Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday urged Nigerians, especially members of the Civil Society Organisations to cherish, preserve and push forward the struggle for a better Nigeria and black race, which the late Yinka Odumakin, former National Publicity Secretary of the pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, fought and died for.
The Governor said Odumakin during his lifetime, did his best through several struggles and interventions to make Nigeria a better country and therefore urged people to stand firm and ensure that the legacy of the late Afenifere spokesman is built upon.
Odumakin, a renowned human rights activist, died on Friday April 2 at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) at the age of 54 years.
Speaking during a condolence visit to the family at the deceased’s residence in Omole, Ikeja, Sanwo-Olu described the late Afenifere spokesman as “one of the strongest, detribalised, action packed, full of life, true Nigerians of our time.”
The Governor assured the widow of the deceased, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin that Lagos State will not leave her alone. “We will not leave you alone. We will ensure that even when the crowd disappears, we will be there for you,” he promised.
He said “I am here to pay my condolences on behalf of my government and the entire people of Lagos State for the painful loss of one of the strongest, detribalised, action packed, full of life, true Nigerians of our time, late Comrade Yinka Odumakin.
“Our friend and brother lived a good life. He lived a fighter; he died a fighter. The civil society stakeholders in Lagos and Nigeria have indeed lost a big member of that community and indeed the entire nation because of what he stood for and fought for. If we begin to take him as a Yoruba man, we will be reducing him and what he stood for in this country.
“Wherever Yinka is right now, his wish would be that we will make this country better than how he left it and that is a commitment we are going to leave with you that we will do it to ensure that what he stood for, the legacy he worked for does not go into waste.”
In her response, Dr. Okei-Odumakin appreciated the Lagos State Government for the condolence visit.
She said several tributes and comments about the deceased will energise her to do more in pursuing what Yinka Odumakin stood for, adding that the ideals of her husband will continue to live forever.
She said: “Yinka was selfless. Before he went to hospital, he still told me about four programmes that he would have. He told me how he would leave for Ilorin the next day and later to Ekiti, the third day he would be back to Ibadan for his programme. He said he would be at Ife on Friday, he would be at Ikenne and Sunday, he would return to Lagos. He was so selfless and he had faced all sorts of medical problems and still came out strong. One did not know that this would be goodnight.
“One consolation is that Yinka is not dead; he lives because he will continue to live in the consciousness of the people. And to live in the consciousness of the people is to live forever. What Yinka will want to see is for us to remain focused and committed. Some of the things he could not achieve like restructuring of Nigeria and a lot of things that he could not do, he will be happy if he sees us doing a lot more better. Yinka lives on.”