It’s been three years that Gani Fawehinmi was snatched from us. His departure literally put on hold the political and social activisms in Nigeria. Gani was immersed as it were in the battle for the soul of Nigeria. With his last breath, he fought the ancient evils that were foisted on us by the ruling gangsters.
In the face of unrivalled excesses and brutalities of deranged military dictators and civilian oppressors, Gani remained constant, consistent, and courageous in his criticisms of a ruling class run amok.
With the Old Testament righteousness, he fought the creators of wicked schemes to total surrender. Gani was a potent combination of character and strategy.
Knowing the fragility and brevity of life, Gani worked round the clock believing in Jackie Robinson’s philosophy that “a life is not important except in the impact it has on others.” Gani made an impact on us the way atomic bomb does: He imploded before he exploded!
Gani used the law as a natural weapon of mass defense (WMD) to right wrongs, to bring immediate joy and relief to the aggrieved, to rekindle stale dreams of the hopeless and the voiceless, and most importantly; as messages of good cheer to all oppressed peoples in the world.
His mind was never at rest, and his pen is connected to his mind by the best conductive narrative magnet I’ve ever seen. Gani seemed to be saying “some men see things as they are and ask “why?” but he “dreams things that never were and ask “why not?”
With his persistent unyielding prosecutorial skill, our fledging democracy has been made stronger and stringent.
Gani’s wildness and subtlety of thinking and the intensity of his interest in others and his sympathy for the dilemma of the oppressed make him public defender extraordinary.
He was both a practitioner and defender of the law. He practiced law the way a surgeon operates: because it is a livelihood, because he has a great urge to do it, because many interesting challenges are set up, and because he believes it may do some good.
As a gutsy fighter, Gani believed and appropriately I might add that the law is a shield as well as a sword. He developed a reputation for ruthlessness with enemies of the poor and fierce defense of both constitutional rights and civil liberties.
Thoughtful and tough, passionate and strategic, outgoing and introspective, Gani was always worried and troubled about the defenseless, the forgotten, the unemployed, the downtrodden, and the marginalized. He was always willing to wade in where and whenever justice is on trial.
If Gani erred, he did so on the side of generosity. He was a giver, not a taker. He served others to help them grow and thrive. He solved problems that could prevent others from reaching their potential. He saved causes that benefit mankind.
Gani’s incredible capacity for generosity, kindness, and philanthropy is rooted in the indelible words of John Wesley: “Do all the good you can, by all means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”
Confident, bold, and undeterred, Gani’s verbal wit and prosecutorial assault anointed him the progressive of the progressives.
Fighting injustice, inequality, oppression, and discrimination; Gani’s signature is all over the place. In all the battles, Gani’s operative premise is solidly rested on Oliver Goldsmith’s words that “you can preach better sermon with your life than with your lips.”
Gani, to paraphrase the Middle Eastern saying, when you were born you cried, we rejoiced. You lived your life in way that when you left us we cried, and you rejoiced.