Tribute for Yinka Odumakin: Buhari, Jonathan, Atiku, governors, others mourn

Spokesperson of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin, died in the early hours of Saturday at the intensive care unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) from Covid-19 complications. 

His wife and human rights campaigner, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, who confirmed his death in a statement, said “a part of me is gone.” 

Odumakin was aged 59. Although the late spokesperson of Afenifere was scarce in circulation for weeks as he was said to be receiving treatment for some undisclosed ailments, he, however, attended a meeting he convened on the Yoruba agenda a few weeks ago. 

Sunday Tribune gathered he was burning with passion for the Yoruba nation so much that he shunned appeals from his wife and close associates to take more time to rest. 

He was said to have left his hospital bed recently, stressing that the meeting was to discuss critical issues affecting the Yoruba nation and what should be done to address the issues. 

He was said to have told his wife and others that after his attendance at the inaugural meeting, the gathering would then take a life of its own henceforth. 

“With gratitude to the Supreme Being for a life well spent, I announce the passing on of my beloved husband, Comrade Yinka Odumakin to the great beyond after a brief illness. 

“The sad event happened on Saturday morning at the intensive care unit of LASUTH where he was being managed for respiratory issues due to complications from COVID-19 which he had recovered from about a week ago. 

“I appreciate the outpouring of grief and sympathy from home and abroad as I mourn my irreplaceable soulmate. 

“I urge us all to remain steadfast in the cause of the masses to which he dedicated his life. Burial arrangement will be made public in due course,” she said in the statement. 

Meanwhile, warm and superlative accolades have been pouring in for the departed social crusader from across the country. 

Buhari mourns Odumakin, his ex-spokesman 

President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the family, friends and acquaintances of Odumakin, Afenifere’s spokesman. 

A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) on Saturday, recalled that Odumakin was also spokesman to the then General Buhari in 2011, when he ran for president on the platform of the now defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). 

The president recalled Odumakin as dutiful, and a person of conviction, expressing sorrow at his demise, when he had a lot more to contribute to society and the nation at large. 

President Buhari prayed God to grant repose to the soul of the departed activist, and comfort all those who mourn him. 

I’m shocked by his death — Osinbajo 

Reacting to his death, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, sad he was shocked “at the sad news” of the demise of the activist. 

Osinbajo, in a short statement by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, commiserated with his wife, family and associates, praying that God would comfort them and bless his memory always. 

A strong voice of equity is gone —Jonathan 

Former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan has expressed sadness over the passing on of the Afenifere spokesman, describing his death as shocking. 

A statement issued Saturday by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, said Jonathan stated this in a condolence message to the family of late Odumakin on Saturday, noting that the deceased was a courageous patriot and rights crusader who contributed so much to the development of the nation. 

In a message entitled ‘A Great Voice for Equity is Gone’, the former president also described Odumakin as a man with rich democratic credentials who “played active roles in the years of activism that birthed and stabilised civil rule in our country.” 

“He was a courageous patriot and rights crusader who gave his all to the struggle for a better Nigeria. He was a great asset for just causes whose considerable contributions to the growth of civil society is not in doubt. 

“He also acquitted himself as a seasoned journalist and columnist who promoted egalitarianism and social well-being, in his regular essays. 

“Mr Odumakin exits this world with rich democratic credentials, having played active roles in the years of activism that birthed and stabilised civil rule in our country. 

“This is not a time to lose such a strong promoter of the ideals that would progress our nation in the desired direction of a united, just and equitable society.

Farewell, gallant General 

Ambassador (Dr) Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu Executive Director, Obafemi Awolowo Foundation has bid farewell to the late Odumakin.

In her statement, she wrote: “On behalf of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, I commiserate with Joe, the children, the entire family of Yinka Odumakin and the Afenifere family on the demise of this outstanding compatriot. 

“Yinka was a dogged fighter who resolutely stood by and stood for all that was best for Nigeria without compromising the interest of any of her component nationalities. This is a trait he shared with the Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. 

“For most of his adult life, Yinka spoke for the voiceless and championed the cause of the downtrodden. Yinka possessed a rare intellect and instinct for nation-building. He was, therefore, a trusted ally and dependable associate of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation. 

“Yinka’s passing is painful but we are comforted by the exemplary life he led. Indubitably, Nigeria, particularly the Yoruba nation has lost a gallant general in the battle for the emancipation of her peoples. 

“It is our prayer that the greatness that he envisioned for Nigeria will be attained sooner than later. Rest on, worthy comrade. Your place among the Yoruba greats is already assured. 

