It is true that there is a social media madness in the world today, what University of Canterbury scholar, Michael Grimshaw calls “selfie-centered culture of voyeurism and narcissism” but, in this case, it is Richard Akinola on Facebook. Akinola paid his dues by the singular act of exposing the fraud that a case in court is a case closed to punditry, a major and original contribution to the project of expanding the democratic space in Nigeria. This time, he has dropped a Facebook posting originally titled “What Goes Round Comes Around”, capturing a story of a relay of genuine humanism, from the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi to a then young doctor somewhere in Gashua in present day Borno State and to himself. The last sentence makes it an even more moving a story of how the world actually works: as a never ending inter-subjective process, not as power that structuralists regale us with! The posting itself is part of a series in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s passage – Intervention
By Richard Akinola
Prof. Jubril Aminu was once the VC of University of Maiduguri. During his tenure, there was an Aluta struggle and some students were rusticated. Four of the rusticated students came to Gani Fawehinmi to challenge the action. He fought the case to the Supreme Court and won, (See Garba vs University of Maiduguri (1986)1NWLR(Pt 18).
The students went back to complete their studies. Later, Gani was arrested over his anti-SAP conference and was flown to Maiduguri, then driven to Gashua. While they were at the Lagos airport, not knowing where he was being taken to by the security men, Gani played a fast one – he told his captors that he wanted to use the toilet. He got inside the toilet and quickly scribbled on a toilet paper – “To whoever uses this toilet, this is Gani Fawehinmi. I am being flown to an unknown destination by security men. Please, let the world know”. He placed it in a conspicuous place, flushed the toilet as if he just used it and came out.
When they got to Maiduguri, they had a brief stop-over at the SSS office, where a lady officer offered Gani a cup of coffee. Gani was hooked on coffee like drug. But this time, Gani’s will power came on. He told the lady officer: “so you people have got information that l can’t do without coffee. Because I’m addicted to coffee, you think you can poison me? From today, I stop taking coffee”. That was how he ended his addiction to coffee.
He was later moved to Gashua prison, in a most decrepit cell where he collapsed after some substances were sprayed in the cell. He was rushed to the University of Maiduguri Teaching hospital. When he regained consciousness, he found a doctor examining him and he protested, asking the doctor not to touch him.
The doctor, not wanting the security men guarding him to hear, whispered into Gani’s ear – “Chief, you are in safe hands. Can’t you recognise me? I am….., one of the medical students rusticated whom you fought for our reinstatement. I am now a doctor. So, relax. You are in safe hands”.
And that was how Gani’s life was saved – reaping from the good deeds he did earlier, which he had forgotten. Moral of this real life story: Do good always and it shall come back to you. Do evil and it would come back to you.