By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
The Senator-elect for Kaduna Central, Malam Uba Sani has recalled the various ways in which the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s works had and continue to make positive impact on the lives of Nigerians and the nation’s justice administration system.
Senator-elect Sani made the remarks to mark the 81st post-humous birthday of the late legal luminary, saying though Fawehinmi is gone, he still lives in the hearts of Nigerians.
“Having touched lives too numerous to mention, the late legal and human rights icon had etched his name in gold in the struggle for Nigeria’s democracy. He mentored many who are today holding aloft the torch of human rights and democracy in Nigeria,” he said.
Uba sani described himself as one of the major beneficiaries of Chief Fawehinmi’s mentoring who drank heavily from his fountain of wisdom and unquantifiable knowledge.
“He treated me like a son and taught me the strategies and tactics of effective struggle against military authoritarianism. He impacted in me the skills and techniques of constructive engagement with the emerging civil democratic dispensation,” the Senator-elect said.
“This is why anytime I join the entire civilized world and global human rights advocates in remembering Chief Fawehinmi, I see the giant image of a man who singularly redefined legal advocacy in Nigeria by proving that with sheer determination, creativity and consistency, the law can effectively be deployed as a tool for socio-economic and political reengineering.
“I have always believed, and still do, that Chief Gani Fawehinmi was an incomparable legal titan, dogged advocate for human rights and fundamental freedom, scourge of military dictators, defender and protector of the downtrodden, and philanthropist of distinction.
“Even now, I remember fondly that even at the risk of misrepresentation or alienation by his professional colleagues, he never wavered in his belief in the rule of law and due process. For him, self-help was not an option; the wheel of justice may be slow, but in the end, justice will be served.
“I recollect again that Gani led the Joint Action Committee of Nigeria (JACON), a coalition of pro-democracy groups that waged a relentless and principled battle against military authoritarianism. I was privileged to serve as the national vice chairman of JACON. I struck a strategic partnership with Chief Gani and in no time extended the struggle against the military to Northern Nigeria.
“Remarkably too, I remember Chief Gani as a pan-Nigerian who worked assiduously to touch the lives of Nigerians wherever they may be. He had a scholarship scheme which was enjoyed across the entire country but as one of his close allies and scholarship committee members, I was able to convince him to institute a major scholarship scheme for brilliant but indigent university students in Northern Nigeria,” Sani said.
He said Nigeria and Africa at large owe Chief Fawehinmi a debt of gratitude for relentless struggles he waged against military dictatorship, corruption, impunity and flagrant violation of fundamental human rights and freedom.
“The challenge before us he mentored is to sustain his legacy of struggle for social justice. We must continue to strive for expansion of the democratic space in our dear country. We must maintain fidelity to the Constitution, rule of law and due process.
“I wish the family, friends and associates of our departed legend and mentor a happy 81st Posthumous birthday celebrations and pray the good Lord to continue to have mercy on his soul and grant him eternal rest,” he said.