The NDLF received with shock the news of the death of Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, 71, today after a long struggle with cancer. Gani, the indefatigable, irrepressible, uncompromisable, advocate of the oppressed, suppressed, repressed and demeaned Nigerian masses gave his life to the cause of freedom, liberty, Justice and an egalitarian Nigerian society. He fought against all that is wrong with Nigeria by confronting the malaise of misgovernance and those who perpetrated and perpetuated this act against the people of Nigeria. Despite his affluent background, he chose to identify with the plight and long sufferring of millions of Nigerians who through the conscious greed and unconscionable state of the country have been turned into paupers in the midst of plenty.
A legal luminary in an exclusive principled class of his own, he utilized his knowledge and practice of the law and he famously quoted his role model Christopher Alexander Sapara Williams who said "the legal practitioner lives for the direction of his people and the advancement of the cause of his country." Gani Fawehinmi gave his life beyond the direction of his people and the advancement of his country and also became the heart of a people in bondage and shackles of poverty, penury and those who have the penchant to subvert Justice in order to have their ways especially the Nigerian ruling class.
This irreplaceable Nigerian would be forever missed by Nigeria, Africa and the international community. He was a recipient of numerous international awards on Human and Peoples Rights. This was in recognition of his staunch opposition to treachery and his unrestrained willingness to speak truth to power and fight against the ills of the Nigerian society. The ruling class especially the military kept him in jail and was reputed to have served time in all the most despicable and torturous jails in Nigeria. His health sufferred largely from his numerous detention. He was hounded endlessly by security agents and sadly successive governments saw Gani being sent to jail as a medal of honor for them.
During different times in the struggle for good governance and democracy in Nigeria members of the NDLF partnered with him on different platforms especially the Joint Action Committee on Nigeria (JACON) and his avowed commitment to what he preached was impressive and inspiring. He stood firm when others sold their souls, he never vacillated even when the struggle appeared unattainable and he was a an epitome of a commitment to principles. He was "quintessential Gani" undoubtedly identifying with the people when challenging times confronted our country. He participated at different rallies and protests and stood in front of an armored tank at Yaba insisting to be killed for the freedom of his people. Gani, we would surely miss you.
Gani, we know you were appalled that you had to seek refuge in London, UK to be treated during your battle with cancer and that the country you love so much and gave so much could not provide you with a hospital to attend to your medical condition. Your life is a testimony and a challenge to those of us left behind that no matter the actions and efforts of forces of dictatorship, tyranny, intimidation, harassment and those who are always determined to subvert the popular will of the people we should always stay firm, focused and undistracted. The struggle to free Nigeria is a long and arduous one which can only be achieved with a spirit of doggedness and fervor like yours.
Adieu Gani. May Your gentle soul rest in perfect peace.