President Muhammadu Buhari has urged human rights activists in the country to emulate the virtues of late Nigeria’s foremost social critic and selfless legal luminary, Gani Fawehinmi, through constructive criticism and useful suggestions.
The President gave the charge when he paid tribute to the late legal icon on his posthumous 80th birthday, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday.
President Buhari, who described late Fawehinmi ‘‘as a true conscience of the nation, defender of democracy and people’s rights advocate’’, urged the activists to partner in the pursuit of national peace, unity and development.
“As the world posthumously marks the 80th birthday of Fawehinmi (22 April 1938 – 5 September 2009), President Buhari fondly remembers the legendary patriot for his altruistic services to the nation, which continue to be sorely missed.
“The late Senior Advocate of the Masses was not an arm chair-critic, nor a rabble rouser who fomented trouble for its sake; but a serious minded, articulate, cerebral and compassionate promoter of fundamental human rights, social justice, equity, fair play and national development.
“Gani was an extraordinary human being and a great reference for all progressive elements in society. He dared death and incarceration and was forced into prison 40 times without bowing to intimidation and molestation.
‘‘He fought for and stood by democracy with every ounce of his blood and immense intellect. He deserves a lingering respect,” the President said in his tribute.
President Buhari admonished Nigerians to imbibe the good deeds of the Ondo born legal luminary whom he described as detribalised, learned man and Muslim leader (the Seriki Musulimi of Ondo town).
He saluted the late legal Icon “for his doggedness, incorruptibility and fervent belief in the unity and progress of Nigeria as an entity”.
He noted that Fawehinmi who would have been 80 years old on April 22, would never be forgotten as “a committed pace setter and pathfinder for the democracy that we practise today.’’
The President, therefore, urged contemporary civil rights activists and human rights advocates to emulate the late icon for the general progress of the nation.
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