He was a patriot, advocate of good governance —Atiku 

Also reacting, a former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, described Odumakin as a patriot and strong believer in the promotion of good governance, democracy and the rule of law. In a statement of condolence, Atiku expressed shock at the news of the death of “my younger brother and friend.” 

“I sympathise with all Nigerians who share these same values with Odumakin, especially the Afenifere group of which Yinka was the publicity secretary – a role he played with so much commitment and admiration. 

“Much as our heart grieves over this unpleasant development, we must take solace in accepting it as an act of God and acknowledge the fact that Yinka lived a life of purpose in defence of the ordinary people of this country and to enthrone a better Nigeria,” Atiku said. 

We are devastated, sad — Afenifere 

The pan-Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, has described the death of its Publicity Secretary as sad news, saying the Afenifere family was devastated and a terrible blow to the country. The Secretary-General of Afenifere, Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa, who stated this in a condolence message, described his transition of the spokesperson of the group as a tragic occurrence that dealt a big blow to the Afenifere, his family and his friends.

a person because we have been so intimate. 

“He’s been my right-hand man in Afenifere management. It’s terrible. Yinka should not have gone at this time. “It’s a terrible blow to Afenifere and Nigeria. We’ve lost a brilliant chap with intelligent and brilliant ideas. This is sad, very sad. What a pity. I pity his wife, Joe,” Arogbofa said. 

We’re shocked, pained by his death — Southern, Middle Belt Forum leaders 

Leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum of Nigeria have expressed shock and pain over the death of its “fearless” National Secretary and spokesman of Afenifere, Comrade Odumakin. They stated this in a statement jointly signed by Chief E. K. Clark (National Leader); Professor George Obiozor, (President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo); Dr Pogu Bitrus) President -General, Middle Belt Forum) and Senator Emmanuel Ibok-Essien, National Chairman, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF). 

“For Southern Nigerian and Middle Belt Forum, Yinka was a backbone who, in the past few years, worked tirelessly to give the organisation both national and international visibility and recognition. 

“He also brought clarity and common understanding to the problems bedevilling our country, aimed at providing timely solutions to them. 

“Yinka has etched his name in steel in the annals of Nigerian history. He will, therefore, be remembered by all citizens as one of our greatest citizens ever,” the statement said. 

He was a true definition of the citizen – Tinubu 

National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, has mourned the death of Odumakin, describing him as a “committed fighter for democracy, dedicated civil society activist, courageous and outspoken defender of whatever ideals and principles he believed in and a patriotic citizen in every sense of the word.” 

In a condolence statement entitled Premature Departure of a Bright Star, personally signed by him, Tinubu said he received news of Odumakin’s death with “profound shock.” 

“In the struggle against the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election and the perpetuation of military dictatorship, Odumakin was never found wanting. He was at the vanguard of the battle even at the risk of his life and liberty. 

“It is impossible to credibly tell the story of the emergence of the democracy we enjoy in this dispensation today without emblazoning Odumakin’s name in gold. 

“He was a doughty fighter for freedom and the rule of law. He was rock solid in his commitment to Afenifere, the Yoruba people and several other civil society groups in which he played active roles. 

“Odumakin never held public office. But he has been a constant feature and part of our public consciousness over the last two decades of this unbroken democratic dispensation. 

“In the course of the last two and a half decades, Odumakin and I had cause to collaborate in various organisations and in pursuit of different political causes at different times and I can testify to his capacity for hard work, his brilliance, his tenacity in his loyalty to his cherished principles. 

“Even if we differed politically, I had no cause to doubt his sincerity in charting his chosen path. He will forever remain a model of what a citizen who places the good of his country above his personal interest could be,” he said. 

I can’t describe my sense of loss, emptiness — Bolaji Akinyemi 

In his condolence message, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, said “words escape me to describe my sense of loss and emptiness at the death of this young man.” 

Akinyemi described Odumakin as a patriotic individual “who had a vision and a drive for his nationality, his country and his race,” adding that “I interacted with him in Afenifere, NADECO and at the National Conference. 

The former Minister noted that the deceased “had a profound strategic sense of intervention that often halted his antagonists dead in their tracks,” saying “may his soul not rest but continue to drive the agitation for a just and equitable world.” 

His death, indescribable tragedy to Afenifere — Okurounmu 

Also reacting, a former chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on the 2014 National Conference, Senator Femi Okurounmu, said he was shocked beyond words to express his grief over Odumakin’s death. 

In a condolence message addressed to the widow, Okurounmu said “I am shocked beyond words to express my grief at the untimely death of my brother and compatriot, Yinka Odumakin. “His death is an indescribable tragedy to Afenifere, a monumental loss to his family and an incalculable loss to Nigeria. Yorubaland has lost one of her most dogged fighters for freedom. I pray that God will continue to uphold you and to strengthen you and that Yinka may have a peaceful rest with the Lord,” he said. 

