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National Mirror


Thursday, August 30, 2012


Rage and fury across the land EXISTENTIAL HUMANISM


NDUBUISI (08023016709 SMS only)


here is a deep feeling of discontent across the country. Agitations for self determination and self identity seem to be the ambition of every ethnic nationality in the polity. This has compounded the challenge of positive governance President Goodluck Jonathan administration has been facing. The unceasing attacks by the Boko Haram have become a serious security issue that has undermined the supremacy and sovereignty of Nigeria. As the storm rages attention is on 2015 and all it holds for the nation. Popular imagination is that the depth of the political engineering of the period before 2015, the direction national politics will take and the outcome of the presidential election of that year will go a long way in the determining the destiny of Nigeria. For now, geopolitical game is at the peak. While the North insists that 2015 presidency is its for the asking, the Ohanaze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo sociopolitical group, has resolved to pursue with



FULL MANIFESTATION, DESTROYS EVERYTHING WITHIN SIGHT rock determination the 2015 presidential slot. For some other power blocs the mantra is self determination. The people of Bakassi, the enclave Nigeria ceded to Cameroon by the terms of the 2005 Green Tree Agreement, a follow up to October 2002 ruling of the International Court of Justice, have raised their flag of independence. The development is interpreted to mean a profound resentment and dissatisfaction with the Federal Government handling of the situation. Another familiar scenario is the Ogoni demands. The Ogoni people have been on this struggle for decades, but it is like their wailing and gnashing of teeth have always fallen on deaf ears. It is even more shocking to them that this oil rich area will continue to bleed and roast even now that one of their own is the Leviathan inthe Aso Rock. Ogoniland has continued to be a victim of mindless and capricious exploitation, despoliation, degradation and dehumanization. The situation was so bad that the United Nations Environ-

ment Programme, in a report made public last year, directed a cleanup of the area. This has remained unimplemented and the federal government has not deemed it necessary to compel obedience to the directive. The development in Bayelsa State, the home state of President Jonathan, remains till date the most shocking. .A few weeks back, the state came out with a bill giving legal status to its own flag and anthem. In rationalizing this, the government claimed that the action was a reflection of its cultural peculiarities. Some states in the south west had earlier taken similar steps. The Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has carried tempestuous activities in the South geared towards the self determination of the Igbo nation. The organization is reported to run a radio station and printed Biafran currencies. All attempts made by security agents to stop its activities have proved abortive. Its leadership has claimed that being part of Nigeria has not been in the interest of Igbo nation, which it alleged to suffer from marginalization and the unholy attempts to treat Ndigbo as strangers in a country they have suffered gravely to build. In the Yoruba nation (South West), the Yoruba National Assembly subscribes to the growing irredentism in the country. It has convened a meeting to dialogue on the state of the nation. Thus there is no

end to the drum beat of secession in the country; and the echo of disintegration is very strident. This is currently the mood of the nation, which is at a melting point. The question is whether there is any reason for it. I say unequivocally yes. There is permissive impunity in the land; injustice is openly practiced; and only the victims feel them. Injustice, we must note, is like a cancer, which at full manifestation, destroys everything within sight. The scope of the injured species in Nigeria is growing geometrically, and sooner than later, it may cause the ultimate damage to our corporate existence. We can still save the situation by acting fast. It is fallacious thinking that some Nigerians are afraid of the various interest groups coming together to dialogue on ways and means of moving the country forward in a realistic and pragmatic ways, given the trend and the practice in our new world. There is no part of this country that does not have what it takes to survive economically. It is just that we are either selfish or visionless to appreciate the lofty endowment nature has bestowed on us. We cannot make it as a nation with the extant political order of concentration of power and resources at the centre. This is a brute fact we must have to contend with and mutual resolve. Prof. Ndubuisi, an attorney at Law, is of the Dept. of Philosophy, UNILAG

Gani Fawehinmi: An icon still living in our minds

e have some Nigerians (dead and living) whose lives are so much woven round and deeply embedded in some concepts that their very names evoke the essences depicted by the respective concepts. They are inexorably linked with some ideas or phenomena advanced to such seemingly superhuman height that history readily accords a place to them. Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi belongs to that class; and social reformation through the composite endeavours of criticisms, legal advocacy, and public interest litigation was his forte. As a matter of fact, Gani’s peculiar life had a spawn a concept called “Fawehinmiism”. He lived and died for it. On September 5, 2012 the nation will stand still to celebrate this legend. Gani stood out larger than life for most part of his adult life on accounts of altruistic pursuits of making the life better for mankind. It was the local journalists who invented the unorthodox style of referring to this legal icon by his first name “Gani” instead of his long surname, Fawehinmi. It was an expedient initiative since the surname was considered too long for headline purposes; and Gani was always making the headlines! Born on Friday, April 22nd, 1938, Gani lost his father midway into his tertiary education and stinted his way through engagement in menial works, including washing toilets in London! Driven by determination to make a success of his life, he seared through all the difficulties with unbridled enthusiasm and peerless courage and eventually obtained the object of

his desire - a licence to practice law. He was called to the Bar on January 15, 1965. Right from the time he established his chambers. Gani Fawehinmi & Co in Lagos, this unusual man set for himself the selfless task of reforming his society through utilisation of law as an instrument of socio-political and economic reformation. A human and civil rights lawyer par excellence, he was the most vociferous agitator for the rule of law, due process, constitutionalism and liberal democracy. He had a pathological hatred for all forms of corruption. Gani had been known to flatly reject lucrative briefs that were contrary to his principles. He was the first Nigerian to start publishing a law report, debuting at a time when most lawyers relied on foreign law reports. The Nigerian Weekly Law Reports, which he started on October 1st, 1985, still exists till today. Gani was a barbed thorn in the flesh of successive Nigerian governments, especially the military. He was a firebrand that spat venom against the broadside of governmental highhandedness and man’s inhumanity to man. He was arrested, incarcerated and even imprisoned countless number of times, all on accounts of his outspokenness and vitriolic criticisms of governments’ aberrations of rule of law. The following simple statistics tell a lot: He was locked in security cells 32 times and imprisoned eight times by different military governments! But his spirit remained irrepressible throughout his life. It was only somebody





like Gani that would be released from prison and still go to public arena moments later to organise another rally against the same military government! He summarised his philosophic orientation simply thus: “I am not a middle-of-the road man, what I believe in, I pursue intensely.” It is these attributes that made the former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington (1993–1997) to say “Gani’s chamber is the shrine of democracy and rule of law!” For reasons probably not unconnected with his vibrant outspokenness, principled stance and often unconventional approaches to issues, the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee did not consider him fit to be awarded the prestigious honour of Senior Advocate of Nigeria for many decades. By the time he was belatedly given the SAN award in 2001, Gani had grown to such a phenomenal colossus that his name was even an honour to the award rather than the other way round! His inclusion in the rank of SAN was simply a beatification of that rank! Retired Justice of the Supreme 08032147720 (SMS only)

Court, Justice Kayode Eso, described him as “one of the greatest advocates to have worn the silk.” Some people were surprised when even his putative number one adversary, former President Ibrahim Babangida, once showered him with adulatory epithets and described him as the only social critic and human rights crusader he most respected. But such was the virtues of Gani that even when you antagonised him, you would nonetheless recognise that his own battle was a more conscientious one, based on higher moral pedestal. It is suffice it to say Gani Fawehinmi would live forever in the minds of Nigerians who appreciate his contributions to make Nigeria a better country. Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.netmirrorlagos@ or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.

Thursday, August 30, 2012  

All the fact,...all the sides

Thursday, August 30, 2012  

All the fact,...all the sides