By Bose Adebayo
Late Chief Gani Fawehinmiâ€™s love forÂ the less privileged did not come overnight. He has spent his time and resources to better their lots and he vowed to continue his struggle for the masses even in the grave. Saturday Vanguard caught up with his first born, Mohammed in Lagos and he spoke about his fatherâ€™s ailment as well as those who aggravated it.. Excerpts;
Nigerians have been pouring encomium on your father, how does that make you feel ?
Itâ€™s a dream come true. My dad bought this piece of land a while ago and he has always wanted something like this but due to pressure from his job, his activism, his beliefÂ in the rule of law and several other things which heÂ wanted by a way of development, he was unable to carry it out. That is why the foundation and the building itself was prolonged.
It started in the year 2001. My father is a pride to the family. It is an institution to law, a formidable icon to show that things can be done in this country.
What will you miss about your father ?
Hhum! His most dynamic nature and ability to always better himself .
What are your regrets?
My inability to copy him. In those days, I used to do what he does, exactly the way he does it. You know, he has a particular style of doing things, so in order not to make mistakes, I have to watch him, appreciate why he is sending for what before I now jump in.
Whatâ€™s your advice forÂ the physically challenged ?
They should not give up. We hope that our Ministry of Health will start what we call research and development whereÂ medical experts would be put to test; doctors, nurses, laboratories and a host of others. I believe we can find solution to every disease in life. Nigeria is a great country with strong human resource base butÂ these must be sent abroad for further training.
The man who invented the fastest computer was a Nigerian. Someone like my dad who has revolutionised the law has done a lot for this country. He was trained in England. This is the type of things we should be doing. Spinal cord injury can be cured because it is not a permanent thing and I know Nigeria will be the seat for the success of this thing.
How long have you been on the wheel chair ?
I had the accident in September 23, 2003. I thank God for his life that he has really tried to have meÂ flownÂ outside the country for treatment. If he was around when the accident happened, I would have been walking but unfortunately he was in Ondo for a family matter.
I was already in the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi before he came. Due to lack of experience on the part of the medical team then, it resulted to the spinal cord injury which damaged a lot of things.
So, he was only able to rectify what was left. Blood could not circulate to my brain but I was lucky that my dad was able to make some corrections and we are still on it.
What would you tell Nigerians at this point?
Gani has set the pace. He has used his instrumentality of the law to better this country in all ramifications. All those who have antagonised him, we leaveÂ them to God. All those who have criticised him constructively should do better than him.
I pray that as he has revolutinised law, we should also revolutuonise medicine. We should be better than the Americans, Jamaicans and the rest of the world . We are a formidable black race. This is a nation of about 166 millionÂ people.
We should do things the right way. We should accentuate ourselves. We should develop our skills and dexterity.Â We donâ€™t have to wait till tomorrow. Gani has set the pace for us.
Whatâ€™s your advice to the government?
My advice to those who are Senators and Ministers is to make Nigeria the most revolutuionalised nation in Africa.
In case you are able to get up from your wheel chair, where will be your first port of call ?
Ha! If I should have such opportunity, the first person I shall sue is the the Minister for Education Mr. Sam Egwu. I shall solicit for his removal if the Constitution should permit me . The second person I shall sue is the Minister for Health, Professor Babatunde Oshotimehin . I want to extol the late Professor OlikoyeÂ Ransome Kuti whose work was superb.
After him, others have to be accountable. Why must our health situation in this country be so deplorableÂ ? We should be trashing spinal cord injury in this country. We should be treating cancer, malaria and AIDS. We have the means, resources and the brains, what we lack is organisation.
In other words, you are saying Nigerian government was responsible for your fatherâ€™s death ?
Oh yes. It has been a gradual process and I shall hold Ibrahim Babangidaâ€™s regime accountable. He started this. His regimeÂ engineeredÂ the incident which happened when I was born. He tried to damage him but you know he was still a young man then.
So, he was able to maintain his level of health and the hazard was not as great as this. I know a lot of people would not forgive Babangidaâ€™s regimeÂ for itsÂ inadequacy.
Saturday Vanguard also spoke with Ganiâ€™s eighteen years old son, Tajudeen. Who is awaiting admission to the University.
How did you see your father when he was alive ?
I was not close to my father because I did not live in the house. I lived in the other house but I used to pay him visits. His death has really touched me because he has taught me to be independent and touch peopleâ€™s lives. Iâ€™ve just finished SS 2 and will soon go to the University. I went to Government college, Ikorodu. So far, I can say he was a crusader and a philnthropist
How do you feel being a product of a polygamous home ?
It is a wonderful home. Many polygamous homes always come with rivalry but it is not so in our own case. It is a peaceful home and we love one another.
How cordial are your parents ?
Very cordial, they stay together and they are very close
In the entire family, do you think there is anybody who could fill the vacuum created by your father ?
Yes my eldest brother, Mohammed. he is always there for us. As for me I want to be a broadcaster.