How he died of COVID-19 complications — Wife
Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan, govs, Tinubu, Fani-Kayode, ACF, YCE, Arewa youths, others mourn
Afenifere delegation visits deceased’s parents in Ife today
By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Henry Umoru, Peter Duru, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Dirisu Yakubu, Olayinka Ajayi
Tributes, yesterday, poured in for the late spokesman for pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, whose death left many Nigerians in state of shock.
The news of his demise, which broke at about 10: am, left people of different political, social, ethnic and professional leanings mourning as Christians across the world mark Easter.
Specifically, governors, statesmen, political leaders, human rights community and traditional rulers, among others, mourned the passage of Odumakin, who was described as a patriot.
His wife, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, who confirmed the development, said the Afenifere scribe died of COVID-19 complications.
She said her husband died at the Intensive Care Unit of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, where he was being treated for respiratory issues due to complications from COVID-19, adding that he had recovered from the ailment a week ago.
I mourn my irreplaceable soul mate —Wife
Joe Odumakin said her husband is irreplaceable soul mate in a brief statement titled: A Part of Me is Gone.
The statement reads: “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 this morning (Saturday, 3/4/2021) 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 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.”
Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo paid a condolence visit to the Lagos home of Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, who was devastated by the news of the demise.
Sunday Vanguard also learned that a delegation of Yoruba leaders would visit the parents of Odumakin in Ife today.
The team would be led by the deputy leader of Afenifere, Oba Oladipupo Olaitan, alongside Chief Akin Osuntokun and others. Odumakin, who died at the age of 59, until his death, was a columnist in Vanguard Newspapers.
He treated contemporary socio-political issues in his weekly column.
He had more to contribute —Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his reaction to the demise, described Odumakin as a man of conviction, saying the late Afenifere scribe had more to contribute to the nation.
Buhari spoke in a statement by his Senior Special Adviser Media, Femi Adesina.
The statement reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with the family, friends, and acquaintances of Yinka Odumakin, spokesman of Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere.
“Odumakin was also spokesman to the then Gen Buhari in 2011 when he ran for President on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), now defunct.
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.”
Great voice for equity is gone—Jonathan
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan also expressed sadness over the death of Odumakin, describing it as shocking.
He said the late Afenifere chieftain was a courageous patriot and rights crusader who contributed so much to the development of the nation.
Jonathan, in a statement titled ‘A Great Voice for Equity is Gone’, 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 great nationalist—Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, described Odumakin as a great nationalist, passionate leader and champion of a true Nigeria that would work for every citizen.
Sanwo-Olu who said this in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said the Afenifere spokesman lived a selfless life, adding that he would not be forgotten in a hurry.
According to him, “it is with a deep sense of sorrow but with a heart full of gratitude to God for a good life spent by the late Yinka Odumakin that I write to commiserate with the family, friends and associates of the late Yinka Odumakin.
“Odumakin was undoubtedly a great nationalist, passionate leader and champion of a true Nigeria that would work for every citizen.
“Odumakin as a 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. Odumakin stood firmly for the attainment of constitutional democracy and fiscal federalism as the basis for sustainable development and lifting the masses out of poverty.”
Yinka was a true fighter for Yoruba cause—Makinde
Similarly, Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, described Odumakin’s death as a personal loss.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, said the news came as a rude shock that has left him in a sad mood.
He commiserated with Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, wife of the late Afenifere chieftain, the Odumakin family, members of Afenifere and the entire Yoruba nation.
Makinde 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.
The governor said: “Words failed me when I received the news of the death of a wonderful brother and friend, a true Yoruba son and a true fighter of the cause of our nation, Yinka Odumakin. This is a personal loss to me, a huge loss to the Yoruba nation and Nigeria, because Odumakin, apart from being a true Yoruba son and an embodiment of the Omoluabi ethos, is an advocate of good governance and true federalism.”
He was dogged against herdsmen attacks—Ortom
Mourning the late Odumakin, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, said his death was painful.
According to Ortom, “Mr. Odumakin was a voice of reason and a respected human rights activist whose contributions during the days of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), leading to the country’s return to civil rule in 1999 will always be remembered.
