FAWEHINMI, Chief Ganiyu Oyesola(Late)

Born 22 April 1938





LLB, BL, lawyer, author, publisher, philanthropist, human rights activist, born April 22, 1938, On do, Ondo State; married, has four sons, eight daughters; Education: Ansar-Ud-Deen School, 1946-53, Victory College, Ikare, 1954-58, University of London (external student), 1961-64, Nigerian Law School, Lagos, 1964; called to the Nigerian Bar on January 15, 1965; engaged in private legal practice* since 1965; former Columnist in the following Newspapers: Nigerian Tribune, Ibadan, Daily Sketch, Ibadan and The Chroni cle, Calabar; member, Ghandi Foundation, India, since 1971; former National Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association, 1971-73; was students' Counsel, University of Ibadan Students'Crisis, 1971, and University of Lagos Students* Crisis, 1978; founder, Gani Scholar ship Scheme, since 1972; Chairman, Free Education Association of Nigeria, since 1975; Life member, Obafemi Awolowo University Students' Union, since 1988; Life member, University of Ibadan Students' Union, since 1988; No OF CASES HANDLED BY GANI FAWEHINMI'S CHAMBER: Over 5,000 cases in Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Courtsand Magistrate courts, since 1965, Some of the notable cases handled: Abashe v Obeya, Jos (to instil discipline in the establishment), 1969; Ajodeji v Brigadier Adekunle (combating detention), 1973; Amakiri's case (ensuring press freedom), 1974; Tarka v Daily Sketch (reputation in public life), 1974; Dr. Akintunde, Dr. Akinde, Dr. Madunagu cases (fighting against detention), 1975; Adesanya v president (locus standi), 1980; Dele Giwa v Adewusi (law over might), 1982; Gani Fawhinmi v NBA, 1984; Saidu Garba v Permanent Secretary (law over might), 1984; Rotimi Williams v Newswatch, 1986; Dawodu Murder Case, 1987; Gani Fawehinmi v Akilu, 1987; Detentions: has been arrested and detained by various Govern ments on 10 (ten) occasions, since 1969; Tradi tional title: Lomofe of Ondo, 1978; Publica tions: People's Right To Free Education At All Levels (1974), Osemawe of Ondo Crisis: 'The Heroic Struggle of The Ondos in Defence of Their Tradition and Traditional Justice' (1975), A wo On Free Education (1976), The Law of Contempt In Nigeria (Lagos, Nigerian Law Publications, 1980), Nigerian Law of Libel and The Press (Lagos, Nigerian Law Publications, 1987), Nigerian law of The Press Under The Constitution and The Criminal Law (Lagos, Nigerian Law Publications, 1987), Bench and Bar In Nigeria (Lagos, Nigerian Law Publications, 1988), Murder of Dele Giwa: The Right ofA Private Prosecutor (Lagos, Nigerian Law Publications, 1988), Nigerian Law of Habeas Corpus (Lagos, Nigerian Law Publications), also editor of the following Books: Digest of the Supreme Court Cases, 1956-84 (Vols 1-10), Supreme Court of Nigeria Law Reports (1 and 2 SCNLR, 1983), Supreme Court of Nigeria Law Reports, (1 SCNLR, 1984), The Nigerian Constitutional Law Reports (Vols 1-6), High Court ofNigeria Law Reports, (1985), Digest of Western State Court of Appeal Civil Cases, 1967-69 and Nigerian Weekly Law Reports (since 1985); Hobbies: lawn tennis, swimming, reading; Postal address: PO Box 39, Ebute-Metta, Lagos, OR PO Box 1114 Surulere, Lagos; Chambers and library address: 35, Ajao Road, Ajao Estate, Anthony Village, Off Ikorodu Road, Lagos; Telephone: (01) 963508; Hand Delivery address: 28, Sabiu-Ajose Crescent, Surulere, Lagos State; Telephone (01) 835153.