Nigeria has lost a true patriot — Mimiko 

Former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, described the deceased as “a quintessential Nigerian who epitomised noble and progressive activist ethos.” 

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, John Paul, the former governor recalled Odumakin’s “undying passion for the Nigerian project was palpable right from his days as a student union activist.” 

While commiserating with his wife, family and the Afenifere, Mimiko said Odumakin lived “a remarkable life,” though his death was painful. 

Odumakin’s death huge loss to Nigeria — PDP 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed shock over the death of the right activist and social crusader, describing his death as a huge loss to the nation and particularly, the PDP in view of “his erudite contributions to national dialogue and relentless commitment towards the development of democratic ethos in our country.” 

A statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary of the party observed that Odumakin was consistently focused on fighting for a nation in which the principles of equity, fairness and justice will thrive in every sphere of national life. “He dedicated his life as a journalist, human right activist and social crusader for improvement in every phase of life in our country. 

“Indeed, if Yinka Odumakin had the last pint of blood in his vein and there was a need to drop same for democracy to be strengthened in our country, he would have readily made it available,” the PDP said, condoling his wife and family. 

Odumakin, a nationalist who gave his all — Akeredolu 

Ondo state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu has expressed shock over Odumakin’s death, describing it as one death with many losses to people. In a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, the governor noted that the deceased was “a true nationalist who placed the Yoruba race on a pedestal of honour and high regards and quite fearlessly, gave all in his passion-filled struggle for a virile and peaceful Nigeria with fairness, justice, equity and freedom as his beacons. 

“His roles in the enthronement of popular democracy, as well as his fiery advocacy for the rule of law, remain undoubtedly legendary. 

“He represented a memorable era having participated actively in the passion and action for a better Nigeria in his lifetime. Those left behind will find great inspiration in Yinka›s legacies to continue with the struggle,” he said. 

Yoruba has lost a gem, dependable ally — Gani Adams 

Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has said the Yoruba has lost a gem and dependable ally with the death of Odumakin. 

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, Adams described Odumakin “as a true Yoruba son, a committed fellow, and the voice of the people, especially, the downtrodden. 

“We’ll all miss his voice. We’ll miss his commitment. We’ll miss his bravery. He was a phenomenon that spoke truth to power. His exit has left a big vacuum in the social and political milieu and Nigerians will always remember him for who he was because in his life,” he said. 

We had hoped he lived long enough — ACF 

Also commiserating with his family and aged parents, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said it wished Odumakin had lived long enough to see a new day. 

ACF said its disagreement with late spokesman of Afenifere was based on principle not personal. 

In a condolence statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, the North’s apex sociocultural group noted that while the deceased was alive, he held on to his views strongly. “We often disagreed with him on many issues. Our disagreements were, however, on principle and not personal,” ACF said. 

He was champion of a true Nigeria — Sanwo-Olu 

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has mourned the passing of Odumakin, describing the pro-democracy activist as a great nationalist, passionate leader and champion of a true Nigeria that would work for every citizen. 

The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr Gboyega Akosile, saying the Afenifere spokesman lived a selfless life, adding that the late Odumakin would not be forgotten in a hurry. 

“Odumakin as civil rights activist was selfless. He spent the greater part of his life in the service of humanity, particularly the emancipation of the Yoruba people, the development of the South West region in particular and the nation in general,” the governor said. 

Odumakin was a real warrior — Oyinlola 

Former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in his own condolence message, described Odumakin’s death as a tragedy that has depleted the ranks of Nigerian and Yoruba patriots. 

“Odumakin’s death is a tragic loss to every person who believes in a Nigeria of justice and fairness. 

“He was an unapologetic warrior of the Yoruba nation. He had the right response to every challenge thrown at the cause he served. His death has made Yorubaland and Nigeria poorer,” Oyinlola said. 

Yoruba has lost a true fighter — Makinde 

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has Odumakin’s death as a personal loss of a good brother, saying it is a great loss to the Yoruba race. 

Makinde, who stated that the news of Odumakin’s passage came as a rude shock that has left him in a sad mood, commiserated with his wife, Dr Joe, the Afenifere and the entire Yoruba nation. 

He described the late Afenifere spokesman as a true Yoruba son, who embodied the ethos of Omoluabi, a dogged and true fighter of the Yoruba cause and an advocate of good governance. A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as adding that Odumakin’s death has created a huge vacuum in Yorubaland and Nigeria. 

I’m shocked, saddened —Fayose 

A former Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has mourned the death of Odumakin, saying he was shocked and saddened by his passing. 

