Classics, Interviews

‘Gani’s shoes are too big for anyone to step in,’ says Richard Akinnola


GANI in His Words is the latest work of foremost journalist, activist and legal practitioner, Richard Akinnola.  It’s a compilation of select speeches, statements and quotations of the late legal luminary by someone who was close to him as an activist and legal practitioner.

In an exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, on Wednesday, September 5, 2012, Barrister Richard Akinnola explained the rationale behind his new book.


What do you fancy about the late Gani Fawehinmi as an individual, as a legal practitioner, as a politician and as a crusader?

Gani was fastidious about record keeping, facts and accuracy.  I don’t think there is any Nigerian, dead or alive, that kept the kind of records that Gani kept.  He was meticulous to a fault, hard working to an embarrassing level.

What does your book on him seek to address?

The book, basically has to do with documenting the thoughts of Gani in his words. It encapsulates some of his letters, profound press statements and quotable because many of what Gani said 20 years ago as captured in the book are still relevant till today.

Is this another legal text, targeting Gani’s life as a lawyer?

The book is not a legal text but some of Gani’s interventions in our national life and it’s meant for all Nigerians, whether a lawyer or not.

From what you know of late Gani, if he were alive, what do you think he would preoccupy himself with now?

If he is alive, Gani would have sued the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, Lamido Sanusi on the proposed N5,000 note.

Would you say activism in Nigeria now is having semblance with what Gani did in his heydays?

Gani was unique on his own and his shoes are too big for anyone to step in.

Has Nigeria done enough to honour him?

To me, the only way Nigeria can honour Gani is by good governance and strict adherence to rule of law and constitutionalism.

What does it take to be a thoroughbred activist?

By fighting for a just cause.

As an activist and legal practitioner, what is your take on the state of the nation?

The state of the nation is that of motion without movement.  The economy is in shambles, insecurity everywhere.  The truth of the matter is that President Jonathan is incapable of getting us out of the woods. It’s like Nigerians entered ‘one chance’.

  • This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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