouped into NLC Secretariat.
At exactly 9 a.m, the remains of the late arrived NLC into the waiting hands ofÂ labour leaders, workers, activitists, students and others displaying various placards extolling the virtues of Gani and denouncing past and present political leaders in the country for the persecution of Chief Gani and theÂ misrule in the country.
By 9.10 a.m, the casket was brought to Imoudu Hall with the late Gani dressed in a French Suit and spontaneously, the hall erupted with solidarity songs that lasted for about five minutes.
Speakers after speakers at the lying-in-state of the remains of Chief Fawehinmi at the legendary Michael Imoudu hall,Â Labour House, Olajuwon, Yaba, were unanimous that Gani imparted positively on the life of very Nigerian whether poor or rich and resolved to mobilize, re-dedicate themselves to the struggle to build a new society, one that offers hope to all the citizens irrespective of their social background.
Amongst the speakers were Edo state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, President of NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, President of ASUU, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, Dr. Dipo Fashina, former ASUU PresidentÂ and Chairman of Joint Action Forum (JAF), President of MOSOP, Mr. Ledum Mitee, Baba Omojola, Representatives of Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Democrative Socialist Movement (DSM), United Action for Democracy (UAD) and National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
Speaking, Edo state, Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, among others, recounted how the late Gani saved him from going to prison under the government of Olusegun Obasanjo because of his leadership of NLC and other Nigerians against the Obasanjoâ€™s penchant for fuel price increases.
According to him: â€œIn Gani,Â Â we found a man who worked so hard, not only to earn enough to meet his own material comfort and those of his family but a man that was readyÂ to share from his own private effort for the comfort of others.
He led us to appreciate that struggle is not for the unemployed and that you can work so hard and yet find time to contribute to public goals. I am not sure if I would not have been inÂ prison now, but for the industry of Gani Fawehinmi.
When the stateÂ wanted to use the court to intimidate, to blackmail, and even to jail us, Gani on his own came to our defense. I recall a particular occasion when President ObasanjoÂ wanted us to be jailed, they arraigned us before a federal high court.
â€œI want to sayÂ if Gani has lived for another 100 years, he would not be able to do much more than he has already done. If it is possible to preserve his body forever , it will make no difference. The difference he has made, whether or not weÂ immortalize him, is in his own words, his own actions.
Those of us who have survived, who are still alive here, we are the greatest statement about Ganiâ€™s life and therefore you have rights to be very proud. I am looking forward as the Governor of Edo State to work closely with the family to see what we can do outside Lagos to show that Gani was a Nigerian great man.
By tomorrow in Edo state, we are dedicating it to the celebration of Gani Fawehinmi because we donâ€™t want it to be limited to only Lagos because he was a national fighter. And in Edo state we love and appreciate him and today we will celebrate him.â€