COINCIDENCES: Between Vladimir Lenin and Gani Fawehinmi; Chicago and Ibadan

Posted by Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth | 30 January 2013 | 5,128 times

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Nigeria and Russia share some interesting coincidence in respect of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Vladimir Lenin. While Lenin was born on April 22, 1870, Fawehinmi was born on April 22, 1938.

Both men were politicians, lawyers and publishers. Lenin is described as a revolutionary and Gani an activist.

Both lived in London. Lenin was involved in the October Revolution and Fawehinmi launched his political party in October. Earlier on, he had said he was prepared to lead a revolution in Nigeria.

Lenin was the first President of the Soviet Union and Fawehinmi presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP).

According to Wikipedia, Lenin’s family was originally known as Ulyanov. Being educated folks, the Ulyanovs inculcated in their children hostility against the ills of their time – violations of human rights, servile psychology, and readiness to struggle for higher ideals, a free society and equal rights. Interestingly, these are ideals for which Gani Fawehinmi was known in his life time.

Lenin attended the first International Socialist Conference on September 5-8, 1915 at Zimmerworld. Gani Fawehinmi died on September 5, 2009, surrounded by those who shared his socialist leaning. Gani’s death triggered “a conference” of the left. Depending on how you look at it, Gani was a peculiar socialist or a peculiar capitalist.


Of Chicago and Ibadan
There are interesting developments between Chicago and Ibadan. Chicago is capital of Mid-West America, printing capital of America and seat of the world’s first skyscraper; Ibadan is the capital of South-West Nigeria, publishing capital of Nigeria and seat of the first skyscraper in tropical Africa.
Chicago and Ibadan were both founded in the 19th century. They are the third largest cities in their respective countries.

Chicago had the greatest agricultural machinery industry in the U.S. and Ibadan the highest number of agric research institutes in Nigeria.
Chicago has the oldest Zoological Garden in the United States and Ibadan the oldest Zoological Garden in Nigeria. Chicago and Ibadan have both held world records faith-wise. Chicago had the richest Archdiocese in the world and Ibadan the youngest Bishop in the world – now Archbishop Alaba Job.
In Chicago you have Oprah Winfrey, once described as America’s most powerful woman and in Ibadan we have Folake Solanke, once described as Nigeria’s most powerful woman.

James Abram Garfield, a lawyer and classicist, who got his nomination for presidency in Chicago, was assassinated, while James Ajibola Ige, a lawyer and classicist, who lost his nomination as a presidential candidate in Ibadan, was also assassinated.
Interestingly, Bola Ige’s son, Muyiwa, was Chairman of the Oyo State branch of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, with base in Ibadan. Muyiwa studied in Chicago, the architectural capital of the world. He is currently the Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning in Osun State.
In Chicago and Ibadan, we had Frank Lloyd Wright and Demas Nwoko, respectively, both described as evolving an entirely new architectural identity for their respective countries. In Chicago, we have Loyola University, and Ibadan, Loyola College. 
In Chicago we had Enrici Fermi, a Physicist credited with winning World War II for the U.S. President, Harry S. Truman. He was called “the Pope” because “he was always right.” He was described as being as good a Theoretician as well as an Experimentalist. He tested the first nuclear reactor as invented by him in a squash court on December 2, 1942.
In Ibadan we had Obafemi Awolowo, a Lawyer described as the Chief Strategist to the Nigerian War-time Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon. Called “the Sage” because of his wisdom, Awo he has been referred to as a Political Theoretician a well as being a Practical Economist. A son was born to him in Ibadan on December 3, 1942 to be named Oluwole, who was to become an avid squash raquet player.
Chicago was crucial to the development of Jazz music in the U.S., and Ibadan crucial to the development of Highlife music in Nigeria. Interestingly, one of the Highlife greats, who started out in Ibadan, was known as Roy Chicago.
In Chicago you had Walt Disney. A Cartoonist, Comedist and film Director, he studied at the Chicago Art Institute. He had his Laugh-o-Grams and was an Ambulance Driver whereas in Ibadan we had Solomon Iguanre, a Cartoonist, Comedist and Theatre Director. He co-founded Laffomania and studied at the University of Ibadan Faculty of Arts, working directly under a Doctor as a manager of an NGO

COINCIDENCES is a weekly column that appears on Wednesdays. The columnist, Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth, is based in England, Britain, but can be reached via e-mail through or

Source: News Express

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