The leader of the Pan-Yoruba Socio-Cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, says getting a replacement for the late Yinka Odumakin, former national publicity secretary of the organisation will be difficult.
Adebanjo made this remark on Thursday at the Service of Songs and Tributes for the late activist, at Police College, Ikeja, Lagos.
Odumakin, 54, an astute activist died on April 2 in Lagos.
The Yoruba leader admonished all to emulate Odumakin’s unswerving life of selflessness and commitment to struggle for justice all his life.
Adebanjo said the late Odumakin’s quality was uncommon because he strongly believed in a good cause and fought for it till his death.
He said: “As a human, it is difficult to replace Yinka, but l pray God replaces 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 also advised other Nigerian activists to emulate the selflessness of the late Odumakin. The Afenifere leader, who said he had long been standing for a united Nigeria, called for a restructured Nigeria so that there could be unity.
According to him, those calling for restructuring are not calling for the disintegration of 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 Igbohos and Nnamdi Kanus,” Adebanjo said.
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, in his tribute, also described Odumakin as an irreplaceable great man, saying he had lost a friend in Odumakin.
Adams said, “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 had 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.”
Adams prayed to God to grant him the kind of befitting burial Odumakin was being given. He urged Nigerians to follow whatever good cause they believed in as 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 Odumakin. Among the dignitaries were Sanwo-
Olu of Lagos State, former Governors Peter Obi of Anambra, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Basir Ajibola, Afenifere leaders and many others.