Gender: Male
Marital Status
  • Married
Name of Spouse Ganiat Bukun Fawehinmi , Abike Fawehinmi
State of Origin: Ondo State
Father's Name Saheed Tugbobo Fawehinmi,
Father's Status Deceased
Mother's Name Munirat Fawehinmi
Mother's Status Deceased
Number of Male Children 6
Number of Female Children 8

Mr. Mohammed Fawehinmi
b. Mr. Saheed Fawehinmi
c. Miss Basirat Fawehinmi (now Mrs. Biobaku)
d. Miss Hafusat Fawehinmi (now Dr. (Mrs.) Oni)
e. Miss Kudirat Fawehinmi
g. Miss Simbiat Fawehinmi (now Mrs. Osho)
h. Mr. Mubarak Fawehinmi
Miss. Rabiat Fawehinmi
b. Miss Aminat Fawehinmi
c. Miss Rukayat Fawehinmi
d. Master Yusuf Fawehinmi
e. Master Kamal Fawehinmi
f. Master Taju Fawehinmi
g. Miss Aishat Fawehinmi

Profession Lawyer , Author , Publisher , Philanthropist , Human Rights Activist
Working Experience law clerk in the High Court of Lagos 1961 , national publicity secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association. 1971-1973

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN),


National Conscience Party of Nigeria

1. Bruno Kreisky Prize
2. International Bar Association’s ‘Bernard Simmons Award’

The People’s Lawyer by(George Mbah). Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, popularly known as ‘Gani’ is a lawyer, author, pub lisher, philanthropist, politician and Ni geria’s foremost human rights attorney. In the legal world, his ground-breaking publication, theNigerian Weekly LawReports has been printed regularly since 1985. Accessibility to these Reports has helped to popularize legal knowledge in Nigeria particularly forjudges and lawyers. Gani has pub lished over 500 volumes of Law Reports. Each weekly volume is 200 pages. Tough, courageous and controversial, Gani uses the court processes to challenge government excesses and stupidity. Ofthe over 5000 cases he has filed in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, High Courts and Magistrate Courts since 1965, over 200 of these challenge what he perceives as inimical to the inter ests ofthe nation. Dan Agbese (ajournalist), writing inNewswatch magazine (29 April 1985) said that Gani laid the cane across the bony back of Nigeria’s “corrosive, decadent and debilitating legal system. It is not his fault that the system is so. It is the fault of wealthy lawyers” who are only concerned with lining their pockets with fat and fertile briefs and who have no time to conceptualize and intellectualize the direction of the legal system. Gani’s principled crusade for justice evokes passionate sentiments in all Nigerians, “either of ad miration or of disgust. His fiercest critics say, he likes publicity too much; he is a dramatist, playing up to the gallery; he goes too far; he refuses to compro mise; he is not selective in his choice of battles; fight ing all; he has ulterior political motives… but there is really only one reason to admire him; the man stands on principle, and nothing else.” Others say he “thrives on controversy the same way a fish thrives on water. Take him out ofthe rough seas of contro versy and see if you have the stomach to watch a fish survive out of water.” Writing inthe Washing ton Times (November 23, 1995), Catriona Rogan lauded Gani as Nigeria’s ‘Steve Biko,’ a larger-than life politician and lawyer with a track record of defending human rights activists. A critic writing in the Nigerian Observer (June, 1993), described Gani as a man who has “chosen not to be an ordinary average Nigerian. He has his ideals and with a relent less zeal, he pursues them. Loved and hated, he marches on in his crusade for a better Nigeria. He is completely sold out to his convictions. He walks ma jestically on ‘sacred grounds’ where angels fear to tread. He is a Nigerian who is not a coward. His train ing in Law has revived in him the native African stubbornness against injustice. To him, the law is not what it is, but a dynamic social engineering mechanism – a means towards achieving a free and democratic society. He writes, reports, publishes, edits and practices the law. Above all, he is also a philanthropist. He has a scholarship scheme for the less privileged in the society.” Born on Friday, 22 April 1938, into the Muslim Fawehinmi family of Ondo, in Ondo State, Gani’s father Chief Saheed Tugbobo, the Seriki Musulumi of Ondo was the great Muslim leader who was reported to have brought Islam to Ondo town. A polygamist, Saheed was a successful timber magnate, a great philanthropist and an opponent of excessive taxation of the poor. Gani’s grandfather was Chief Lisa Alujanu Fawehinmi, the nineteenth century Ondo warlord who fought several successful battles for and on behalf of the Ondo people. When Chief Alujanu died at the age of 92, Ondo honored him with the title Alujanu which means ‘spirit’. In 1975, Gani chronicled the heroic struggle of the Ondos in defence of their