+Why He Doesn’t Like OBASANJO
Not many people will believe that Mohammed Fawehinmi, the eldest son of late Gani Fawehinmi is an ardent supporter of President Buhari, this is because his late father was opposed to military leaders including Buhari when he was alive.
Last week, he told City People why he had to pitch his tent with Buhari. He also told us the effect of the Buhari regime’s postmortem GCON award on his family and he also told us why he doesn’t like Obasanjo because of many ills he did to his dad.
Let me start by asking you to share with us your thought on the postponement of the election? How did you feel when you heard the news?
Actually, I was overwhelmed with anger because I didn’t sleep until about 4:30am. I was chatting with some of my friends on the internet; one of which is Mr. Dapo Onagoruwa, his dad was the Attorney General to Abacha for a while. He downloaded some many ills about Atiku, that you would actually believe that he was on Buhari’s campaign team. I think it’s a big disappointment.
My own view personally, I believe this guy was spooked. Yes, he was scared! And I know the person who did it.
Reason being is that, Obasanjo made a statement on Friday that he heard some ballot papers have been thumb-printed already with APC. I heard the security report. And I also heard that same security report in Lagos and Rivers and so on. So later on in the night, we were made to understand he had left the country. The same Obasanjo is now telling us that he never left the country, that he just moved from one place to another; that he was still within Nigeria. And for that man to have announced that at that time, I believed he must have had a conversation with Obasanjo; that’s the only man who knows his ills and he’s ready to expose anything. Obasanjo is doing everything to prove that I am the only kingmaker in Nigeria. I brought Buhari in, I can remove him and we all know why he wants to remove Buhari. But I believe he’s going to fail this time. He has held this country captive for 43 years, right from 1976, when the 2.8 billion dollars oil money got missing before they said it had been recouped somewhere. That was the time corruption was really industrialised in this country.
Politically, who are you supporting?
I’m supporting Buhari. But there are some young guys available, someone like Sowore who I know has that zeal to get in there. Sowore machinery is not up to date yet; people don’t know him the way they are meant to know a political figure. Yes, they know him as a revolutionary. He went to UNILAG. He started an industry. He excelled. If you go to North now and you sample opinion of people, only a very few people will know him and I think it’s only the educated ones. The Talakawas might not even know him and those are the people that matters; those in the market places, those who sell Suya, ordinary business-man. Those are the ones he needs to know. Those are the ones the message needs to get to but those people now have taken Buhari has demi-god, so it’s difficult for him to contest with Buhari in the North, even in Adamawa, Atiku’s state. They will be surprised. I saw the coverage of his campaign on Channels and TVC (Buhari’s Campaign). People were lying down on the floor like lizard and I can tell It’s Buhari all the way.
So, Sowore is a man of the future. He can still get in there but he needs good advisers. He needs good political strategists. He can’t do everything on his own. I know he is a man who has a lot of knowledge about this country, about the leaders and how things are run. And I think he’s the only one I see.
What explains you support for Buhari?
Initially, when I was hearing people are suffering and things like that, he now gave us the GCON, for my dad, and the GCFR for MKO Abiola. So when I heard that of MKO Abiola, I went weird. So we now went to Abuja to collect the Award and I have a friend in Abuja who knows the In and Out of government; he came to my hotel room around 2am and told me to share a bottle of stout but I said he should have informed me earlier and he said he saw my interview on Sahara Reporters that there are certain things I needed to know. He now opened everything; how Obasanjo uses states funds to pay for people in his Ota Farm.
You know that every successive government that comes in would bring in their own contracts in other to fulfill the party structure, but he (Buhari) said he wants all the list of outstanding projects, that is not going to start anything, that he wants to complete everything. He even went as far as paying for the pensions; for the Biafra Soldiers and I said wow, that most Nigerians won’t do that. And I wonder what kind of person would do that.
So when he gave us that awards, everybody started saying they are using it as politics. Obasanjo never used it as politics. Yar’Adua never used it as politics. Goodluck Jonathan never used it as politics, now the man who was at the eye of the storm; who was punished, who lost his first wife to that coup, lost his mother and he was unable to go and bury his mother, he’s now recognizing that man. Infact, I pray to be a man like him, maybe I can emulate something from him. So when he was giving an acceptance speech, that’s when I looked at the man and I said he’s unique and he made sure that a lot of the projects he started, they can reappraise them, called the original contractors so that they finish them and that’s why I said this man appreciates government being in continual.
I also believe that the political structure , the dynamics, everything favour Igbo people in 2023. I have been studying the dynamics of this country since 1979. Igbo have been shortchanged twice. My father raised that issue then.
If your dad had been alive, how do you think he would have reacted to all these?
