well, i think most times some of the things we say becomes a result of our weakness at controlling our emotions. true, Gani was a great defender of peace, but is he really worth the Nobel Peace Prize?
Gani long overdue for Nobel Peace Prize
By VINCENT UKPONG KALU
Saturday, September 12, 2009
More Stories on This Section
Nigerians from all walks of life are unanimous that the late legal icon and human rights crusader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, was long over due for Nobel Peace Price award.
Speaking from across the country, they said that Gani did things that should have earned him the Nobel Peace Prize even before his death. They made case for a post-humous award.
President of West African Bar Association, Chief Femi Falana, said that Gani merits the coveted award. According to him, “Gani was a man who used the law and the machinery of the legal system to fight injustice, corruption and abuse of office for over 40 years. When he was conferred with the Bernard Simeon Award for Human rights in 1998, he was acknowledged a leading advocate for human rights under the rule of law. In spite of his anger against the system, he never, for one moment, resorted to violence to address his grievance.
“Prof. Chibuzor Nwoke of Nigeria Institute of International Affairs and Prof Bolaji Akinyemi suggested something like that and I equally agreed with him. This man was the greatest humanist Nigeria ever produced; a man of the people, who devoted and sacrificed his life for the struggle of the people. It is believed that his health problem and subsequent death was linked to his years of incarceration with the military. He is virtually qualified for that and I think before we begin to wait for the Europeans to think towards that, Nigeria and Africa should give him that prize away.”
Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Abia State, Chief Umeh Kalu, remarked that if the criterion for Nobel Peace Prize was by seeking positive change in the society through non-violent means, Gani deserves the award.
He said: “Gani, all through his adult life, sought and fought for change through the instrument of the law, which is non-violent. His life epitomized the struggle. He gave so much and sacrificed so much for the generality of the country and for the good of the common man.”
Constitutional lawyer, Fred Agbaje, posited that Gani deserves the Nobel Peace Prize award having regard to his humanitarian services. He said that part from Gani’s contributions to the legal community, “he was also the advocates of the down trodden. With these qualifications I think he deserves the award.”
Dr. Bisi Abiola, wife of late Chief M.K.O.Abiola, is surprised that the award has not been given to Gani. According to her, Gani’s contributions to the country and indeed, Africa stood him out and were supposed to have won him the award while alive. She noted that countries prop up their people for the award, regretting that Nigeria would not deem this necessary.
Chief Azubuike Obiekwe, a legal practitioner, opined that more than any person living or dead, Gani deserves Nobel Peace prize award.
According to him, Gani “contributed greatly to the democratic revolution of the Nigeria democratic state. In the development of the Nigerian law, nobody equaled his contributions. He pursued his conviction without undue antagonism and so I agreed with anybody calling for the award of Nobel Peace Prize.”
Hon. Dele Kosoko, a former member of the House of Representatives, said the country should appreciate greatly Gani’s contributions and first of all immortalize him.
“He merits and should get Nobel peace prize award,” he said.
Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate in Imo State, in 2007 gubernatorial election and lawyer, Chief George Opara, has said that except a few people in Africa, like Mandela, “Gani was perhaps the greatest fighter for human rights. He sure deserves Nobel Prize.”
According to Eke Uche Onu, a consumer right protection lawyer, “Gani is over-qualified for Nobel peace prize because he had all the attributes and nuances, namely, positive contribution to the development of the society, secondly, advancement of Nigeria legal system and literary and scientific development in law reporting in our legal jurisprudence. He was a social crusader for equal, just and egalitarian society. He was a philanthropist and an all trust per excellence and above all a defender of the poor, defenceless, vulnerable and voiceless masses.”
A community leader, Engr. Ndukwe Ikoh, was unequivocal in saying that Gani deserves a Nobel Prize. This, he said, is “because he represented the conscience of the most backward nation on earth. In a country with treacherous leadership, he risked his life and comfort and stood fighting for injustice, equity and fairness for all and also for socio-political development. This is in a country, where these virtues and qualities are in short supply. His like are very rare in the world.”
Bosun Oladimeji, former Special Assistant to the former Attorney General of Ondo State, noted that Gani deserves the award, “having dedicated his life, time searching, defending, protecting and promoting peace, equity and justice between the oppressed and suppressor. Out of many Nigerians activists, dead or alive, Gani was exceptional. He never got foreign funds/aids to prosecute his humanitarian gestures. He was in a class of his own, distinct, rare, courageous and daring.”
A lawyer, Ben Sweet, opined that Gani qualifies for the award if extreme selfless sacrifice, transparency and incorruptibility were fundamental in judging a person for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“There is nobody better qualified for the award than Gani. He was a justice martyr, primus interpares in the ranks of human rights crusaders, notable philanthropist, very sincere humanist regardless of colour, race or creed. He summoned his spectacular intellect, personal resources and spent the best part of his life trying to guarantee an egalitarian society for his people. Besides, he revolutionized law practice in this country by giving it proper focus in the fight for justice and equity,” he said.
President, Crime Victims Foundation, Gloria Egbuji, also noted that Gani deserves the award. According to her, the late lawyer fought consistently for the common man till death. Beside this, he contributed to the development of law and jurisprudence in Nigeria.
“He deserves to be so honoured,” he said.
All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANNP) senatorial candidate in Abia State, in 2003, Rev. Williams Agbai, acknowledged Gani’s contributions to Nigeria but said he does not merit Nobel Peace Prize award. According to him, “Gani had a sector of human rights he advocated and fought for and these are just appreciated but not for the award of Nobel peace prize award.”
Hon Obuba Kalu also joined other Nigerians who made case for Nobel peace Prize in honour of Gani. According to him, Gani was a born human rights lawyer who stopped at nothing in making sure the oppressed got judgment. He said, “Gani believed in constitutionalism and the unity and peace of the country as well as the citizens of the country.”
Chaplain Ify Epunam, CEO, Sweet Home Africa Humanitarian Foundation, said that the good works of Gani would speak for him forever. According to him, the legal icon deserves the award for standing on the side of the masses to fight against the wickedness of evil leadership.”
“He inspired our organization positively towards charity and helping the down trodden. He was a blessing to mankind and humanity,” he said