PROFILE: Yinka Odumakin’s many years of activism, Yoruba advocacy

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NATIONAL Publicity Secretary of Afenifere Yinka Odumakin was confirmed  dead on Saturday morning following complications from COVID-19.

A human rights activist, Odumakin was one of the most active image makers of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation in its 23-year history.

Odumakin was pronounced dead at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital after health complications.

Before his death, Odumakin had been one of the strong members of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) who fought against the military regime of General Sani Abacha that annulled the 1993 presidential election.

The group called on Abacha to step down in favour of late Moshood Abiola, who was the winner of the 1993 presidential election.

Odumakin, who was married to an activist Joe Odumakin, threw his weight behind several agitations in support of the Yoruba citizen.

Before his death, he had been one of the critics of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, saying that the federal government represented only Fulani interests against those of Yoruba, Igbo, Junkun, Ijaw and other tribes in Nigeria.

Odumakin said this while reacting to the Federal Government’s comment that criticised the position of Rotimi Akeredolu who asked Fulani herders to vacate the state’s forest reserves.

“The Fulani criminals have caused untold hardships in Ondo State and other Yoruba towns and cities in recent times and only an irresponsible government that wants to behave like our Federal Government that cares will continue to fold its arms,” Odumakin said.

Before his death, he had also advocated the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) codenamed Operation Amotekun.

According to Odumakin, Operation Amotekun was to “secure lives and property, to aid the police where the police have failed, to fill in the gap.”

Reacting to the death of the human rights activist, President Buhari condoled with his family and friends while describing him as a man of conviction.

Buhari said Odumakin, who was his spokesman in 2011 during his contest for the Nigerian president, was a dutiful person while expressing sorrow over his death.

“The President recalls Odumakin as dutiful, and a person of conviction, expressing sorrow at his demise, when he had a lot more to contribute to society and the nation at large,” a statement from the Presidency read in part.


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