Babangida: How I tried to be Gani Fawehinmi’s friend

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*Photo: Babangida*

Former Nigerian Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has described the late Gani Fawehinmi as a good critic, saying he tried to make the human rights activist and lawyer his friend but couldn’t succeed. 

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The ex-military president made this known on a Channels Television programme: “Inside Sources,” on Friday.

Babangida said on the programme hosted by Laolu Akande: “If we come up with a policy, my first question to my staff was: What would Gani Fawehinmi say?

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“I like listening to him. 

“I made it a point to become his friend. 

“He was very friendly with one of my former ministers, the late Alex Akinyele.

“They were very good friends, and (Alex) he tried to make us very good friends. 

“He (Fawehinmi) is a good critic and he doesn’t want to be seen with someone that people already perceived as ‘an evil genius.’”

On how he handled his critics who labelled him as “an evil genius”, the octogenarian said he learnt to accommodate criticisms.

Babangida also said he had eyes for talents as Nigeria’s head of state and went for the best minds. 

He said he convinced many bright minds to become members of his cabinet by telling them it was in the interest of Nigeria’s development. 

Fawehinmi, who lived April 1938 to September 2009, was detained about 17 times during the regime of Babangida, who was in power between August 1985 and August 1993.

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