By Oluwatope Lawansonn
National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu, has expressed shock over the death of the spokesperson of Afenifere Renewal Group, Yinka Odumakin.
Tinubu, in a condolence message on Saturday in Lagos, described the deceased as a committed fighter for democracy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that late Odumakin, 54, died in the early hours of Saturday after a brief illness.
The APC leader said that the late Odumakin was also a dedicated activist, outspoken defender of whatever ideals and principles he believed in and a patriotic citizen in every sense of the word.
The former governor of Lagos recalled that 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 ever since his student days.
He said the deceased never allowed himself to succumb to tyranny or be pressured into submissive and pliant silence.
He also added that Odumakin was at the vanguard of the battle against the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election
Tinubu noted that it was impossible to credibly tell the story of the emergence of the democracy being enjoyed in today’s dispensation without emblazoning late Odumakin’s name in gold.
According to him, Odumakin was rock solid in his commitment to Afenifere, the Yoruba people and the several other civil society groups in which he played active roles.
“Odumakin never held public office, but he has been a constant feature and part of our public consciousness over the last two decades of this unbroken democratic dispensation.”
According to him, the late activist sought to always promote the common good of his community and country.
Recounting his times with the late Odumakin in the last two and a half decades, Tinubu said he could testify to Odumakin’s capacity for hard work, his brilliance, his tenacity in 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.
“For, given his talents and abilities, Odumakin could easily have opted to focus on his personal welfare and that of his family rather than embroil himself in the several struggles he dedicated his life to.
“It is certainly not fortuitous that his wife, the indefatigable Amazon, Dr Joe Odumakin, was Yinka’s comrade in struggle and active collaborator in fighting for justice, liberty and the dignity of the underprivileged.
“They were iconic soul mates in the ceaseless battle for a better and greater Nigeria,” the APC leader said.
Tinubu extended his condolences to the deceased wife and her family.
He prayed God comfort and strengthen them even as they take solace in the massive outpouring of grief nationwide at the late Odumakin’s passage.
“I also express my heartfelt condolences to Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the Afenifere leader, and all other leaders and members of Afenifere as well as all Yinka’s associates in the civil society movement.
“His life vividly demonstrates once again, in the immortal words of Chief Obafemi Awolowo that `it is not life that matters but the courage you bring into it’ and that it is not how long we live but how well and productively that matters.
“Odumakin is gone, but he lives on in the memory of millions of his compatriots. May his soul rest in peace,” Tinubu said (NAN)