Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, popularly known as ‘GANI’ was born on 22 April, 1938. The Gani Fawehinmi Law Chamber (founded by him) was a breeding ground for brilliant legal practitioners. Through Gani’s penchant for hard work, his Chambers grew to become one of the biggest in Nigeria, and indeed in the British Commonwealth. By 2009, the chambers had handled more than six thousand (6,000) cases and trained over five hundred (500) lawyers from Nigeria and abroad.
In 1985, Gani founded the Nigerian Weekly Law Reports which revolutionised law reporting in Nigeria and is arguably his greatest legacy to the legal profession. He employed the law as an instrument of battle against dictatorship and corruption, especially during the Nigerian military regimes, and subjected every action, inaction, commission or omission of government to the litmus test of the Constitution, existing laws, governance procedures, and even morality. He challenged anyone who failed the test to battle in the law courts, insisting that they were brought to book.
He was a human rights crusader, philanthropist, unrelenting defender and friend of the poor, the oppressed, an unflinching ally of students and their causes, of labour unions and of the press, and stood firmly for press freedom, and against human rights abuse, feats which won him the ‘Senior Advocate of the Masses (SAM)’ award. He was subjected to all forms of harassments, abuses, persecutions and vilification by all security agencies of government. Gani was locked up thirty-two (32) times by various military governments between 1969 and 1996.
On the 2010 international day for anti-corruption, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism honoured Gani Fawehinmi, posthumously for his consistent and resilient stance for justice and against corruption. In death, as he was in life, he remains a COLOSSUS.