tradition and traditional justice in the book Osemawe of Ondo Crisis. Gani’s mother, Alhaja Muniratu Fawehinmi, nee Akinnibosun is a Muslim devotee. She is the Iya Olori EgbeAdini of Ondo Central Mosque. Gani is her first child and the only son of her six children. She is 84 years old and in pretty good nick for her age. Gani, like his father is a polygamist. He is married to two Yoruba women – Ganiat Orebela from Ogun State, and Abike Ikuomuyilo from Ondo State. He has 14 children, Ganiat has eight children and Abike, six. What Gani values most in his life, in the * order of their importance are: God, his mother, his work, his children and his wives. He said his mother is so important to him, (next to God) because he is her only son and “if she suffered so much to bring us up alone, then she deserves all the honour I can give her.” Gani had his early education at Ansar-udDeen Primary School, Iyemaja, Ondo from 1947 to 1953; and his high school education at Victory College, Ikare, a Christian school, from 1954 to 1958. While in high school, he was an avid reader ofthe Daily Times and the West AfricanPilot – the most popular newspapers ofthe time inthe college library. The library was named after him 50 years later. His participation in debates about national, legal and political affairs with his classmates earned him the nickname ‘Nation.’ Upon graduating from high school in 1958, Gani’s principal. Reverend Akinrele, wrote a letter to Gani’s father on 8 December 1958, advis ing that Gani must be encouraged to study law. Gani headed for Lagos in January 1959 to search for a job. He got his first job as a clerk in the Lagos High Court. While working in the court, he read for his General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level. On 29 April 1961. Gani left the shores ofNi geria with M.V. Aureol passengership for the United Kingdom. He arrived Liverpool on 12May 1961 and took a train to London, arriving Victoria Station in the evening. A few weeks after his arrival in Eneland. Gani received the results ofthe Advanced Level GCE which hesat for shortly before he leftNigeria. His result was good, and he enrolled in the Holborn Collegeof Law forthe three-year LLB degree pro gramme of the University of London (external) in September 1961. Two years into his studies, Gani’s fatherdied(on5 February 1963 attheageof89)and his source offinance dried up. All efforts to secure financial assistance failed. He had to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Gani was forced by his poor fi nancial circumstances to drop out ofthe Holborn College as a full-time student. He took a full-time job as a toilet cleaner in Russell Square Hotel,Southampton Row, London; and also did other cleaning jobs including working as a sweeper in the old Gatwick Airport between February 1963 and August 1964. Gani saved for his legal education by working long hours and living frugally on bread and butter. He sometimes ate his meal on the job in one of the clean toilets. He recalls how a Russell guest flushed his toilet just at the time he was eating his meal.The stench made him throw up immediately. Gani has refused to forget that experience. He keeps bread and butter in his fridge in the office to remind him ofhis sufferings as a law student. He eats bread and butter as an appetizer before his main meal everyday. Gani literarily taught himself law for the second and third parts ofthe LLB degree course and he passed all his examinations. He returned to La gos inearly September 1964,carrying “a smallsuit case containing two pairs of trousers, three shirts, one pair of shoes (apart from the one he waswear ing), twopants, twosinglets, two pairs ofsocks and blacksuits, all oflowquality and cheaply boughtat rock-bottom prices in general sales at Caledonia Road, North London”. Gani quickly enrolled in the Nigerian Law School, then at No. 213A Igbosere Road, Lagos, for thecompulsory threemonthcourse. Hesuccessfully completedthecourse and was called to the Nigerian Baron 15 January 1965.Hepractised briefly forthree months with his elder brother, now Justice Rasheed Fawehinmi in Lagos. In April 1965, Gani founded his chambers at No. 116 Denton Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos. His law practice prospered, and he built a modest storey building at No. 28 Sabiu Ajose Cres cent Surulere, Lagos. In 1974, he moved his cham bers to the house. By 1978, he had built a sprawling storey building at No. 35 Adeniran Ajao Road, Anthony Village, Lagos, and he moved his cham bers finally to that site the same year. Gani’s cham bers are reported to be the largest law chambers in Nigeria, with a collection ofover 290,000 law and law-related books. His chambers have a staffstrength of 62, and one that truly reflects Nigeria’s ethnic di versity-more than 100 lawyers from different