Sunday, 20 September 2009

Editorial: Still On Gani Fawehimi(1938-2009)

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Nigerians at home and in diaspora and friends of Nigeria recently mourned the death of the country's most prominent civil liberties campaigner and senior lawyer, Mr. Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehimi widely known as Gani. The late activist died in a Lagos hospital after a two-year-struggle with lung cancer. He has since been buried in his home state Ondo.

The Lawyer/activist is unarguably the most mourned private figure in Nigeria in recent time. It is on record that at his demise, his friends and foes were united in praise of his legal and activist credentials.

This fame is not the usual flash in the pan variant always witnessed in Nigeria. The Gani Fawehimi fame was achieved through struggles against injustice in all ramifications that lasted for a period of forty years. At the last count, Mr. Fawehimi walked in and out of Nigerian prisons known for inhuman conditions, a record thirty-eight times!

Gani Fawehimi's fights against injustice unarguably to a large extent helped to check the tendency of the Nigerian political class, both military and civil, to always formulate anti-people policies and its habit of appropriating the common wealth for its selfish ends.

We at chidi opara reports are however of the opinion that the failure of the late activist to adequately beam his usual anti-corruption and anti-injustice searchlight on the judiciary helped to a large extent to nurture the present festering cancer of corruption ravaging that arm of government. Why Gani, an intelligent, fearless and meticulous crusader for justice and fundamental human rights failed in his active days to adequately address the rot in the Nigerian judiciary in view of its serious negative effects on the administration of Justice will not cease to agitate the minds of keen observers. Could it be a case of self preservation?, only time will tell.

Corruption in the Nigerian Judiciary, which should be the last hope of the ordinary Nigerian is to a large extent responsible for the systemic rot being witnessed in the country today. chidi opara reports believes that if this problem was adequately addressed during the Gani Fawehimi glorious era, much of the rot in our Judiciary today which incidentally was Gani's primary constituency, would have been averted earlier.