An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has asked the Federal Government (FG) to name a train station after the former Deputy Premier of Western Nigeria, late Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode, father of Chief Femi Fani Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation.
The group made the request in a press statement it issued Friday and signed by its Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola.
MURIC in its statement argued that the former Deputy Premier deserves the honour more than some of those already given by virtue of the highly esteemed position held by him and the sacrifices he made for Nigeria.
Akintola’s full statement reads: “It has come to our notice that the name of Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode is conspicuously missing among the names of those honoured with train station nomenclatures by the Federal Government (FG). Chief Fani-Kayode was the Deputy Premier of the whole Western Region from 1963 to 1966.
“He was a legal luminary of great measure and one of the earliest crown counsels to the Queen of England. Fani-Kayode (Snr) played a major role in Nigeria’s legal history. Not only that, he was one of the leading dramatis personnae in the struggle for independence and a major character in the Nigerian political landscape from 1940 to 1995.
“Fani-Kayode demonstrated uncommon courage in his political career. He fought against autocratic leadership and feudalistic royalty. His followers loved him passionately. Above all, he was a categorically detribalized Nigerian who did everything possible to keep Nigeria strong and united.
“In this regard, he joined Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, the region’s premier who was also a great patriot and unequalled nationalist, to forge a coalition with the mainstream political party in the North in order to promote national unity. This is his major contribution.
“The parameter employed in picking those to be honoured by FG by naming train stations after them remains monumentally flawed if such a great hero is left out. It remains lopsided. If names like Mrs Funmilayo Ransome Kuti (Papalanto Station), Olusegun Osoba (Olodo Station) and Mobolaji Johnson (Ebute Metta Station) who held office or featured only at state level appear at our train stations, why shouldn’t that of the great Fani-Kayode appear at one of our stations as a memorabilia for his immense contribution to the political and legal development of this country.
“We affirm without any fear of contradiction that Chief Fani-Kayode (Snr) is one of Nigeria’s heroes. He deserves to be honoured like many others. It is unfair to leave him out where others are honoured particularly when most of those honoured are still alive and holding public offices. We should honour our heroes past too just as we honour those who are still alive so that those coming behind us may honour us.
“The former Deputy Premiere deserves it even more than some of those already given by virtue of the highly esteemed position held by him and the sacrifices he made for Nigeria. His constituency at that time was the whole Western region which contained six states (Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti) and the deputy premier of the whole Western Region at that time held a position higher than that of a state governor. He can actually be compared to someone controlling two states.
“We therefore demand the naming of a train station in Nigeria’s South Western hemisphere after the Deputy Premier of the old Western Nigeria, Chief Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunbo Fani-Kayode. It will be a honour well deserved.”