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Three Nigerians emerge winners of Gani Fawehinmi Integrity Award

…lawyers ponder on what would have been the late Fawehinmi’s position on the current situation in Nigeria.
By Samuel Bakare
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Three Nigerians have emerged winners in the Gani Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Award organized by the Human and Environment Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre)

The historic event held in the evening of Tuesday December 10, the World Human Rights Day was organized as a mark of honour for the late human rights icon who died of cancer in 2009.

The event was the second in its series. HEDA has listed three categories: Outstanding Integrity Award, (OIA), Outstanding Impact Award, (OIA) and the Valuable Whistle-Blower Award (VWA). Irohinoodua gathered that the contest for the awards opened several months ago with opportunities given to Nigerians to nominate their choices.

Sergeant Bashir Umar won in the Outstanding Integrity Award, (OIA) category for the integrity displayed when he and his colleagues while on patrol at Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano found $37,000 (thirty seven thousand dollars) belonging to one Alhaji Ahmad. He had called the owner and returned the money. Other nominees in this category included Deputy Commissioner of Police, (DCP) Abba Kyari and the Bornu State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum.

Dr. Kadiri Kehinde a senior lecturer at the University of Ilorin won the Outstanding Impact Award, (OIA), category to beat Pastor Tony Rapu and Imam Abdullahi Abubakar. Dr. Kadiri won the award for using pictures to drive humanitarian projects to rural villages in Kwara State. She used her organization “The Grass Root Aid Initiative” which gets funds through social media crowd funding platforms to provide clean and safe water to vulnerable communities in the country.

Speaking while receiving the award, she said “the grass root project started as a result of pain and abuse from senior colleague at the University who said she can never be anything valuable. She thanks HEDA for the award and congratulates other nominee.”

The Whistle Blower Award, (WBA) winner was Mr. Murtala Aliyu Ibrahim, Unit Head, ICT/Process Audit and Special Investigation Unit at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) who paid with his job for exposing corruption in the bank. Mr. Murtala while receiving the award thanked HEDA for the award and requested for everybody’s support in fighting corruption in the country.

Detained journalist, Agba Jalingo represented by his wife, Mrs. Jalingo received the certificate of recognition in the Whistle Blower Award, (WBA), category. Mrs Jalingo said “Nigerians should not be intimidated with the current dictatorship displayed by the government. It is time we act, time we take a stand and tell them enough is enough.”

The Chairman of the occasion Mr. Adeyinka Fusika started his speech with the late Gani Fawehinmi’s famous quote “stand for what is right even if you are standing alone. To recognize who we are in our various ways make contribution to the society and do things in our own little way to project the good image of the country.”

Fusika said “Gani contesting for the post of President was not a personal ambition but a quest to see that someone of integrity emerges on that post. As long as you stand for truth and justice you are surely Gani’s friend. What would have been Gani’s position if he was alive in this political era.” Other dignitaries were Barr. Kunle Adegoke, Barr. Nurudeen Ogbara, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, Students and the media.

Barr. Kunle Adegoke in his speech said “Gani represents a fundamental turning point as a people. What people think is very scarce in the society. What Gani contribute to human existence is what is being celebrated. We need to orientate ourselves and live a life of meaning.”

Also, speaking at the event Barr. Nurudeen Ogbara said “Gani never acted on perception but on facts and laws. I happen to be one of the beneficiaries of late Gani Social Intervention.” Also asking the question “If Gani was alive what will be his position in today’s political era and also he would have been killed over and over again according to the hate speech law.”

Representative of HEDA Resource Centre Chairman, Mr. Sina Odugbemi who is the Programme Officer said “the award is without doubt conceived as fitting recognition of the impactful track record of integrity bequeathed to new generations of Nigeria by Chief Gani Fawehinmi in his lifetime.”

He said that the three categories of the award are Outstanding Integrity Award, (OIA), Outstanding Impact Award, (OIA) and Valuable Whistle-Blower Award, (VWA) which is aimed at promoting Integrity, Accountability and Whistle Blowing in Nigeria and would be conferred annually on deserving Nigerians of impeccable character, courage, selflessness and honesty. The programme was supported MacArthur Foundation.