To A True Son Of The Niger

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

His student politics earned him outright expulsion from theUniversity during the Ibrahim Babangida junta. He was committedto the course he embraced; to oust military dictatorship. Hiscontinuous remembrance must be ensured to always make thememory 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 hasdecided to continue the struggle along ethnic lines. He joined thePan Yoruba organisation; Afenifere where he quickly becameSpokesman despite his age. Yet, Mr Yinka was never an ethnicnationalist nor an ethnic jingoist. He believed in his Nigeria, aunited Nigeria where power devolved into the federating units.There is the reason why his death has become a dangerous void insoul of the struggle. He was a stabilizing force that stepped downtribal tendencies among his comrades.

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

Just for further proof of his detribalised nature, Mr Yinka marriedDr Joe Obiajulu Okei-Odumakin an Igbo. They met during theirincarceration 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 anendowment from God to the mortal, some of Mr Yinka's decisionsmight remain irreconcilable with his ideals. Although he faceddetention in the worst prison facilities for his involvement withNADECO an organisation that relentlessly fought against the SanniAbacha junta, his choice for the Nigerian leadership was GeneralMuhammadu Buhari, an individual who not only served in thebrutal, murderous Abacha administration but has also remained astaunch 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 personalitywho later became a victim of his wild criticism.

Mr Yinka was a patriot to the core. His loyalty was first to hiscommunity. On many occasions he has had fallouts with friendswhose personal interests seemed to override the collective goal. Hedid not mind the consequences each time he publicly registered hisdispleasure with frightening revelations.

His death is a warning to all of us that his kind is becoming veryscarce. Perhaps the thinning out of the front he represented gave riseto the secessionist agitations springing up in his homeland. The bestwe can do is to understand his views and make them popular.

Ojo, Aderemi was President of the University of Ibadan StudentsUnion. He is a teacher, writer and researcher. He can be reached viaemail: [email protected] or via social media: @r

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