By Ise-Oluwa Ige, Austin Ogwuda, Jimitota Onoyume,Ola Ajayi, Peter Duru, Olasunkanmi Akoni,Â Bose Adebayo, Gbenga Olarinoye &Dayo Johnson
AKUREâ€”ONDO State government weekend said that it will be involved in the burial ceremony of the human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi who died on Saturday just as his residence in Ondo town has witnessed both low and high personalities in the country.
The Commissioner of Information, Mr. Ranti Akerele, said that the late human rights activist had requested that the Ondo State government be involved in his burial ceremony.
Akerele said that the state government was glad to be among the groups Gani requested should be consulted before his burial.
The commissioner pointed out that the Lagos lawyer called the governor about four days before he died saying he was proud of Mimikoâ€™s achievements in his six months in office.
He added that Gani advised the governor not to deviate from the right track.
Akerele pointed out that the governor and top officials of the state were already on their way to Lagos home of the late lawyer to consult with his family to know the areas the state government was expected to be involved.
Sympathizers have continued to troop to his Okedasa street to console his family.
Amaechi, CDHR, others mourn
PORT HARCOURT-ASABAâ€”GOVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi has described the death of radical lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) as a great loss to the nation and the legal profession.
Meanwhile,Committee for the Defence for Human Rights (CDHR), Democratic Peopleâ€™s Alliance (DPA) in Delta State and Commissioner for Project Monitoring, Chief Ejaife Odebala, have described the death of Chief Gani Fawehinmi as a rude shock.
Chairman of the state chapter of CDHR, Mr Oghenejabor Ikimi, said â€œthough I am aware that he had been ill for sometime now, but the thought of losing him so soon never crossed my mind for once.
Governor Amaechi noted that the legal luminary would be remembered for his crusade against anti-democratic structures. He said late Gani was truly a champion of the cause of the poor and victimized Nigerians.
â€œGani was loved, admired, applauded and even hated by some, but that did not take away the brilliance he brought to bear in the legal community and in the advocacy for Justice, Rule of Law and fair playâ€
â€œHe gave unquantifiable contributions to the development of a resourceful judiciary, and law practice, through the publication of the Weekly Law Review, which has become a ready reference material for all lawyers in Nigeria from the classrooms to the courtroom”.
Amaechi declared that Chief Gani Fawhenmi would be missed by all, and prayed that God should grant members of his family the fortitude to bear this huge loss.
It would be recalled that Gani had in a statement described Amaechiâ€™s emergence as governor of Rivers State as a judicial imposition.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) also lamented the death. Public Relations Officer of the Port Harcourt zone of the body, Mr. Chuka Onuegbu in a statement to the Vanguard described the death as painful.
Gani died for masses â€”Oba Lamidi
IBADANâ€”THE Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has said Chief Gani Fawehinmi died a gradual death as a result of the accumulated pains he sustained from numerous incarcerations in prison custodyÂ across the country.
Fawehinmi, according to the monarch died for the masses and could therefore be likened to two notable American human rights activists like Martin Luther Kings Jnr. and Elijah Muhammed adding that the fallen legal luminary was assassinated as a result of the pains he got from incarceration which affected his body organs over the years.
He said while the assassinations of the two Americans were instant, Fawehinmi suffered his own assassinations gradually and yet did not fail to fight for the masses of the country.
Describing the death of the legal icon as a colossal loss to Nigerians most especially the down trodden, in a statement he signed, Oba Adeyemi said,Â â€œaside using his legal profession to assist the poor, he also spent a vast part of his hard earned wealth to educate and support the children of the poor. In virtually all the Nigerian universities, Fawehinmi had students under his scholarship scheme which he ran for over forty years before he diedâ€.
â€œEven in wealth, Fawehinmi chose to suffer in order to free the oppressed. And in one of his public statements, he himself admitted that he started having problems with the constituted authority in 1969 and for that, he had been detained, imprisoned in all terrible prisons in the country, including the Gasua Prison, Borno state, where he almost lost his sight,â€ the monarch said.
The fallen legal icon, he stated further, was one of the greatest activists and crusaders for justice;Â Â a very brilliant and selfless crusader who spent all his time and resources to support the poor.
AGF laments Gani’s death
MAKURDIâ€”The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Mr. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa (SAN), has lamented the death of renowned anti-corruption crusader and human right activist Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN, who passed on over the weekend in Lagos.
Reacting to the death of the legal luminary, the AGF told newsmen in Makurdi that the country has lost one of its finest in the legal profession.
He described Gani as a rare breed who believed in justice, truth and equity, a cause he said the late Gani fought for until his death.
He said, â€œWe have lost a vibrant lawyer, a rare gem and a legal luminary of note who stood for justice, equity and fairness, we will definitely miss himâ€
Aondoakaa stated that Chief Fawehinmi lived a worthy live worthy of emulation describing his death as rather painful especially at this auspicious time of the nationâ€™s history.
