Both parents are of Nigerian heritage in the South-West region
Abdul-Ganiyu Fawehinmi, fondly called Gani, was born on 22 April 1938 into the family of Chief Saheed and Munirat Fawehinmi of Ondo, in Ondo State, Nigeria. Gani's father, Chief Saheed Tugbobo Fawehinmi, the Seriki Musulumi (Head of Muslims) of Ondo, was a successful timber trader, civic activist and philanthropist. He was reported to be a follower of Ajao, who brought Islam to Ondo Town, South Western Nigeria. Gani lost his father on 5 February 1963 at the age of 89.
His grandfather was the late Chief Lisa Alujanu Fawehinmi of Ondo, who involved in several battles for and on behalf of the Ondo people in the nineteenth century. Due to his successful battles, he was given the name 'Alujanu', which connotes spirit. He died at the age of 92.