Alhaji Balarabe Musa, a chieftain of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) and the chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) said the best way Nigerians can honour late Chief Gani Fawehinmi is to continue in the pursuit of the dream he had for Nigeria.
Musa said this while addressing guests at the 80th post humorous birthday of the late Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) held on Sunday in Lagos where he spoke at length on the lives of Gani.
While describing the late legal luminary as a great and inspiring soul, the PRP chieftain said, “In life, just as in death, Chief Gani Fawehinmi was a determined and inspiring soul. We are here sombre and mournful over a large void left behind by Chief Gani Fawehinmi. It is a void that shall be extremely difficult to fill. But we are, individually and collectively, challenged and determined to continue with the struggles from where Chief Gani fawehinmi lefty off."
He pointed out that while the late lawyer was growing up, he was inspired and touched by the works and struggles of people like Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Tung, Ben Gurion, and Sir Winston Churchill: “Back in Nigeria, in the middle of the 1960s, Gani committed himself to the defence of the poor, the oppressed, and the downtrodden in the course of his legal practice. He challenged the conservatism and reaction of legal establishment; gave legal services pro-bono to indigent, but deserving clients; and was a veritable thorn in the flesh of successive ruling military dictatorships."
He opined that the greatest and most enduring legacy of the late lawyer was his engagements in the political activities of the country.
Musa said Gani, who can be best described as an ‘irresistible democrat, patriot, humanist, and anti-corruption crusader’ played a pivotal role in the establishment of democracy mocracy and multi-party civilian government now in place in the country.
He said, “I recall the pivotal role that Chief Gani Fawehinmi played in 2002 in the process which led to the institutionalization of what we now know as the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP). In 2002, INEC, the country’s electoral management body, summoned a meeting of the then existing six officially registered political parties and all other political associations that had applied for registration in Abuja for a consultative meeting to discuss its proposed guidelines for the formation and registration of political parties.
The representatives of the twenty one associations then seeking formal registration as legally recognized political parties, considered many of the provisions contained in the proposed guidelines as very undemocratic and objectionable.”
“Chief Gani Fawehinmi moved a motion that the political parties and associations should not only reject INEC’s guidelines, but should also establish a multi-party platform for Nigeria’s political parties and political associations to be known as the Conference of Nigerian political Parties (CNPP), he stated.
Musa then charged every Nigerian patriot to honour the memory of the late lawyer by pursuing the dream of the late lawyer for the country which, he said, is ‘A Nigeria where the conditions for the growth and development of the potentials of every citizen, and resident are guaranteed, free from all discriminations based on tribe, sex, belief, region, age, or disavility.’
Musa was one of the guests invited by the Lagos State government to the commissioning of a statue in honour of the Late Chief Fawehinmi at the Freedom Park on Sunday.
While commissioning the 44 feet tall statue, Lagos State governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Idiat Adebule, described the late legal luminary as a 'relentless human rights lawyer, social critic and a towering figure in human rights activism.'
Chief Gani Fawehinmi, a Nigerian author, publisher, philanthropist, social critic, human rights lawyer, politician and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, was born on April 22, 1938 and died on September 5, 2009 after a prolonged battle with lung cancer.
Chief Gani Fawehinmi set up the National Conscience Party (NCP). He also contested the presidential election in 2003.