By Tunde Abatan
The world is a stage,men and women are actors and actresses….says William Shakespeare.
Since our paths crossed on the journalism beat over two decades ago,Yinka Odumakin who passed to the great beyond Saturday morning after a battle with debilitating illness have hardly lost any battle nor failed to impress me as a serious being who passionately believes in what he does at every point in time. You could call him a reporters delight and a consummate bridge builder in social milieu.
Neither has he also ever lost the fervour,energy, and seriousness of purpose he is noted for in his domain of work either as a spokesperson of Afenifere, Yoruba socio -,cultural group he promoted and defended with fervour and other groups he belong nor has he ever lost focus of his avowed political principles which has made him as consistent as he was in any side of Nigeria’s political divide he found himself throughout the changing phases of Nigeria’s socio political milieu.
As an Afenifere spokesman,he plied the trade with dignity fervour and innermost feelings which ultimately gave the group the relevance it got in the heavy days of military and authoritarian rule. For Yinka, the breeziness with which he does his job evokes passion and sympathy of even those who does not believe in the crusading mantra of Afenifere especially on fighting injustice fairness and progressive Democratic thrusts on which the group was birthed in 1952.
For Yinka, being in the barricade is the stuff of committed citizens and perhaps his stint in journalism and student unionism horned his skills and prepared him for the tough battle crusading opposition politics,the Yoruba mainstream are known for over the years.
Yes,he have had cause to stand eye to eye with political gladiators who stood on the way of the social mantra of egalitarianism, social justice and true federalism on which Afenifere was created,yet he remain his man!
Fear and timidity cannot be said to be Yinkas style even when he is in wrong camp with popular feeling like the participation in the 2014 national conference regarded as a jamboree,yet to maintains his mien and conviction that it was a road that Nigeria has to pass through to get somewhere and retrieve governance and country back to her glorious days of true federalism.
When in the middle of the first part of fourth republic he and some young elements switch camp to form Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, Yinka kept his eyes on the ball…to pursue that which is good for his Yoruba people and nation at large. He remained in the barricade fought the elders to change their ways and court new paths to reposition Afenifere to achieve democratic ethos ,the group is known for over the years.
While his downright and fierce fight with those he disagreed with on methods may be questioned for civility,yet he is unmoved for as long as he believes he is fighting the Yoruba traditional cause based on age long ethos not found among all men both activists and politicians of today.
Ironically, Yinka strangely did not find it difficult to beat a retreat from the ARG which he co- formed,the moment he taught the former is out of track of the original founders… He went back to Afenifere of old and remain in the thick and thin of the group even when it’s light appears so dim in contemporary politics of today because of schisms and attendant ruptures cause principally by political affiliation of its leading members.
That Yinka passed on when the real battle for the attainment of the age- long ethos of good governance based on Restructuring and renegotiation of the Nigeria geographical entity which he and Afenifere and those who believes in the cause is on the critical stage of actualisation is painful and sad. But as with all purveyors of ideas that changed nation and people, Yinka’s soul will relive since ideas and issues rooted in great men usually surpass them.
Yinka Odumakin, came ,saw and contributed immensely to propagate what he believes in with all his talent strength and inner convictions and left at his appointed time.
Like Shakespeare, he has played his part and left the stage because like the scripture says,it is appointed for man to die..
Adieu,a dogged fighter ,fiery critic of evil,fine gentleman and devoted family man .
May your soul rest in peace with your creator.