To mark the first anniversary of the death of legal icon, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Lagos State  Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Sunday unveiled the statue of the legal luminary and  also dedicated a memorial garden, stressing that government took the step as a token of  appreciation for a life of leadership through Spartan service to humanity that he lived.

•Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State (m), Chief Gani Fawehinmi family members and some human rights activists at the commissioning of a park at Ojota in honour of Gani and to mark his one year’s remembrance, yesterday in Lagos. Story on pg.6

According to Governor Fashola who spoke at the Triangular Layby opposite Owena Motor Park,  Ojota, “the State Government is trying to demonstrate to others that it will not forget its  heroes in the belief that some new leaders will hopefully be inspired to rise up and  continue from where he left off”.

Said he: “The task is not completed. There is sweat and toil ahead. Our persistence and  patience will be severely tested, but we are irrevocably committed to pursue our dream of a  brighter rewarding future”.

He urged all Nigerians to always give suggestions to leaders and ensure that they get  involved in the process of governance, stressing that elected leaders are just like every  other citizen.

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The Governor explained that: “Late Chief Gani’s patriotism was not whimsical, but a devotion  of a whole lifetime. It was an arduous devotion to a cause from which many have derailed or  turned back. It is never easy to stand up for principles, especially when you stand alone”.

“Gani committed a lifetime of 40 years of the prime of his life to this arduous devotion. He  used law, civil rights movements, the media and politics as his tools to liberate the people  he cared so passionately about from ignorance, repression and poverty; until he succumbed to  his own mortality”, he added.

The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Muiz Banire in his address described late Chief  Gani Fawehinmi as an hero who was frantically energetic and courageous while his  contributions to the law practice apart from court appearances were legendary and enduring.

He informed the gathering that taking over of the loop was not a tea party as it had to  contend with miscreants and street urchins, adding that those who are familiar with the  location would recall that it used to be a launch pad and hideout for criminals who  terrorized motorists and commuters plying the Ojota axis

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In his solidarity message, Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who was  represented by Dr Osagie Obayuwana commended Lagos State for honouring late Chief Fawehinmi  just as Edo State has done, adding that every Nigerian needs to be guided by the examples  set by Gani in confronting several issues.

He added that now is the time for pro-democracy groups and activists to embrace the doctrine  of engagements, saying the days of writing letters and protests should be done away with.

Also speaking, human rights activist, Dr Joe Okei Odumakin said the token by the Lagos State  Government was a token for all and sundry as the late Chief meant different things to  different people.

Dr Odumakin added that the greatest memorial that Nigerians can do to him is to live for the  virtues he lived and died and ensure that everyone gets engaged in the governance process.

Dr Odumakin also tasked Nigerians to do background check on those that they would vote for  as leaders.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who  also attended the event said late Chief Gani was a humanist who sacrificed his all for the  today of the average Nigerian.

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He described the ceremony as a milestone in the history of the human rights family in  Nigeria as the late Chief was one exemplary activist who stood on the side of the masses  till his death.

In his address, the National Chairman of the National Conscience Party and close ally of  late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Mr Femi Falana thanked the Lagos State Government for celebrating  a man of integrity like Chief Fawehinmi who stood and identified with the poor.

While expressing the appreciation of the family, eldest son, Mr Mohammed Fawehinmi thanked  the Governor of Lagos State for the honour done to the Fawehinmis, adding that Governor  Babatunde Fashola (SAN) is the best Governor he has ever come across.

He said with strategic location of the garden, Chief Gani Fawehinmi will live in the minds  of the masses, adding that Lagos State Government has placed the family on the world map.

The event was attended by many dignitaries including members of the State Executive Council,  widow of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Mrs Ganiat Fawehinmi, children, members of the  family and human rights activists.