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Fawehinmi, Fela’s Family, Reject Centenary Award

Family of the late activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi has rejected the Centenary award President Goodluck Jonathan intends to accord the demised activist and social crusader.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The family, in a letter addressed to Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria has the caption: Re-Centenary Award to our Late Father, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and dated 27 February, 2014.

The letter, signed by Mohammed Fawehinmi, on behalf of the family acknowledged the receipt of the federal government’s letter dated February 24, 2014, which was routed through Mr Tony Akiotu, Group Managing Director, DAAR Communications, Abuja, wherein “our late father, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) was chosen as one of the awardees of the Centenary celebrations of Nigeria by President Goodluck Jonathan.”

“We want thank the Federal Government for considering our late father for this honour. However, for reasons stated here under, our family has decided it would be inexpedient to accept the award,” he said.

One of the reasons cited by the Fawehinmi’s family for rejecting the award was the inclusion of the name of former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, who as military president, severally detained and tortured the late activist.

“In the course of one of such illegal and inhuman detentions, our late father’s cell was sprayed with toxic substances while in Gashua prison in 1987. The cumulative effect of that dastardly action led to our father, a non-smoker, contracting lung cancer which eventually led to his death on September 5, 2009.

“We therefore, find it morally incongruous and psychologically debilitating for our family to stand on the same podium with General Babangida to receive awards,” Muhammed said in the letter.

The letter added that “our late father was empathetic to the sufferings of our people, particularly students. In the last 72 hours, 59 innocent students were mowed down by the blood- thirsty Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe State, while 20 other girls were similarly abducted by these same bands of terrorists.

“These girls are still in captivity while their fate is unknown. If our late father were to be alive, would he be wining and dining with all the glitterati at a Centenary celebration under these circumstances? Certainly no!”

The Fawehinmi’s family also said that in the past few weeks, the polity has been assaulted with putrid odour of corruption with the alleged $20 billion missing in NNPC, a development that became the Archilles heel of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the suspended Governor of Central Bank.

“As an anti-corruption activist, if he were to be alive, our late father would have confronted the issue head-long and possibly gone to court. With the issue still raging, would our late father have accepted this award at this critical moment? Certainly no!

“Our late father was unrepentantly for the unity of Nigeria. However, with the level of profligacy in some of the events celebrating Nigeria’s Centenary, our late father would have preferred these multi- million naira expenditures channeled to our decrepit teaching hospitals, than unproductive razzmatazz that do not improve the socio-economic well being of our people.

“Sir, for these reasons, our family respectfully declines to receive the award about to be conferred on our late father by the government. Please, accept the assurances of our highest consideration,” the letter stated.

Also, the family of the Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti has rejected the centenary award.

The son of the legend Femi Kuti said: “We have not heard such but I can speak for myself, Federal Government should first apologise for the killing of our grandmother and the burning of Kalakuta,” he wrote.

“Like I said we have not heard anything from the Federal Government. But I doubt if the family will accept the award.”

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