Ah! You won’t even meet me here. I know we would have filed more than 60 cases in court, infact, every lawyer would be drained by now. But God knows how he does things. I know from Yesterday to this morning we would have been in court; I would have argued on compensation for people who have travelled far and wide. But I think Nigerians are more concerned on that election and I believe the election will shock a lot of people, particularly the new ones who are just coming up.
And how has it been stepping into your father’s shoe?
Aah! Stepping (smiles).
It’s not easy.
In the human right group, our leader is meant to be SAN Femi Falana but despite that he has put out some many comments about happenings and occurrences, he hasn’t gone to court as frequently as we expect him to because most of these things should not just end as comments, they should end with the backing of the law. One of them is the issue of herdsmen. Saraki labelled IPOP people as terrorists, I believe he should also label the herdsmen too because they are still operating too as we speak. All those kidnappers, pedophiles, there should be death sentences for them.
But how has it been generally?
Well, I tried a few cases but they killed those cases at the Court of Appeal. The first one I tried was about security because I’m very interested in Nigerian Security apparatus. And I can recall there was a bomb that went up at UN in Abuja; there was no link between the Police and the Army, there was no link between the DSS and the Army, (during Goodluck’s time). So I filled an action. One of the Judges who is being prosecuted now, Ofili Ajumogobia, told me they have low cost, so I went to Court of Appeal, up till now we are still at the point of service for the EFCC and IG’s office because I sued 8 correspondents; starting from President to the Attorney General. Since then, I have been going to court and they keep saying they haven’t assigned it and it’s taking a year. So after arguing before the justice, he said they can’t do anything and they gave me an order that I should serve them with courier. EFCC returned their own back to me and I didn’t even know whether IG has received it or not.That is where the case ended. And I also know that a lot of lawyers are not interested in Public Corrective Cases; if it’s not bringing money, nobody wants to know….
That’s why I said, a lot of us who have the opportunity to do it are not doing it because if we did it the way Chief did it, a lot of things would have been sorted out.
Do you think we can have another Gani Fawehinmi?
Maybe my children or children of my siblings. I don’t think it’s in this our own generation. A lot of us are still struggling to maintain that balance. For them, when they came in, things were not this bad. His practice grew during the Military era; he defied all odds just like most of his mates. Braithwaite and the rest of them. Those were radical to death. The likes of Alao Bashorun, Kanmi Ishola-Osobu (Fela’s Lawyer), before he handed over to Femi Falana. Those were radical to death.
You seem to have strong view like your dad, how did that evolve?
I learnt it from him actually, because we are complete opposite, initially. He was an introvert; he could sit at home and read 17 hours. I can only read for 2 hours and I’m out. I like going to parties. I like night clubs and all sort of things. I rock anything and I don’t miss anything. When I was at UNILAG I went to close to 250 parties. In-Law school, I went to about 40. For him, he reads any book he lays his hand on. For me, if it’s not necessary I don’t torch it. The only book I can say something drove me to read is a book about Machiavelli, The Prince, because we have it in our apartment. I opened it and I saw weapons the Head of States used, how to use it, how to settle the ruling class, how to settle the average people. So, I got to a page where they talked about necessary political structures. I was so engrossed, I did not hear when my dad pressed the bell, so he came in and saw me with the book and he was so angry seeing me with the book, and that was the last day I saw that book. So, he now gave me a constitutional Law book to read, but I went to a Library at Central London. I spent 2 weeks reading that book cover to cover. At that point, I now started following a lot of his activities.
Do you know that at about 7:30 am on Sunday, the chamber is opened, all the computer systems are on. If there’s no light I put on generator, I would print out the last briefs of all the lawyers. That’s how he got me into that fold, and before you know it I started to be like him, So there were many cases he prepared that he wasn’t able to file until he died. To fill in those shoes won’t be easy because he dedicated his life to it. He didn’t have time to attend parties. Throughout his lifetime he only attended 8 parties and they were children of his elder brothers and sisters.
How did you see him at that time?
An awkward individual! The man can wake up around 2am and would come and wake you. He would ask me if I followed what happens in the news. What do you think about it? And he would want you to respond to it immediately.
I remember the day he asked me about Buhari’s Structural Adjustment Policy. I didn’t have an answer to it and he didn’t say anything. And there was a party the following week, he had some Swiss-shirts which he bought. We took them and we wore them to a party and unfortunately for us, one of his friends saw us and when he saw our father, he commended him for the shirt we wore to the party.
He held on to that thing. When we were going for the party, we scaled the gate, because it was locked and we also scaled back in. So after wearing and washing those shirts, we put them in the roof. So, he came around 2am and said he was looking for the 2 shirts but my brother, Saheed, who was deeply in his sleep said it’s in the roof. So he now asked us to bring out the clothes. He brought out his camera and took our photos that he would show it to our children. He labelled the album and hide it and when he died, we saw it and confiscated it. So, he’s that sort of person.