states ofNigeria haveworked with Gani inthe last34years. Gani’s chambers are known for their high sense of responsibility and deep cornmitment to professional dutiesand ethics; unsurpassed dedication to research, hardwork, truth, honesty; obedience to the rule of law and due process; and protection, defence and advancement offundamental human rights. Gani has personally practised law and ap peared in courts in virtually all Nigerian cities. He has also written newspaper columns criticizing gov ernment policies in the Nigerian Tribune and Daily Sketch (Ibadan), and The Nigerian Chronicle (Calabar). Gani seems to have a spiritual covenant with God to love and defend the poor, the cheated, the oppressed, the persecuted, and the ignored – especially the students. This must be the explanation for the free and selfless services herenders for the protection, defence and advancement of fundamental human rights of the Nigerian people. He has handled more than 1000briefs free of charge for those in that class. Over the years, Gani has consistently fought on the side of Nigerian students in their attempts to oppose the obnoxious policies oftheir various insti tutions and the State – which from time to time has resulted in the students’ rustication, suspension or expulsion. In fact, there is a standing rule in his chambers that students are not to be charged fees when they come for help. His experience of financial deprivation as a student in London propelled him to institute his own scholarship scheme in 1971. Every year since then, he has been awarding scholarships to brilliant children that he categorizes as ”victims of socio-economic in justice- the poor,the deprived, the denied, the neglected,the ignored and the persecuted.” More than 800 poor students from various parts of Nigeria have benefited from Gani’s scholar ship scheme. Gani’s belief in free education took him to many countries including France in 1975 and 1994, to gather research materials for his book titled Peo ple’s RighttoFree Education. In 1975 he launched the Free Education Association ofNigeria. In his book, Awo on Free Education [1976], Gani immor talized the free education ideas of Chief Obafemi Awolowo – the late premier of former Western Re gion and the apostle offree education in Nigeria be fore and after Nigeria’s independence in I960. When General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military government proscribed the students’ central body, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in 1978, following the students’ protest over his gov ernment’s decision to increase fees payable in terti ary institutions, Gani converted a section ofhis cham bers in Surulere into the headquarters of NANS. At a meeting ofthe students’ leaders in the chambers on 16 May 1978, a detachment of 50 policemen took over the chambers, arrested, and detained Gani. He was later tried but won the case. While the criminal case was on, Gani was on bail and appearing in court forSegun Okeovvo, the president of NANS, seeking his release from an illegal detention before Justice Ishola Oluwa. Okeowo regained his freedom and briefly worked asanadministrative officer in Gani’s chambers before he was re-admitted by the university of Lagos in compliance with the court order. NANS honored Gani with life membership in the association in 1990. Gani also came to the rescue when Bukunola Arogundade, a student of Obafemi Awolowo Uni versity (Ile-Ife), wasmurdered under suspicious cir cumstances in 1981. His colleagues protested in the thousands and the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari called in the police to quell the crisis. The police injured 79 students, and killed eight. The Shagari government appointed Justice Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore to conduct an inquiry. The students and teachers refused government-appointed inquiry intotheircampus. They, however, appointed Gani, a man they could trust, to investigate, appor tion blame and make recommendations where nec essary. Gani, assisted by late S. Labanji Bolaji, a prominent journalist at the Daily Sketch, took evi dence for several months at the university campus. In the end, Gani found the federal government guilty on all counts and found the police liable in all re spects, and ordered the government to pay 10 mil lion naira in damages to the students. In today’s monetary terms, this amounts to about 800 million naira. The debt is still hanging on the neck ofthe federal government. In 1988, students ofthe uni versities of Ife and Ibadan honoured him with life membership of their respective students unions. Gani was back to Ife in 1991, when a major disagreement between the university authorities and the students led to the expulsion of61 students with out due compliance with the laws ofthe university and those