…For Burial In Osun Today
The 93-year-old Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, wept uncontrollably at the lying-in-state for Yinka Odumakin, the group’s spokesman, who died on Friday April 2 at the age of 54.
Apart from the nonagenarian, many dignitaries including Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila paid tributes to the late human rights activist.
The lying-in-state also had former governors, Peter Obi (Anambra), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), and Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), ex-Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele; Pastor Ituah Ighadalo of Trinity House Church, other Afenifere leaders, politicians, and human rights activists.
Odumakin, a fierce critic of President Muhammadu Buhari administration died at the Intensive Care Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja after recovering from COVID-19.
Adebanjo broke the barrier of Yoruba tradition which forbids a father to attend the burial of his children as he was physically present at the ceremony to honour the man who he described as irreplaceable.
While paying tributes to Odumakin whose widow is also prominent human rights activist, Adebanjo broke down in tears and said death left him a nonagenarian and took Odumakin who he said was 55.
I am not God, I am a human being. There is nothing impossible for God to do but as a human being, I will say it will be difficult to replace Yinka.
” Where can we find a young man of his age, not materialistic pursuing a cause he believes in selflessly, courageously, relentlessly and consistently? Yinka, God knows you are a blessing to Nigerian.
“It is not easy to talk about Yinka. Yinka is an irreplaceable material. Why should I be here?
“You can’t question him (God), leaving a man of 93 to take a man of 55-years. God, you are omnipotent, please replace him quickly for us.”
Sanwo-Olu in his tribute described Odumakin as a detribalised Nigerian who was a voice to the voiceless people. He said he fought for a better Nigeria until he breathed his last.
The governor said, “Yinka was one-half of the most formidable couple that we have seen in our history and the other half is his beloved wife, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, who now sadly has to continue this struggle without her husband, fellow comrade, and big friend that I know he is to her. My sister, you will continue to push on strongly in the trenches.
“We are passionate about what he believed in and what he stood for. He wanted the best for Nigeria. He wanted the best for his Yoruba nation but he was completely detribalised and he used his voice to advance the cause and the needs of the voiceless. Until the very end, he kept going.
“He kept speaking up, he kept working hard for a Nigeria that we all can be truly proud of. A Nigeria that will be land of justice, a Nigeria that will be fair, a Nigeria where equity would become the watchword, and a Nigeria that will truly reflect true modern federalism.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said he left the Green chamber where he was presiding to pay last respect to Odumakin, who he described as “a man of courage, integrity, true democrat and a man who stood for the truth and nothing else”.
The widow, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, said the good things said about her husband by many Nigerians would continue to make her to do more by continuing what her husband fought and stood for.
She said, “One thing that will never make me break down is that his ideals will live forever; his legacy will remain. All that he has lived for remain. Yinka, you are not dead; you are alive, you will continue to live in our unconsciousness. And to live in the unconsciousness of the people is to live forever. Yinka Odumakin, my comrade lives on.”
Meanwhile , the remains of Odumakin will.be buried in Moro near Ile Ife, his hometown today Friday.
Activists in Osun State have been fully mobilised to be present at the burial.
A leading human rights activist based in Osogbo, Waheed Lawal, said transportation arrangements have been made to take comrades to Moro to give last honour to their departed colleague.