Gani Fawehinmi was the best legal mind of his time in Africa but he was not even the best in the University days, truthfully, he had ordinary pass in his Law degree, not even a third class degree. He could be classified as “let my people go” in those days.
After Gani left the University and passed his Law school , there was nothing ordinary again in his life, he was the best in everything he touched. He wrote lots legal books and journals in Nigeria. He visited Courts more than those who made First class in the same school with him or those who became SAN before him.
Gani’s presence in any court was a big news to the Press and the nation, he was delightful and reassuring to watch, he spoke the language of his profession like an angel and every judge knew him as a man of integrity.
Gani was the most honorable lawyer Nigeria ever produced, to most Nigerians particularly the poor and middle class,he was their hope, and epitome of graceful expectations of how to prosecute cases, he made legal profession honorable.
Gani’s most memorable case to the Oracle was against Rotimi Williams over integrity. He made a mockery of the man Nigeria called *Rotimi the Law* the Chairman of the 1979 Constitution drafting committee of 49 wise men. It was supposed to be 50 wise men until Awolowo pulled out of the committee.
The first appointment given to Rotimi William as Attorney General of Western Region was by Awolowo as Premier. It was the mistake of the Head of State Gen Muritala Mohammed to think Awolowo could serve under Rotimi unfortunately, he never consulted Awolowo before the announcement on the radio.
Rotimi Williams had sued Gani over his integrity and like Shylock he wanted a pound of flesh, the flesh that will show the nation Rotimi was the law. He also wanted an open apology in the court with the Press and new radicals of media like Dan Agbese, Dele Giwa, Mohamed and Ogunsanya around. He got more than what he bargained for.
When Gani stood up, the poor and middle class stood up with him, if Gani had failed lots of his fans would have cried openly in the Court but he turned things around. He took few steps towards the Judge and demanded to put Rotimi the Law on the witness stand for cross examination.
No one had ever done that in the history of Nigeria, probably in Africa. Rotimi was not a short man either probably around 6.2 ft, tall and huge with sharp penetrating eyes, broad shoulders, his presence took away the oxygen in the room, he was the attention in any Court.he was indeed the Giant of legal profession.
Rotimi wore his robe like a rag and if the event could be biblically assessed it was like David standing next to Goliath. Rotimi had everything his profession could offer, fame, money and power, Judges bowed before him and who would not? He wrote the law of the land.if not why would he be called* Rotimi the law*
To the surprise of the nation, the presiding Judge granted the request of Gani to have the man that was greater than life on the cross-examination box. Gani had a mischievous smile on his thin lips, he knew he had Rotimi by the balls, he was going to tear down the wall to show Nigerians how coleric his adversary was.
The hate was glaring, we knew the occasion would be historical as we were about to witness how David of Nigeria legal profession would defeat the Goliath of the learned colleagues.
Gani asked if Rotimi ever attended the popular High School in Lagos, he mentioned. Rotimi had no choice than to confirm he did. Gani told the Court to look at Rotimi Williams as a student of the High School who stole a calculator or so and was sent out for stealing if such a thief had any integrity?
Rotimi never had any integrity he said infact he lost it from his High School days and wondered what he wanted to protect as an adult. Gani Fawehinmi concluded. Rotimi was almost in tears.
The Judge called the two lawyers to his chambers and Rotimi withdrew the case. He never recovered from the bruised of the shame which the Press sensationally reviewed on the pages of the newspapers and talk radio.
From Gen Gowon to Military President Babangida, they were all scared of Gani Fawehinmi. Gani was a friend of the sick and the poor, a philanthropist with special attention to education where he noted his own weakness, he gave Nigeria his all, energies and commitment to the rule of Law and love for humanity.
If his profession were to be military, Gani would be more than a four star General. He was indeed what a Lawyer could be, to this Oracle, Gani was the Perry Mason of Nigeria law.
The Oracle says, what you make out of your University education depends on what you put into the society. Your degree is not a waste it is template for you to understand life and contribute meaningfully to the society, the man who made a difference is the one with education to improve his environments not the paper qualifications.
I beseach you my readers to have a renewal of spirit and mind in how you see life, let you goal in life be guided with your contribution to your your society and never looked down on anyone who came out of the University with ordinary pass. He could be the one to make a difference.