Lagos unveils Gani Fawehinmi’s statue
• Ambode, Adegboruwa, others eulogise the late legal icon
• Falana seeks renaming of streets with colonial names, says use of mace unconstitutional
Lawyers and human rights activists yesterday eulogised the late Gani Fawehinmi for championing the cause of the masses even at the risk of losing his life.They spoke at the unveiling of a 44-feet statue in honour of Fawehinmi (SAN) at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota by the Lagos State Government to mark his 8th posthumous birthday.
Governor Akinwumi Ambode, Femi Falana, Ebun Adegboruwa to Issa Aremu, Ayodele Akele, Joe Odumakin and his son, Mohammed Fawehinmi all paid glowing tributes to Fawehinmi, who went the extra mile to fight for justice and equity for the common man.
Ambode said: “Fawehinmi loomed large in the minds of people, especially the underprivileged and vulnerable masses for whom he was ready to lay down his life.“In the Law courts where he fought many battles, he was revered as a titan. Also, his acts of philanthropy were borderless. He remains a hero and role model to many till date.”
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, he restated government’s commitment towards advancing human rights and upholding social justice, adding that his administration would continue to draw inspiration from Fawehinmi’s struggles and ideals in its quest to make life more meaningful for Lagos people.
Falana said Fawehinmi not only stood for justice, accountability, relevance, transparency in government, he was also a torn in the flesh of dictators.Referring to the incident in which thugs invaded the Senate and took away the mace, he said there was no constitutional provision for the use of mace by the legislative arm of government.
Falana also stressed that some streets named after those he described as criminals and colonial masters such as Lugard, Bourdillon, Kingsway, Leventis, James Robertson, among others should be renamed to bear indigenous names of exemplary citizens.
He also described colonial masters as ‘colonial criminals’, many of whom he said, were slave traders who stole the nation’s vast human and natural resources.Adegboruwa said Lagos State did well to erect the statue of Fawehinmi, and asked for more honours for the late legal icon, especially from the Federal Government, considering that he fought tirelessly for democracy.
He added that with the statue, the state government has shown that Lagos was home to all. Aremu reminded the gathering how Fawehinmi helped the labour movement, providing legal support and right for labour to protest when the government wanted to stop labour from protesting.
Speaking, Akele noted that the statue was a wonderful memorial for Fawehinmi, adding: “I am flabbergasted by this wonderful edifice in honour of my icon, my mentor. This is a wonderful memory of Fawehinmi.”He said the late human rights activist would continue to remain a hero and role model for many till date.
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