According to the Minister, the legal profession would miss the vibrancy of Chief Fawehinmi assuring that he would personally pay his family a condolence visit to register his deep sense of loss.
Gani, one of most courageous men â€”Ambassador Carrington
Former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington in his reaction to Chief Gani Fawehinmiâ€™s death said â€œhe was one of the most morally courageous and principled men I have ever known. Like the prophets, he fearlessly spoke truth to the powerful.Â Military rulers, who could not abide his candor, threw Gani into their darkest dungeons.
The dankness of those prison cells could neither dampen nor diminish his dedication to democracy and human rights.
The fetid air he was forced to breathe in captivity surely was not conducive to the health of this once robust man.
Nigeria has lost the noblest protector of its laws, its indefatigable conscience. The poor have lost their most passionate advocate. His family has lost their beloved husband and father. Arese and I have lost a friend whom we deeply admired and who made me proud and humble to have been a member of the legal profession which he so glorified.
Gani’s death great loss â€”Former Lagos CP
MAKURDIâ€”Former Lagos State Commissioner of Police and anti corruption crusader Alhaji Abubaker Tsav has described the death of Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN as a great loss to the country and the legal profession.
According to Tsav, â€œwith the death of Gani, Nigerian activism has lost its vibrancy; Chief Gani Fawehinmi stood for justice and fair play and helped in no small way in the development of the Nigerian legal systemâ€.
The retired Police Commissioner noted that the late activist during his life time was fearless and stood for truth, honesty, justice and fought for it.
According to him, â€œGani helped the less privileged in the society with whom he shared his wealth through scholarship awardâ€.
â€œGani lived a worthy life and has left an unequalled legacy for lovers of justice and honesty to emulate. We have lost a true Senior Advocate of the Masses and a patriotâ€.
â€œI join his family and the masses of Nigeria to mourn the death of this true patriot of Nigeriaâ€, Tsav said.
Aregbesola, Shittu mourn
Osogboâ€”The Action Congress Governorship Candidate in Osun state, Mr. Rauf AregbesolaÂ and a social critic in the state, Chief Amitolu Shittu have described the death of Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi (SAN) as an irreplaceable loss to Nigeria and humanity.
In a statement titled â€œThe Lion of Nigerian Bar is Goneâ€ signed by his Media Director, Mr Gbenga Fayemiwo, the AC candidate stated that Chief Fawehinmiâ€™s demise at a time when Nigeria is passing through the cross road is a loss that the human rights community cannot grapple with in the face of deliberate desecration of the nationâ€™s democratic ethos.
His words: â€œFor more than half of his over seventy years of existence, Chief Fawehinmi looked straight into the eyes of evil actors and told them the bitter truth.
â€œIt is to the credit of courageous campaigners like Fawehinmi that civil rule has become the only option to govern Nigeria.
â€œHis long period of stay behind bars for no criminal offence, his dogged determination to struggle against mis-governance and abuse of citizens rights are some of the credentials that history will never forget.
â€œA true Senior Advocate of the Masses (SAM) of the Nigerian People, his death is a big minus to the struggle to make Nigeria a truly great nation”.
He was a true defender of the masses. Painfully, those who vilified him, sent him to jail and made the struggle he embarked upon tedious.
Gani prepared us for his deathâ€”Human rights groups
LAGOSâ€”As NigeriansÂ continue to pay their condolences to the family of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, one of the foremost human rights activists and Lagos lawyer who died at about 7.15 am last Saturday, various human rights groups have vowed to continue where the deceased stopped.
According to the Committee for Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), Gani had prepared for his own death and never stopped to reminding the groups to be prepared for the last day.
At his Ikeja GRA residence yesterday, CDHR and National Conscience Party, (NCP) said they were not deterred by the death of the late crusader, “No single prominent Nigerian was a friend to Gani, the masses were his friends and he duly identified with them even to the point of death.
â€œThe only thing we owe him is to continue where he stopped. Let us continue to live the kind of life he lived so that we can restore hope to the masses” said the First NCP General Secretary, Comrade Femi Aborishade.
In his own comment, CDHR National Secretary, Comrade Gbenga Soloki also stressed the late activist prediction to die, saying: â€œHe told us in March, 2009 that he was going to battle the cancer. The doctors have told him it was a terminal disease and he said he was prepared to fight on. If he was able to fight on his sick bed, how much more those of us who are hearty and healthy.
He was irreplaceable and we shall definitely miss him, however, we shall continue to put to practice whatever we have learnt under him. He has taught us to live for the masses and we are ready to demonstrate this at all times till we are able to have a Nigeria of his dream where the hopes of Nigerians will be restored,â€™â€˜ he said.
Former Lagos CJ eulogises Gani
ABUJAâ€”Former Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Samuel Omotunde Ilori yesterday described late Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi (SAN) as a very humble person notwithstanding his consistent opposition to anti-people policies of governments in the country.
