Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday unveiled a new statue of the late legal luminary, Gani Fawehinmi, at the Liberty Park in Ojota, saying that the 44-feet edifice symbolises the phenomenon that the rights activist represented in his lifetime.
The unveiling of the statue, in commemoration of the 80th posthumous birthday of the late icon, Ambode said, was an affirmation of his administration’s commitment to celebrating personalities whose activities have helped to define the fortune and spirit of Lagos State positively over the years.
Eulogising the relevance of the personal sacrifices made by the man simply known as Gani in leading the struggle for attainment of human rights and dignity especially during the military regimes which dehumanised many Nigerians, Governor Ambode said the late human rights activist would continue to remain a hero and role model for many till date.
“We celebrate the invaluable contribution and personal sacrifices of Chief Gani Fawehinmi in the campaign for human rights and dignity, especially in Lagos State where he spent the greater part of his life.
“Chief Gani Fawehinmi loomed large in the minds of the people, especially the underprivileged and vulnerable masses for whom he was ready to lay down his life. In the hallowed corridors of 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,” Governor Ambode said.
Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Governor Oluranti Adebule, also seized the occasion to reiterate the commitment of his administration towards advancing human rights and upholding of social justice at all time, adding that his administration would continue to draw inspiration from Fawehinmi’s struggles and ideals in its quest to make life meaningful for Lagosians.
Responding on behalf of the family, son of the late activist, Mohammed Fawehinmi, thanked the state government and Governor Ambode, saying that apart from being a befitting representation to the legacies of their patriarch, the Statue would place their father’s name on the global map.
“I am totally overwhelmed. I want to say a big thank you to Lagos State Government and another very big massive thank you to Governor Ambode. In all honesty, he is the man I least expected this to come from.
“We understood when former Governor Fashola started this with a smaller statue and we were all glad that at least he remembered our mentor, our father, our leader in the human rights struggle and senior advocate of the masses. But now seeing this, I now started to say to myself that Governor Ambode has placed the name Gani Fawehinmi on a global map,” Mohammed said.
In his goodwill message, rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana described the statue as one of the best in the country, and thanked the State Government for honouring Fawehinmi with such imposing edifice.
“The monument we are unveiling today is one of the best in the country and it has to be so. We want to thank the Lagos State Government for the investment in this edifice. We can assure you that many Nigerians or anybody who enters Lagos through this road will want to find out who is here and every day we are going to teach lessons about Gani Fawehinmi.
“We thank the Lagos State Government for rebuilding this statue. We were wondering when the former one was collapsing but we are sure this one can never collapse. It is very solid and very strong,” Falana said.