ofthe nation. He went to court, challeng ing the illegality ofthe actions ofthe university. The university authorities lost hands down. Those ex pelled or rusticated were re-admitted. Two of them are already showing signs of leadership at the BarBamidele Aturu and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa. In a similar case in 1983, Gani fought the authorities ofthe University ofMaiduguri up to the Supreme Court over the rustication and expulsion of many ofthe student leaders over a riot. The univer sity was compelled by the supreme court to rc-admit the rusticated and expelled students in the now fa mous case of Garba vs. University ofMaiduguri. One ofthe affected students, Okon Akiba, is now a medical doctor. Gani’s crusade for the rule of law has consistently brought him into direct conflict with various military juntas in Nigeria. Between 1969 and 1996, state security agents had Gani detained 35 times in various police and prison cells across Nigeria. His international passport has been seized and returned 18 times by agents of successive governments. Gani’s chambers and residence have been searched by government security agents eleven times over the years. The federal government and its agents have proffered 15 criminal charges in all, at various times, against Gani. They include charges for breach of peace, sabotage, treason, sedition, and three times for criminal defamation. In fact, Gani was facing a charge for criminal defamation against government before Justice Obadina, sitting at the High Court (Ikeja) on 22 April 1988, the day he turned 50. Gani, over the years, has come to be seen as the conscience ofthe nation and the stormy petrel of Nigeria’s judiciary. Writing in Newswatch (29 April, 1985), DanAgbese praised Gani as “the greatest and most erudite enemy of cant and hypocrisy this na tion has ever had. There was none like him before him; there is none like him now and 1 fear, there may be none like him post-him. When others shy away, for bread or personal safety, from disturbing the false calm of the societal waters, he makes a public spectacle of his hobby – without a swimsuit.” Dare Babarinsa writing in TELL (26 Au gust 1996) said, “if there is a Nigerian who deserves the Nobel prize for peace, he is Gani Fawehinmi, the great human rights campaigner and leading opponent of successive military juntas, …” a first class intellectual, humanist and indomitable fighter for freedom. Like William Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Albert Lithuli, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jnr., he cares passionately for his fellow men . . . Like Thomas Jefferson, Gani believes that a legitimate government must derive its power from the people.” The annulment of the free and fair June 12, 1993 presidential election believed to have been won by M.KO. Abiola, (millionaire businessman and politician) by Ibrahim Babangida. and the subsequent seizure of power by Sani Abacha on 17 November 1993, plumbed Gani’s spirits to their depths of de spair and brought out the quintessential rebel in him. He rejected the junta’s carrot behind the scene to be appointed its Attorney-General. In 1994, he founded the National Conscience – a human rights move ment, committed to fighting for the economic and political rights ofthe Nigerian masses. On 26 August 1994, Gani experienced the fourth violent assault against his person since the first in 1969. That day, six men armed with automatic weap ons and in military uniform invaded his chambers. They shot chambers security guards and seriously wounded two of them to the extent that the arm of one of them was eventually amputated. The other had more than 67 pellets lodged in his body. The chambers premises were splashed with blood. The Cable News Network correspondent, Bob Cone, who was to film the premises after the dastardly event was summarily declared personanongrata and de ported from Nigeria. That same day, Gani travelled by air to address a scheduled rally in Port Harcourt. On hisarrival at the airport, he was arrested by the state security agents and immediately returned to Lagos on the same plane that brought him. In 1969, Gani handleda case for a poorfactory worker’s wife who had been defiled by a top government functionary. Pressure on Gani to drop the case fell on deaf ears. He was then arrested and taken to North Central Police Headquarters in Kaduna. There, he was severely beaten by more than 13 security officers. His glasses were smashed to pieces and his eyes became blood-shot. On 16 August 1987, along Bank Anthony Way. Lagos, Gani was dragged out of his car and beaten up by naval officials because he did not, ac cording to them, get off the road sufficiently to al low a senior naval officer with a siren car. On 29 June 1988, at the Ikeja High Court premises in full view