The leadership of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), human rights groups and social-cultural organisations on Tuesday extolled the virtues of the late Dr Frederick Fasehun, founder of the Oodua People’s Congress.
The groups at the lying-in-state and Night of Tributes for the late Yoruba leader who died at 83 years on Dec.1, was described as a courageous democrat.
The event was held at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
In a tribute entitled: “NADECO: Tribute to a Courageous Democrat, Dr Frederick Fasehun’’ read by Rear Adm. Ndubuisi Kanu, the President/Chairman of NADECO, the group commended Fasehun for his love for the masses.
“A highly successful medical practitioner and Nigeria’s first acupuncturist, who could have continued his glowing practice without anyone blaming him for minding his personal business, Fasehun abandoned his comfort zone.
“Fasehun decided to join pro-democracy elements to confront the evil that Gen. Sani Abacha who was armed to the teeth with weapons and all forces of coercion posed to Nigerian democracy.
“Initially, a leading figure in the Campaign for Democracy (CD) with his friend and professional colleague, Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Dr Fasehun went on to found the Yoruba social cultural group, OPC in 1994.
“For Fasehun, OPC was the Yoruba’s answer to the military’s highly unjust annulment of the Presidential Election of June 12, 1993 won by Basorun MKO Abiola.
“Fasehun combined forces with other pro-democrats to found the NADECO, the umbrella platform for June 12 struggle. For daring the dictator, Fasehun severally paid a harsh price in detentions.
“Even in detention, his courage remained undaunted. This is the hero we have come to celebrate today,’’ Kanu said.
He described Fasehun as a “passionate patriot and comrade, a trust worthy and dependable ally, a selfless and indefatigable fighter, an activist par excellence and a courageous character”.
The NADECO chief also described Fasehun as “a cerebral mind, an honest critic, a consummate writer and author, an engaging debater and a philanthropist of note.’’
He said that Fasehun would continue to represent some of the finest qualities in the Nigeria spirit and federalism as envisage by the founding fathers and the people.
In her comments, Dr Joe Okie-Odumakin, the President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, said that the late Fasehun was a great life-wire of the human rights pro-democracy movements in Nigeria.
Okei-Odumakin also described him as a historian who had the history of the country and the progressive movement on his fingertips.
Also, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, the National President, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), described Fasehun as a fearless leader.
Shettima suggested that an edifice be named after the late Fasheun.
“He (Fasehun) dared where others ran away and he was a thorn in the flesh of the dictators that ran Nigeria like a private estate.
“For his rare courage, it has become very difficult, if not impossible for anyone to step into the large shoes he left behind,“ he said.
Shettima pledged that ACF would continue with the struggle for justice from where Fasehun stopped.
In his tributes, Dr Olumide Aderibole, the President, Yoruba Indigenes Foundation Worldwide, said Fasheun was “a great patriot, distinguished Yoruba Icon, a deep thinker and an extremely mature personality.’’