The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday, described the late activist, Yinka Odumakin, as a man of courage, integrity and truth.
Mr Gbajabiamila made this remark at the Lying-in-State, Service of Songs and Tributes for the late spokesman of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, in Lagos.
Mr Gbajabiamila, who said that he had a distant but good encounter with the deceased, eulogised the late activist’s stand against all odds.
“My knowledge of him was based on admiration of his qualities, what he stood for and what he represent and of who he was.
“I came to know from a distance, a man who had been through so much vicissitude of life, twists and turns but who in all of these stood straight.
“When you talk about profile and courage, I am not sure like many others attested too today, that you can count on one hand any whose name will come before Yinka Odumakin.
“There lies a man of courage, there lies a man of integrity, there lies a true democrat, a man who stood for truth, and nothing else.”
The former governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, said the late Mr Odumakin meant well for the people, as a friend of the masses and of Nigeria.
“It does not matter how long one lived but the impact one made while alive matters. Yinka was a fighter who would pursue whatever he believed in day and night.
“Yinka and I disagreed on so many things, but we cannot deny the fact that Yinka meant well for the good of the people.
“I can assure you that all that Yinka fought for will come to pass one day. Yinka, Adieu, friend of the masses and friend of Nigeria,” Mr Amosun said.
Also, Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra, said that the late Mr Odumakin was someone with a commitment to build a better society and nation.
Mr Obi urged all politicians to come together and agree to serve Nigeria for the betterment of all.
“Yinka fought for the masses and justice. He is gone and all that we can do is to continue the fight. We, the politicians that are here, let us, for his sake, work and serve Nigeria truly,” he said.
In his tribute, Olusegun Mimiko, the former governor of Ondo State, described the deceased as “a compulsive networker and a true activist since his University days”.
“This is a glorious exit of a young man who has come and conquered. I pray that the restructuring which Yinka stood for will come to reality.
“l urge all to recommit ourselves to Nigeria of our dreams. Let us re-dedicate and invest in it. Nigeria will be better for the struggle of Yinka Odumakin,” he said.
For the leader of the Pan-Yoruba Socio-Cultural group, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, getting a replacement for Mr Odumakin will be difficult.
“As human, it is difficult to replace Yinka, but l pray God replace 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 urged other Nigerian activists to emulate the selflessness of late Mr Odumakin.
The Afenifere leader, who said that he had long been standing for a united Nigeria and stood for it, called for a restructured Nigeria so that there could be unity.
According to him, those calling for restructuring are not calling for secession in the country.
“Those of us talking about 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,” he said.
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, in his tribute, also described Mr Odumakin as an irreplaceable great man.
“Yinka has created a vacuum which I don’t think any other activist in Yorubaland can easily fill.
“We are talking of someone who has never been a governor, senator, even chairman of local government talkless of local government councillor but have a glorious exit.
“We have the number one citizen of Lagos State here (Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu), number four in Nigeria (Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila), elder statesmen, serving senators, former governors and others.”
Mr Adams urged Nigerians to follow whatever good cause they believed in as Mr Odumakin did and died for.
“When you are talking about true federalism, Yinka Odumakin was a great apostle. We have always been on the same page on ideology,” he added.
NAN reports that the event was graced by a host of civil society and ethnic groups, political stalwarts, lawmakers, and many friends and acquaintances of the late Mr Odumakin.
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