“I recall in particular, the dogged stand of Odumakin against herdsmen attacks on innocent people in Benue and other parts of the country when he fearlessly spoke the truth to power calling for justice and insisting that all Nigerians be treated as citizens with equal rights and privileges.”
He defended the defenceless—Abiodun
Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, described the death of Odumakin as painful.
He said: 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.
“As the spokesperson of the Afenifere, he discharged his duties diligently and defended the cause of the southwest passionately.”
He was a nationalist—Akeredolu
Also expressing shock at the development, Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said Odumakin was a nationalist who gave his all to Nigeria.
In a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, Akeredolu said Odumakin was a true nationalist who placed the Yoruba race on a pedestal of honour and high regards.
“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.”
Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, also mourned the passing of Odumakin, describing him as a great patriot and champion of democracy.
He defended the ordinary people —Atiku
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said the late Afenifere spokesman was a patriot and strong believer in the promotion of good governance, democracy and the rule of law.
Atiku said: “I sympathize 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.”
Odumakin was true definition of a patriot—Tinubu
Expressing shock at the death of Odumakin, National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said he was a true definition of a citizen and patriot.
He said this in a statement titled: Yinka Odumakin: Premature Departure of a Bright Star.
The statement reads: “Like millions of Nigerians, I received with profound shock the news of the death early this morning of Mr. Yinka Odumakin, spokesman of Afenifere, committed fighter for democracy, dedicated civil society activist, a courageous and outspoken defender of whatever ideals and principles he believed in and a patriotic citizen in every sense of the word.
Ever since his student days, Odumakin had been fearless and unrelenting in speaking up in promoting the cause of justice and what he perceived as the best interest of the citizens of Nigeria. He participated actively at the forefront in the various students and youth struggles against successive military dictatorships in the 1980s and 1990s. In the process, he was arrested, harassed and even detained several times. Yet, he never allowed himself to succumb to tyranny or be pressured into submissive and pliant silence.
“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”.
He was a great warrior—Fani Kayode
On his part, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode said: “I am deeply saddened that we have lost Comrade Yinka Odumakin, one of our brightest and best.
“He was a great warrior who feared nothing and who stood for truth and justice right to the end.
“The South West and indeed Nigeria has lost one of its greatest sons and brightest stars.
May the Lord forgive him of all his sins, May He honor him with a place in Heaven and May his great and mighty soul rest in peace. Adieu great warrior, until we meet again”
Odumakin was a courageous federalist —Ekweremadu
A former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, described the death of Odumakin as a big loss, not only to the Yoruba nation but also to the entire country.
In a statement yesterday by his Media Special Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, the former Deputy President of the Senate who condoled with the pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, expressed shock over the development, said Odumakin was a courageous leader and federalist, who worked tirelessly for a peaceful, equitable, and prosperous Nigeria.
He said, “This is hard to believe and it is a very grave loss to not only the Yoruba ethnic nationality but also Nigeria as a whole.
“Yinka was a federalist, patriot, pan-Nigerian and a courageous leader, who longed for a peaceful, secure, equitable, and prosperous Nigeria and worked hard and tirelessly towards achieving it.”
Yinka died fighting for justice, equity —Fayose
Former Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, in a statement said the late Afenifere chieftain lived a life of justice, fighting for justice and equity for all.
According to Fayose, Odumakin would be remembered for his undiluted love for the Yoruba race and Nigerians in general.
Yinka should not have gone at this time — Afenifere
Reacting to Odumakin’s death, Secretary General of Afenifere, Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa, said: “it’s a terrible blow. It is a terrible blow to me as a person because we have been so intimate.
“He has been my right-hand man in Afenifere management. It is terrible.
Yinka should not have gone at this time. It is a terrible blow to Afenifere and Nigeria.
“We have lost a brilliant chap with intelligence and brilliant ideas. This is sad, very sad.
“What a pity. I pity his wife, Joe.”
We lost a credible voice for true federalism—Ibori
A former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, expressed shock at the death of Odumakin.
