I tried to be friends with Gani Fawehinmi but he despised me – IBB


Ibrahim Babangida, former military head of state, says he tried to have Gani Fawehinmi, the late human rights lawyer, in his corner.

Babangida said his efforts to befriend Gani Fawehinmi did not materialise as the activist despised him and did not want to be seen with someone called evil genius.

Babangida, who ruled Nigeria as military president from 1985 to 1993, made this known on Inside Sources, a Channels Television programme anchored by Laolu Akande.

The former military head of state extolled Fawehinmi, describing him as a good critic whom commentary on national issues he valued.

“If we come up with a policy, my first question to my staff was: What would Gani Fawehinmi say? I like listening to him. I made it a point to become his friend,” IBB said on Friday” he said.

He disclosed that he always asked those around him what Fawehinmi’s opinions were whenever the government passed new laws or rolled out fresh policies.

“He was very friendly with one of my former ministers, the late Alex Akinyele. They were very good friends, and he (Alex) tried to make us very good friends.“He (Fawehinmi) (was) a good critic and he didn’t want to be seen with someone that people already perceived as ‘an evil genius’.”

Fawehinmi was a vocal critic of the government, both military and civilian.

Different military regimes incarcerated him but he never relented in his human rights activism. He died on September 5, 2009, at the age of 71

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