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Yinka Odumakin: A life of critical activism

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Yinka Odumakin

SHOCK and an outpouring of grief were the immediate responses by many Nigerians to the death of Comrade Peter Oluyinka Odumakin, a democracy advocate, civil society activist and spokesman for the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere.

His wife, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said he died on the morning of Saturday, April 3, 2021 at the Intensive Care Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, due to complications from COVID-19.

Since his death was announced, there has been a torrent of tributes from different parts of the country. From President Muhammadu Buhari to former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, to various state governors; other prominent political and opinion leaders across the country, the verdict remains the same: his death is a tragic blow, a sad loss to the country.

But death has not diminished his relevance as he had variously been described by friends and foes alike as undoubtedly a great patriot and nationalist, with many expressing regret that COVID-19 had unfairly robbed the country of his highly valued contributions and services at a time they are most needed.

An unrepentant critic of a troubled Nigeria and the leadership responsible for this sad state of affairs, Comrade Yinka Odumakin was for many years in the forefront of agitations to correct the many structural anomalies inherent in the country, leaving it almost prostrate and in danger of collapsing on itself.

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As a ready mouthpiece of the Afenifere, he was never shy or afraid to step on the sensitive toes of those in authority for failing to respond appropriately to the many leadership problems confronting Nigeria.

Until his death, he was a vibrant and relentless voice on the need to restructure the country so that it can find its bearing among the comity of nations that are developing at a rapid pace while Nigeria lags behind.

A prolific writer, ace commentator and critic, Yinka never missed the opportunity to bare his mind on sundry issues bordering on politics, power and the economy.

In the process, he kept government and public office holders constantly on their toes, hoping to get them to do the right things for the country. His column in Vanguard: “Candid Notes”, was a must-read every Tuesday, with his comments sometimes scathing but in most cases corrective.

His last column in Vanguard was published on Tuesday March 9, 2021. For some weeks, he had not sent his script for publication as he faithfully did and on time.

Unknown to us and most of his readers, he had fallen ill from the dastardly pandemic from which he eventually succumbed to the cold hands of death.

He was born 54 years ago at Moro, Ife North, Osun State. May his soul rest in peace.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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