All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said the late Afenifere spokesman Yinka Odumakin was a dogged fighter for justice and rule of law.
The former Lagos State governor said the story of Nigeria’s democracy would not be complete without Odumakin’s mention.
In a statement at the weekend, titled: Tinubu condoles with the family of Yinka Odumakin, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “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.”
The APC stalwart also described the late Odumakin as a sincere man who always put Nigeria first, despite their political differences.
“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 and 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.
Asiwaju Tinubu noted that ever since his student days, Odumakin had been fearless and unrelenting in speaking up for justice and what he perceived as the best interest of Nigerians, which had seen him get arrested in the past.
He said although the late Odumakin never held a public office, the activist was a constant feature and part of Nigeria’s public consciousness over the last two decades of the current unbroken democratic dispensation.
Asiwaju Tinubu yesterday paid a condolence visit to the family of the late Afenifere spokesman in Omole Estate, Ikeja.
Other eminent persons who also visited the family included Afenifere Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; popular preacher, Pastor Tunde Bakare; former Ogun State governor and senator representing Ogun Cntral, Ibikunle Amosun and Afenifere stalwart, Mr. Wale Oshun.
Also, a former Afenifere Publicity Secretary, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, yesterday described the late Odumakin, his successor, as a defender of Yoruba interest.
In a statement in Lagos, Adeyeye, a former Minister of State for Works, said: “Yinka took over the baton from me as the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere. I was privileged to serve as the spokesman of the foremost pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political group in its heydays under the able leadership of Pa Abraham Adesanya and Chief Bola Ige (both of blessed memories).
“When the PDP election tsunami of 2003 swept away five of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) state governments, leaving only the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government in Lagos as the sole survivor, I was asked by our leaders to switch over to the heavily wounded and battered AD to defend it as spokesman in what was certain to be uneasy and difficult days ahead.
“My natural successor in Afenifere was none other than Yinka Odumakin. He understood the issues and we had served together in the Political Committee of Afenifere, which was the think-tank of the organisation.
“Yinka was passionate about the Yoruba cause. Having been part of the democratic struggle he was committed to its survival. He devoted his great intellect and energy to the fight for true federalism and devolution of power. He was an advocate for justice and fairness to all.
“Not everyone agreed with his methods and tactics. But none would deny that he was an effective and deadly adversary. A torn in the flesh of whoever his arrow is directed.
“He will be sorely missed no less by his dear wife, a great activist in her own right, the civil society community, Afenifere, the various pan-Yoruba groups which he championed and all Nigerians.
“Our condolences go to his wife and our new leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, who will really miss his service and companionship at this nascent moment of his tenure.
“May Yinka’s soul rest in peace.”
Also, Afenifere has said it had postponed its monthly meeting, scheduled to hold today in Akure, the Ondo State capital, following Odumakin’s death.
A statement announcing the cancellation of the April meeting was signed by the organisation’s Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Adeleke Mabinuori.
It reads: “I have been directed by the Acting Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, to inform you that the Afenifere meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 6, 2021, is cancelled.
“This is in honour of the late Afenifere Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin. Please, await further directives.”