“The hero is known for achievements, the celebrity for well-knowness. The hero reveals the possibilities of human nature. The celebrities are people who make news, but heroes are people who make history. Time makes heroes but dissolve celebrities.” – Daniel Boorstin.
Gain Fawehinmi has taken a final flight to the great beyond and Nigeria reverberates in shock and grief. While the loss of this hero of the unsung numbs the senses, the praise of his life rises to the firmaments. Since the news of his death broke in the Nigeria public sphere, the ebullition has induced tears throughout the country. Very few Nigerians will be mourned like Gani and his funeral in Lagos has a Michael Jackson’s Memorial flavor.
Gani’s material immortality was not achieved via the Nigerian delusion, though a generous part of his life was a continual struggle for Nigeria. Unlike the American dream the Nigerian delusion is the obsequious tendency to be a ‘big man’ at all costs; a bargain that has no place for suffering for the attainment of the common good, rather a tendency to hemorrhage the pubic purse.
His credentials are awe inspiring, leaving a niche that will be difficult to replace. Gani was detained 32 times by the police and state security agents. He has been guest in eight prisons, his chambers and home had suffered 16 desecrations and his international passport was seized on 10 different occasions.
Nigeria is in dire need for heroes, men and women whose principled stance is not in question. People who do not change with the winds of time, rather their integrity are strengthened by travails. Mr Fawehinmi stood tall while his peers crawled in the danger of their own shadows. He never allowed his voice to grow dim despite the conspiracy of silence by Nigerian elites. While others refused to do nothing, than moan their fate, Gani sued and sued.
When the history of democracy and human rights in Nigeria is recounted, your contribution will certainly hold a prime post. Towering paladin of human solidarity, go forth to your rest. Your fight – and the labours of hero’s past – will never be in vain.