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Ganiís untold story ēI wanted to join the army in 1962. I would have encouraged a revolution in this country

Posted by By Beifoh Osewele on 2005/10/14 | Views: 468 |

Ganiís untold story ēI wanted to join the army in 1962. I would have encouraged a revolution in this country


Legal luminary and human rights crusader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, says the only remedy to the plethora of economic and socio-political problems bedeviling the nation is a revolution. "We need a J.J. Rawlings in this country right now," the lawyer said in an interview with Daily Sun.

Legal luminary and human rights crusader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, says the only remedy to the plethora of economic and socio-political problems bedeviling the nation is a revolution. "We need a J.J. Rawlings in this country right now," the lawyer said in an interview with Daily Sun.

"What is happening in Nigeria today is unbelievable. Oh, they are absurd. Can you imagine what is happening in PDPÖI am not a member of PDP and I donít have sympathy for it, but what is happening there is appalling. They canít even manage a simple exercise like party registration, yet these are the same people that are going to organise an election for this country. Look at what is happening to Atiku, in the same party, same country, the VP canít even register. Itís incredible. Itís just absurd. That is how they rig election. The only way out of this nonsense is a revolution. And it can happen. It will surely happen."

This is not the first time Fawehinmi is calling for a revolution. In the heat of the political upheaval occasioned by the annulment of June 12, 1993 election, the lawyer had predicted that a man in the mould of Jerry Rawlings would emerge in Nigeria one day. Rawlings shot into limelight when he staged a bloody revolution in Ghana, which resulted in the assassination of at least three past presidents.
Chief Fawehinmi says the Ghana experience should not be ruled out in Nigeria. According to him, it is only a matter of time before it happened.

"Nothing could be ruled out in this country. A revolution cannot be ruled out. It is a strong possibility. A J.J. Rawlings? Yes," he thunders.
"He was my hero when he changed Ghana by the method he adopted. Because things were bad, he had to resort to that method to change events in Ghana in the interest of the masses of the people. Look at Ghana today, it is more progressive than Nigeria. The foundation was laid by J.J. Rawlings. Nobody can dispute that. Electricity has run undisrupted for years now in Ghana."

He says the distinction between J.J. Rawlings and Dr Kwame Nkrumah who he describes as Ďmy hero,í lies in the simple fact that while Nkrumah was a civilian revolutionary, J.J. Rawlings was a military revolutionary.

"It is unfortunate that he (Kwame) wasnít given the opportunity to complete his assignment. All these talks about revolutionary attitude of some Africans were caused by the activities of Nkrumah. Kwame Nkrumah was my hero. He brought the consciousness to the entire Africa. He made Africans to appreciate the need to struggle. It was unfortunate that the Western world did not quite appreciate the worth of Nkrumah, and they appeared not happy with him.

I wasnít happy that there was a coup in Ghana. There was no need for that coup that toppled his government. He was betrayed just like Patrice Lumumba was executed by the enemies of progress in those days.
"I am not fascinated by coup. I have never been. But I am enamoured by revolution. A revolution changes everything. But in the case of coupÖ you donít know who is doing the coup.

You donít know whether they are motivated by the desire to line their pockets. You donít know whether they want to take revenge for one reason or the other. But revolution has, at the core, the interest of the masses of the people. To change society for the better. That is in the essence of a revolution. A coup may not achieve that."

In fact, Fawehinmi is so fascinated by revolution that he had nursed the ambition of joining the army after reading the activities of Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Fidel Castro of Cuba.
"Yes, I wanted to join the army when I was in England," he declares with candour. "I applied, they gave me a form, I made a move but I was turned down. What I mean by turned downÖ when I went to the embassy, the gentleman who met me asked why I was interested in the army? I am talking about 1962-3. By that time, of course, I had read about so many things.

You could recall what Abdel Nasser and others did in Egypt. I read the book he wrote on the officersí revolt. You imagined what Fidel Castro did in Cuba in 1959. There were a host of other examples. And I was very impressed and I thought, oh, there could be a salvation for the Nigerian masses too, through this approach of Nasser, Castro and a host of others.

"I wanted to join the army, but I didnít like the mechanical side of it. I think the political side of it attracted me. Would I have planned a coup if I had been allowed to join the army? Not that I would have planned a coup, I would have encouraged a revolution for this country. I have always felt Nigeria needed a revolution. I still do.

The distinction between coup and revolution? "Revolution is to make life better for the common people. That type of revolution, I admire. Revolution is significant. Coup can be done without knowing what their intention is. But in the case of revolution, the intention is known. You persuade people to change society for the better. So, thereís a distinction between a revolution and a coup.

I mean, coup brought Babangida and he messed up the country. Coup brought Abacha and he messed up the country. We need a revolution to turn round the fortune of this sleeping giant, Nigeria. Oh, we need it more than anything else. It is time we had a revolution. When we have a revolution we shall know the difference between a revolution and a coup."

He is unimpressed by all the talks about democracy dividends and improvement in the foreign reserves being bandied in government circle. According to the legal giant, what Nigerians need are the simple, basic things of life.

"The greatest human right a citizen should be given is economic right, right to education, right to food, right to health, right to employment, right to social security, right to good house. These should be fundamental rights. What is the essence of freedom of speech to a man who doesnít know where to lay his head at night? What is the meaning of right to life, even, to a man who cannot make ends meet, who may die in pain, a man who is forgotten by society and you say he has freedom of expression. Any leader who does not do the bidding of the masses, does not deserve to rule. And if he is ruling, he does not deserve to be obeyed."

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