The retired judge said his death was a great loss to Africa and the legal profession given his contribution to the development of law in the country and beyond is matchless.
Gani as he is popularly called breathed his last in the early hours of Saturday (September 5, 2009) after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Justice Omotunde IloriÂ said that though it was no longer news that he was ill, he said the news of his death was still shocking.
He said that the legal community would no doubt miss him sorely particularly for his great contribution to the development of law in the country and beyond particularly in the area of his law reporting.
â€œThe body of any nationâ€™s law lies so much in precedent. Without law report, law cannot develop. In fact, it cannot work. Precedent is the great bulk of lawyers and judges work.
â€œChief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) contributed so much to the development of law in Nigeria in this area.
â€œHe was the one that started the Nigeria Weekly Law Report at a time when all law reports in the country had gone comatose at one time or the other.
â€œHis Law Report is so popular that it is used not only in Nigeria but in other African countries,â€ he said.
Tracing the history of jurisprudence development in the country in relation to the efforts of Chief Fawehinmi (SAN), Justice Ilori said:
â€œDuring the colonial time, we had foreign law reports.
â€œLater we hadÂ the Nigeria Law Report and the Federal Supreme Court Law Report.
â€œThe Supreme Court Law Report and the Nigeria Law Report later went comatose.
â€œThere was this great need to have law reports in the country that will make law practice easy.
â€œThe one that came out to satisfy such need was the All Nigeria Law Report
â€œThat one was coming out after every six months.
â€œLater the Nigeria Monthly Law Report by late Justice Ayoola came but it also stopped.
â€œAll of them had become comatose at one time or the other
â€œFor this reason, only All England law report could be quoted even when Nigeria had developed its own body of law.
â€œIt was at this time that Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) came with his own as Nigeria Weekly Law Report.
â€œIt was Gani â€˜s baby. It is so popular that it is used not only in Nigeria but in other Africa countries,â€ he said, adding that many lawyers who veered into law reporting wanted to copy his style but that they could not.
According to him, â€œhis contribution in this area of law development cannot be matched
â€˜One good thing about the Nigeria Weekly Law Report by Gani is that the law report has character.
â€œfor instance, there is a place in the book where you have words and phrases judicially defined
â€œIt has a section for statutes that have been applied in court. It shows you what case a particular section of the law was considered.
â€œIt has another section for civil procedure. There, you see Lagos state civil procedure rules
â€œHis law reports are so educative.
â€œHe went too far that no one can match him. He has no rival. He was, simply put, great!
â€œas a lawyer or judge, his bopok is so good that you have one at home and one at office.
â€œIf you get to any lawyerâ€™s chambers, you find his works there.The law report stands him out above anything,â€ he said.
Speaking about Gani in court, Justice Ilori said: â€œhe gets emotionally involved with his cases.
â€œHe gets emotionally involved with his cases and he wants the best for his clients.
â€œIf you hire Gani Fawehinmi to handle your case, you can go home and sleep.
â€œThis is because your trouble has become his trouble and your pain has become his pains.
â€œHe shares your emotion and thought so much so that when he is arguing in court, he would say: ha, ha, how can that be? He is really cut out for the job. He is a very great man,â€ he added.
Speaking on why he was not decorated with the prestigious title of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) earlier than the time he was recognized, Justice Ilori said that his attack of the professional association of lawyers (NBA) which he belonged was the principal reason.
â€œA lot of people didnâ€™t understand why he was not decorated with the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
â€œHe got the prestigious title very late because he had a long running battle with his professional association, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
â€œIt got to a point that they even sued themselves
â€œI think what happened then was that the Bar association passed a resolution to the effect that none of them should appear before a panel to represent some people.
â€œBut Gani was opposed to that resolution. Instead of boycotting the court, he was going to represent his client.
â€œIt was because of this that he was in the bad book of the powers that be in the Bar association,â€ he said.
Speaking about Ganiâ€™s person, Justice Ilori said:
â€œGani Fawehinmi (SAN) no doubt is a household name. Even if you donâ€™t know him in person, you must have heard about him. He is so popular both in the circles of the rich and the poor.
â€˜He can shout in defence of the masses and even the rich being oppressed.
â€œBut if you meet him, you may not know him immediately because he is very simple
â€œIn fact, Gani embarrasses me with his humility. I mean, he is very, very simple.
â€œSomebody called me from the United Kingdom this morning when the news filtered that Gani had passed on.
â€œHe said he knew this man while waiting to see me in my office.
He said while waiting for me at the waiting room, he said he met some people there including Chief Gani Fawehinmi. He said the popular Gani was sitting quietly waiting for his turn to see me.
â€œHe said it was when my secretary called his name that he could enter to see me that he knew he was sitting with Gani without his knowing.
â€œThat is the man for you. He is so simple but very uncompromising.