To a True Son of the Niger by Ojo Aderemi

To a true son of the Niger

First of all, we should see it this way, that Yinka Odumakin was killed by promises not fulfilled. Would he have died if he had been admitted to the London Metropolitan Hospital, or the UCH of the ages past even. We may never know. Different allegations have risen trailing his death. Some say he was murdered. For political reasons. Maybe. But that is not impossible judging by the threat he represented, whom he was and what he was. A fighter. Uncompromising, perhaps.

His student politics earned him outright expulsion from the University during the Ibrahim Babangida junta. He was committed to the course he embraced; to oust military dictatorship. His continuous remembrance must be ensured to always make the memory of military rule remain what it is; bitter, undesirable, destructive!
In the mid 1990s as Mr Femi Falana (SAN) pointed in his tribute, his position changed. He, Mr Yinka, informed him that he has decided to continue the struggle along ethnic lines. He joined the Pan Yoruba organisation; Afenifere where he quickly became Spokesman despite his age. Yet, Mr Yinka was never an ethnic nationalist nor an ethnic jingoist. He believed in his Nigeria, a united Nigeria where power devolved into the federating units. There is the reason why his death has become a dangerous void in soul of the struggle. He was a stabilizing force that stepped down tribal tendencies among his comrades.

His person must be understood. His memory preserved for the sake of young people derailing but insisting. Yinka Odumakin was not a tribalist or a secessionist agitator. He only knew the truth and said it -that Nigeria’s existence is anchored on the quick dispensation of justice. Restructuring is the surest way to elongate the life of a united Nigeria. He wanted nothing more.

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Just for further proof of his detribalised nature, Mr Yinka married Dr Joe Obiajulu Okei-Odumakin an Igbo. They met during their incarceration in the heat of the June 12 struggle. They met in Kiri-Kiri.

However, as it is said of all humans that infallibility is not an endowment from God to the mortal, some of Mr Yinka’s decisions might remain irreconcilable with his ideals. Although he faced detention in the worst prison facilities for his involvement with NADECO an organisation that relentlessly fought against the Sanni Abacha junta, his choice for the Nigerian leadership was General Muhammadu Buhari, an individual who not only served in the brutal, murderous Abacha administration but has also remained a staunch defender of that regime. Buhari has remained – till date – insistent that Abacha did not steal from Nigeria despite evidences.
He has since repented from his dedication to the wrong personality who later became a victim of his wild criticism.

Mr Yinka was a patriot to the core. His loyalty was first to his community. On many occasions he has had fallouts with friends whose personal interests seemed to override the collective goal. He did not mind the consequences each time he publicly registered his displeasure with frightening revelations.

His death is a warning to all of us that his kind is becoming very scarce. Perhaps the thinning out of the front he represented gave rise to the secessionist agitations springing up in his homeland. The least we should do is understand his views and make them popular.

Ojo, Aderemi

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