of court officials, state security men pounced on Gani and beat him up. They then took him away and locked him up at the Ikeja police station. Gani wrote his will and declared to the world that he was “ready to die” defending the cause of truth, social justice, rule of law, democracy and the protection of fundamental human rights. Gani, however, remained undaunted in his fight for a democratic Nigeria. Abacha eventually detained him at the Bauchi prison in 1996. When some politicians were campaigning for all the ‘government-approved’ political parties to adopt General Sani Abacha as a consensus presidential candidate in the regime’s transition programme, Gani denounced the pro-Abacha campaigners as “ungodly charlatans playing with treason.” In May 1998,Gani was unanimously elected as the first leader of the Joint Action Committee ofNigeria (JACON), an umbrella organization of55 pro-democracy and hu man rights bodies. When General Abdulsalami Abubakar as sumed office as head of state after Abacha’s death on 8 June 1998, Gani’s JACON called on the new junta to immediately setup a government ofnational unity to be headed by Abiola who was still being detained in prison. Gani wanted a two-year tenure for the unity government within which it would put the country on a firm footing for democracy by con vening a sovereign national conference to resolve the national issues facing the country. Two days be fore Abiola’s sudden death, on 7 Ju)y J998r Abiola sent a letter in his own handwriting to Gani, reassur ing him that he had not renounced his June 12, 1993 mandate. Abiola was reacting to a national newspa per story that said that he had renounced his man date. TheAbubakarjunta, however, rejectedthe idea of a government of national unity (GNU), and an nounced a new transition programme. Gani called the new head ofstate, General Abubakar, ‘evil’, and condemned histransition programme on thegrounds that Abubakar was part of Abacha’s tyranny, having been Abacha’s Chief ofDefence Staff. Members of Gani’s National Conscience Party (NCP), however, were ofadifferent opinion. They protested what they considered Gani’s unilateral decision not to allow NCP’s participation inthetransition programme and associating the party with JACON. Theyalsoaccused Gani ofthwarting efforts to re-examine the stand of thepartyon some issues. Theycomplained thatGani stalled the party’s activities when he was detained in 1996, because he was the sole signatory to the party’s account. Gani refuted these allegations. In early July 1998, Gani advocated mass action byNigerians todislodge the militaryandcom pel Abubakar to hand over power to a Government of National Unity (GNU) by 1October 1998. It baf fledthe military and its supporters that Gani was still thinking this way despite efforts to make him com promise. The Lagos State military administrator, Colonel Mohammed Marwa. sent two rams to him during the Eid-EI-Kabir of 1997. Gani turned down the gift on the ground that it was a ‘Greek gift1. He also considered the tarring ofthe road leading to his chambers as no big deal, because everyone uses the road. In early November 1998, Gani declared that what Nigeria really needs is a revolution, “a total change and overhauling of the existing system and structure of exploitation and oppression” not a transition. In February 1999, after the presidential election, JACON published a book titled: Way Forward for Nigeria: Revolution not transition. Gani, in his preface to the book said: “The transition programme even if it ends up in Abubakar handing over to the ‘winners’ ofthe world-wide acknowledged fraudu lent elections, is meant to stabilize the process and system of the exploitation and repression of the masses undera newform ofoppressivegovernment.” On 16 June 1999, Gani suddenly resigned as the national chairman of JACON. He said “For more than 30 years, I have been involved inthe strug gle for legal and social justice and genuine democ racy in this country. Today, these ideals oflegal and social justice and genuine democracy have not been achieved despite the misguided euphoria that has gripped the country . . . Between 1969 and 1996,1 had been arrested several times, I was detained sev eral times, prosecuted several times . .. In all these tribulations and travails, my health has suffered badly. Consequently, I want to take care ofmy health and in addition, I need a rest.” Nigerians, particularly the masses to whom Gani has dedicated his life, felt orphaned and raised questions about their hero’s resignation from JACON. To some Nigerians, his leaving meant he was abandoning the struggle. Gani proved them wrong when a few days later, he filed a suit at the Federal High Courtasking for an order compelling the former head of state General Abubakarto explain in the news media how and why prominentNigerians