Ibori, in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mr. Tony Eluemunor, described Odumakin as the kind of gadfly that any nation would need.
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. I always wished him well. Now, I will miss him very much. He remained an activist till the bitter end.”
It’s a great loss to Nigeria, Yoruba nation—YCE
Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide, described Odumakin’s death as a loss to Nigeria and the Yoruba.
In a telephone conversation with Sunday Vanguard he said Odumakin was a committed Nigerian, a true patriot, and energetic fighter for justice, equity and fairness in Nigeria.
Olajide said:” Odumakin loved this country almost to fault. He was very dedicated and richly endowed with great intellect, enormous energy, courage boldness and respect. He deployed all these for the good of the country, Yoruba nation and his family.”
We lost him when he was needed most — Arewa Youths
On its part, National President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shetimma, while mourning Odumakin, said Nigeria has lost one of its best.
Shetimma said: “It is a great loss. Yinka was one of our finest. In the Arewa community, we have lost one of our best. He was a shining and leading light in our struggle. It is a loss to the family and the country. We lost Yinka at a time we needed him most. I am still in shock.”
I’ve lost a friend—Osuntokun
Also mourning, former Political Adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, said he has lost a friend.
Osuntokun said: “I have lost a friend. The vacuum he has left behind, may God help us to fill. God knows best.”
Yoruba have lost a good fighter —ARG
On his part, National Chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, Mr. Wale Oshun, described the late Odumakin as a good fighter.
Oshun, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard said:”He was a great Yoruba man, a great fighter for justice and for the Yoruba nation. For me, I have lost a friend in the struggle for equity for the Yoruba. He really believed in devoting his time and energy to equity and justice in the interest of the Yoruba man.”
We’ll miss his bravery— Gani Adams
Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, described the death of Odumakin as one death too many.
Aare Adams, however, said Odumakin’s death had dealt the Yoruba nation a big blow, leaving in its wake, sad memories.
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, described the late Odumakin as a true Yoruba son, a committed fellow, and the voice of the people, especially the downtrodden.
The statement reads:”We’ll all miss his voice. We’ll miss his commitment, we’ll miss is bravery because the late Yinka Odumakin’s fearless image loomed larger than what we can easily forget in a hurry. He was a phenomenon that spoke truth to power.”
He was a defender of Yoruba —Oke
Also, a former Secretary of Afeniferè in Kwara State, Chief Wole Oke, said:”The death of Yinka Odumakin is very shocking and most unfortunate. The mystery of life is that death will come at God’s appointed time and take people away.Yoruba nation has lost a true and genuine defender of her cause.”
S-West states, CSOs should imortalise him — HURIWA
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, likened the death of to a political earthquake.
In a condolence statement signed by its Executive Director, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA called on governors of the South- West states and civil society organizations to immortalize the famous activist as a way of keeping his legacies intact for generation yet unborn.
His words:”The death of Mr. YINKA Odumakin, one of the fiercest nationalists and federalists, who campaigned vigorously for the enthronement of social justice, transparency, equity, equality of rights and respect to the principles of the rule of law is very sad and tragic. That this is happening at a time of the worst kind of dictatorship and the rise of tyranny that has no conscience or feelings for the well being and welfare of the nation state and her citizens, makes his death even more very sad. The tribe of the outspoken patriots in Nigeria has shrunk with his passage.”
Odumakin lived for Nigeria —PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also described the death of Odumakin as a huge loss to the nation.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said Odumakin was consistently focused in fighting for a nation in which the principles of equity, fairness and justice thrive.
“He dedicated his life as a journalist, human right activist and social crusader for improvement in every phase of the live in our country.”
Southern, Middle Belt Leaders, PANDEF mourn
Elder statesmen from four of the six geo-political zones in the country, under the aegis of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum and the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF have described the death of Odumakin as a heavy loss.
A statement signed by the leaders of the Middle- Belt, Ohaneaze, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, South-South and Afenifere, the groups described late Odumakin as its backbone who worked tirelessly for the group.