By Victor Ahiuma-Young
WORKERS in Lagos State, Thursday, described the late fire brand lawyer as the pillar of workersâ€™ struggles and a genuine social crusader who believed that a just, fair and egalitarian Nigeria is possible.
The workers in a statement by the state council of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said they were pained by the exit of the legal icon who utilised his knowledge and wealth for the emancipation of the poor and the downtrodden.
The statement issued by state Secretary of NLC, Comrade Ismail Bello, said: â€œWe recall his many legal battles with the state where the right of citizens is concerned. He was the unseen backbone of the many street battles organised labour waged on the streets of Lagos and other state capitals.
â€œHe was the visible legal icon who stood by labour on many occasions when the state was bent on using the instrument of the law to frustrate labour and civil societyâ€™s resolve to challenge its many anti-peoples policies on the streets and through strikes.
â€œEven in the face of serious health challenges, Chief Gani Fawehinmi still found time to participate in our struggle as he did in year 2003 where he collapsed at the podium in Alausa. Not the one to be daunted by any challenge on a matter he believed in,in 2007 he was at the NLC to motivate comrades and give support to our collective resistance to the new round of price increases imposed by the outgoing Obasanjo regime and accepted by new administration of President Yarâ€™Adua. Till the very last day, he was ever willing to give free counsel on matters of popular struggle,â€ the statement said.
â€œHe dared to be different in a country where the elites believe that if you canâ€™t beat them, join them. He had all the privileges and comfort that wealth could offer yet Gani remained with the masses till the very end. What a rare breed. Gani was a genuine social crusader who believed that a just, fair and egalitarian Nigeria is possible. We will definitely miss him, his wise counsel and open support for popular struggle.â€