Fayose, in a statement, said the late Afenifere chieftain fought for justice and equity for all, adding that Odumakin had “a life well spent; not how far, but how well.” 

According to Fayose, the late Odumakin will be remembered for his undiluted love for the Yoruba race and Nigerians in general. 

He was a gadfly Nigeria would need — Ibori 

A former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, also expressed shocked at the death of Odumakin, saying he was a kind of gadfly that any nation needed. 

In a statement by Mr Tony Eluemunor, his spokesperson, Ibori noted that Odumakin maintained “a credible constancy, instead of changing directions like a wind vane.” 

He said though Odumakin was not among his supporters, and their paths rarely crossed, “yet, that did not blind me to the fact that he was gradually becoming a credible voice for true federalism and fiscal restructuring which Nigeria needs badly. So, I always wished him well. Now, I will miss him very much.” 

A thunderbolt has struck into Yoruba nationalism — Tola Adeniyi 

Also reacting to the death of the social crusader, chairman of Council of Yoruba Global Alliance and former Managing Director of The Daily Times, Chief Tola Adeniyi, described the development as shocking and unbelievable, noting that it came at an “absolutely cruel timing.” 

“Yinka Odumakin’s death is like a thunderbolt strike into the heart of Yoruba nationalism. Bold, bright and outspoken, Yinka was a study in courage and fearlessness. “His commitment to the Yoruba struggle for liberation and emancipation was never in doubt. He put his whole life on the line for the crusade. 

“By his death all the free peoples of the world have lost a roaring voice, the Yoruba nation has lost a champion, and all the self-determination organisations have lost an icon,” he said. 

Moro, his home town, has been dealt a blow — Traditional ruler 

The traditional ruler of Mooro, the home town of late Yinka Odumakin, the spokesperson of Afenifere sociocultural group, Oba Abidoye Oyeniyi has described his death as a great blow to the entire community. 

The royal father, who spoke to Sunday Tribune at his palace, said he was further saddened by the sudden death of one of their illustrious sons. 

Speaking through his wife, Oloori Irene Oyeniyi, the traditional ruler affirmed that the shining light in the town has gone with the wind, just as she said the baobab tree of the community has fallen. 

The royal father said Odumakin’s death would forever linger in the minds of those who appreciate the works of a genus saying, “our light went off.” 

Meanwhile, at the family house of the deceased, his aged parents were seen in the house engaging in a series of activities as the news of their son’s death was yet to be broken to them as of the time of filing this report. 

The house, which has shops in its frontage, saw the operators of the shop going on with their commercial activities. But other members of the community were in a state of mourning, which they hid because of the aged parents of the deceased.

Nigeria has lost a patriot — APC 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed shock over the death of Odumakin, saying his death is a big loss to the Yoruba nation and the country at large. 

In a statement signed by National Secretary, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, the party noted that Odumakin “was relentless in canvassing and serving the interests of Yorubaland and the progress of the country at large. He will be sorely missed.” 

“The Yoruba nation and indeed the country has lost a seasoned public analyst, activist, politician and patriot who was relentless in canvassing and serving the interests of Yorubaland and the progress of the country at large. He will be sorely missed,” the party said. 

Obaseki mourns Odumakin 

Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has mourned the passing of the Afenifere spokesperson, describing him as a great patriot and champion of democracy. In a statement, Obaseki said Odumakin was a man of many parts who spoke unequivocally about Nigeria’s advancement. 

According to him, “as National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, the Yoruba sociocultural group, he was unapologetic about airing his views and worked tirelessly for the good of all. “Odumakin will be missed for his candour, courage and strength of character, which was never in short supply when it mattered the most,” the governor said. 

Gov Abiodun mourns him 

The Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, had described the death of the spokesperson of the Afenifere as painful. 

Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, declared that the South-West zone has lost a courageous human rights activist and fearless public commentator. 

The governor noted that Odumakin, while alive, championed the cause of the South-West and promoted the ideals of the sage and Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, which were held dear by the Afenifere. 

“For those of us who have followed Odumakin’s trajectory in journalism and activism, he lived a good life and fought doggedly to defend the defenceless. He and his wife were always at the forefront to protest against oppressive government policies,” he said. 

Yoruba nation has lost a voice -Alao-Akala 

A former governor of Oyo State and leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala has described the death of Odumakin as a great loss to the Yoruba nation. Alao-Akala in a statement to condole with the family of the deceased especially his wife, Dr Joe, said “Yinka Odumakin died at the time Yoruba nation needs him more. 

“Yinka will be missed by all. He represented the Yoruba nation very well. His death is still shocking,” the APC leader said.

 

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