The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), ex-presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, governors, ex-governors and other eminent Nigerians on Saturday mourned the death of the Spokesperson for the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin.
Buhari’s statement on Odumakin, who served as his spokesman when he contested the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, was signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
The statement stated, “The President recalls 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 prays God to grant repose to the soul of the departed activist, and comfort all those who mourn him.”
Also, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who expressed shock at the news of Odumakin’s passage, commiserated with his wife, family and associates according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande. Akande said, “He prays that the Lord will comfort the family, and bless his memory always.”
The deceased’s widow and popular gender activist, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said in a statement announcing the demise of her husband that, “A part of me is gone.” She added that her husband died after a brief illness.’’
Okei-Odumakin said, “The sad event happened this morning (Saturday) at the intensive care unit of the 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 soul mate. 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.”
Besides, Obasanjo visited the acting leader of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, at his residence in Lagos on Saturday. Obasanjo was accompanied during the visit by a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun.
Osuntokun told Sunday PUNCH that the ex-president was saddened by the death of the activist, adding that the visit to Adebanjo was meant to console him.
Jonathan in a condolence message to the Odumakin family titled, “A Great Voice for Equity is Gone,” described the deceased as a courageous patriot and rights crusader who contributed immensely to the development of the nation.
He further noted that Odumakin was a man with rich democratic credentials who “played active roles in the years of activism that birthed and stabilised civil rule in our country.”
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Waziri Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar, said Odumakin was a patriot and strong believer in the promotion of good governance, democracy and the rule of law.
In a statement he signed on Saturday, Abubakar said he, “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.’’
In a condolence message on Saturday titled, “Tinubu Condoles With the Family of Yinka Odumakin,’’ the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said Nigeria’s democracy story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Odumakin.
He recalled the contributions of Odumakin to the June 12 struggle after the annulment of the election won by the late Chief MKO Abiola.Tinubu in the statement said, “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. 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.’’
Govs, others condoles Odumakin family
Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, said Odumakin’s demise was a great loss to Yorubaland and the nation at large. Oyetola in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, on Saturday, also condoled the deceased’s wife and family.
Oyetola noted that Odumakin’s contributions to the enthronement and growth of democracy in Nigeria would not be forgotten.
The Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, noted that the news of Odumakin’s passing was tragic and deeply devastating. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi said Yoruba and indeed Nigeria lost a truly patriotic citizen, a fearless activist who consistently spoke truth to power, and a man of the people who championed the cause of his people till he breathed his last.
Likewise, Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, on Saturday, said the South-West lost a courageous human rights activist and fearless public commentator with Odumakin’s death.
For Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Odumakin’s death was a personal loss of a good brother, and a great loss to the Yoruba race.Makinde in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, on Saturday, said, “I lost a brother, Yorubaland lost a true fighter, Makinde mourns Odumakin.” The governor stated that the news caused him a rude shock that left him in a sad mood.On his part, the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, on Saturday, said that the demise of Odumakin was “heartaching; it’s one death with many losses to our people”
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who joined his colleagues to mourn Odumakin, said the activist led a selfless life, adding that he wouldn’t be forgotten in a hurry.
His counterpart in Benue State, Samuel Ortom, in a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, described his death as shocking and painful, adding that the late Afenifere spokesperson’s passage marked the end of an illustrious career marked by objectivity and patriotism.
The governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, noted that Odumakin was a great patriot and champion of democracy.
EX-govs, Afenifere, APC, PDP, others mourn
Similarly, ex-governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, said Nigeria lost a prominent voice in the fight for true federalism and unity of the nation with Odumakin’s death.
Mimiko, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr John-Paul Akinduro, described Odumakin as “a progressive activist and democrat whose struggle for Nigeria’s return to democracy cannot be quantified.’’
In the same vein, Afenifere described the death of its publicity secretary as sad, devastating and a terrible blow to the organisation and the country. The Secretary-General of Afenifere, Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa, said, “It is a terrible blow. A terrible blow to me as a person because we’re 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.’’
In his tribute, ex-governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, described Odumakin’s demise, as shocking and saddening. The former governor in a tweet on his Twitter page said, “Shocked and saddened but with total submission to the will of God. Yinka Odumakin lived a life of justice, fighting for justice and equity for all.”
In a statement he signed on Saturday, ex-governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, said, “A dark moment that eclipsed one of the vocal voices of the Yoruba nation and of social, cultural and political activism in our country Nigeria.
Ex-governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, expressed shock over Odumakin’s death.
Ibori, in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mr Tony Eluemunor, described Odumakin as the kind of gadfly any nation would need; indefatigable, ready to take a stand on issues, maintaining a credible constancy, instead of changing directions like a wind vane.
In his reaction, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, said Yoruba lost a true son, a committed fellow, and the voice of the people.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, Adams said the Afenifere spokesperson’s death was a big loss to the Yoruba nation, adding that death had dealt Yorubaland a big blow, leaving in its wake, sad memories of the loss of a brother, a friend and dependable ally.
In its condolence message, the All Progressives Congress said the Yoruba nation and indeed the country had lost a seasoned public analyst and activist with Odumakin’s death.
In a statement by the National Secretary, Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee, APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, on Saturday, titled ‘APC Mourns Odumakin,’ the party said the deceased was relentless in canvassing and serving the interests of Yorubaland and the progress of the country at large.
In its condolence, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party stated that Odumakin’s death was a huge loss according to a statement by its Spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan.
The party acknowledged the late Odumakin’s erudite contributions to national dialogue and relentless commitment towards the development of democratic ethos in the country.
It added,In a condolence statement on Saturday by the Conscience of Yoruba Nation Forum signed by the group’s Secretary, Pastor Kenny Adenugba and Convener, Abagun Kole Omololu, the group said the deceased was unyielding against the forces of darkness that sought to subdue “our people through economic slavery and policies meant to make the Yoruba second class in a supposedly federal Nigeria. He lived his words. He remained faithful to the Yoruba cause till the very end, at a time others were desperately looking for where to butter their bread.’’ The group noted that the torch he held aloft remained lit, adding that nothing absolutely could extinguish it.