NOTABLE Nigerians, including Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; former Ondo State governor Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams; former Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi; former Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr. John Nwodo, yesterday, paid glowing tributes to late Afenifere spokesperson, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, describing him as a committed Nigerian, who struggled for justice.
They spoke on the day of Tributes and Service of Songs for the late Odumakin, held at the Police College in Ikeja, Lagos.
Odumakin’s quality is rare—Adebanjo
Afenifere leader, Pa Adebanjo, who urged Nigerians to emulate Odumakin’s lifestyle, described him as a selfless and committed person, who struggled for justice.
Adebanjo said: “As a human, it is difficult to replace Yinka but I pray God replaces him for Nigeria. He was not a fake activist, but a true activist who believed in a good cause and true democracy.
“We are not gathered to mourn his age but to celebrate what Yinka stood for.”
He also restated the call for the restructuring of the country.
He said: “Those of us talking of restructuring truly want Nigeria to stay and be united. The suffering is much and if Nigeria is not restructured, we will continue to have more of Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu.
“The Fulani don’t understand what restructuring is. They think to restructure Nigeria is to divide Nigeria. Buhari is not the one to come to teach me on united Nigeria when I have been preaching it when he was in primary school. In the Northeast where there is Boko Haram now, I spent one year when Pa Obafemi Awolowo sent me to campaign in 1979 for the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN. If I don’t believe in one Nigeria, why would I go there?”
I admired Odumakin— Gbajabiamila
In his tribute, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Gbajabiamila said: “I never knew Yinka at close range, but my knowledge of him from a distance was that of admiration. He was a man who has been through the vicissitudes and came out unscathed. It was not about school or circumstances of life, but his service.”
Yinka was detribalised—Sanwo-Olu
Also speaking at the event, Governor Sanwo-Olu described the late Afenifere spokesperson as a detribalized Nigerian, who wanted the best for the country.
Sanwo-Olu said: “He wanted the best for Nigeria, for the Yoruba nation, and he was completely detribalised. Until the very end, he kept going on, working hard for a Nigeria that will reflect true modern federalism. He was a fighter who fell in his prime. We will continue to hold to the legacy in which he believed in.”
He fought oppression—Nwodo
On his part, former Ohanaeze Ndigbo president, Chief Nwodo said: “When you live in a country where your children are living below standard and you keep quiet, you are not Yinka, when you are afraid to speak about oppression, you are not Yinka, when you live in a country where an election is rigged without speaking, you are not Yinka. Each of us should take upon a touch of what Yinka stood for.”
Also, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, in his tribute went down memory lane where he met the late Yinka in 1986 when he was expelled from the University.