The patriotic and undying spirit of late legal icon, Gani Fawehinmi came alive recently at the 2018 Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship Awards held at the Nigeria Law Publication House, Otunba Jobi Fele Way Alausa, Ikeja Lagos.
Dipo Fashina, chairman, Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship Awards who is also a former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) said the late Fawehinmi was concerned about the Nigerian children who were very brilliant, but indigent.
Fashina stated that education is a right which must be exercised by all Nigerians with equal opportunity.
“Education is a right, and such rights must be to free education, which must be available to Nigerians at all levels. Every Nigerian youth must be educated for them to be free to live a dignified and useful life,” he said.
Femi Aborishade, a lawyer who also spoke at the event commended Fawehinmi as the first presidential aspirant who signed an undertaking to put a stop to government officials going for medical treatment abroad if he was elected.
“The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi went abroad on his own account for a medical treatment without a support from anyone,” he said.
Directing his attention to voters, Aborishade said: “If our politicians come to you campaigning, ask them if they are ready to be treated here in Nigeria.
“Regrettably, our leaders have established that politics should take the face of an institution like the Nigerian Army, Police and so on in order to ensure that the common man will not be part of directing the political affair of the state.”
Owei Lakemfa, a former secretary-general, Organisation of African Trade Unions in a speech theme ‘Why Nigeria Is So Rich, And Its People, So Poor lamented the poor standard of education in the country, blaming the elites for destroying the structure of the educational system.
“The elites have destroyed our educational system and are encouraging inferior private ones to thrive. They have moved to destroying the post-primary schools and replacing them with private ones that are costly and run generally by inferior teachers.
“They have graduated to starving the public tertiary institutions of funds, destroying and replacing them with private ones.”
The labour leader also frowned at the state of the economy, stating that while all advanced countries developed on the back of public ownership and public development of infrastructure, the Nigerian elites began to dismantle and hack down the public sector.
“They demonized it, claimed government has no business in business, and sold public assets to themselves and their foreign business partners in the name of privatisation,” he said.
Lakemfa however, urged the government to call the elites to order and impose the basic rule of law and order in which all, irrespective of age, class, rank and position will be subject to the basic rules of social justices.
Lai Olurode, a professor who also grazed the occasion emphasised the need for critical education and knowledge.
“The critical education is not there anymore, the educational system has been corrupted, we now see professors running after the government. We all know that politics is now for money bags. There is no other profitable business that we think we can venture into today, that will be as lucrative as politics. This can never take us anywhere without critical knowledge,” he stressed.