Echoes of restructuring, good governance pulsating as nation bids Odumakin farewell
• Nigeria Lost A Phenomenal Leader, Crusader For New Nation – Oyetola
• Fayemi, Makinde, Adebanjo Extol Deceased’s Virtues
• Ooni Names Road After Him
As the Yoruba Nation and indeed other nationalities converged on Osun State yesterday to pay the last respect to late activist and human rights crusader, Yinka Odumakin, before committing him to mother earth, there were renewed calls for good governance and restructuring of the country, two ideals the deceased fought for till he breathed his last.
From the host governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; his Oyo State counterpart, Mr. Seyi Makinde; Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, to the National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Wale Oke, governments across the country and the federal government were urged to rally behind the restructuring initiative so the nation could witness meaningful development.
The funeral programme for the departed National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, which was held in his hometown, Mooro, Ife North council of Osun State, witnessed an outpouring of tributes. The event commenced at about 9.30 a.m with the wife of the deceased, Dr. Joe, leading the pallbearers into Origbo Anglican Grammar School, Mooro, venue of the event.
In his speech, Governor Oyetola said Odumakin did not hold any public office but impacted humanity in unique ways, adding that the deceased left “a legacy of inspirational service, fierce loyalty to the Yoruba race and relentless contributions to the quest for a greater nation.
“His is certainly one death too many and it’s such a trying time for us all, particularly his family. He was a phenomenal leader, who, without holding public office, impacted us in unique ways. We’re pained by the death of a man who lived for the people. But we must find comfort in the truly phenomenal life he lived,” Oyetola said.
Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State described Odumakin as a fighter and democrat to the core. “Yinka was a fighter. He was unapologetic about his pursuit of restructuring. We will continue to pursue those things Yinka pursued laboriously until we have a Nigeria that serves all Nigerians. We must not succumb to agitation for secession.”
Fayemi noted that Odumakin was unapologetic to the Yoruba nation’s agenda and was not a secessionist. He said the deceased always cleared the path to progress and made a great impact on the progress and development of the country.
“Yinka’s departure has given a great legacy, the legacy of speaking truth and of the unrelenting campaign for the restructuring of our country. As we all know, this country needs rescue from the evil merchants who want to drag it down. That is what our brother stood for all his life right from his days at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University).
“We must not succumb to the merchant of division, we must not succumb to the merchant of secession and all calculated to bring this country down, that is all we can do to keep the memory of Odumakin. On behalf of our Chairman, Southwest Governors Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who would have loved to be here, and the entire governors, I affirm that we will continue to pursue the courage of conviction, the determination not to give up, the pursuit of restructuring and all that Yinka stood for until we have a new Nigeria,” Fayemi added.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde said Odumakin’s ideals and struggles would forever light people’s path until a Nigeria that all deserve is achieved. “Odumakin’s ideals and struggles will forever light the path for us until we get the type of country that we deserve which Yinka and others laboured for,” he said.
In his remarks, the National Leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said that President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be the number one personality delaying the restructuring of the country.
Adebanjo, however, reiterated that Afenifere was a committed block to Nigeria’s unity and a friend to President Buhari, saying that the call for restructuring by the group was for Nigeria’s progress and development.
The nonagenarian described Odumakin as “a rare gem, not common among this generation. Yinka right from his young days was consistently consistent, fighting for his people among all odds and enchantments. He lived a short but long life that will never be forgotten. Afenifere is mourning our indefatigable spokesperson, a fearless writer.
Meanwhile, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has named Ife-Moro road after the late activist.
Oba Ogunwusi, who was represented by Chief Kemade Elugbade at the funeral service, described the human rights activist as an unforgettable nationalist, patriotic descendant of Oduduwa, and a positive factor in Nigeria’s democracy. “He was a disciplined Yoruba leader who has been one of the loudest pro-democracy voices in the country,” Ooni added.
For the deceased’s wife, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, Nigerians owe the late activist a duty of ensuring that the country is restructured. While revealing how Odumakin was hospitalised and received oxygen for 24 days, the widow said he was still fighting for Nigeria even while receiving treatment.
“You spoke for Afenifere and for humanity and told the whole world that true Federalism matters. You said life in Nigeria has become brutish, short, and nasty. Yinka was on oxygen for 24 days. But he told me he will come back to write his story himself. That was why we all kept mute about his ordeal except the few ones that were privileged. We are from dust and to dust, we will return, but I want to assure everyone that his ideals and legacies will continue to live forever.
“We all owe him a duty to rededicate ourselves for a Nigeria that works, for a restructured Nigeria, a Nigeria where there is equality, a Nigeria where life can’t be wasted, a Nigeria where people will be respected irrespective of their age, colour, and tribe,” Joe said.
In his homily at the funeral service, the National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Wale Oke of Christ Life Church worldwide, said it was comforting to discover that Odumakin’s last words were “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”
Oke admonished politicians to have fear of God, adding, “Yinka used his life to serve God and humanity.”
“We need the fear of God for a better Nigeria. A politician with the fear of God would not convert the money meant for the people but use the resources to make their lives better. With the fear of God, no one would carry AK-47 and kill his fellow human. We are creatures, so we will die, only God cannot die. Yinka used his life to serve God and humanity. Before death came calling, he called on the saviour at the most critical point of his life. Without Christ, there is no hope of glory,” the cleric told the crowd that gathered at the funeral.
Dignitaries in attendance at the funeral were Osun Governor’s wife, Alhaja Kafayat Oyetola, Osun Deputy Gov, Mr Benedict Alabi, former Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko; Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico, Dr Adejare Bello; Secretary to Osun State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji; Comrade Amitolu Shittu; Chairman of Osun All Progressive (APC), Prince Gboyega Famodun; former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Osun, Mr Niyi Owolade, and the Aare Ona-kankanfo of Yoruba land, Mr Gani Adams.
Others included Oba of Moro Land, former speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Adejare Bello; Comrade Waheed Lawal, members of the Afenifere Yoruba group; human rights activists; members of the Civil Society Organisations; traditional rulers; top government functionaries and politicians, among others.
No comments yet