like Pa Alfred Rewane, Bashorun M.K.O Abiola and his wife Kudirat, died, either when he was active in government or as head of state. Gani also sought a court order compelling Abubakar to publicly explain his relationship with Julius Berger Pic. and the circumstances surround ing the company’s construction ofa mansion worth several millions ofnaira for him in Minna, when he was unable to pay workers’ salaries, fund universi ties or equip hospitals. Gani prayed the court to com pel Abubakar to apologize in the news media to Ni gerians over his announcement in December 1997 and March 1998, that there were attempted coups, knowing same to be false and ignoble. Gani’s last plea was for a perpetual injunction restraining Abubakar from holding any public office, either fulltime or part time, and from being appointed chair man ofany company registered pursuantto any law inNigeria, inevent that he failedto satisfy hiscom plaints.The court struck out the caseon the grounds that the case had been adjourned two times with no counsel appearing for Gani. When General Olusegun Obasanjoassumed office as elected President, Gani observed that the 1995 Nigerianconstitutionwillbe”Obasanjo’sgreat est enemy.” He said “it is through this imposed constitution that his government is going to collapse. And the best way we can keep away the military from the governance of this country, is to quickly have a sovereign national conference through the civil rule we have today.” A month after Obasanjo assumed office, Gani took Obasanjo and the office ofthe At torney-General ofthe Federation to court over the gazetted 350,000 and 250,000 naira monthly allow ancesand otherprerequisites ofofficefor the former heads ofstate or presidents, and former,vice-presi dentsorchiefs ofgeneralstaff,respectively.Gani had cause to trade words with his fellow human rights activists and long-time friends. Dr. Beko RansomeKuti and Mr. Femi Falana overGani’s 14-day notice to the Inspector-General ofpolice, Mr. Musili Smith to investigate the allegation ofperjury and falsifica tion ofcertificate against Bola Tinubu, former Na tional Democratic Coalition (NADECO) chieftain and Lagos State Governor. Gani vowed to take Tinubu to court after the Lagos state House ofAs sembly reached the verdictthat Tinubu had no case to answer. Gani described the verdict as “a white wash and a cover up.” Falana, who was Tinubu’s counsel and chairman ofthe Committee for the De fence of Human Rights (CDHR) said Gani had no right to sue Tinubu because the governor “enjoys complete immunity in respect ofcivil and criminal procedures during his tenure in office.” Beko who is the chairman, Campaign for Democracy, declared his support for Tinubu and said he was satisfied with the governor’s explanation to the Lagos House that he made errors in the affidavit attached to his Inde pendent National Electoral Commission form. Gani accused the human rights community and some sec tions ofthe Nigerian press of bias and cover-up in the Tinubu case. Gani was subsequently attacked by a mob, believed to be made up ofTinubu’s support ers, at the Federal High Court premises, Lagos where he had gone to file the order of to prevail on the court to compel the IG to institute an investigation into allegations against Tinubu. Beko, reportedly shocked by the attack said in a press release that Gani “had a right not just to differ with popular opinion but also to take his case beyondthe bar ofpublic opinion to the courtrooms.” The Federal High Court, however, dismissed Gani’s originating motion on the grounds that “section 308 of the constitution confersimmunity on the gover nor against any form of investigation into criminal allegation made against him.” Dissatisfied with the ruling, GanifiledaNoticeofAppealchallengingthe ruling ofthe High court. Gani served as a member of the Ghandi Foundation in 1971. In addition to the awards men tionedearlier,Gani was madean honorary member ofthe Nigeria Union ofJournalists, NUJ in 1972; and he was made a Senior Advocate ofthe Masses (SAM) by the students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), for his dogged defence of the rights ofthe poor, the oppressed, the cheated, and thedisadvantaged masses,in 1988. TheNigerian Bar Association expel led Gani from its ranks in the early 80s and has so far denied him the deserved honour ofthe Senior Advocate ofNigeria (SAN) because of his uncompromising stand against the conservative elements in the Nigerian Bar. Gani received Austria’s Bruno Kriesky award for his contribution to the defence of human rights in 1993 and the Ameri can Bar Association award for human rights in 1996. In 1998, the International Bar Association honoured him with its Bernard Simons Memorial Award.

5 September 2009
Last Update

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