8th September, 2010
Immortality, according to a Lagos-based cleric, is the genius to move others long after youÂ have stopped moving. This is an assertion that holds true for the late human rights activistÂ and foremost lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN.Â Because Ganiâ€™s contributions to upliftingÂ humanity were exceedingly great, he will always be remembered by those he left behind. AndÂ that is his true claim to immortality.
Last Sunday, the Babatunde Fashola-led Lagos State Government rolled out the drums to markÂ the first anniversary of the demise of Gani, the self-styled Senior Advocate of the Masses.Â Part of the remembrance activities was the unveiling of Ganiâ€™s bust at a park in Ojota.Â Speaker after speaker eulogised Gani at the colourful ceremony. According to Fashola, GaniÂ â€œhas earned this unforgetability by the single act of patriotism,â€ adding that he â€œcommittedÂ a lifetime of 40 years of the prime of his life to this arduous devotion.â€
In the same vein, the state Commissioner for the Environment, Muiz Banire, extolled Ganiâ€™sÂ virtues and said his detention 23 times in various prisons, â€œwas the height of tenacity ofÂ purpose and unequalled desire to advocate propriety in the polity.â€
We should strive to do more than merely remembering Gani year after year because soon thatÂ will become a hollow ritual devoid of any meaning. We should go the extra mile by emulatingÂ his selfless service to humanity when he was alive.
People in positions where they can influence positive change in the society can make a hugeÂ difference in the lives of many Nigerians like Gani did in his lifetime even though he wasÂ never elected into any public office. He used his personal resources to impact the lives ofÂ people. He was always there for indigent students whom he offered scholarships to beÂ educated in tertiary institutions.
The rot in all spheres of the nationâ€™s life has continued to fester because those inÂ Â position to effect positive change have themselves been sucked into the vortex ofÂ corruption. They have compromised so much that they no longer have conscience to raise theirÂ voices when things go wrong or muster the courage to stick out their necks to defend theÂ ideals which Gani stood and fought for all his life.
We need a new generation of Ganis to continue from where he stopped. That is one of the waysÂ by which he could be immortalized. Letâ€™s have another Gani of this generation to carry theÂ banner forward. To achieve this, let youths mobilise massively and vote for credible leadersÂ in the forthcoming elections so that the fortunes of this country could be rescued from theÂ clutches of benighted leaders that have continued to perpetuate themselves in power andÂ shamelessly entrench corruption in our country. The youths must rise to the occasion. ThatÂ way they will also help to immortalise Gani.