APRIL 5, 2021
By Emmanuel Oladesu, Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja, AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna and Toba Adedeji, Osogbo
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has described the death of the spokesman for Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin, as a rude shock.
He said: “Odumakin died when Yoruba nation and Nigeria at large needed him most.”
A statement by Ooni’s Director of Media and Public Affairs, Moses Olafare, last night, said: “The news of Odumakin’s demise was a very bitter pill to swallow for the entire country and to us particularly in the House of Oduduwa. He was a disciplined Yoruba leader who was one of the loudest pro-democracy voices in the country.”
Former presidential candidate Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim yesterday paid glowing tributes to Mr Odumakin, who he described as a man of extraordinary courage that stood by his words.
The businessman, in a statement, expressed deep shock over his death, saying Nigeria has lost one of its greatest.
Olawepo-Hashim said: “I woke up in the morning of April 3 to a couple of news items from some online platforms announcing that Yinka Odumakin had just passed on in the early hours of that day.
“I was so shocked because a few days earlier he was engaged in a very passionate exchange with some opinion writers. I had no incline that he had been ill all the while. I tried getting confirmation from the wife, but I did not get a feedback until some few hours later, at a time the media was already awash with the tragic news.
“To say Nigeria has lost another great is to put it mildly. He was one of the greatest.”
He recalled that he met Yinka 33 years ago when the deceased was the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Obafemi Awolowo University Students’ Union and he (Hashim) was the PRO of the students’ federation, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
“It was a testy period, as we were engaged in a very intense struggle against the military government. ‘Great Ife’ had invited me to speak about alternative to Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP), the economic policy of the regime that we were campaigning against.
“Yinka remained on the left of the left platform in the radical movement, while I was to the centre of left. But like most of his comrades from Ife like Lanre Arogundade, Raskeey Ojikutu (Lagos), Adewale Bashar (Ibadan), we were allies in the struggles of the mid and late 1980s.
“Yinka was always passionate about his point of view. He made his debut into partisan politics when he emerged as the spokesman for General Muhammadu Buhari during the 2011 elections. He was passionate about Buhari’s cause when the General had very few friends in the Southwest. He probably displayed the same passion against the General when he changed his perspective. That was vintage Yinka.
“Fortunately Yinka and I had mutual respect for ourselves despite our some time diametrically opposed perspective.
“He was very respectful of me or perhaps over respectful, as he never called me by my first name despite that we were colleagues. He called me ‘Baba’.Yinka cut the image of a fiery fighter, but he was a shy person. There was a Yinka known to those he felt obliged to love and respect, different from the Yinka on the news stand. He was very emotional and humane.
“Another lover of freedom has departed this clime. I mourn a comrade, friend and brother, a man of extraordinary courage.
My condolence once more to Joe, Yinka’s wife, who I knew separately as a comrade and as a friend. I pray God to give her and the family the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.
Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed shock over the sudden death of Odumakin.
NEF, in a condolence message signed yesterday by the Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, described Odumakin as a loyal person.
Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) has mourned Odumakin, describing him as a brave warrior who used his intellect and the media to torment oppressors throughout his life.
SOKAPU, in a condolence message signed by its President, Mr. Jonathan Awake, said Odumakin was a fierce fighter for good governance, justice and democracy, not only for his people, but also the entire country.
The Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), Osun State chapter, yesterday commiserated with Afenifere over the death of Mr. Odumakin
A statement by IPAC spokesman Olatunji Popoola said: “We condole with Afenifere worldwide over the demise of its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin.
“The death of the Afenifere national spokesperson was disheartening; it was a colossal loss for the entire Yoruba race as a youthful, articulate and vibrant Yoruba freedom agitator has died.
“He was a courageous man who lived his life for the betterment of people and adding values to people around him.
“We prayed for the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss by the pan Yoruba group, Afenifere.”
SOURCE: THE NATION