The families of Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Gani Fawehinmi have joined the list of Nigerians who have rejected the national honours by the Federal Government and they all have cogent reasons. The award ceremony is scheduled to hold at the
Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja, today
February 28, 2014.
Award-winning writer, Professor Wole Soyinka’s reasons might sound confusing but the most important thing to know is he rejected the honour, “I would have preferred that the entire day of infamy be ignored altogether. I’m even thinking favourably of just ignoring the obscenity, then turning up at the counter- event.”
As far as the family of late Afro Beat legend and human activist, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti are concerned they are not even aware of the award. Grammy award nominee, Femi Anikulapo- Kuti who spoke to PM news stated that they will accept the award if the government first of all apologises for the murder of his grandmother and burning his father’s house.
“We have not heard such but I can speak for myself, FG should first apologise for the killing of our grandmother and the burning of Kalakuta. I doubt if the family will accept the award.” Femi awarded.
The family of late legal luminary Chief Gani Fawehinmi, have the “longest” reasons. In a later signed by the eldest son of the late lawyer, Mohammed Fawehinmi and addressed to the Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Anyim Pius Anyim, the family penned four strong reasons.
RE: CENTENARY AWARD TO OUR LATE FATHER, CHIEF GANI FAWEHINMI (SAN)
We acknowledge the receipt of your 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:
1. In the list of the awardees published by the Federal Government, was the name of former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, who as military president, severally detained and tortured our late father. 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.
2. 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 band 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria.
MOHAMMED FAWEHINMI, ESQ.
(For and on behalf of late Gani Fawehinmi family)