Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, wife of the late Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said, yesterday, that she wished her husband was alive to witness the glowing tributes poured on him, even by those he disagreed with.
While she said the passing of her husband was a shock to her, she noted that she was yet to get over it.
This came on a day the Pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, cancelled its monthly meeting, scheduled to hold in Akure, Ondo State, as a mark of respect for its deceased spokesperson.
Meanwhile, eminent Nigerians, including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; the Southern Senators Forum, a leading Igbo think-tank group, Nzuko Umunna, and the Ijaw Monitoring Group, IMG, yesterday, paid glowing tributes to the late Odumakin, describing him as a positive factor in Nigeria’s democracy.
Joe, who spoke at her Lagos residence, expressed the belief that her husband would make it to heaven, as he was so much close to God, saying that was her only consolation.
“It would have been soothing if Yinka was around to see this. At times, we need to celebrate people when they are around; even if they will criticise what we have to say and refer to what they had written and said about us. People are following the trend of events and they will be the best judge,” she said.
Though we had differences, I respected him—Tinubu
Also the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, visited the widow of the late Afenifere’s spokesperson at her residence in the Omole area of Lagos, to console the family.
Tinubu said though he had differences with Odumakin, he respected him till he died.
The APC leader, who visited the deceased’s home around 2pm and spent time consoling the wife, told her how much the late Afenifere chieftain was dear to his heart, saying that his death represented a big loss.
He told Odumakin’s widow to take heart, saying death was inevitable and that no matter the grief, nothing could bring him back to life again.
Speaking with reporters later, Tinubu said: “He (Odumakin) contributed to constitutional democracy of this country, no matter which side you are. We were together struggling for the actualization of June 12. They mean so much to me. He, Tokunbo Afikuyomi and many of them.
“Even if we had differences at a later stage, that was after we had gotten the military out of power. We were in AD together. He matters to me a lot and I respect him, which is what I have shown.”
Afenifere cancels meeting
Meanwhile, Afenifere has cancelled its monthly meeting, expected to hold in Akure, Ondo State at the residence of its former National Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti
In a statement by its Assistant-General Secretary, Mr. Adeleke Mabinuori, Afenifere said the meeting for Tuesday 6th April has been cancelled.
The statement reads: “I have been directed by the acting leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo to inform you that the Afenifere meeting, scheduled for Tuesday 6th April 2021, is cancelled.
“This is in honour of the late Afenifere Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin. Please await further directives.”
Odumakin was a dogged fighter—Ooni of Ife
However, glowing tributes continued to pour in for the late Afenifere spokesman.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi, in his tribute, described late Odumakin as an unforgettable patriotic descendant of Oduduwa and a positive factor in Nigeria’s democracy.
The Ooni, in a condolence message by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare, said: “The news of Odumakin’s demise was a very bitter pill to swallow for the entire country and to us particularly in the House of Oduduwa. He was a disciplined Yoruba leader who has been one of the loudest pro-democracy voices in the country.
“The unbeatable fact about this great patriot is that he served the Oodua race incorruptibly till his death. He enhanced Nigeria’s democracy through his countless calls and actions for justice and equity. He was a blunt dogged fighter who never compromised his struggle for the betterment of his Oodua race and that of Nigeria for personal friendship.