2 Years After: Activists Remember Gani Fawehinmi


Two years after his demise, human rights activists in Nigeria today remembered Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who was a foremost human and civil rights activist during his lifetime, saying the nation has really missed his contribution at this critical period.

The Campaign for Democracy, CD said it remembers with fondness the irrepressible “legal icon, human rights crusader, rule of law defender and pro-democracy campaigner, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who died two years ago after a prolonged battle with lung cancer.

“Chief Fawehinmi spent the better part of his life crusading for the greatest good of the majority of Nigerians for which he paid dearly with his personal liberty and ultimately his life as the circumstances of the illness that took his life could not be divorced from the criminal nature of the Nigerian state that employs physical and chemical elimination of its opponents as weapon of repression.”

A statement signed by its National President, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin said that in just two years, “the hole the exit of Gani left in the democratic struggle is yawning. The battle Gani fought up to the Supreme Court to secure the right of political association is being taken away with de-registration of political parties by INEC.

“It is also in the build up to Gani’s second anniversary that the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Presidency carried out a coup against the rule of law via the illegal suspension of the president of the court of appeal.”

According to the CD, “in a supposed democratic atmosphere, there are gory tales of illegal detention of citizens, extra-judicial killings and other whimsical violations of fundamental liberties of citizens all over the country. If Gani were to look down from heaven today, he would weep for the country he devoted all his life fighting to make a better place.

“The greatest tribute those of us still around can pay to his memory is to continue his unfinished task of standing against all that is unjust and enthrone a democratic, accountable and responsible order in Nigeria.”

Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo said two years after, Fawehinmi’s death still left a big vacuum in activism in Nigeria, saying that he left “us with his unbiased criticism of the nation. He was a barometer by which we decided where the truth was.

“His input would have helped the nation at this time of Boko Haram and judicial dispute.”

Yoruba elder, Ayo Opadokun, said the nation would continue to remember Fawehinmi as he was the champion in the crusade against the oppressed, lamenting that the democracy he fought for was being bastardised by some unscrupulous politicians.

Opadokun added that Fawehinmi’s campaign was to make life better for the masses and defend the rule of law which had been trampled on by the leaders.

According to human rights activist, Bamidele Aturu, “we are missing Gani at this time. He has left a void that is difficult to fill. We miss his commentary in many areas.”

Publicity Secretary, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said since Fawehinmi died two years ago, nobody had been able to fill the vacuum he left behind.

“Please, tell Gani that we are still without light; that our educational system is in shambles. Please, tell Gani that his constituency, the judiciary is becoming something else. Gani would have gone to court to stop the removal of Justice Salami, the conscience of Nigeria’s troubled judiciary.

“Gani would have led Nigerians to rubbish Jonathan’s so called six years term agenda if he were to be around. Gani would have gone to court to challenge the Federal Government on federal roads. We miss Gani every day. Oh Gani, where are you?” he asked.

— Kazeem Ugbodaga

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